(Bloomberg) -- China snapped up more than 20 cargoes of feed grain on the international market in the past two weeks as the world’s biggest importer took advantage of a decline in prices to the lowest level in more than three years.

The country secured shipments of corn, sorghum and barley from suppliers including Ukraine and the US, according to people familiar with the transactions. The purchases amount to over 1.2 million tons of grain on the basis of each cargo being 60,000 tons.

The buying spree came as prices climbed in China and benchmark corn futures dropped in Chicago to the lowest level since 2020, weighed down by ample supplies from top exporters Brazil and the US. The widening gap between the local and international markets made the purchases attractive.

The shipments included at least 10 cargoes of Ukrainian corn, mainly for delivery from March to May, at least five cargoes of US sorghum and six multi-origin barley shipments for similar delivery, the people said.

Prices in China have risen as Beijing stepped up stockpiling of grain for state reserves to support the market in the runup to the planting of the new crop. That has countered lackluster demand for feed grain from the livestock industry where hog farmers have been making losses.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.