* China soybean imports at 7.66 mln T in Jan
* Imports are highest ever for the month since at least 2010
* Demand rises on strong crushing margins
(Adds details and comments)
BEIJING, Feb 10 China, the world's top soy
buyer, imported 7.66 million tonnes of soybeans in January, the
highest for the month since at least 2010, customs data showed
on Friday, as delayed shipments arrived during the month and
crushing demand remained strong.
Imports were down 15 percent from last month's 9 million
tonnes, but up 35 percent from a year ago, figures from the
General Administration of Customs showed.
"In the last quarter of 2016, crushers signed many forward
contracts due to delayed shipments of imports and domestic
logistic problems, which is now shown in the imports data," said
Monica Tu, an analyst from Shanghai-based consultants JC
Intelligence Co (JCI). "Also as crushing margins are good,
demand for imports from crushers remains strong."
Crushing production capacity has been rising since late last
year, mainly prompted by good crushing margins, pushing up
imports, according to analysts.
The soybean crush margin at China's Dalian port was at 106
yuan ($15.41) per tonne on Friday, picking up after the spring
festival holiday. Though down from 297 yuan in December, the
most in more than 4 years, it is still higher than 85 yuan a
year ago. CNSOY-DLN-MRG
"The crush was very good in the period and the U.S. premium
was low. Meal and oil basis in China was very high, so the
crushers were very active in buying," said a senior China-based
Imports will remain high in the next couple of months
compared with previous years, as crushing margins keep rising,
according to JCI forecasts.
($1 = 6.8765 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by