Over the past ten days Chinese purchasing of multiple U.S. agricultural goods has created some optimism within the industry. Specifically, purchases of American sorghum and soybeans have picked up considerably. The uptick in purchasing comes as tensions have been rising between the U.S. and China in regard to trade commitments. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service indicated that last week was the biggest week ever in terms of sorghum purchases from China. Nearly 32 million bushels were sold, shattering the previous weekly record of 23 million bushels.
“U.S. sorghum farmers should be encouraged by these continued sales to China,” National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff CEO Tim Lust said in a news release. “We are making improvements to our crop not only from a yield and technology standpoint, but also through quality measures, which are translating directly to international buyers and noticeably improved basis numbers across the country.”
The single week of Chinese purchasing reflects approximately nine percent of American sorghum production for the year. USDA notes that sorghum sales have totaled 282,386 metric tons for the current market year. Sales have also been made for 527,500 metric tons for the coming 2020-2021 marketing year.
“These sales commitments are profound, and like in any other high demand situation, we expect to see basis increases enhance sorghum acres next year,” said Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director Florentino Lopez. “The U.S. Grains Council and Sorghum Checkoff remain fully engaged with Chinese buyers to help promote U.S. sorghum and provide technical information to leverage future sales while continuing to build future markets in Vietnam, Kenya, India and domestically, as well.”
Increases in Chinese purchasing were also seen in soybeans. USDA reports that for seven straight weekdays China has made considerable commitments for U.S. soybeans. Over the past week alone China has purchased nearly 1.5 million metric tons of soybeans. Private exporters reported sales of 456,000 metric tons on August 7, 324,000 metric tons on August 10, and 258,000 metric tons on August 12.