Beijing, CN (Reuters) — China's 2021 corn imports almost tripled in volume from the previous year, hitting a new record, customs data showed today (Jan. 18), as buyers turned to cheaper alternatives overseas amid soaring prices and a domestic supply crunch.
China, the world's top grains market, brought in 28.35 million tonnes of corn in all of 2021, up 152% from an annual record figure of 11.3 million in 2020, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Imports of wheat in the first 12 months of the year also hit a record at 9.77 million tonnes, and were up 16.6% from 8.38 million in 2020, the data showed.
China's corn prices hit record highs in 2021 after Beijing whittled down its massive temporary stockpile of the grain and bad weather hit output in the main production region the previous year.
Buyers stepped up imports of grains such as corn and wheat, to plug the domestic gap in corn supply.
China's appetite for imported grains showed signs of waning in the later months of the year, as a bigger corn crop pushed down domestic prices, while feed demand from the livestock sector weakened on plunging hog margins.
Corn imports in December were at 1.33 million tonnes, down 39.9% from the previous year, according to customs data.
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