China orders up to 2 million tons of American soybeans, U.S. says

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China's reported plans to reduce tariffs on American auto imports could be helpful in the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and the Asian country, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday.

The latest U.S. moves follow debates within the Trump administration about imposing sanctions on Chinese entities caught stealing U.S. intellectual property through cyber attacks, three people familiar with the matter said. One export trader with direct knowledge of the latest deals said Chinese state-owned firms bought at least 12 USA soybean cargoes for shipment between January and March.

After months of disagreements over trade, US President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a deal to stop new tariffs during their meeting in Argentina. Articles appear on euronews.com for a limited time.

The soybeans are expected to be shipped mostly from grain terminals in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the most direct route to Asia, the U.S. traders said.

The two sides have exchange punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in trade, and prior to the ceasefire Washington had been poised to more than double the rate on $200 billion in Chinese goods starting January 1.

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The USDA reported export sales of US soybeans in the week to December 6 at 792,300 tonnes for the 2018/19 crop and 3,000 for the 2019/20 crop, in line with trade expectations.

In July, China had boosted the tariff on American-made cars to 40pc as part of retaliatory measures against the US. "And therefore tension between China and USA will continue". Trump told Reuters on Tuesday that China was buying a "tremendous amount" of us soybeans and that trade talks with Beijing were already under way by telephone, with more meetings likely among usa and Chinese officials.

ING Bank's Greater China economist Iris Pang, who also estimated export growth for 2019 at 5 per cent, said she was not optimistic the trade war would be resolved next year.

US stocks were up one per cent on Wednesday (Dec 12), though well below their session highs, as investors were hopeful about US-China trade relations after the latest comments from both sides and eyed some reassuring signs in British politics.

The trader said China was seeking to buy a total of 2.5 million to 3 million tonnes of USA soybeans.

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"Taking the tariff back down from 40 percent to 15 percent should normalize sales up and secure jobs in the U.S.", Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois told CNBC. U.S. business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest.

Growing concerns that the trade war will increasingly hurt corporate earnings and the US economy are a key reason why USA stock prices have been sinking this fall.

Daimler also exports its vehicles from the U.S. to China and it saw its shares go up by 2.7% in trading.

The 25 percent tariff on US soybeans Beijing imposed on July 6 remains in effect. Futures in Chicago tumbled as a result, while the 2018 harvest had been piling up, unsold, in silos, bins and bags across the U.S. Midwest.

"I think they're looking to do it immediately, very quickly", he said.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc.

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