China's imports of sorghum in May rose 59 percent year on year to 470,000 tonnes, customs data showed on Saturday, despite an anti-dumping move by Beijing a month earlier that had roiled the grains trade.
The surprisingly large number came even after China announced in mid-April that importers of sorghum from the United States would have to put up a 178.6 percent deposit on the value of shipments.
Several cargoes of the U.S.-grown grain, used in livestock feed and the fiery Chinese liquor baijiu, were already on the water at the time, but changed course and were sold in other markets.
But China dropped an anti-dumping investigation into U.S. imports on May 18, and the data suggests that several cargoes that had not been diverted cleared Chinese customs in the final weeks of the month.
Still, the May volumes were down from the previous month's 640,000 tonnes, when buyers brought in large volumes of the grain ahead of the start of the anti-dumping deposit.
Volumes are likely to fall further after China included the grain in a list of products that will attract tariffs of 25 percent from July 6.
The data from the General Administration of Customs does not break down the imports by country, but China imports nearly all of its sorghum from the United States in trade worth about $1.1 billion in 2017.