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Trade war

China buys US soybeans as part of tariff-free quota ahead of trade talks

High-level negotiations are scheduled to take place next week

Chinese firms purchased U.S. soybeans before trade talks continue.   © Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) -- Chinese firms bought up to 600,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Monday for shipment from November to January as part of a tariff-free quota allotted to the importers to buy up to 2 million tonnes this week, two sources with knowledge of the deals said.

Monday's purchases come ahead of high-level U.S.-China trade talks, due to begin next week, aimed at ending a nearly 15-month trade war that has slashed U.S. agricultural exports and rattled global markets.

Between two and 10 cargoes of about 60,000 tonnes of soybeans had already been sold, the sources said. One source said buyers included both private and state-owned firms.

China has frequently made goodwill purchases of U.S. agricultural goods ahead of trade talks.

Benchmark U.S. soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade rallied about 1.5% on Monday as talk circulated of renewed Chinese buying.

Importers in China booked more than 1 million tonnes in U.S. soy purchases last week following deputy-level talks in Washington in the largest wave of buying since at least June.

China, which has sourced the majority of its soybeans from South America since its trade war with the United States erupted last year, gave waivers to several importers to buy U.S. soy exempt from retaliatory tariffs as a goodwill gesture ahead of negotiations.

A trade war resolution is far from clear after sources said U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges. Beijing warned on Monday that the move, which would be a radical escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions, would destabilize international markets.

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