June 26, 2020 / 3:12 AM / 8 days ago

China's May soy imports from Brazil hit highest monthly total in 2 years

* May imports from Brazil 8.86 mln T, up 41% year on year -customs

* Imports from the U.S. nearly halved

BEIJING/SINGAPORE, June 26 (Reuters) - China’s soybean imports from top supplier Brazil soared in May to their highest in two years, according to customs data released late on Thursday, as backed-up cargoes that were delayed by bad weather in Brazil cleared customs.

China, the world’s top soybean importer, brought in 8.86 tonnes of Brazilian soybeans in May, the highest since May 2018 and up 41% from last year’s 6.3 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

Brazil imports were also up 49% from 5.939 million tonnes in April.

Imports from the United States were 491,697 tonnes in May, down nearly 50% from May 2019 and the smallest monthly tally since January 2019.

Rains had delayed the soy harvest and shipments from Brazil in late February, which severely disrupted arrivals in March and April.

As the weather improved, however, shipments gradually picked up and have now likely peaked from the South American supplier.

China’s soybean importers are now expected to accelerate purchases from the United States ahead of that country’s autumn soy harvest, and as China tries to fulfil its commitment to boost farm purchases under its Phase 1 Trade deal with the United States - Beijing repeated its commitment to follow through on the deal during talks in Hawaii last week.

The peak period for U.S. shipments to China is traditionally during the last four months of the calendar year, and China has historically completed more than 40% of its full-year purchases from the United States during that window.

Reporting by Hallie Gu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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