China Soybean Import Tops One-Day Record as Ties With U.S. Growers Expand
Monday, 20 February 2012 | 11:00
Soybean exporters in the U.S., the world’s top shipper, sold 2.923 million metric tons to China in the biggest one-day deal on record. Prices in Chicago rose to the highest in almost five months.
The sale includes 2.75 million tons for delivery in the year that begins Sept. 1 and 173,000 tons prior to Aug. 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a statement. China is the largest oilseed importer and the biggest buyer of U.S. agricultural products.
U.S. and Chinese officials yesterday signed a five-year accord to cooperate on agricultural production and trade and food security. This week, China signed agreements in Iowa to purchase 8.62 million tons of soybeans as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the state. The Asian nation purchased $22.17 billion of U.S. farm products last year, helping to boost total exports to a record.
“No doubt those were whopper sales,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “With the Chinese in town, there’s something to that.”
Companies including Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. signed contracts on Feb. 15 to export $4.3 billion of soybeans to China.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, soybean futures for May delivery rose 0.9 percent to $12.765 a bushel at 11:44 a.m. local time. Earlier, the price reached $12.795, the highest for the most-active contract since Sept. 23.
“Agriculture has become one of the highlights in U.S.- Chinese relations,” Han Changfu, China’s minister of agriculture, said yesterday at a farm symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. “Agriculture has had a huge benefit on both countries.”
The U.S. is the largest exporter of agricultural products. China, the most-populous country, bought $10.5 billion of the U.S. soybean crop last year, 29 percent of total production, according to USDA data.
Global soybean consumption soared in the past decade, fueled by economic growth in China, India and Brazil that boosted incomes and demand for vegetable oil used in fried and baked foods, candy and breads. People also are eating more meat, increasing the need for the oilseed to make livestock feed.