Traders said that Chinese importers today bought at least 10 ships of US soybeans, the largest purchase since at least June. The US expressed its willingness to see China repurchasing US agricultural products, but continued to threaten to increase tariffs.
The world’s two major economies, the United States and China, will hold high-level trade talks next month with the aim of ending a bilateral trade war for more than a year. The ministers of the two sides are expected to meet in Washington recently to pave the way for next month’s talks.
Reuters reported that two traders who knew the relevant transactions said that the total purchase of soybeans was at least 600,000 metric tons, and it is scheduled to be shipped from the US Northwest Export Terminal on the Pacific coast from October to December.
This is another sign that trade tensions in Washington and Beijing may gradually cool down. China suspended all US agricultural products last month in response to US President Trump’s threat to pay more tariffs on Chinese goods, when relations between the two sides fell to a low point.
China is the world’s largest buyer of soybeans. During the fierce trade dispute, US soybean exports to China plummeted, and suppliers gradually pushed prices to near 10-year lows, making it difficult for American farmers to make a profit.
After China issued a list of exemptions for retaliatory tariffs on US goods, Trump also released goodwill yesterday, announcing its agreement to postpone the two-week increase in tariffs on Chinese goods valued at $250 billion, apparently for US-China trade. The talks paved the way.
After the two sides made concessions, the global stock market rose today. Soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rose to a one-month high today.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is pleased to see China, but also tries to ease the market’s optimism that these moves may lead to trade agreements.
He told the financial media CNBC that Trump was ready to maintain or even raise tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing had not only demanded the removal of tariffs, but also demanded more concessions.