The USDA is reporting yet another large Chinese purchase of U.S. corn, reinforcing assessments that the country’s demand for the grain is strong as it tries to rebuild its swine herd.

Chinese companies purchased an additional 747,000 metric tons of U.S. corn for delivery in the 2020-21 marketing year, according to a USDA daily grain sale report released Thursday. USDA also reported an additional 140,000-ton sale of U.S. corn to “unknown destinations.”

“This overnight purchase of three-quarters of a million ton … shows us that not only is China committed to working as best as they can to fulfill ‘phase one’ commitments, but it’s also telling us that the demand is there and we are an affordable and reliable option,” U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand told Agri-Pulse Thursday. “We’re there to supply that demand.”

The new sales contract will bolster President Donald Trump’s recent claims that China is ramping up its purchases and is moving swiftly to fulfill its purchasing pledges under the “phase one” trade pact that went into effect in February.

So far this month Chinese buyers have contracted to import nearly 1.6 million tons of U.S. corn, according USDA data in daily and weekly reports. And the U.S. has physically exported 914,400 tons of corn to China in the first three weeks of August.

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Those sales followed two of the largest daily sales of U.S. corn to China ever in July. The USDA reported sales of 1.937 million metric tons of corn to China on July 30 and 1.762 million tons on July 14. Both were record-breaking purchases in size. 

Including the new Chinese purchase announced Thursday, China has contracted to buy 7.9 million tons of corn so far for the 2020-21 marketing year that begins Sept. 1, LeGrand said.

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