China buys about 600,000 tons of US soybeans after trade talks

Chinese importers bought about 10 cargos of US soybeans on Monday, following trade talks in Washington last week that were overshadowed by the abrupt cancellation of a visit to the United States by agricultural officials in Beijing.

The agreements were made for 600,000 tons of soybeans, which are scheduled for shipment between October and December. The purchases were similar in size to some that were made earlier this month, two merchants said with direct knowledge of the agreements.

The reference futures for soybeans in Chicago rose approximately 1.5% on the news of the purchase, the biggest increase in the market since Chinese buyers bought a large volume of US soybeans on September 12.

Purchases of US agricultural products such as soybeans and pork are considered key to an agreement that ends a bilateral trade war between the United States and China that has lasted more than a year.

A trade agreement seemed elusive at the end of last week, after Chinese officials unexpectedly canceled a visit to farms in Montana and Nebraska and US President Donald Trump said agricultural purchases would not be enough.

Since then, US and Chinese officials have said the talks went well and that plans for high-level talks next month remain.

This Monday’s purchases are among the most important of Chinese private importers since Beijing increased tariffs on US soybeans by 25% in July 2018 in retaliation for tariffs imposed on its products.

Other purchases of soybeans during the past year were made almost exclusively by Chinese state-owned companies, which are exempt from high import tariffs.

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