- China Customs spokesman says China's Q1 experts to US down 23.6%, imports from US down 1.3%
- Soybean imports in March fell 13% from the previous year to their lowest in more than five years
- Rains delayed cargoes from top supplier Brazil and as the coronavirus outbreak dented oilseed demand
- China, the world's top buyer of soybeans, imported 4.28 million tonnes of the oilseed in March, down from 4.91 million tonnes in March last year
BEIJING: China's trade showed some signs of recovery in March as domestic demand returns to normal, but difficulties facing foreign trade cannot be underestimated, the customs said on Tuesday.
Asked about the implementation of the phase 1 trade deal with the United States, customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told a news conference that imports of agricultural producers were increasing.
But Li added that the negative impact from the coronavirus outbreak cannot be ignored.
China's March soybean imports fall on delays, coronavirus disruption
China's soybean imports in March fell 13% from the previous year to their lowest in more than five years, customs data showed on Tuesday, after rains delayed cargoes from top supplier Brazil and as the coronavirus outbreak dented oilseed demand.
China, the world's top buyer of soybeans, imported 4.28 million tonnes of the oilseed in March, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data.
That was down from 4.91 million tonnes in March last year, and the lowest since February 2015.
For the first quarter, shipments were 17.79 million tonnes, customs said, up 6.2% from a year earlier.
China's soybean imports in the first two months of 2020 were 13.51 million tonnes, up 14.2% year-on-year.
Rains during February delayed the harvest and exports of soybeans in Brazil, leading to small-than-expected arrivals of beans to China.
The coronavirus epidemic, which started in the city of Wuhan in central China at the end of 2019, also delayed operations at crushing plants and disrupted production in the livestock sector.
China's soybean and soymeal inventories fell to record-low levels as a result, forcing some crushers to curb operations because of the supply shortage.
The African swine fever disease, which has slashed China's pig herd by at least 40%, also reduced soybean demand.
China imports soybeans to crush into soymeal for the livestock sector and for cooking oil.
Soybean shipments to China in April and the coming months were expected to rise as weather conditions eased in Brazil and cargoes booked from the United States under the Phase 1 trade deal arrived.