UPDATE 1-China buys 400,000 T Australian, 100,000 T Canadian wheat

Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:50am EST

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HAMBURG Feb 20 (Reuters) - China has bought about 400,000 tonnes of Australian wheat and about 100,000 tonnes of Canadian wheat in recent days, European traders said on Wednesday.

The purchases were in addition to about 350,000 tonnes of U.S.-origin wheat that Chinese interests also bought in past days.

"The Chinese appear to have a larger requirement for wheat than thought and were today again making inquiries about, and checking prices for, large purchases running into hundreds of thousands of tonnes for May shipment," one trader said.

The Australian wheat was thought to be largely for April shipment, with some for the first half of May. It was mainly Australian standard white wheat, traders said.

Flour mills in China, the world's top consumer and producer of the staple grain, have resumed wheat imports from the United States and Canada, spurred by record domestic prices and falling global prices of the grain, traders said in January.

Some European traders said they believed China had bought more than the 350,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat reported in past days, with market talk ranging up to 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes.

"I believe the new round of Chinese wheat purchases from the U.S., Australia and Canada has reached 1 million tonnes," a trader said.

Chinese importers were also said to be checking prices for noticeable volumes of corn because of high domestic prices but no purchases were reported by traders. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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