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China's August soy imports from U.S. surge as cargoes clear customs

BEIJING, Sept 25 (Reuters) - China's soybean imports from the United States in August rose six-fold from a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday, as cargoes purchased earlier amid an easing in the trade dispute between the countries cleared customs. China, the world's top buyer of soybeans, brought in 1.68 million tonnes of the oilseed from the U.S. in August, up from 265,377 tonnes a year ago. That was up 84% from last month's 911,888 tonnes, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs. Soybean imports from the United States dried up in the second half of 2018, after Beijing slapped a 25% tariff on a list of American products including soybeans last July, amid a tit-for-tat trade war. But Chinese state firms resumed purchases of some 14 million tonnes of the oilseed from U.S. farmers starting in December during a temporary truce in the spat. Those purchases eased after the trade tensions between Beijing and Washington increased, before Chinese firms made two big purchases of U.S. beans this month ahead of high level talks next month. China's August soybean imports from top supplier Brazil were 6.68 million tonnes, down from last year's 7.95 million tonnes, but up slightly from 6.42 million tonnes in July. Shipments from Argentina increased to 654,555 tonnes, up 19.5% from 547,942 tonnes last year, data showed. China's soybean demand has been checked by a year-old outbreak of African swine fever that has decimated the country's pig herd, the world's biggest. The table below shows China's soybean imports from Brazil, the United States, and Argentina in August 2019, according to the customs data. Origin Aug (tonnes) % chg y/y Jan-Aug (tonnes) % chg y/y U.S. 1.68 million 533 8.42 million -20.3 Brazil 6.68 million -16 40.4 million 0 Argentina 654,555 19.5 4.13 million 328 (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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