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China says to strike "large" U.S. wheat deals
Reuters, February 19, 2004
China will ship before July more than one million tonnes of U.S. wheat it has purchased and is in the market to buy additional significant amounts of U.S. wheat soon, a senior Chinese official said on Thursday.

"I believe before we leave on this trip we'll be able to strike some large deals," Zhou Mingchen, chairman of China's COFCO state trading enterprise, told Reuters in an interview during a visit to the Chicago Board of Trade.

Zhou was leading a Chinese wheat trade delegation that visited Washington on Tuesday and will head to Portland on Friday before returning home.

Traders have been expecting the Chinese team to buy U.S. wheat during the visit. The delegation has held meetings with officials from the U.S. Agriculture Department and executives from American grain companies.

"I really need old-crop to be shipped before July. We have already ordered ships to be here by March to ship out old-crop wheat from April, May and June," Zhou said in response to questions about China's shipping schedule.

China has bought 1,084,600 tonnes of U.S. wheat for delivery in the current 2003/2004 old-crop marketing year that ends on May 31. But as of Feb. 5, it had shipped only 179,600 tonnes, leading to worries among the U.S. grain trade that China might cancel or push back those shipments.

China has also bought 910,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat for shipment in the 2004/2005 season, which begins June 1.

"I am on a trip to purchase wheat, no doubt about that," Zhou said, adding that while his priority was to buy old-crop U.S. wheat, he would also be shopping for 2004/2005 supplies.

"We are already talking with grain companies and traders," he said. "Everything is going very well."
MGR Archive 20.2.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
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