October 28, 2018 / 6:23 AM / 23 days ago

China's new animal feed standards set to lower soybean consumption - ministry

BEIJING, Oct 28 (Reuters) - New standards of protein content in animal feed that China announced on Friday will cut the country’s annual soymeal consumption by 11 million tonnes and soybeans by 14 million tonnes, according to a statement from the agricultural ministry seen on Sunday.

China is entering what is typically its top buying season for U.S. soybeans, a critical source of protein in livestock feeds, and higher tariffs - part of an escalating Sino-U.S. trade war - could drive up prices.

China’s Feed Industry Association on Friday approved new standards for the feed for pigs and chickens, lowering the protein levels in pig feed by 1.5 percentage points and those for chickens by one percentage point, the ministry said.

It did not give a timeline for when the new standards will take effect.

China, the world’s top consumer of the oilseed, is seeking various ways to cut soymeal in animal feed including turning to alternative meals and reducing protein levels.

The measures came after Beijing imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. products including soybeans on July 6, in retaliation to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods of the same amount.

Soymeal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange for January delivery last traded at 3,383 yuan ($487.29) per tonne on Friday, up nearly a quarter so far this year. ($1 = 6.9425 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Li Pei)

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