Market Morsel: Chinese grain imports ramp up

Grain | 25th November 2020 | By Andrew Whitelaw

Market Morsel

China released its monthly import figures in the past few days. As expected, imports of most agricultural commodities remain strong.

In recent months we have commented that Chinese imports of corn would exceed the low tariff rate in October. Any volume imported after 7.2mmt is subject to a tariff rate of 65%. During October imports reached 7.8mmt for the calendar year.

The highest full calendar year import volume was 4.8mmt during 2019. The question now remains whether China will move the goalposts on the tariff relief, or as rumours persist provide relief to certain importers.

During a period when there are concerns that wheat from Australia will be under extra scrutiny, the import program for wheat has ramped up this season. The calendar year to November has seen 6.7mmt, versus a previous high in recent years of 4mmt during 2017.

Barley imports up to November are slightly above last year (5.6mmt vs 5.2mmt). These levels are lower than in 2017 & 2018. Last week I wrote about who was winning (see here). The reality is that France, Ukraine and Canada are increasing their share at our expense.


  • China
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Barley