BEIJING, Aug 20 (Reuters) - China's soybean imports from Brazil dropped in July from a year ago, while shipments from the United States increased, customs data showed on Saturday, as high prices curbed demand for South American cargoes.
China, the world's top soybean buyer, imported 6.97 million tonnes of the oilseed from Brazil in July, down from 7.88 million tonnes a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Total imports last month dropped 9% from a year before to 7.88 million tonnes, the lowest number for July since 2016, as high global prices and weak demand curbed appetite for the oilseed, customs data showed earlier.
U.S. arrivals in July reached 377,642 tonnes, up from 42,277 tonnes in the same month last year, according to customs data.
Summer arrivals are typically dominated by Brazilian origin beans, but bad weather has pushed up prices of the oilseed in the South American country at a time of poor demand in China.
Demand for soymeal from the feed sector has come under pressure after hog farmers made huge losses earlier this year. Industrial feed production fell almost 7% in July versus a year ago, according to the China Feed Industry Association.
Crushers in the key processing hub of Rizhao are currently losing about 610 yuan ($89.84) from each tonne of soybeans processed and crushing margins have been negative since mid April.
For the first seven months of the year, China brought in 34.68 million tonnes of Brazilian beans, up from 34.01 million tonnes in the same period of 2021.
Imports from the United States for January to July came in at 17.92 million tonnes, down from 21.61 million tonnes the previous year.
($1 = 6.7895 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Sam Holmes)