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Soybean Futures Add to Losses, Plunge to Nine-Year Low

June 20, 2018 at 15:55 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are adding to their losses midweek, plunging to their lowest levels in nine years. With tit-for-tat tariffs likely to become the norm between the US and China, the domestic agricultural sector, particularly soybean farmers, is getting nervous.

July soybean futures tumbled $0.09, or 1.01%, to $8.80 per bushel at 15:26 GMT on Wednesday on the US ICE Futures exchange. Soybean prices have somewhat rebounded after touching their worst levels since March 2009, but they are still down more than 15% over the last month.

Last week, President Donald Trump pulled the trigger on imposing $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods that will go into effect July 6. China reacted by announcing a 25% tariff on 545 US goods, including soybeans. On Monday, President Trump said the US government would slap levies totaling $200 billion, leading Beijing to confirm it would retaliate.

Both the US and Chinese leadership have stated that there will likely be tit-for-tat tariffs until the trade war comes to an end, which is causing fear in the domestic agricultural industry. The Commerce Ministry has warned that a trade war will impact businesses and consumers in each country.

This practice of extreme pressure and blackmail deviates from the consensus reached by both parties on many occasions and is disappointing for the international community.

The United States has initiated a trade war that violates market laws and is not in accordance with current global development trends.

Its Foreign Ministry added that it does not want a trade war, but noted that it is not afraid to engage in one.

China is the main purchaser of US soybeans, acquiring about half of the nation’s soybean inventories – the US produces 70% of the global supply. However, this is expected to change as Beijing buys more from Brazil and the government begins to boost national production by subsidizing farmers over five years.

Corn is also stumbling on Wednesday as July futures have declined $0.0425, or 1.2%, to $3.495 a pound.

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s corn and soybean output has been rated quite well by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Soybeans have been rated 82% good to excellent, while corn has been listed as 86% good to excellent.

In other agricultural commodities, September wheat futures fell $0.02, or 0.41%, to $4.875 per bushel. September orange juice futures jumped $0.045, or 0.28%, to $1.598 per pound. September coffee futures advanced $0.015, or 0.13%, to $1.165 a pound.

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