March 8, 2017 / 4:44 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 1-China Feb soy imports climb nearly 25 pct from year before

* Soy imports hit highest in 7 yrs for month of Feb

* Crushing demand still “quite strong” -analyst

* China is world’s top soybean buyer (Adds comment, detail)

BEIJING, March 8 (Reuters) - Soy imports by China, the world’s largest buyer of the oilseed, climbed 23 percent year-on-year in February to mark the highest level for that month since at least 2010 at 5.54 million tonnes, customs data showed on Wednesday.

Imports were down around 28 percent from 7.66 million tonnes in January, however, according to the figures from the General Administration of Customs of China.

“Crushing demand is still quite strong and crushing capacity has kept expanding, which is a continuation of the trend in January,” said Monica Tu, an analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd.

“But still the figures are lower than what the market expected. Probably because some goods got delayed when going through customs,” she added.

China’s soybean imports for January and February this year totalled 13.19 million tonnes, up 30 percent from last year’s 10.17 million tonnes. That was the biggest volume since at least 2010.

February imports of vegetable oils dropped just over a quarter from the previous month to 410,000 tonnes, the customs data showed. (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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