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BEIJING, May 8 (Reuters) - Soybean imports to China, the world's largest soy buyer, in April rose 13.4 percent from a year ago, supported by strong demand from the soymeal industry, data from the General Administration of Customs of China showed on Monday.
China imported 8.02 million tonnes of soybeans in April, a record for the month, the data showed. This is the fourth month in a row that imports have set a record for their respective month.
The imports were up 26.7 percent from 6.33 million tonnes in March, according to customs, despite worries that China-U.S. trade tensions might spill into their soybean trade.
"Soybean imports continue to rise year by year, as meat production continues to expand in China, driven by Chinese people's increasing demand for protein," said Liang Yong, an analyst at Galaxy Futures.
China soy imports hit a record 9.5 million tonnes in July 2015.
China usually buys large volumes of soybeans from May to August. Imports are expected to climb even higher in the coming months, to more than 8 million tonnes a month, according to several analysts' forecasts.
China bought 27.54 million tonnes of the of soybeans during the first four months of 2017, up 18 percent from the same period last year, according to customs data.
Imports of vegetable oils in April were 560,000 tonnes, up 24.4 percent from the previous month. They rose to 1.97 million tonnes for the first four months of the year, up 6.4 percent from the same time a year ago.
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Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger