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Soybean Edges Higher on Trade Optimism, USDA Crop Report

September 10, 2019 at 14:36 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are trading higher on Tuesday after the US government published its weekly crop progress report that matched market expectations. But the real driver for soybean prices were media reports showing that China has offered to purchase more agriculture from US farmers to advance trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.

November soybean futures rose $0.0225, or 0.26%, to $8.60 per bushel at 14:18 GMT on Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean trading patterns have been dreadful for much of 2019, slumping nearly 1% over the last five sessions and sliding 4% year-to-date.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 55% of the American soybean crop was in good-to-excellent condition, which was in line with analysts’ estimates. This figure is unchanged from last week.

The USDA also reported that 55% of the US corn crop was in good-to-excellent condition, down from 58% last week. They have also fallen short of market forecasts of 58%.

Last week, the US and China agreed to renew trade discussions next month. A Chinese trade delegation will travel to Washington in early October to meet with US negotiators.

As a sign of good faith, Beijing has pledged to purchase more US agriculture in exchange for easing restrictions on Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications powerhouse. It is unclear at this point if US trade representatives have agreed to this proposal, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did confirm that the two sides have reached a “conceptual agreement” on enforcing intellectual property (IP) theft mechanisms.

There are concerns that China would not be able to sustain imports because of the African swine fever sweeping its industry. Also, Beijing failed to meet previous obligations regarding greater purchases.

Either way, investors are ebullient about the progress being made between the Americans and Chinese.

In other agricultural commodities, October corn futures rose $0.03, or 0.85%, to $3.5725 per pound. October wheat futures tacked on $0.01, or 0.21%, to $4.755 a bushel. November orange juice futures edged up $0.004, or 0.39%, to $1.023 a pound.

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