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Soybean Futures Surge over US-China Import Fears

April 25, 2018 at 17:05 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are climbing higher midweek as the domestic agriculture industry has been rattled during the trade disputes between the US and China. After the latest clampdown on sorghum, investors and industry leaders say soybean exports have suddenly stopped.

May soybean futures rose $0.08 or 0.78%, to $10.3025 per bushel at 16:39 GMT on Wednesday on the US ICE Futures exchange. Despite tariffs and retaliation between Washington and Beijing, soybean prices had advanced nearly 6% year-to-date.

China purchases 60% of the world’s soybean output. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), buyers have not agreed to any new deals to purchase US soybeans since the beginning of April. Reuters notes that cargoes have yet to depart from US ports. This could impact an industry sells three million tonnes, or $1.3 billion, of soybeans per month.

The world’s second-largest economy consumes soybeans for cooking oil and protein-rich animal feed.

This comes as several US ships carrying domestic sorghum to China turned around after Beijing instituted immense anti-dumping measures on US imports.

Singapore-based trader told the newswire warned that soybean prices could be affected moving forward.

After China’s action on US sorghum, no one is willing to take the risk of importing beans. As a result, the spread between Brazilian and US prices has risen to a level which we have not seen in recent years.

Should China seek elsewhere for its soybean needs, Brazil might be its next major trading partner.

The USDA released this week its Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report and found that the country could establish a record planting area for the ninth straight year at 35.8 million hectares. This represents a 2% increase from a year ago. Experts forecast that output could top 115 million tonnes and allow the nation to experience the second-largest soybean crop in history.

The USDA said in a report:

Despite the record planted area, production is forecast slightly lower than the previous year based on yields trend. Productivity during the 2017–18 and 2016–17 seasons were way above trend because of ideal weather conditions throughout Brazil and excellent performance by new technologies in the market.

Other metal commodities are mixed in the middle of the trading week. July corn futures jumped $0.055, or 1.41%, to $3.955 per bushel. July coffee futures slipped $0.02, or 1.66%, to $1.184 per pound. July wheat futures soared $0.12, or 2.58%, to $4.967 per bushel. July orange juice futures were up $0.015, or 0.10%, to $1.481 a pound.

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