Chinese importers purchased around 10 cargoes (roughly 600,000 MT) of U.S. soybeans today for shipments out of the Pacific Northwest for export October through December, two traders with direct knowledge of the deals told Reuters. These were some of the biggest purchases by private Chinese importers since China hiked tariffs on U.S. soybeans by 25% in July 2018. Most other Chinese purchases over the past year have been by state-owned firms that are exempt from import tariffs.
Officials from the U.S. and China said talks in Washington last week went well and that high-level talks are still expected to take place next month. But these positive assurances were overshadowed by China’s cancellation of farm visits in both Nebraska and Montana.
Many took these cancellations as signals discussions faltered as the U.S. pushed for an encompassing, enforceable agreement whereas China would prefer an interim deal. But China’s senior ag representative in the talks says that was not the case, with several others also saying scheduling conflicts were indeed to blame. China’s ag ministry says the farm visits will be rescheduled.
Market sources are also indicating that purchasing managers at several private crushers met with officials from China’s commerce ministry on Monday, with reports suggesting that a further 1 MMT to 2 MMT of U.S. soybeans will be exempted from paying a 30% import tax.