BEIJING- China's May soybean imports from Brazil jumped 82% from the previous month, bolstered by the arrival of cargoes due to land earlier but delayed by rains, customs data showed on Sunday.
China, the world's top importer of soybeans, brought in 9.23 million tonnes of soybeans from the South American country in May, up from 5.08 million tonnes in April, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
May imports were also up from 8.86 million tonnes imported from China's top soybean supplier a year ago.
China bought 244,431 tonnes of soybeans from the United States in May, down 50% from 491,700 tonnes a year ago. Shipments were down 89% from 2.15 million tonnes in April, customs data showed.
For the first five months of the year, China brought in 15.66 million tonnes of Brazilian beans, down from 22.04 million tonnes in the same period of last year.
Imports from the United States for January to May came in at 21.53 million tonnes, more than double the level of 8.97 million tonnes in the previous year.
Chinese state-owned importers on Friday bought at least eight cargoes of U.S. soybeans for delivery in October, or at least 480,000 tonnes, Reuters reported, after new-crop November soybean futures SX1 on the Chicago Board of Trade tumbled to the lowest point since March.
Soybean imports from all origins are expected to be high in coming months, traders said, further swelling supplies and pressuring crush margins.
Crushers in Rizhao in Shandong province now lose about 484 yuan ($75.74) for every tonne of soybeans they process.
"Soybean prices on the foreign market are quite high while we don't see an obvious increase in demand for soymeal in China," said Wang Xiaoyang, an analyst with Sinolink Futures.
Crush margins have been under pressure lately but might improve for shipments in October, Wang said.
($1 = 6.3905 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Hallie Gu, Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton, editing by Louise Heavens) ((Hallie.Gu@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 56692120; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))