By Karl Plume and Ana Mano
Sept 15 (Reuters) - Chinese importers bought four to six bulk cargoes of Brazilian soybeans early this week for shipment in October and November, an unusual purchase during the peak export period for rival supplier the United States, two traders with knowledge of the deals said on Wednesday.
The deals were inked as export terminals along the U.S. Gulf Coast in Louisiana, the country's busiest crop shipping outlet, have struggled to recover from damage, flooding and power outages caused by Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29.
The pivot to costly Brazilian soybeans underscored concerns among global importers that U.S. shipping delays could linger well into the peak season for exports from the United States.
The Brazilian soybeans were sold at lofty prices of $4.20 or more premium to Chicago Board of Trade November SX1 futures, including cost and freight, two U.S. trade sources said.
Soybean exporters said the purchases by the world's top importer were likely triggered by concerns that U.S. Gulf terminal capacity would remain constrained into next month.
"There are no offers at the Gulf for October. The outages have pushed everything back and nobody wants to sell October and add to their pain," said one U.S. soy exporter who declined to be named.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced U.S. soybean export sales cancellations totaling 328,000 tonnes to China and undisclosed buyers.
Exporters contacted by Reuters could not confirm details of the cancellations.
(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago and Ana Mano in Sao Paulo; Editing by Chris Reese and Mark Porter)
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