WASHINGTON — Net export sales of U.S. soybeans in the week of Jan. 4-10 were a marketing year high, with more than half of the total going to China despite that country’s cancellation of several purchases in December.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in export sales data released today said net sales of U.S. soybeans during the week for delivery in the current 2012-13 marketing year totaled 1,608,800 tonnes, five times the prior week’s sales of 321,800 tonnes for the same year and the highest weekly total since the marketing year began Sept. 1, 2012.

The weekly sales included 845,600 tonnes, or 53% of the total, designated for China. An additional 180,000 tonnes of soybeans were sold during the week for delivery in the 2013-14 marketing year, all for China, the U.S.D.A. said.

The two-year combined sales total for the latest week was more than double the high end of trade expectations that ranged from 550,000 to 750,000 tonnes.

Soybean futures prices initially traded higher on the strong export sales data, but profit taking and news of rainfall in dry  areas of Argentina, along with initial harvest of what is expected to be a record-large Brazilian soybean crop, resulted in only narrow futures price changes by 10:30 a.m. Central Time.

China, the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, cancelled earlier purchases of at least 840,000 tonnes, and possibly more designated as “unknown destinations,” of U.S. soybeans in December, according to the U.S.D.A.