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CHICAGO, April 22 (Reuters) - Two Brazilian soybean cargoes sold by Japan's Marubeni Corp that were initially sold to China have been switched to the United States, according to port and shipping data updated on Tuesday, the latest of several U.S. import shipments expected this season.
The vessels containing a total of 125,000 tonnes of the oilseed are scheduled to reach the United States next month.
Importers in China, the world's top soybean buyer, have already defaulted on at least 500,000 tonnes of U.S. and Brazilian soybean cargoes worth around $300 million amid slowing demand and tightening credit in China. At least one of the cargoes was sold by Marubeni.
Some cargoes initially purchased by Chinese importers have found new destinations in the United States and Europe.
The United States is expected to import a record 1.77 million tonnes of soybeans this year to supplement its tightest stocks in a decade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Two Brazilian soybean cargoes have already arrived this month and further shipments, including some from Canada, are expected over the next 3 to 4 months.
The latest, panamax vessel Navios Mercury, finished loading with 60,000 tonnes of soybeans at Brazil's Tubarao Port on Sunday and is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Mobile, Alabama, on May 15, Reuters shipping data showed. (Vessel map: link.reuters.com/tuw68v)
"One panamax vessel of soybean from Tubarao port in the state of Santa Catarina was shifted from China to U.S.," Rich Feltes, vice president of research for brokerage RJ O'Brien, confirmed on Tuesday, citing information from a cash-connected RJO affiliate in Sao Paulo.
Another panamax, the Akaki, is already en route to the United States after being loaded with 66,000 tonnes of soybeans at Brazil's Sao Francisco do Sul port in mid-April. It is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina, on May 7, the port's website showed.
The vessels, both sold by Marubeni, were scheduled to load and sail for China as recently as last week, according to vessel lineup data from Brazilian maritime services company Williams. Marubeni did not immediately reply to a request for comment. (Editing by Grant McCool)