By Karl Plume
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chinese state-owned companies bought at least 500,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Wednesday, two U.S. traders said, in the first major purchases since U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met in early December.
One trader knew of nine cargoes traded and said there were probably more. A second trader with direct knowledge of the deals said Chinese state-owned firms bought at least 12 cargoes for shipment between January and March.
China is the largest buyer of U.S. soy, but has purchased little since Beijing slapped steep tariffs on U.S. shipments on July 6 in retaliation for duties on Chinese goods.
(Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by Caroline Stauffer and Simon Webb)