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Soybean Prices Up Despite Chinese Sales Down 94% From 2017

November 7, 2018 at 14:40 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are trading slightly higher midweek, despite a new report that found US soybean sales to China, the biggest market for one of the nation’s largest exports, cratered from last year. It suggests that President Donald Trump’s trade war and the ensuing retaliatory tariffs from Beijing are having an impact on the domestic soybean industry.

November soybean futures rose $0.075, or 0.09%, to $8.727 per bushel at 13:11 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). While the agricultural commodity has performed well over the past month, climbing 2.2% since the beginning of October, prices are still down 10.5% year-to-date.

Citing the latest federal government data, The New York Times reported that American soybean sales to the world’s second-largest economy have declined by 94%, through mid-October, from the 2017 harvest. The US government has sought out additional foreign markets, but the short-term trend suggests that soybean farmers, enduring 25% retaliatory levies, are in trouble until the trade spat is resolved.

Bloomberg also reported that China slashed its imports of American soybeans by 80% in September.

To know how just immense the Chinese market is, the country consumed 110 million tons of soybeans last year, importing 87% from Brazil and the US.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have both said they want to reduce trade barriers, but the two nations continue to slap tariffs on each other.

The general impression that the media is giving is that there is a vast supply of soybeans without anywhere to go. Marketplace spoke with Bill Gordon, a Minnesota-based soybean farmer who revealed that storage is “definitely an issue.”

We lost that foreign market, so a lot of the elevators still had soybeans in them that would have been shipped out. Without that market, our silos are filling up with soybeans. But storage became a major issue in the country. Our yields were lower, so it helped the elevators with storage that we didn’t have a normal crop.

US farmers may find relief in a foreign market considered an adversary by Washington: Iran.

According to Bloomberg, a bulk carrier with the commodity left the US Pacific Northwest for the second consecutive week and is destined for Tehran. The ship carried 56,951 metric tons of soybeans. Sine July 2018, 13 cargoes have departed the US for Iran, shipping nearly 900,000 tons of soybeans. This comes as Washington slaps a plethora of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

In other agricultural commodities, December corn futures tipped $0.075, or 0.2%, to $3.725 per pound. December wheat futures rose $0.075, or 0.15%, to $5.127 a bushel. January orange juice futures surged $0.07, or 0.51%, to $1.373 a pound. December coffee futures surged $0.13, or 1.15%, to $1.145 a pound.

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