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China's Oct soybean imports soar to 8.7 mln T on rising Brazilian, U.S. cargoes

BEIJING, Nov 7 (Reuters) - China’s soybean imports jumped 41% in October from a year ago, according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Saturday, as delayed Brazilian cargoes cleared customs and U.S. soybean arrivals grew.

The world’s top soybean importer brought in 8.69 million tonnes of the oilseed in October, up from 6.18 million tonnes in the same month of the previous year, as crushers booked Brazilian beans earlier on good crush margins and as more U.S. beans started to flow in, the data showed.

The figures were down from 9.8 million tonnes in September, as shipments from Brazil started to dwindle with the harvest season in South America approaching an end.

“U.S. soybean imports in October increased,” said Xie Huilan, analyst with agriculture consultancy Cofeed, before the data was released.

“The rest majority are still Brazilian beans, which (crushers) booked very cheap earlier,” Xie said.

Chinese crushers stocked up on Brazilian beans earlier this year to benefit from profitable deals, amid healthy demand from a steadily recovering pig herd that was decimated by the deadly African swine fever.

Importers also increased purchases of U.S. soybeans for the fourth quarter and early next year, when American crop dominates the market, and partly to fulfill terms of the Phase 1 Sino-U.S. trade deal signed in January.

“The buying pace is expected to slow a little in the coming months, as crushers have booked a lot of Brazilian beans earlier already and U.S. beans will increase as well,” said a crusher based in northern China.

“In Feb and March, we will start to switch to Brazilian beans again,” said the crusher, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

Imports of vegetable oils were 885,000 tonnes in October, down 3.9% from the previous month.

For more details, click on (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Kevin Yao; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)