May 14, 2020 / 2:25 PM / 11 days ago

China buys U.S. soyoil for first time since 2018

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. exporters inked their first soybean oil export deal with China in nearly two years this week, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday, as Beijing seeks to fulfill its purchase commitments in the Phase 1 trade agreement it signed in January.

USDA said private exporters reported the sale of 20,000 tonnes of soyoil for delivery to China in the 2019/20 marketing year.

The sale was the first soyoil deal with China since August 2018 and its biggest purchase of U.S. supplies since November 2016, according to USDA data. In the 2016/17 marketing year, before the trade war began, U.S. exporters shipped 133,318 tonnes of soyoil to China.

China has stepped up its purchases of U.S. soybeans, corn and pork in recent weeks as prices of U.S. farm goods fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Purchases will likely increase further as China implements the Phase 1 trade deal with the United States, an executive at state-owned agriculture trading house COFCO said on Thursday.

The government also announced the sale of 198,000 tonnes of soybeans to China, 132,000 tonnes for delivery in 2019/20 and 66,000 tonnes for delivery in 2020/21.

Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Alistair Bell

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