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Soybeans Pare Gains After Trump Threatens Higher Tariffs on China

November 19, 2019 at 18:38 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are posting modest gains on Tuesday as investors hunt for bargains, but the prices pared their gains toward the end of the session. The agricultural commodity recently slumped to its lowest level in nearly two months on a new US government report and renewed doubts over a US-China trade agreement. But the weather will play a crucial role in soybean’s performance as snow and cold temperatures are blanketing key growing areas of the US and Canada.

December soybean futures edged up $0.0025, or 0.03%, to $9.105 per bushel at 17:34 GMT on Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices are up nearly 2% year-to-date, but they have slipped more than 2% in the last month.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the soybean harvest was 91% completed for the current season, which remains below the five-year average of 95% for this time of the year. The USDA noted that this is slower than expected, and the blame could be placed on early winter weather slamming the Midwest.

This month, snow and freezing temperatures have impacted many parts of the US. The latest weather forecasts do anticipate this weather to linger for the remainder of the month. It is unclear when there would be any relief from Old Man Winter. Until then, it will be difficult for farmers to compete against wintry conditions.

Optimism over the first phase of a US-China trade deal turned sour this week after President Donald Trump’s threats to raise tariffs if China does not make a deal. In addition to that, there have been several media reports that spotlight hiccups in discussions.

Beijing is reportedly upset by the White House not rolling back tariffs, which they fear would hinder the establishment of phase one after 18 months of trade negotiations. However, these concerns were diminished after it was confirmed that Vice Premier Liu He, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer held “constructive talks.”

Last week, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that the two sides were “getting close” to a deal.

Analysts say that the commodities market has given up paying attention to the US-China trade saga, but the movement of prices coordinate with the barrage of reports and developments on this file.

In other agricultural markets, December corn futures rose $0.03, or 0.82%, to $3.7075 per pound. December wheat futures tacked on $0.0675, or 1.33%, to $5.14 a bushel. March coffee futures dipped $0.002, or 0.19%, to $1.0595 a pound.

If you have any questions and comments on the commodities today, use the form below to reply.

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