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Soybeans Slump 2% As Demand Hurts US Agriculture

April 1, 2020 at 15:54 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures are sliding in the middle of the trading week as the agricultural commodity nosedives on demand woes. Soybean prices had crossed the crucial $9 threshold late last month, but then the severity of the coronavirus on the global economy was felt in the agriculture sector.

May soybean futures tumbled $0.18, or 2.03%, to $8.68 per bushel at 15:29 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean recorded a 4% loss last month and a 9.28% decline in the first quarter of 2020.

Demand has come into focus as economies keep reporting disappointing data that highlight just how much the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting many markets worldwide. Investors are hoping that China could bail out the soybean industry, especially after it was reported that unknowns purchased 110,000 tons of American soybeans, which sources say were Chinese importers. It is unclear if this is the new norm since the US Department of Agriculture recently reported that domestic inspections for shipments to Beijing declined to around zero and the outstanding balance for shipments decreased to its lowest level since the 2014–2015 marketing year.

Besides China, the latest industry developments suggest that there is very little indication that other countries are importing vast amounts of soybeans. Russia, for example, announced that it would be banning soybean exports until April 30. Other crop producers have also been placing caps on their exports to help support prices.

Supplies are also coming into question. On one hand, the US government reported that domestic planting areas of key goods, like soybeans and corn, are up by about 8% this year. On the other, other markets are warning that their output might take a hit due to poor weather conditions in Brazil and political developments in Argentina. That said, experts still anticipate Brazil to export a record 13 million tons in soybeans this marketing year.

In other agricultural commodities, May corn futures fell $0.04, or 1.17%, to $3.3675 per pound. May wheat futures shed $0.1625, or 2.9%, to $5.5255 a bushel. June coffee futures declined $0.039, or 3.26%, to $1.11565 a pound.

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