BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s soybean imports in March jumped 10 percent from the previous month, as shipments from both the United States and Brazil reached the world’s top oilseed buyer, customs data showed on Friday.
China imported 4.92 million tonnes in March, up from 4.46 million tonnes in February, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
The imports were still down 13 percent from the same month a year earlier.
“Some cargoes delayed in February arrived in March. There were some new crop (shipments) from Brazil as well,” said Monica Tu, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd.
“The figures were still low compared to last year as overall purchases remain curbed due to the tariffs,” Tu said.
China slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans last July as part of a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The dispute and tariffs brought imports of U.S. beans to a virtual halt but some buying resumed after the two countries agreed to a truce in the trade war on Dec. 1.
Imports for the first three months of 2019 came to 16.75 million tonnes, down 14.4 percent from the same quarter last year.
But demand for the oilseed is under pressure as an epidemic of incurable African swine fever spreads across China, killing pigs and stopping farmers from replenishing herds.
China has reported around 120 cases of the disease since it was first detected in the country in August 2018. The disease is deadly for pigs but does not harm humans.
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Tom Hogue