Market News & Headlines >> China Reported Back in U.S. Soybean Market

China made its first major U.S. soybean purchases in more than six months on Wednesday and its first since U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce in early December, two U.S. traders told Reuters News Service on Wednesday morning.

Chinese state-owned companies bought at least 500,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans, the traders said, in deals valued at more than $180 million. 

One trader knew of nine cargoes traded and told Reuters there were probably more. A second trader with direct knowledge of the deals said Chinese state-owned firms bought at least 12 cargoes for shipment between January and March. "China was buying right out of the gate this morning. It looks like we're back in business now," the second trader said. 

The soybeans are expected to be shipped from grain terminals in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the most direct route to Asia, the traders said. 

A third trader, based in Europe, said the buyers were Sinograin and Cofco and sellers included Cargill Inc, Louis Dreyfus Company and CHS Inc. The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The reports of Chinese buying come after President Trump told Reuters in a Tuesday night interview that China was buying “tremendous amounts” of U.S. soybeans. 

On Monday, Bloomberg News,  citing unnamed Chinese government officials, reported that China intended to announce a first batch of U.S. soybean purchases this month and that most, if not all of the beans, would be destined for state reserves. 

The final decision would be made by the State Council or cabinet, said the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential. Details to be decided included whether the volume should be 5 million or 8 million metric tons and whether commercial companies should buy a further 2 million tons and be reimbursed for the 25% tariffs, the people told Bloomberg.