Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Chicago — The trade war may have just started, but China has been making moves in the soya bean world as US shipments originally destined for the nation have been cancelled or rerouted.

China lowered commitments to buy 366,000 tonnes of US soya beans in the season that ends on August 31 and cut purchases by 66,000 tonnes in the following year. That is according to US department of agriculture data released on Friday for the week ended June 28.

About 60,000 tonnes originally destined for China this season will now go to Bangladesh and another 60,000 tonnes to Pakistan.

Soya beans are on the hit list of US goods now being targeted by Chinese tariffs that went into effect on Friday after the US implemented a raft of duties earlier in the day and President Donald Trump threatened more action. The oilseed is the top agricultural commodity that the US ships to China by far and is among the largest products for overall exports. One ship laden with US soya beans steaming towards China — the bulk carrier Peak Pegasus — appears to have lost the race to arrive before the import duties were imposed. The vessel is near the port of Dalian, according to ship-tracking data.

China still has outstanding sales of about 771,000 tonnes of US soya beans in the 2017-18 marketing year and 1.39-million tonnes in the following season, the department of agriculture’s records show.

China also cut its purchases for cotton by 8,100 running bales in the 2017-18 season, the weekly data showed. Some fibre originally sold to China was redirected to Vietnam. A running bale weighs 227kg.

Most active soya bean futures are trading near a two-year low on the Chicago Board of Trade and the cheap price is attracting other buyers.

Total net sales of 1.02-million tonnes were more than double that of the same week in 2017.