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Soybean Futures Slide As China Cuts 2018–2019 Import Forecast

September 12, 2018 at 14:04 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are sliding midweek after the Chinese government slashed its 2018–2019 import forecast, a move that is expected to raise Beijing’s supply deficit estimate. Amid its trade dispute with the US, Chinese farmers have been cutting their use of soybean in their animal feed.

November soybean futures tumbled $0.63, or 5.25%, to $8.265 per bushel at 13:37 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Despite moments of upward momentum, soybean prices remain in the red, plunging more than 15% year-to-date and hitting multi-year lows.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs monthly crop report, Chinese soybean imports in the 2018–2019 crop year, which begins on October 1, will total 83.65 million tonnes, down 10.2 million tonnes from the August projection of 93.85 million tonnes.

During the 2017–2018 crop year, China imported 93.9 million tonnes.

While the world’s second-largest economy slashed its soybean import projections, the government raised its forecast for corn demand amid rising feed consumption and rising ethanol output.

In addition to the trade spat with the US as being the chief cause for the lower imports, the government has been promoting a lower-protein feed for livestock and poultry. Moreover, pig farms have seen their profits shrink due to the reduction in demand for soymeal feed for herds.

Meanwhile, Brazil is experiencing record prices for its soybean exports. According to Reuters, the nation’s soybean port premiums spiked to a record spread of about $2 higher than CBoT prices. The global market is already hedging their bets that Brazil will become the top producer of soybean as Washington engages in bitter trade spats with the rest of the world.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported that the US sold roughly $12 billion worth of soybeans to China, but Brazil has topped $20 billion in soybean sales. This is considered to be an impressive trend since it has only been a couple of months since US agriculture was slapped with 25% retaliatory tariffs by China.

In other agricultural commodities, December corn futures dipped $0.015, or 0.41%, to $3.652 per pound. December wheat futures surged $0.057, or 1.11%, to $5.245 a bushel. November orange juice futures fell $0.011, or 0.7%, to $1.561 a pound. December coffee futures surged $0.013, or 1.29%, to $1.017 per pound.

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