By Christopher Walljasper
CHICAGO, April 30 (Reuters) - Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose about 2% on Thursday on strong export demand and news of fresh purchases by top global soy buyer China, as well as technical buying and short-covering at month-end, traders said.
* Chinese state-owned importers bought at least five bulk cargoes of U.S. soybeans, or at least 300,000 tonnes, for shipment mostly from U.S. Gulf Coast export terminals, two traders with knowledge of the deals said.
* CBOT July soybean futures settled up 17-3/4 cents at $8.55-1/4 per bushel.
* For the month of April, the contract fell about 4%, its second straight monthly decline.
* CBOT July soymeal closed up $6.50 on Thursday at $295.10 per short ton and CBOT July soyoil ended up 0.43 cent at 26.60 cents per pound.
* The U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) reported export sales of U.S. soybeans in the week ended April 23 at 1.078 million tonnes for 2019/20 marketing year shipment and 105,000 tonnes for 2020/21 shipment. Both were within the range of analyst estimates.
* Ahead of the USDA's monthly soy-crushing data due on Friday, analysts surveyed by Reuters expected the government to report that U.S. soy processors crushed a record 191.5 million bushels of soybeans in March.
* The CBOT reported no deliveries against May soybean futures on first notice day for the contract. The exchange reported 22 deliveries against May soymeal and 1,466 May soyoil deliveries.
* The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported U.S. production of biodiesel fuel in February at 132 million gallons, down 2 million from January. Soybean oil remained the largest biodiesel feedstock, with 575 million pounds used in February.