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Report: China defers further US soybean purchases as trade deal remains elusive

China has halted purchases of soybeans from the U.S. as a trade agreement between the world's two largest economies remains out of reach, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

China does not intend to cancel previously placed orders for U.S. soybeans, the sources told Bloomberg. Beijing still has to take delivery of about 7 million metric tons of soybeans that it has committed to buy from Washington in the current marketing year, the newswire said, citing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. had sold about 13 million tons of soybeans to China since the countries reached a 90-day truce in their trade dispute in December 2018, Bloomberg said, citing government data. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in February that China had committed to buying an additional 10 million tons of American soybeans.

But Chinese state grain buyers have received no new directives to continue their purchases and anticipate the so-called goodwill buying to be put on hold as the countries have yet to reach a trade agreement, according to the sources.

The development comes amid growing speculation that China could be willing to restrict the export of its rare earth minerals to the U.S. as trade tensions between the two countries escalate. Following a new round of tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods in May, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that duties on Chinese imports could rise again and Washington is "not ready" to make a trade deal with Beijing.

The U.S. has also blacklisted Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., citing perceived threats to national security or foreign policy interests, but later scaled back restrictions on the company.