Farm Ireland

Wednesday 19 December 2018

China sugar imports slide by two-thirds as tariffs bite

Reuters Staff

China’s sugar imports in September fell two-thirds from a year earlier as hefty tariffs on foreign arrivals continued to dent buying appetite, customs data showed on Monday, while corn imports surged to meet temporary tightness in supply.

Last month’s sugar imports SU-CN-IMP slumped 67.5pc to 160,000t, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Imports in the first nine months of the year fell 29.8pc from a year earlier to 1.83m tonnes.

Beijing has slashed permits for out-of-quota sugar imports to around 1m tonnes, almost half of last year’s allowance. It also imposed extra tariffs on sugar imports after lobbying by domestic mills, all part of its efforts to curb imports that it says have damaged the domestic industry.

That led imports in July to just 60,000t, the lowest in three years. September imports were also down 20pc from the previous month’s 200,000t.

Meanwhile corn imports CO-CN-IMP in September were up over 13-fold on the year, at 250,000t, as buyers snapped up grain from overseas amid temporary tightness in supply at home.

They were down 33.7pc from the prior month’s 377,518t, the data showed.

China bought 2.28m tonnes of corn in the first nine months of the year, up 23.6pc from a year earlier, according to the data.

Imports of the grain, used to feed China’s huge livestock sector, plunged in the second half of last year, after domestic supplies became much cheaper following an overhaul in farm policy.

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But overseas purchases have recovered in recent months, with Chinese prices relatively high for much of this year amid healthy demand for animal feed and industrial processing.

Concerns that drought would impact the quality of the crop and delay harvesting also pushed up local prices in August and September.

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