Chinese companies buy more than $180 million worth of U.S. soybeans

China, US discuss plans for trade talks

Asia stocks cautious, pound pummeled by politics

According to Trump, trade talks with Beijing are already under way by telephone, with more meetings likely among U.S. and Chinese officials.

On Tuesday morning Beijing time, top trade officials from the U.S. and China spoke telephonically, an indication that the discussion between the two countries is ongoing, despite the tension caused by the Huawei issue.

China on Wednesday bought at least 500,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans in its first major purchase of the oilseed since U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce earlier this month, traders said.

"The problem is it's so late in the season for the U.S.", Friedrichs said. It prompted concern that trade talks might be derailed, but Beijing indicated Tuesday they are going ahead.

The US has a long list of complaints against China on intellectual property, forced technology transfers and industrial subsidies.

Although market watchers here have not noticed any big purchase of USA soybeans by Chinese importers, the optimistic atmosphere did boost the oil seed futures. The strategy is core to China's aim to transform itself into a global superpower by 2050, and rival USA dominance in sectors such as semiconductors, robotics, aerospace, clean-energy cars and artificial intelligence. But the world's top soybean importer has purchased little since Beijing slapped steep tariffs on USA shipments on July 6 in retaliation for duties on Chinese goods.

Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures edged higher on Tuesday on hopes that new deals would be signed soon, but there were no signs of increased activity in the cash markets, traders said.

Chinese state-run firms Sinograin and Cofco bought the soybeans, said one European trader.

The sellers included global agricultural merchants Cargill Inc, Louis Dreyfus Co and USA farmer-owned agriculture firm CHS Inc.

US soybean farmers had long seen China as a favorite destination-for their crops.

Cargill and CHS declined to comment.

China's methods of non-traditional espionage, including their use of ordinary Chinese expatriates instead of spies at universities and businesses, and intellectual property theft, were explained by the officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who briefed United States lawmakers on Wednesday, CNN reported.

It is a step toward cooling the rising trade tensions between the two countries, but its actual effect on USA automakers may be limited, said Kristin Dzichek, an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research.

"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.

"This is a start", said Valley City, North Dakota farmer Monte Peterson. United States business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest. There was also no response from the White House nor the US Trade Representative's Office.

BMW, which exports sport utility vehicles from the USA to China, rose as much as 3.3pc to €72.40 in Frankfurt. "We need follow-up sales in short order in order to keep the momentum higher in soybeans". The higher duties discouraged private Chinese importers from making purchases as Brazilian soybeans, which are not subject to the tariffs, are less expensive. The country uses the beans as feed for the large number of hogs in China and had been relying on producers like Brazil and Argentina to meet the shortfall. 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.

Trump reportedly said "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made - which is a very important thing - what's good for national security - I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary".

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