China’s May corn imports hit historical high on growing feed demand

18 Jun 2021 | Cai Chen

China’s monthly corn imports reached the highest level on record in May this year as the country ramped up purchases on rapid growing demand from the feed industry, according to China’s customs data released Friday.

The country’s corn imports in May surged 70.8% from the previous month and were up four times compared to the same month in 2020, hitting the highest monthly volume on record at 3.16 million mt, data from China’s General Administration of Customs has shown.

It pushed the year-to-date total of corn imports in 2021 to 11.73 million mt, up more than three times 2020's annual total.

The increase came as pig herd in China’s market increased 23.5% in May from the same period of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), and corn is a crucial source of feedstuff in China’s pig herd industry.

Wheat imports declined 3% compared to last year to 790,000 mt, with a total of 4.61 million mt imported this year so far, up 88.9% from the same point in 2020.

Barley imports increased 115.7% on the year to reach 1.11 million mt, slightly down 3% from the previous month.

Sorghum imports jumped over 125% on year to 620,000 mt, taking total volumes between January to April 2021 to 3.69 million mt.

Finally, China also imported 370,000 mt of pork in May, down 2.2% from the same month of the previous year, due to the recovery of China’s domestic pork industry this year.