September 12, 2018 / 6:13 AM / in 2 months

UPDATE 1-China slashes 2018/19 soybean import forecast as U.S. trade war crimps buying

    * Ag Min sees soybean deficit at 3.57 mln T
    * Crop report comes as trade war with U.S. shows no signs of
ending
    * Beijing hit U.S. soybean imports with tariffs in July

 (Adding details, table)
    BEIJING, Sept 12 (Reuters) - China on Wednesday slashed its
forecast for 2018/19 soybean imports as farmer reduce their use
of the bean in animal feed because of the Sino-U.S. trade
conflict, leading the government to raise its supply deficit
estimate.
    Imports of soybeans in the crop year that starts on Oct. 1
will be 83.65 million tonnes, down 10.2 million tonnes from last
month's estimate of 93.85 million tonnes, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in its monthly crop report.
    The forecast is lower than the 93.9 million tonnes imported
during the 2017/18 crop year.    
    The ministry said the lower forecast for soybean imports was
due to the promotion of lower-protein feed for livestock and
poultry. Additionally, falling profits at pig farms should
reduce demand for soymeal feed for the herds. 
    The government also raised its estimate for corn demand due
to rising feed consumption and increasing ethanol production and
as soybean imports fall.
    While the size of the soybean import cuts are largely inline
with broader industry forecasts, the report marks the first
official assessment by the government on the impact of the trade
war. 
    The outlook illustrates how China's vast pig farming sector
is rapidly adjusting to a possible prolonged trade dispute with
Washington. In July, Beijing levied an additional 25 percent
tariff on U.S. soybeans, threatening supplies from the
second-largest exporter of the oilseed to China.
    The import outlook changes pushed the 2018/19 soybean
deficit forecast to 3.57 million tonnes from 250,000 tonnes in
August, according to the report. 
    The ministry also raised its 2018/19 domestic soybean output
forecast to 15.83 million tonnes from 15.37 million tonnes in
August.    
    
                   2016/2017     2017/2018       2018/2019       2018/2019       % change
                                 (estimate in    (forecast in    (forecast in    vs month
                                 Sep.)           Aug.)           Sep.)           earlier
 Corn                                                                            
 Planted acreage   36.77         35.45           34.95           34.95           0%
 (mln hectares)                                                                  
 Output (mln       219.55        215.89          211.45          213.02          0.74%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Imports (mln      2.46          3.30            1.50            1.50            0.00%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Ending Stocks     11.21         -4.52           -17.75          -22.38          
 (mln tonnes)                                                                    
 Soybean                                                                         
 Planted acreage   7.20          7.78            8.39            8.45            0.72%
 (mln hectares)                                                                  
 Output (mln       12.94         14.55           15.37           15.83           2.99%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Imports (mln      93.49         93.90           93.85           83.65           -10.87%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Ending Stocks     -1.80         1.26            -0.25           -3.57           
 (mln tonnes)                                                                    
 Cotton                                                                          
 Planted acreage   3.10          3.35            3.29            3.29            0.00%
 (mln hectares)                                                                  
 Output (mln       4.82          5.89            5.65            5.80            2.65%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Imports (mln      1.11          1.30            2.00            2.00            0.00%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Ending Stocks     8.75          7.62            6.80            6.95            
 (mln tonnes)                                                                    
 Sugar                                                                           
 Planted acreage   1.40          1.46            1.52            1.52            0.00%
 (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          2.80            3.20            2.90            -9.38%
 tonnes)                                                                         
 Ending Stocks     -3.44         -2.08           -1.47           -1.77           
 (mln tonnes)                                                                    
 
 (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by
Christian Schmollinger)
  
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