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Grain trade in deficit for Jan, Feb
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Last year, China harvested 501.5 million tons of grain, 15 million tons less than the total demand, official figures show.

In the first two months of the year, China's foreign trade in farm produce was US$14.67 billion, up 38.6 percent on the same period last year. Exports rose 7.4 percent year on year to US$6.3 billion, while imports soared 77.4 percent to US$8.37 billion. The trade deficit was US$2.06 billion, compared with a surplus of US$1.15 billion a year earlier.

China exported 673,000 tons of cereals, down 71.5 percent, and imported 378,000 tons, down 10.5 percent. Net exports fell 84.8 percent to 295,000 tons.

Net exports of rice increased against price rises on international markets. The country exported 345,000 tons of paddy (mainly rice), up 35.6 percent, and imported 139,000 tons, up 13.4 percent. Net exports rose 56 percent to 207,000 tons.

However, net exports of maize fell by 96.5 percent and wheat exports by 17 percent.

The volume of edible vegetable oil exports also fell to 31,000 tons in January and February, down 25.9 percent year on year. Imports of edible oil rose 7.3 percent to 1.26 million tons.

Reducing grain exports is a feature of the priority work agenda of the State Council for 2008. After earlier scrapping export rebates for wheat, paddy, rice, maize and soybean, the government has said it will this year impose export duties of between 5 and 25 percent.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency April 16, 2008)

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