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Soybean Rallies 1% on Slower US Harvest, Fresh Export Sales

November 15, 2018 at 15:41 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are rallying on Thursday as new US government data reported a slower-than-expected harvest pace, as well as new export sales. Soybean prices were capped on fresh data that confirmed there is a global supply glut amid the international trade war.

January soybean futures rose $0.115, or 1.3%, to $8.95 per bushel at 14:15 GMT on Thursday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices are already poised for a commendable weekly gain of just under 2%, but they are still down 9% year-to-date.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the domestic soybean harvest was 88% complete, below the market estimate of 91% and the five-year average of 93%. This has been the case for the last two months in the American agricultural sector.

In the same US government report, it was found that private exporters sold about 148,000 tonnes of soybeans to foreign markets. One of the biggest importers of US soybeans has been Argentina, which is also the third-largest soybean producer. The USDA said shipments to Argentina were 249,278 metric ton, the highest level in 35 years.

In total, Argentina is estimated to acquire approximately one million tons of soybean in the 2018–2019 season, compared to zero during the previous season.

But Brazil, the biggest beneficiary of the US-China trade spat, is projected to sell a record number of soybeans this year. Analysts say shipments from Brazil will top 80 million tonnes.

The US soybean market has been in freefall ever since China slapped a 25% tariff on the agricultural commodity as part of its retaliatory efforts for Washington imposing levies on Chinese products.

In other agricultural commodities, December corn futures jumped $0.035, or 0.95%, to $3.705 per pound. March wheat futures tacked on $0.02, or 0.39%, to $5.14 a bushel. January orange juice futures shed $0.07, or 0.52%, to $1.328 a pound.

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