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Soybean Futures Hovering Around $9 After Chinese Purchases Spark Rally

September 16, 2019 at 17:11 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures have yet to break through the crucial $9 threshold after they rallied on news of Chinese acquisitions of the agricultural commodity. In a sign of easing US-China trade tensions, Beijing has purchased millions of dollars worth of soybeans ahead of next month’s renewed negotiations in Washington. The White House reacted by postponing the implementation of additional tariffs on Chinese imports.

November soybean futures rose $0.0025, or 0.03%, to $899.25 per bushel at 16:50 GMT on Monday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices recorded a 4.8% gain last week, lifting their year-to-date gains to more than 0.5%.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), exporters reported that 204,000 tonnes of American soybeans were sold to Chinese imports. The transaction was worth about $67 million. There is now speculation that Chinese buyers had booked additional sales, potentially topping 600,000 tonnes.

It was also reported that a Chinese tariff commission would be taking applications through October 18 that would exclude US agriculture, including pork and soybeans, from additional tariffs. Although these products would still face hefty tariffs, they would be subjected to lower levies. This would be the second round of applications in a year.

The White House responded to the news by announcing that it would delay its planned tariffs on Chinese goods for two weeks until October 15.

Meanwhile, according to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), there was an increase in net short positions in soybean futures contracts for the week ending September 10. But commercial traders still held a substantial number of long positions. This suggests that non-commercial investors expect a falling out between the world’s two largest economies, and the smart money is betting on a new trade agreement.

Last week, citing sources close to the situation, it was reported that the administration would be willing to accept an interim deal, which was immediately shot down by senior officials. When asked directly, President Donald Trump told reporters:

Well, that’s something people talk about. I’d rather get the whole deal done … A lot of people are talking about it and I see a lot of analysts saying an interim deal, meaning we’ll do pieces of it — the easy ones first. But there’s no easy or hard. There’s a deal or there’s not a deal. But it’s something we would consider, I guess.

In other agricultural markets, November corn futures tacked on $0.035, or 0.95%, to $3.7275 per pound. November wheat futures jumped $0.0475, or 0.98%, to $4.8825 a bushel. November orange juice futures edged up $0.002, or 0.2%, to $1.02 per pound.

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