July 12, 2018 / 5:34 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-China cuts soybean import forecast in face of trade war

    * Estimate for 2018/19 soybean imports down 2 pct from last
f'cast
    * Comes as Beijing, Washington move deeper into trade war
    * Soybean import cost to rise by 100 yuan per tonne -govt 
    * Farmers switching to alternatives ingredients for animal
feed

 (Adds detail, table)
    BEIJING, July 12 (Reuters) - China on Thursday cut its
forecast for soybean imports for the 2018/19 crop year, warning
that higher prices due to trade conflict with the United States
would curb demand as farmers switch to alternative ingredients
for their animal feed.
    Imports of soybeans in the crop year that starts on Oct. 1
will be 93.85 million tonnes, down 1.8 million tonnes, or 2
percent, from last month's estimate, the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Affairs said in its monthly crop report.
    That compares with its estimate of 95.97 million for the
2017/18 crop year and, according to U.S. government records,
would be the lowest import level since 2016/17.
    China on July 6 imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in
U.S. goods, including soybeans, in response to U.S. duties
imposed the same day on Chinese products worth a similar value,
as the world's top two economies headed into an outright trade
war.
    The ministry's Chinese Agricultural Supply and Demand
Estimates (CASDE) report said the new tariffs on U.S. shipments
introduced would inflate prices of the oilseed.
    That means that crushers, who make meal and oil from the
beans, will turn to other sources of protein, the ministry said.
That could be good news for producers of rapeseed, peanuts or
sunflower seeds.
    It also comes as demand for soymeal has already been hit by
losses in the pig farming sector, the report said.
    Meanwhile, the government cut its soybean consumption
forecast by 2 percent from the previous month's outlook to
109.23 million tonnes. That would still be 1 percent higher than
consumption in the 2017/18 crop year.    
    The extra tariffs are expected to push up China's soybean
import costs by 100 yuan ($14.95) per tonne from the previous
month's forecast, the CASDE report said.
    The forecast for China's 2017/18 cotton imports was raised
by 200,000 tonnes from the previous month to 1.3 million tonnes.
    The outlook for rapeseed output during the 2017/18 crop year
was increased from the previous month as major producers
promoted different uses of the oilseed, though no figure was
provided, the ministry said.     
    Key numbers from the Chinese Agricultural Supply and Demand
Estimates (CASDE)
    
                2016/20  2017/201  2018/20  2018/201  Percentage
                  17        8        19        9        change
                         (estimat  (foreca  (forecas  
                          ed by    sted by   ted by   
                          Jul.)     Jun.)    Jul.)    
     Corn                                                  
    Planted      36.76    35.45     34.95    34.95        0%
 acreage (mln                                         
   hectares)                                          
  Output (mln   219.55    215.89   209.53    209.53     0.00%
    tonnes)                                           
 Imports (mln    2.46      2.50     1.50      1.50      0.00%
    tonnes)                                           
 Ending Stocks   11.21    -5.32    -20.07    -20.07        
 (mln tonnes)                                         
    Soybean                                                
    Planted      7.20      7.78     8.39      8.39      0.00%
 acreage (mln                                         
   hectares)                                          
  Output (mln    12.94    14.55     15.37    15.37      0.00%
    tonnes)                                           
 Imports (mln    93.49    95.97     95.65    93.85      -1.88%
    tonnes)                                           
 Ending Stocks   -1.80     2.42     -0.40    -0.25         
 (mln tonnes)                                         
    Cotton                                                 
    Planted      3.10      3.35     3.19      3.29      3.13%
 acreage (mln                                         
   hectares)                                          
  Output (mln    4.82      5.89     5.55      5.72      3.06%
    tonnes)                                           
 Imports (mln    1.11      1.30     1.40      1.60      14.29%
    tonnes)                                           
 Ending Stocks   8.75      7.62     5.95      6.52         
 (mln tonnes)                                         
     Sugar                                                 
    Planted      1.40      1.46     1.52      1.52      0.00%
 acreage (mln                                         
   hectares)                                          
     Cane        1.23      1.27     1.28      1.28      0.00%
     Beet        0.17      0.19     0.23      0.23      0.00%
  Output (mln    9.29     10.31     10.68    10.68      0.00%
    tonnes)                                           
  Cane sugar     8.24      9.16     9.25      9.25      0.00%
  Beet sugar     1.05      1.15     1.43      1.43      0.00%
 Imports (mln    2.29      3.20     3.20      3.20      0.00%
    tonnes)                                           
 Ending Stocks   -3.44    -1.61     -1.47    -1.47         
 (mln tonnes)                                         
 

($1 = 6.6875 Chinese yuan renminbi)

 (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Christian Schmollinger)
  
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