China Buys First US Soy for 2024 Crop — About Seven Months Late


(Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s largest importer of soybeans, made its first purchase of US soybeans for the upcoming season — months later than usual. 

The US Department of Agriculture announced on Wednesday that China purchased 132,000 metric tons of soybeans for the 2024-25 season. That marked the first transaction of its kind for the marketing year.

The sale came well behind the time when China usually starts booking US soy cargoes. For the 2023-24 year, the Asian nation started buying American supplies in December 2022 — roughly beating this year’s timeline by about seven months. 

“The market is finally uncovering demand, and China can’t quite avoid US soybeans entirely,” according to Ben Buckner, chief grains analyst for AgResource Co.

The purchase comes amid recent price declines that helped to make US soybeans more attractive. Futures in Chicago have tumbled about 17% this year and earlier this week prices touched the lowest level since 2020. 

The US competes with Brazil for shipping soybeans to China. A weaker real has shielded farmers in the South American country from this year’s price plunge. That’s encouraged Brazil’s producers to boost sales. 

In a clear example of the real’s influence on trading, Brazilian farmers sold more than 4 million metric tons of soybeans in the five days ended July 5, the most for a similar period since October 2020, after the currency plunged to its weakest level in more than two years against the dollar, according to Victor Martins, a risk manager at brokerage firm Amius Ltd. 


--With assistance from Michael Hirtzer.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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