Exclusive: Chinese firms order a million tons of US soybeans, hurricane impact limited
Published: Sep 17, 2021 09:53 PM
File photo:Xinhua

File photo:Xinhua

The impact of Hurricane Ida on US grain exports was not as great as imagined, and Chinese companies have ordered nearly a million tons of US soybeans, indicating that the reported reroute to Brazil was just "temporary coping tactics," Zhang Xiaoping, country director for China at the US Soybean Export Council (USSEC), told the Global Times on Friday.

Chinese importers bought four to six bulk cargoes of Brazilian soybeans early this week for shipment in October and November, as hurricane damage limited US exports, Reuters reported Thursday, citing two traders with knowledge of the deals. 

The report also said the move was "an unusual purchase during the peak export period for rival supplier, the US."

In response to the report, Zhang said Hurricane Ida damaged several grain export facilities in the US Gulf Coast, resulting in a brief suspension of export shipments at these terminals. 

While preparations for the disaster were good, after-disaster recovery was quick, plus the peak period of grain exports had not yet started, and the overall impact of the hurricane on grain exports was not "as great as imagined," Zhang said.

Zhang said Chinese companies "have newly ordered nearly a million tons of US soybeans," indicating that the current situation was only a temporary response.

China's grain imports from January to July stood at 91.7 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 37.2 percent. Of the total, soybeans accounted for 58 percent and corn 18.3 percent. The US accounted for about a third of China's total soybean imports.

"The hurricane impacted trade between China and the US for almost a week and has not recovered yet," Jiao Shanwei, editor-in-chief of, a website specializing in grain news, told the Global Times on Friday. 

While refuting the purchase from Brazil as "unusual," Jiao nevertheless noted that China's purchase from Brazil is quite normal during the season, and the shipping trade route between China and Brazil has also become mature over the past years due to China's efforts to diversify soybean sources.

On the contrary, the shipping channel between China and the US was largely impacted due to surging freight rates over the past months, Jiao said.

Given its demand, China may step up purchases of US soybeans and corn after September, Jiao said.

Global Times