Despite numerous pitfalls and occasional arrests, the truce between Trump and Xi appears to be bearing fruit, or rather vegetables.
According to Reuters, Chinese state-owned companies bought at least 500,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Wednesday in the first major purchases since Trump and Xi met in early December and cobbled together a ceasefire in the trade war between the US and China.
Citing one trader, Reuters said that at least nine cargoes traded and "there were probably more."
A second trader with direct knowledge of the deals said Chinese state-owned firms bought at least 12 cargoes for shipment between January and March. "China was buying right out of the gate this morning. It looks like we're back in business now," the source said.
The soybeans are expected to be shipped from grain terminals in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the most direct route to Asia, the traders said.
China is the largest buyer of U.S. soy, but has purchased almost nothing since Beijing slapped steep tariffs on U.S. shipments on July 6 in retaliation for duties on Chinese goods, pushing soybean prices to the lowest level in years this summer. However, since their lows in late September, soybean prices have rebounded by 13% on anticipation China will resume purchases, as it now appears to be doing.