Influential Chinese farm consultancy Cofeed suspends operations without explanation

By Dominique Patton

BEIJING, May 12 (Reuters) - Influential Chinese agricultural data provider Cofeed has suspended operations without explanation, leaving a gap in highly valued information on grain and oilseed supplies in the world's biggest soybean buyer.

The company, officially known as Beijing TianxiaLiangchang Technology Co Ltd, stopped updating its website with data and analysis on April 29.

It has also stopped supplying daily and weekly data to Refinitiv, the financial data company, which published an advisory for clients using its Eikon platform.

"We are still investigating the reasons for why the source has not sent this data," the advisory says.

Repeated calls to the mobile phones of two of its analysts this week have gone unanswered and three others also did not pick up calls. Nobody answered a company phone number listed with an old office address on its website late on Wednesday.

Cofeed, founded in 2002, produces data on most of China's key grains and oilseeds. Its numbers on soybean and soymeal stocks, soybean crushing volumes, crushing margins and corn pricing are widely used by traders both at home and overseas.

The abrupt halt to Cofeed's operations comes during a period of heightened interest in Chinese demand for global grain, after prices of Chinese corn rallied to a record during 2020, driving imports of grain to unprecedented levels.

The company appears to have moved out of the Beijing office listed on its website last year, according to a security guard working in the building.

It has been operating from a villa in the northern outskirts of Beijing, said a person familiar with the firm. Doors at that address had been sealed by police on April 29, Reuters found on Wednesday.

The local police station declined to comment and referred Reuters to the Public Security Bureau in Beijing's Changping district. The district bureau referred Reuters to the municipal PSB, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Dominique Patton Editing by Tony Munroe and John Stonestreet)


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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