Jan 3 (Reuters) - Chinese importers canceled some of their U.S. corn purchases last week while several more cargoes of the grain initially bound for China were diverted to other Asian nations, U.S. government data on Friday showed.
China has rejected numerous cargoes of U.S. corn since mid-November because they contained Syngenta AG's MIR 162 corn, a genetically modified variety not approved for import by China.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a net cancellation of 116,000 tonnes in corn sales to China in the week ended Dec. 26. The USDA's weekly report also showed a net decrease of 209,400 tonnes in sales to "unknown destinations," 101,400 tonnes of which were earmarked for Japan.
Since exporters are only obligated to report the grain's destination when it is loading, sales are sometimes reported to "unknown destinations" to disguise the buyer, traders said. Sales to China are often initially reported under that category.
USDA also reported a nearly 200,000-tonne decrease in accumulated exports to China for the weeks ending Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 as that corn was resold to South Korea, confirming private reports that cargoes rejected by China have been resold to its neighbor.
Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli