China’s peanut imports to break record in 2019-2020

Peanut imports from China will hit a record in the 2019/2020 marketing year, according to projections from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

With this, China’s peanut imports would reach almost 1.4 million tons and a third of the world peanut trade.

For the first time, China would thus be the largest import market, beating the next largest market (the European Union) by more than 40 percent.

Also the 2019/2020 cycle (October-September) would be the first year that China is a net importer of peanuts.

Peanut imports from China in 2020/2021 will remain high, but are projected to decline year-on-year due to declining exportable supplies.

Peanut imports

China is the world’s largest peanut producer and consumer, according to the USDA. Before the 2014/2015 season, China’s domestic production was largely sufficient to meet the ever-increasing local demand.

In the past five years, China has started importing large quantities of peanuts, mainly for crushing them into feed meal and oil for food use. While China’s imports in 2019/2020 are a record, they will only represent 7% of its domestic consumption.

Chart: USDA.

Skyrocketing peanut imports from China are driven by slow growth in domestic production and record global opening stocks in 2019/2020 that made imports more attractive.

Chinese importers took advantage of the ever-highest stocks in Senegal and Sudan, as well as large US stocks. Together, these three countries account for almost 90% of China’s imports in the 2019/2020 cycle through June.