* April imports still affected by delay in Brazil - analyst
* Shipments seen even higher in coming months - traders,
* Crush margins improved, but still pressured by high soy
BEIJING, May 7 (Reuters) - China's soybean imports in April
rose 11% from the same month a year earlier, boosted by the
arrival of some delayed Brazilian cargoes, customs data showed
China, the world's top importer of soybeans, brought in 7.45
million tonnes of the oilseed in April, up from 6.714 million
tonnes a year earlier, according to General Administration of
"It was a fairly strong number given the delays we saw out
of Brazil this year," said Darin Friedrichs, senior analyst at
StoneX, speaking after the data was released. "May imports
should be even strong(er) as the peak of Brazil shipments should
be arriving now."
Chinese crushers have stepped up purchases of soybeans from
top exporters Brazil and the United States in the early months
of 2021, expecting higher demand as the country's pig herd
Rains in Brazil, however, delayed the harvest and export of
its soybeans, resulting in a sharp drop in shipments to China in
March. Importers turned to the United States to fill the gap.
Brazilian shipments were expected to pick up and dominate
the China market from April till late in the year, traders and
"April imports were actually below market expectation, as
delays in Brazil still affected arrivals in the month," said Zou
Honglin, analyst with trade website Myagric.com.
In the first four months of the year, China brought in 28.63
million tonnes of soybeans, up 17% from the same period in the
previous year, customs data showed.
Soybean crushing margins slid into negative territory late
in March <JCI-SBMG-SHDNI> as a new outbreak of African swine
fever and the increased use of wheat in feed hurt appetite for
Margins have improved in the past couple of weeks as demand
has recovered, although they remain held in check by a rise in
international soybean prices.
"Demand (in April) was expected to increase by 10-15% from
March, mainly from pig farming," said a manager with a crusher
in southern China, speaking before the data release.
"But we are still losing money (crushing the soybeans)," as
the price of raw materials was too high, said the manager, who
declined to be named as he was not authorized to talk to media.
China also brought in 3.8 million tonnes of vegetable oils
during Jan-April, up 47.4% from the previous year, customs data
(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Neil
Fullick and Kenneth Maxwell)