China buys about 10 cargoes of U.S. soybeans after trade talks

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chinese importers bought about 10 boatloads of U.S. soybeans on Monday following deputy-level trade talks in Washington last week that were overshadowed by the abrupt cancellation of a U.S. farm state visit by Chinese agriculture officials.

The deals for about 600,000 tonnes, slated for shipment from Pacific Northwest export terminals from October to December, were similar in size to a wave of buying earlier this month, two traders with direct knowledge of the deals said.

Benchmark U.S. soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade <0#S:> jumped about 1.5% on news of the renewed buying, the market’s steepest rise since Chinese buyers bought a large volume of U.S. soybeans on Sept. 12.

Purchases of U.S. agricultural products like soybeans, the most valuable U.S. farm export, and pork are seen as key to securing a deal to end a bilateral trade war between the United States and China that has lasted more than a year.

A trade deal appeared elusive late last week after Chinese officials unexpectedly canceled a visit to farms in Montana and Nebraska and after U.S. President Donald Trump said that agricultural purchases would not go far enough.

U.S. and Chinese officials have since said that talks went well and plans for high-level talks next month remain on track.

Monday’s soybean deals were among the largest by private Chinese importers since Beijing raised import tariffs by 25% on U.S. soybeans in July 2018 in retaliation for U.S. duties on Chinese goods.

Other soybean purchases over the past year have been made almost exclusively by state-owned Chinese firms which are exempted from the steep import tariffs.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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