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China Said to Buy Soybean Oil to Boost Government Stockpiles

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Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- China, the world’s largest cooking-oil user, bought 20,000 metric tons of soybean oil to boost government stockpiles, said two people with knowledge of the industry.

China Grain Reserves Corp., which manages state stockpiles, bought the oil last week, the people said. Cheng Bingzhou, a spokesman for the company that is also known as Sinograin, didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone.

China has auctioned 904,800 tons of rapeseed oil and sold soybeans and cooking oil in private sales to selected companies this year to curb food prices and inflation, which surged to 6.5 percent in July, the highest since June 2008. The country is the world’s biggest buyer of oilseed.

“The government has sold a lot of stockpiles this year and needs to restock to prepare to fight inflation next year,” Tommy Xiao, analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., said by phone from Shanghai. “Commodity prices have been relatively weak so the government has been seizing opportunities.”

State reserves are also believed to be seeking soybeans and corn, among other commodities, if prices decline significantly, Xiao said citing his discussion with traders. In a spate of purchases at the beginning of October, Sinograin bought about 1 million tons of corn, 700,000 to 800,000 tons of soybean oil and 2 million tons of soybeans, he said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Oct. 13 that China bought 900,000 tons of corn, the most in a single day since a 1.45 million-ton purchase in 1994.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: William Bi in Beijing at wbi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Richard Dobson at rdobson4@bloomberg.net

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