-Customs@ (Corrects headline and lead paragraph to say that Dec soy imports were the third-highest volume on record, not the second-highest)
* December soybean imports rise 6 pct yr-on-yr to 9.55 mln T
* Demand typically picks up ahead of Lunar New Year
* Total 2017 imports hit annual record of 95.54 mln T
BEIJING, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Chinese imports of soybeans jumped to the third-highest volume on record in December, according to customs data, boosted by strong demand in the run-up to next month's Lunar New Year holiday and healthy crushing margins.
December imports by the world's top soy buyer came in at 9.55 million tonnes, up 10 percent from the month before and up 6 percent from December 2016, according data released on Friday by General Administration of Customs. <SB-CN-IMP>
China's imports of the oilseed for all of 2017 hit an annual record of 95.54 million tonnes, up 13.9 percent from last year's 83.91 million tonnes, the customs data showed.
"Demand is usually strong in December as feed producers build up stocks a couple of months before Spring Festival. Crushing margins are good too, supporting robust demand from crushers," said Tian Hao, senior analyst with First Futures.
The Spring Festival holiday, or Lunar New Year, will start on Feb. 15. It is China's biggest holiday and the peak season for meat demand.
China imports soybeans to crush into soymeal, a key ingredient in animal feed for the nation, which holds the world's biggest herd of pigs.
Soybean crushing margins have remained healthy since early August, fueling the appetite for more imports despite delays in getting import certificates. <JCI-SBMG-SHDNI>
(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Additional reporting by Gavin Maguire in SINGAPORE; Editing by Joseph Radford and Christian Schmollinger)