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Soybean Extends Gains on Expected Finalization of US-China Trade Deal

December 17, 2019 at 20:58 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures extended their gains on Tuesday on the expected finalization of the first phase of the US-China trade agreement. Despite the roller coaster ride that soybean prices endured this year, they are on track to finish 2019 higher, giving farmers a little boost to kick off 2020.

January soybean futures rose $0.0575, or 0.62%, to $9.2775 per bushel at 19:40 GMT on Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). The agricultural commodity has gained nearly 4% year-to-date and is trading at its best level since June 2018. With China anticipated to resume its purchases of soybeans, investors are looking to see if prices can crack $10 per bushel next year, which would be music to the years of American growers.

The main driver of Tuesday’s gains has been optimism over the US-China trade deal. After 18 months of long and arduous will-they-or-wont-they negotiations, Beijing and Washington have agreed to phase one of an overall comprehensive deal. The first phase involves China purchasing up to $50 billion in agriculture, but it is unclear how much of the total will be allocated to soybean billions. In exchange, the US will not impose new tariffs on goods coming from China and will partially reduce tariffs currently in place.

Last week, prior to the announcement, Chinese soy importers acquired about 300,000 tons of soybeans for shipment in January and February. This came shortly after Beijing extended new tariff waivers on at least one million tons. US soybeans to China have surpassed 10 million tons for the current September-to-August marketing year, which is about half the total China bought in December 2017.

In other industry news, the new government in Argentina announced that it will raise export levies on various agricultural goods, including soybeans, wheat, and corn. Taxes on corn and wheat exports will be 9% and levies on soybeans will reach 27%. Analysts are already sounding the alarm about how these higher taxes will affect grains and oilseeds exports. Because the government is strapped for cash and will need funding for its spending initiatives, Argentina thought it would help raise revenues.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, a dry autumn impacted soybean production, which sent output tumbling 10%.

In other agricultural commodities, February corn futures were flat at $3.685 a pound. February wheat futures dipped $0.01, or 0.19%, to $5.1775 per bushel. March coffee futures shed $0.003, or 0.22%, to $1.334 a pound.

If you have any questions and comments on the commodities today, use the form below to reply.

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