U.K. Importers Step Up Purchases of Soybeans Shipped From U.S.

The U.K. last week bought the most U.S. soybeans since July and is on pace for the biggest annual imports from the North American country in at least five years, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

The U.K. bought 60,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans in the week ended Nov. 29, the most since a purchase of 112,000 tons on July 19, the USDA said today. The U.K. has committed to import 181,777 tons of U.S. soybeans since the marketing season began Sept. 1. The European country didn’t import any U.S. soybeans last year, and annual purchases through at least the 2007-08 season haven’t been higher than 75,000 tons, USDA data show.

Soybean prices have climbed 23 percent this year on the Chicago Board of Trade, reaching a record $17.89 a bushel on Sept. 4, as drought hurt U.S. crops following dry weather that reduced supplies available from South America’s last harvest.

The U.S. is the world’s largest soybean exporter. Its biggest customer is China, which purchased 23.5 million tons from the U.S. last season, about 29 percent of the North American country’s crop. Brazil is the largest supplier of soybeans to the U.K., customs data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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