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China maintains strong demand for U.S. corn, soy: USDA

FILE PHOTO: A bag of beans sits on top of soybeans at a Walmart in Beijing, China, September 23, 2019. Picture taken September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chinese demand for U.S. corn and soybeans remained robust in the latest week, U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) data showed, and traders expect the recent surge of deals will cause the U.S. government to boost its export forecast for both commodities.

A USDA report released Friday showed that export sales of soybeans to China totaled 1.608 million tonnes in the week ended Sept. 3, the latest reporting period. Weekly corn export sales to China were 1.137 million tonnes. [EXP/SOY] [EXP/COR]

Separately, the government said private exporters reported the sale of 262,000 tonnes of soybeans to China, the sixth straight trading day that an announcement of a sale to the world’s top buyer of the oilseed has been announced.

China also has been ramping up its U.S. corn imports, as the country faces its first real corn shortfall of corn in years. A sharp price surge in corn - critical for China’s mammoth hog, dairy and poultry sectors - is the latest in a series of ructions that include a devastating pig disease, pandemic-driven upsets for international suppliers and warnings of a growing food supply gap.

“The trade is pricing in expectations that USDA will cut the size of this year’s corn and soybean crops while increasing demand estimates due to the recent Chinese buying spree,” Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for broker StoneX, said in note to clients.

USDA will give an update on the export outlook in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report at 11 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT) on Friday.

China vowed to import $36.5 billion of U.S. agricultural goods annually as part of a Phase 1 trade deal signed in January. Chinese purchases through the first seven months of the year totaled just $8.559 billion, according to U.S. Census Bureau trade data.

Reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago. Editing by P.J. Huffstutter and Marguerita Choy

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