Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Soybeans Rise as China May Import More to Expand Inventories

March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Soybean futures rose the most in more than a week on speculation that China, the world’s biggest buyer and consumer, will boost imports to expand inventories.

China will keep reserves equal to as much as 40 percent of annual consumption to ensure food security, and may increase purchases from overseas, said Bao Kexin, the president of China Grain Reserves Corp. The inventory-to-use ratio is almost double the world level of 23 percent. Cofco Ltd., China’s largest grain trader, said it will expand crushing capacity by more than 40 percent this year.

“China is signaling it will need more soybean imports to keep its people fed,” said Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. “China’s demand will continue to support the market.”

Soybean futures for May delivery rose 5.25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $9.48 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the biggest gain since Feb. 26. The most-active contract fell 1.9 percent last week, the first decline in four weeks, on forecasts for record production in Brazil and Argentina, the biggest exporters after the U.S.

Soybean futures for September delivery rose 0.4 percent to 3,836 yuan a metric ton on the Dalian Commodity Exchange in China. That’s the equivalent of about $15.29 a bushel, Bloomberg data show.

Increased China Production

Premier Wen Jiabao said last week that the government would seek to increase production of grains, oilseeds, cotton and sugar, raise minimum grain prices and continue stockpiling agricultural commodities.

Some of the increased output would go to feed livestock. China, the world’s largest pork producer and consumer, may increase output of the meat to 50.6 million metric tons this year, up 3.5 percent from 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report last week.

Soybeans are the second-biggest U.S. crop, trailing corn, at $31.8 billion last year, government figures show.