(Adding details and background)
BEIJING, Nov 8 (Reuters) - China imported 5.86 million tonnes of soybeans in October, down 28 percent from the previous month and well below market expectations, customs data showed on Wednesday, after some shipments were delayed.
The figures were still up 12 percent from 5.21 million tonnes in October last year, supported by robust demand in the world’s top buyer of the oilseed, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.
“The figures are much lower than expected. The main reason was a delay of shipments from the U.S. due to bean quality issues and some logistics problems,” said Monica Tu, an analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd.
Suppliers of soybeans in the United States struggled to find high-quality beans following crop damage from hurricanes, delaying shipments.
A seasonal gap in overseas supply also crimped imports, as U.S. soybeans haven’t hit the market in large volumes yet while supplies from South America are ending, analysts said.
Imports of the oilseed were expected to climb in November and December, with demand typically picking up in winter months ahead of the Lunar New Year.
“Delayed shipments would be pushed out to arrive in November and December, driving up imports to over 9 million tonnes on average for the two months. Pressure from supplies will show after mid-November,” said Tu. (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin)