BEIJING, CHINA — China’s soybean imports in December increased 67% from the previous December to a 19-month high, Reuters reported on Jan. 13.

Citing customs data, Reuters said a flurry of U.S. and Brazilian soybean cargoes booked earlier in the year cleared customs in December.

The data showed that China, the world’s top importer of soybeans, brought in 9.54 million tonnes last month, up from 5.72 million tonnes in December 2018.

“The figures were quite high as some delayed cargoes cleared customs, including U.S. shipments,” Monica Tu, analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co Ltd., told Reuters. “Chinese buyers also booked quite a lot of South American beans, which arrived en masse.”

Shipments also were up 15% from 8.28 million tonnes in November.

For 2019, soybean imports came in at 88.51 million tonnes, just up from 88.03 million tonnes in 2018, when higher tariffs curbed shipments from the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He plan to sign a phase one trade agreement of a U.S. trade deal on Jan. 15, after nearly 18 months of a simmering tariff war that severely limited the amount of U.S. soybeans entering the Chinese market.