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China economy

China buys more US soybeans as officials meet for trade talks in Beijing

  • Traders say deals with Chinese state-owned firms total between 180,000 tonnes to 900,000 tonnes
  • Officials from China and the United States meeting in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday for face-to-face talks
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 10:41am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 10:25pm

Chinese importers made their third large soybean purchase from the United States in the last month on Monday, as officials from both countries meet this week for the first face-to-face talks since agreeing to a 90-day trade war truce on December 1, two traders with knowledge of the deals said.

Chinese state-owned firms bought at least three cargoes of US soybeans on Monday morning, or about 180,000 tonnes, the traders said.

One said the total was closer to 15 cargoes, or about 900,000 tonnes.

The soybeans will be shipped mostly from terminals in the Pacific northwest from January to March, with a smaller volume to be exported from US Gulf coast terminals, the traders said.

The current trade war truce agreed between China’s Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump expires on March 1.

US soybean exports to China, the world’s top buyer, have plummeted this season during a bitter trade dispute, with swelling supplies sending prices to near decade lows.

US President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods last year and has threatened more to pressure Beijing to change its trade practices.

China retaliated with tariffs of its own, including a 25 per cent duty on US soybean shipments which remains in place.

China embarks on second round of soybean buying

Officials from both nations are meeting in Beijing this week in talks expected to run until Tuesday. 

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday noted his country’s “good faith” to work with the United States to resolve trade frictions.

China has booked more than five million tonnes of US soybeans in the past month’s deals, a fraction of China’s typical purchases from the United States which normally total more than 30 million tonnes.

Grain traders have been awaiting news of further Chinese buying, although official US confirmation of any deals has been suspended due to a partial US government shutdown.

Benchmark US soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose for a fourth straight trading session on Monday and touched a three-week high as renewed Chinese buying offset concerns about abundant global supplies.