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Less grain imported in 1st 10 months of 2007
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China bought from abroad 1.29 million tons of grain (including rice, wheat and maize, excluding soy beans) in the first 10 months of 2007, a decline of 58.6 percent from the same period of the previous year.


Customs sources said the arrivals were valued at 420 million U.S. dollars, down 39.4 percent.


The sources ascribed the import reduction to narrowed gap between supply and demand at home and price hikes on world grain markets.


A decrease in grain yield worldwide caused by unfavorable weather and growing demand for cereals used for bio-fuel production conspired toward continuous price hikes.


Between January and October, barley imports were valued at 278.6 U.S. dollars per ton on average, a rise of 49.4 percent on the same period of 2006, rice and paddy imports were priced at 456.6 dollars per ton on average, up 18.1 percent.


The mounting prices dampened domestic demand for imports, which was also driven down by more grain output at home, the sources said.


Meanwhile, shipping charges also went up internationally, which also gave rise to cost of grain import, the sources added.


According to customs data, Australia, Canada and Thailand accounted for 90.3 percent of China's grain imports in the first 10 months of 2007.


From January to October, China bought 457,000 tons of grain from Australia, down 74 percent, 356,000 tons from Canada, down 24.4 percent, and 351,000 tons from Thailand, down 36.1 percent.


(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2008)

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