China became a net food importer in cash terms in the first half of this year as a result of rising food prices, Reuters reported. Price hikes for staples such as grain and soybeans were a major factor. Geneva-based Global Trade Information Services said China had a deficit of US$5.78 billion on its trade in agricultural products in the first half of this year, against a surplus of US$2.45 billion a year earlier. The value of imports rose 72%, while exports rose 12%. During that time, imports from the US, China’s biggest agricultural supplier, almost doubled. Imports from Brazil and Argentina, China’s second and third largest suppliers, rose 95% and 132% respectively.