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Soybean Futures Tank After China Slaps Tariffs on US Agriculture

April 4, 2018 at 16:43 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are sliding as much as 4% on Wednesday after the Chinese government announced new tariffs on more than 100 US products. Soybean prices had advanced more than 7% in 2018, but the levies could wipe out those gains.

May soybean futures tumbled $0.34, or 3.28%, to $10.04 per bushel at 16:16 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices are trading at their lowest levels since December 2017.

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced a new wave of tariffs on 106 US goods. The world’s second-largest economy plans to slap a 25% tax on soybean in addition to several other agricultural products, such as beef, corn, cotton, and wheat. Other US goods will be affected, including aircraft, chemicals, and high-tech products.

The move from Beijing is part of its retaliatory measures to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on a diverse array of Chinese goods. Last week, China listed 128 US products that would also be hit with levies ranging from 15% to 25%.

Last month, US government officials warned that the domestic agricultural sector could face immense pressure amid a global trade war. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told reporters:

There [is] certainly some trade disruptions based on aluminum and steel tariffs. Retaliation is tit-for-tat and retaliation is possible, but it [is] not up to us how other countries will react.

It remains unclear if the White House will respond to the retaliation with further tariffs and restrictions. The market reacted negatively to the news as the leading stock indexes were deep in the red, including the Dow Jones, which tanked more than 500 points at the start of the trading session.

Other commodities were in the red midweek. May corn futures slid $0.065, or 1.67%, to $3.828 per pound. May cotton futures plunged two cents, or 2.54%, to 79.94 cents per pound. May orange juice futures dipped $0.002, or 0.14%, to $1.381 per pound. June beef futures dropped $0.04 to $1 per pound. May wheat futures slumped $0.0225, or 0.49%, to $4.552 a bushel.

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