(Recasts with additional soybean purchases, adds Phase 1 trade
deal buying progress, adds background on China imports of
CHICAGO, July 15 (Reuters) - China's U.S. farm product
buying spree continued on Wednesday, traders said, with private
importers in the Asian nation booking more U.S. soybeans as the
end of Brazil's export season approached.
Private buyers booked at least five cargoes of U.S. soybeans
on Wednesday, or at least 300,000 tonnes, for shipment mostly in
October and November from Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest
ports, two U.S. export traders with knowledge of the deals said.
The sales followed confirmation by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) on Wednesday morning of a fresh round of corn
and soybean purchases by China over the past 24 hours, the
latest in a string of purchases.
They also come despite rising concerns that the top buyer of
American agricultural goods would slow its import pace after
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending
preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.
Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to Hong Kong's special
status under U.S. law to punish China for what he called
"oppressive actions" against the former British colony,
prompting Beijing to warn of retaliatory sanctions.
China would need to dramatically ramp up buying of U.S. farm
products in the coming months to fulfill its Phase 1 commitment
to import $36.5 billion in the first year of the deal signed in
January. U.S. government data shows that China imported just
over $6 billion worth of U.S. farm good from January to May.
Since Friday, the USDA has reported 3.259 million tonnes in
U.S. corn purchases by China along with 518,000 tonnes of
soybeans and 320,000 tonnes of hard wheat.
China, the world's top soy buyer, has been importing record
volumes of Brazilian soybeans, but traders say the South
American country's exportable surplus is nearly sold out.
(Reporting by Karl Plume, additional reporting by Mark
Weinraub; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)