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Soybean Continues Rebound, Advances 1% After China Stops Buying US Soybeans

June 4, 2019 at 14:21 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures appear to be recovering after a bombshell report found that China is stopping purchases of American soybean products until tariffs are abolished. After slumping to a decade-low on the news and sparking fears that there could be a supply glut, soybean prices have advanced roughly 6%. Could American farmers lose the Chinese market for good?

July soybean futures rose $0.065, or 0.74%, to $8.885 per bushel at 14:09 GMT on Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Year-to-date, soybean prices are down 3.6%, but they have surged 6.8% over the last five trading sessions.

China has rocked the commodities market after media reports found that the world’s second-largest economy has temporarily halted purchases of soybeans. Beijing, the biggest soybean consumer on the planet, has suspended buying US soybeans after the trade war with the US escalated last month.

According to individuals close to the situation, state-grain buyers have not received additional orders to continue the so-called goodwill buying that was agreed to during the 90-day trade truce. They do not anticipate any other orders due to a new trade agreement yet to be installed. However, reports do confirm that China does not plan to cancel previous purchases of US soybeans.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) noted that China has bought roughly 13 million metric tons of American soybeans since December, adding that Beijing intended to buy an extra 10 million tons. Recent government data highlighted China has not taken delivery of approximately seven million tons of US soybeans in the current marketing year.

But Reuters, citing two traders familiar with the issue, discovered that China is expected to divert any outstanding US soybean cargoes into reserves. This suggests that the remaining seven million tones will stockpile the supplies instead of crushing them for sale as a feed ingredient, which makes sense considering the African swine flu outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is warning that if Washington refuses to lift tariffs on its products, then it might “lose China’s market.” Han Ju, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said in a statement:

If the US doesn’t lift all additional tariffs [levied on Chinese products], bilateral agricultural product trade between China and the US, including soybean trade, will never go back to normal. If the US loses China’s market, it will be very difficult for the US to regain it.

In recent months, China has turned to other markets for its soybean demand, including Brazil. It has also enhanced domestic output, projecting that production will surge to its best level in 14 years during the 2019–2020 season.

In other agricultural commodities, July corn futures gained $0.045, or 1.06%, to $4.29 per pound. July wheat futures plunged $0.11, or 2.12%, to $5.10 per bushel. September orange juice futures fell $0.01, or 0.9%, to $1.1275 a pound.

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