CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chinese buyers booked deals to buy 664,000 tonnes of soybeans, the largest daily total since July 22, for delivery in the 2020/21 marketing year, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Tuesday.
The sales were the latest in a string of large U.S. farm commodity purchases by China, which vowed to import record amounts of U.S. agricultural goods this year as part of a Phase 1 trade deal signed in January.
Still, Chinese purchases in the first half of this year totaled just $7.274 billion, according to U.S. Census Bureau trade data. The trade deal called for $36.5 billion in annual purchases.
USDA on Tuesday also said that private exporters reported the sale of 101,600 tonnes of corn for delivery in 2020/21.
China 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.
After months of record soybean imports from Brazil, China has pivoted to buying more soybeans and other goods from the United States. The world’s top commodity importer has already bought record volumes of U.S. corn, pork and poultry this year, and last month booked its largest-ever weekly purchase of U.S. beef.
U.S. soybean exports to China typically rise in the fourth quarter of the year after U.S. crops are harvested and as supplies from top exporter Brazil run low.
Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Nick Zieminski
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