December 8, 2019 / 5:45 AM / 8 months ago

China's November soybean imports surge as U.S. cargoes booked during truce arrive

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s November soybean imports jumped from a year ago as shipments from the United States booked during a truce in the Sino-U.S. trade war cleared customs, customs data showed.

FILE PHOTO: Imported soybeans are transported at a port in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

China imported 8.28 million tonnes of soybeans in November, up 54% from 5.38 million tonnes a year ago, as U.S. soybean cargoes arrived, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday.

The November figure was also up about 34% from October’s 6.18 million tonnes, according to the data.

The world’s top soybean buyer usually gets most of its oilseed imports from the United States in the final months of the year when the U.S. harvest dominates the market. American cargoes, however, plunged after Beijing slapped a 25% tariff on a list of U.S. products including soybeans in July last year.

Chinese buyers had steered clear of U.S. produce amid the trade war but have been buying more U.S. beans in recent months after the government offered some of them waivers to buy American cargoes exempt from extra tariffs, in a goodwill gesture to Washington.

China said on Friday it will offer more waivers on some soybeans shipments as the two sides try to thrash out an agreement to defuse their protracted trade war.

Still, China’s demand for soybeans, crushed to produce soymeal for animal feed, has been curbed by a devastating outbreak of African swine fever that has slashed its pig herd by 41%, official data shows.

For the first 11 months of the year, China bought in 78.97 million tonnes of soybeans, down 4% from the same period last year, customs data showed. CNC-SOY-IMP

Hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal, meanwhile, remain up in the air after U.S. President Donald Trump last week said talks were “moving right along”, but Chinese officials reiterated that some U.S. tariffs must be rolled back first.

Imports of vegetable oils in November were 1,059,000 tonnes, up 16.1 percent from the previous month.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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