UPDATE 2-China's June soybean imports from Brazil fall as crushing margins decline

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BEIJING, July 20 (Reuters) – China’s soybean imports from Brazil slipped in June from a year earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, as poor crushing margins weighed on demand.

China, the world’s top buyer of soybeans, brought in 10.48 million tonnes of the oilseed from top supplier Brazil, slightly down from 10.51 million tonnes the previous year, a record high, according to customs data.

The figures were still up by 14% from 9.23 million tonnes in May, as demand continued to be supported by the country’s recovering pig herd, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

But plunging crushing margins dampened some demand in the world’s top market.

Chinese crushers import soybeans to crush into soymeal to feed livestock, and soyoil for cooking oil.

Appetite for the oilseed was not as strong as expected as declining hog margins weighed on demand for soymeal, the main protein in animal feed.

Meanwhile, China shipped in 54,806 tonnes of soybeans from the United States in June, its second largest soybean supplier, down 80% from 267,553 tonnes in the same month last year.

Chinese importers turned to U.S. soybeans more than usual to meet demand when rains slowed harvests and exports of Brazilian beans earlier in the year.

Demand for U.S. soybeans has weakened, however, as large volumes of Brazilian cargos kicked in.

Imports of U.S. beans in the fourth quarter of the year, when the U.S. harvest usually dominates the market, might be hurt as well, as poor crushing margins erode China’s appetite for the oilseed.

Crushers in Shandong, a major soybean processing hub in northern China, would lose 339 yuan on each tonne of the oilseed crushed as of Monday, according to Eikon data. CNSOY-RZO-MRG

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