Lower prices look set to prompt China to buy a record amount of US soyabeans this year, sources were reported as saying by Bloomberg News on 26 August.

The purchases would help boost pledges made under Beijing’s phase one trade deal with the USA.

China would be likely to buy nearly 40M tonnes from the USA in 2020, about 25% more than when the trade war between the two countries began in July 2017 and 10% more than the record set in 2016, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The country had been increasing purchases of US agricultural goods since the end of April, with soyabean sales for delivery next season running at their highest level for this time of the year since 2013, Bloomberg News said.

China’s agriculture ministry was reported as saying that it expected soyabean imports to rise in the second half, including from the USA, following the implementation of the phase one trade deal.

The USDA had announced a flash sale on 26 August of 400,000 tonnes of US soyabeans to China for delivery next season, which followed sales of 204,000 tonnes the previous day, Bloomberg News said.

However, the 40M tonnes target for 2020 would still prove difficult to achieve, Darin Friedrichs, a senior analyst at StoneX Group in Shanghai, was quoted as saying.

“I think 35M tonnes is probably more reasonable as peak monthly loadings during the fall have typically maxed out at around 7.5M to 8M tonnes per month from the USA to China,” he was quoted as saying.

The USA and China had reconfirmed their commitment to the phase one agreement in a biannual review in August despite tensions over issues ranging from data security to the future of democracy in Hong Kong, Bloomberg News reported.