November 23, 2018 / 8:17 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-China Oct sorghum imports fall 94 pct on year -customs

(Adding more data and background)

BEIJING, Nov 23 (Reuters) - China’s imports of sorghum slid in October to a trickle, customs data showed on Friday, amid ongoing trade tensions with top exporter the United States.

Imports of sorghum, mostly used in China to feed the its massive livestock herd, fell to 20,000 tonnes, down 94 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. The decline follows a 77 percent drop in September.

Beijing slapped a 25 percent duty on imports of the grain from the United States on July 6, in retaliation over similar trade measures taken by Washington.

The United States is by far China’s top sorghum supplier, accounting for 94 percent of its imports last year.

China’s corn imports in October came to 80,000 tonnes, up 9.9 percent from the same month of 2017, the data also showed.

Barley imports fell 52 percent to 330,000 tonnes from a year earlier, the data showed.

China brought in 220,000 tonnes of wheat in October, down 45.8 percent year-on-year.

Soymeal imports came in at 5,216 tonnes, up 200 percent from the same month last year.

Meanwhile, pork imports fell from the previous month to 82,949 tonnes, and were down 2.2 percent on the year.

China, the world’s top pork producer, is battling an epidemic of highly contagious African swine fever. It has reported around 70 outbreaks since August across 18 provinces and municipalities.

The peak consumption period for the meat is during China’s Lunar New Year holiday, which falls this year in early February.

Sugar imports rose 99 percent from a year earlier to 340,000 tonnes in October.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Sunil Nair

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