Market News & Headlines >> China Said to Halt Some U.S. Farm Goods Purchases

Chinese government officials told major state-run agricultural companies to suspend purchases of some U.S. farm goods including soybeans and pork as Beijing evaluates the ongoing escalation of tensions with the U.S. over Hong Kong, according to people familiar with the situation, Bloomberg News reported overnight. 

The move by Beijing is a response to Friday’s decision by President Trump to revoke special privileges previously extended to Hong Kong. Trump’s move came in the wake of China’s passage of a new security law that Washington says compromises Hong Kong’s autonomy. 

State-owned traders COFCO and Sinograin were ordered to suspend purchases, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified. However, private Chinese companies have not been told to halt imports, according to one of the people. 

COFCO and Sinograin had been making pricing inquiries for 20 to 30 cargoes of U.S. soybeans on Friday but held off on going through with purchases after President Trump on Friday indicated he would punish Chinese officials, one of the people told Bloomberg. 

Chinese buyers have canceled an unspecified number of U.S. pork orders, one person told Bloomberg. According to Reuters News Service, sources familiar with the development said Chinese importers had cancelled 10,000 to 20,000 metric tons of U.S. pork shipments since Friday. 

Meanwhile, Reuters has reported that large volume state purchases of U.S. corn and cotton have also been put on hold, citing an unidentified source. China could expand the order to include additional U.S. farm goods if Washington took further action, the people said.