BEIJING: China’s sugar imports plunged in June, after Beijing imposed hefty tariffs on foreign arrivals in late May and slashed imports permits, while corn imports surged, customs data showed on Sunday.
China, the world’s top sugar importer, bought 140,000 tonnes of raw sugar in June, down 62 percent year on year, and down 25 percent from last month’s 186,765 tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday. Beijing imposed extra tariffs on out-of-quota imports of the sweetener for the next three years in a ruling in May, following years of lobbying by domestic sugar farmers and crushers. China has also halved the permits for out-of-quota sugar import from last year to around 1 million tonnes. Imports in the first half of this year went up 5.9 pct to 1.41 million tonnes, according to the customs data, as lower global prices attracted buyers.
China also imported 380,000 tonnes of corn in June, nearly six times the level of a year ago and nine times last month’s 42,219 tonnes. Chinese corn prices rallied in June as the nation’s agriculture ministry slashed its corn output forecast to the lowest in four years after droughts in some areas damaged young crops and forced some farmers to switch to other crops. Heavy rains in the south also hindered transportation of the grain, pushing up freight rates and slowed already tight supplies. China’s corn futures <DCCcv1> hit three-months highs in late June.