A delegation of Chinese buyers signed agreements in Iowa on Thursday to buy 13.18 million metric tons, or 484 million bushels, of U.S. soybeans, a deal valued at $5.3 billion.
The annual buying event by Chinese importers was conducted in Des Moines and the $5.3 billion is more than double the value of deals signed in 2014 and in 2013, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.
No details were provided on when the purchases will be made or shipped but Jim Sutter, the Export Council's chief executive officer, said purchases are expected to be done within the current crop year, which ends August 31, 2016.
"It is my understanding this is a record," he said of the $5.3 billion amount.
This year's low soybean prices combined with increased livestock production in China likely prompted the bigger agreement, he said.
"Soymeal demand is quite brisk in China this year. Crush margins have improved and livestock margins have improved," he told Farm Futures.
Organized by the Soybean Export Council, contracts were signed between a number of Chinese import companies and exporters. The exporters included ADM, Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus and others.
China is the top importer of U.S. soybeans and buys about 25% of all U.S. soybeans, according to the Export Council.
Editor's note: 13.18 million metric tons = 484 million bushels