China on a buying spree

Record levels of pork and soybeans have been ordered

(File photo)

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Chinese importers have placed orders for record volumes of United States pork and soybeans ahead of trade talks that resumed this week in Washington.

The United States Department of Agriculture reported on Thursday that Chinese buyers ordered 1.18 million tonnes of soybeans in the week ended Oct. 3 and record volumers of pork, including 18,810 tonnes for shipment this year and 123,362 tonnes next year.

“Nobody’s ever seen these kinds of (pork sales) numbers,” Bob Brown, an independent U.S. livestock analyst, told Reuters news agency.

“Our prices right now are pretty modest especially compared to Europe in particular, which is their other big supplier,” Brown said.

Despite a 72 per cent trade war tariff, some traders say American prices still look attractive.

China has granted some soybean importers an exemption from the trade war tariffs.

According to USDA, private exporters sold 398,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China in its second daily ‘flash sale’ of soybeans this week.

Pork prices have soared in China now that the full impact of losing half of its sow herd to African Swine Fever has finally registered on retail markets.

Initially heavy culling increased pork supplies, then China released pork from government storage to dampen price increases before a national holiday, but now there are retail shortages and soaring prices.

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