China’s Wheat Imports Surge to Seven-Year High Amid Food Concern

China’s monthly wheat imports jumped to the highest in almost seven years in June, official customs data showed Thursday, as the world’s largest consumer of the grain seeks to increase food supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic and take advantage of cheap global prices.

  • China imported 910,000 tons in June, up 197% on the same month last year, bringing total imports in the first half of the year to 3.35m tons, up 90% y/y, the data showed

KEY INSIGHTS

  • China, the top producer of wheat, has been under pressure to fulfill annual grain import quotas, which include corn and rice, under WTO commitments. The country lost a dispute last year brought by the U.S. which argued the quotas were not fully utilized
    • China has issued 9.6m tons of low-tariff-rate quotas for wheat imports -- subject only to 1% import tariff.
China’s Wheat Imports Surge to Seven-Year High Amid Food Concern

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  • Corn imports rose 23% on year to 880,000 tons, bringing shipments in first half to 3.7 million tons, up 17.6% on year, customs data showed
  • Imports of sorghum, largely used to replace corn, surged to 680,000 tons, the highest since March 2017, on increased imports from the U.S. after the countries reached a phase one trade deal
    • Imports in the first half were 1.8 million tons, compared with negligible amounts a year earlier
  • Sugar imports rose 196% from the year ago to 410,000 tons, bringing shipments in the first half to 1.2 million tons, up 16% on year
    • China is set to increase sugar imports this year as the government has gradually eased safeguards that protected its domestic sugar industry
  • For more farm trade data, click China June Corn Imports 880,000 Tons, +23% Y/y

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