By Hallie Gu and Tom Daly
BEIJING, July 14 (Reuters) - China’s monthly imports of soybeans leapt to a record high in June, jumping 71% from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, as a flurry of cargoes arrived from top supplier Brazil.
China, the world’s top importer of the oilseed, shipped in 11.16 million tonnes in June from 6.51 million a year ago and up 19% from 9.38 million tonnes in May, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Exports from Brazil have picked up since March after weather improved in the South American country.
“The main reason is that Brazilian beans were cheap, and crush margins for June were really good, so crushers booked a lot of shipments,” said Xie Huilan, analyst with agriculture consultancy Cofeed.
“Crushers signed many contracts with end users and presold a lot of meal, to lock in profits,” Xie added.
Chinese soybean crushers, who earlier this year had to curb operations due to short supplies, are now struggling with bulging inventories.
“It is quite difficult,” a manager with a crusher based in southern China told Reuters. “I am pushing the end users to come get their meal every day ... I now just hope that shipping in Brazil can slow down a little,” said the manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to media.
However, imports this month are likely to remain above normal levels, exceeding 9 million tonnes, according to traders and analysts.
“July imports are expected to reach 10 million tonnes as well, with most cargoes from Brazil,” said Monica Tu, analyst with agriculture consultancy Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd.
“August figures should come down,” Tu said.
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Tom Daly; editing by Richard Pullin