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China's back in the market

Buyers are bidding for U.S. sorghum for shipment in the first half of the year and inquiring about prices for soybeans.

By Isis Almeida

China is back in the market for American agricultural commodities after issuing a list of products that will be eligible for tariff waivers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Buyers are bidding for U.S. sorghum for shipment in the first half of the year and inquiring about prices for soybeans, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. That comes a day after Chinese importers asked about wheat prices, sending Chicago futures rallying.

The new interest in American goods follows China’s publication of a list of 696 American products -- including soybeans, pork, beef, corn, wheat, crude oil and liquefied natural gas -- that will be eligible for relief from retaliatory duties imposed by Beijing in its tit-for-tat trade war with Washington.

The waivers are further evidence that Beijing plans to stick to the pledges made in the phase-one deal despite the spread of the deadly coronavirus. On Monday, Bloomberg News reported that China was considering making some purchases of U.S. agricultural goods at the end of February or early March.

While Chinese buyers were checking soybean prices, they didn’t show firm bids as supplies from Brazil were still more competitively priced, the people said. Still, there have been some recent sales of American beans from ports at the Pacific Northwest as a result of logjams delaying exports from the South American nation.

There were also no deals concluded for wheat Tuesday, the people said. China has been buying the grain in France, Canada and Australia in recent months in a sign it plans to better administer import quotas set by the World Trade Organization.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Isis Almeida in Chicago at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.net
James Attwood, Millie Munshi
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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