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CHICAGO: Chinese importers bought two bulk cargoes of U.S. soybeans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a daily sales announcement on Thursday, confirming deals reported by Reuters a day earlier following a steep drop in prices.

The sales of U.S. soybeans for shipment to China in the 2021/22 season totaled 130,000 tonnes, the USDA said in a daily “flash sales” announcement. Another 164,100 tonnes were sold to undisclosed buyers, the agency said.

Chinese importers also purchased a small number of Brazilian soybean cargoes on Wednesday, analysts and an export trader told Reuters. Cargoes from both origins were booked for shipment in December and January from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Brazilian ports, they said.

Importers in China, the world’s top soy buyer, have booked more Brazilian soybean shipments than normal this year during the traditional fall U.S. soy export season amid high U.S. prices and a stronger dollar.

Confirmed U.S. soybean purchases by China from this year’s harvest totalled about 20.4 million tonnes as of Nov. 25, according to the latest USDA data, compared with almost 29.7 million tonnes at the same point last year.

“With the dive (in prices) that we had, they are looking to secure more soybeans. Their crush is profitable,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

“They’ve been buying from South America and the U.S., but our window for sales is closing so we’ve got to get busy. Come February, we are not the main exporter anymore. It starts to switch pretty heavily over to South America,” he said.

China has around 85% of its estimated December soybean purchases booked, along with about half of its January needs, one U.S. export trader said.

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