April 23, 2020 / 6:33 AM / a month ago

RPT-EXCLUSIVE-China plans to boost state reserves with U.S. crops amid coronavirus -sources

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By Hallie Gu, Jing Xu and Keith Zhai

BEIJING/SINGAPORE, April 23 (Reuters) - China is preparing to buy more than 30 million tonnes of crops for state stockpiles to help protect itself from supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic and make good on pledges to buy more U.S. crops, three sources told Reuters.

China plans to add about 10 million tonnes of soybeans, 20 million tonnes of corn, and 1 million tonnes of cotton to its state reserves, said two of the sources who were briefed on the government plan.

The bulk of the crops would be imports, and mainly from the United States, as China works to fulfil its commitment under the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January, the sources said.

“The main message from (Beijing) is to secure people’s livelihood. It is a good time to build up reserves, especially when prices of the goods are at quite low levels,” said one of the sources. (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Jing Xu in Beijing, Keith Zhai in Singapore; additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg; editing by Gavin Maguire and Richard Pullin)

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