Soybeans Lead Gains in Agriculture on U.S.-China Trade Truce

Soybean futures in Chicago led gains in U.S. agriculture markets after the White House said China had agreed to immediately start purchasing American farm products as part of a trade truce between the two countries.

Soy for delivery in January climbed as much as 3.2 percent to $9.23 3/4 a bushel, the highest since June 19, while U.S. corn and wheat also jumped. Meanwhile, prices in China fell, with soymeal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange losing as much as 3.4 percent to 2,953 yuan a metric ton, the lowest since June 22.

“The price spike in Chicago soybeans and the fall in Dalian is a normal market reaction to the U.S.-China trade truce because China has agreed to start buying agricultural products from American farmers immediately,” said Monica Tu, an analyst at researcher Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. “The market is very concerned about the outcome of further negotiations between the two countries and whether there will be a large number of purchases in the next few weeks.”
Risk appetite returned across most markets on Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to pause the introduction of new tariffs and intensify trade talks. The move is a significant turnaround in relations between the U.S. and one of its biggest customers for farm products.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” the White House statement said.

Sustained gains in prices will depend on how quickly shipments of soy and other products resume given the higher prices they will command in China due to the tariffs. The fact that China made no mention of agriculture in its statement after the meeting may also weigh on traders.

See here for analysis on the trade spat’s impact on U.S. farms and agriculture

As tit-for-tat tariffs ratcheted up between the nations this year, China slapped retaliatory duties on U.S. soybeans, pork and a host of other agricultural goods. Soybean futures tumbled as a result, and global agriculture trade flows were rerouted.


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