【英语中国】中国今夏大豆进口需求可能走低 Bird flu set to dent China demand for soy

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2014-4-12 15:44

小艾摘要: A glut of soy in China due to severe outbreaks of bird flu is likely to reduce demand for imports this summer from the world’s largest consumer, with reports of defaults on some cargoes already rattl ...
Bird flu set to dent China demand for soy
A glut of soy in China due to severe outbreaks of bird flu is likely to reduce demand for imports this summer from the world’s largest consumer, with reports of defaults on some cargoes already rattling markets.

China’s imports of soy, an important source of poultry and livestock feed, surged 33 per cent in the first quarter to 15.35m tonnes, customs data showed on Thursday.

March imports were a healthy 4.62m tonnes following even stronger imports in the first two months of the year – which have helped drive soyabean prices to an eight-month high above $15 a bushel this week. The surge in supply is expected to reduce demand for cargoes from North and South America over the next two quarters, however, and the price of forward month soyabeans fell 0.7 per cent on Thursday to $14.87 a bushel.

Coupled with unexpectedly weak demand as bird flu outbreaks destroyed poultry flocks in Shandong, Zhejiang and other provinces, China is now sitting on excess stocks of soy. Weak soy meal prices put stress on soy crushers. At current spot prices, a crusher processing soybeans into cooking oil and soy meal would lose about $100 for each tonne processed.

“The amounts of soy imports by China in January and February this year were huge, and that has pushed down the prices domestically. If crushers see little profit, they can transfer the soy to South Korea or Japan. This is a huge contrast to the situation in the early 2000s,” said Ma Wenfeng, of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd.

Rumours of defaults by Chinese buyers bring back memories of 2004, when private crushers that had rushed to buy soy – driving up prices well beyond their ability to make money on crushing – then refused them, causing prices to crash. Thus far, the market impact of more limited defaults this year has been muted by the ability of traders to find new buyers.

Crushers have defaulted on cargoes totalling about half a million tonnes, citing their inability to open letters of credit amid tightening bank oversight on commodities imports, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Chenxi Group, a private oil, petrochemicals and crushing firm in coastal Shandong Province rumoured to be one of the firms defaulting on seaborne soy cargoes, declined to comment when reached by the FT on Thursday. In March, Chenxi had said it would cancel orders for Brazilian cargoes arriving between March and July.

Weaker demand for diesel and other oil products produced by Shandong’s independent refineries was one of the factors driving a 19.5 per cent drop in China’s fuel oil imports in the first quarter, Barclay’s analyst Sijin Cheng wrote on Thursday, indicating broader stresses on Shandong-based firms like Chenxi.

Overall, weak oil products imports offset an 8 per cent rise in crude oil imports in the first quarter. March crude imports hit a five-month low, after record January imports, but were still 2 per cent higher than March of last year.

Other commodities imports were relatively strong in March and the first quarter, although weak international prices caused the value of imports to drop 11 per cent in March. Despite concerns about the health of the Chinese steel sector, lower prices, stock building and greater demand for less-polluting overseas ore lifted iron ore imports by 15 per cent to 74m tonnes.

Additional reporting by Owen Guo

禽流感问题导致的中国大豆过剩,很可能导致全球头号大豆消费国今夏进口需求降低。有关部分进口大豆遭遇违约的报道已经引起市场忧虑。

周四的海关数据显示,一季度中国大豆进口量猛增33%,增至1535万吨。大豆是家禽和家畜饲料的重要来源。

3月份大豆进口量多达462万吨,此前今年头两个月进口更为强劲——这种状况将大豆价格推升至8个月最高点,本周达到每蒲式耳15美元以上。然而,预计今后两个季度供应量的激增会降低对南北美洲大豆的需求,周四,单月远期大豆价格下跌0.7%,至每蒲式耳14.87美元。

再加上山东、浙江及其他省份禽流感的爆发导致大量家禽被销毁,中国目前大豆库存过剩。豆粕价格疲软为大豆压榨商也带来了压力。按照目前的现货价格计算,每把一吨大豆榨为食用油和豆粕,就会亏损大约100美元。

北京东方艾格农业咨询有限公司(Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd)的马文峰表示:“今年1月份和2月份中国大豆进口量极为巨大,这一状况压低了国内大豆价格。如果榨油商发现几乎无法实现盈利,他们可以把大豆转往韩国或日本。这与本世纪初的局面形成了极大对比。”

有关中国买家违约的传言令人想起2004年的情况,当时民营榨油商先是争相买入大豆(此举导致大豆价格升高,达到远远超出他们能通过榨油盈利的水平),随后拒绝收货,造成大豆价格崩盘。这一次,到目前为止交易商还能找到新的买家,抵消了今年更有限的违约对市场的影响。

据路透社(Reuters)周四报道,榨油商对进口大豆的违约规模总计达50万吨左右,这些榨油商表示由于银行对大宗商品进口收紧监督,他们无法开出信用证。

有传闻称,中国沿海山东省的民营石油、石化及榨油公司晨曦集团(Chenxi Group)是对海运大豆违约的公司之一。周四当英国《金融时报》与该公司联系时,该公司对此拒绝置评。就在3月,晨曦集团曾表示会取消3月到7月间抵达的巴西大豆的订单。

巴克莱银行(Barclay)分析师程似锦周四写道,对山东各家独立炼油厂生产的柴油及其他成品油需求的减弱,是造成一季度中国燃料油进口量下跌19.5%的原因之一,这表明晨曦这类山东企业正面临更为全局性的压力。

总体来说,一季度石油产品进口的疲软抵消了原油进口8%的增长幅度。在创纪录的1月份进口之后,3月份原油进口跌至5个月来的最低点,不过仍比去年3月高了2%。

3月份和一季度其他大宗商品的进口相对强劲,尽管国际价格疲软造成3月份进口货值下跌11%。虽然有人担忧中国钢铁业的健康状况,但较低价格、库存补充以及对低污染海外矿石的更大需求等多种因素将铁矿石进口量推升15%,至7400万吨。

Owen Guo补充报道

译者/简易

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