China’s US soybean purchases slump to 2004 low 1

US soybean supplies to China, the world’s biggest market, slumped in the first half of this year to the lowest level in more than a decade as little progress was made on ending a trade dispute between the two.

China last month imported 614,806 tonnes of soybeans from the US, customs data showed.

That brought the total of inbound shipments of the oilseed used to produce cooking oil and animal feed to 5.9 million tonnes in the first six months of this year, the lowest half-year level since at least 2004, Bloomberg calculations showed.

US farmers, who harvest soybeans from September to November every year, have been among the biggest victims in the trade spat, as Chinese buyers shift to other markets for agricultural products amid retaliatory tariffs.

Senior US officials are traveling today to China for the first high-level, face-to-face negotiations since talks broke down in May.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and US President Donald Trump late last month agreed to a truce, and the Chinese government is said last week to have approved five companies from which to buy some US soybeans free of retaliatory import tariffs, as a goodwill gesture.

It is unclear if soybean purchases from the US would pick up even with the reprieve in tariffs.