Friday, July 06, 2018

Trade war is official: U.S. starts tariffs and China responds; soybean prices hit their lowest level in a decade

The trade war between the U.S. and China is officially on. "The United States imposed the first duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods early Friday," The Washington Post reports. "Moments later, the Chinese side fired back," accusing the U.S. of violating World Trade Organization rules and starting “the largest trade war in economic history to date.”

China did not specify its targets, but it "has promised to slap levies on an equal amount of American goods, including heartland staples like soybeans, corn, pork and poultry — a move President Trump said would compel the U.S. to hit China with levies on up to $500 billion in products," the Post notes.

"Soybeans represent 41 percent of the value of U.S. products on China's retaliatory tariff list," Katie Dehlinger reports for DTN/The Progressive Farmer. "The value of U.S. soybean exports to China has grown 26-fold in 10 years, from $414 million in 1996 to $14 billion in 2017, according to the American Soybean Association. Futures prices have dropped more than $2 per bushel since talk of the tariffs began back in March."

The tariffs depressed soybean prices further, Benjamin Parkin of The Wall Street Journal reports: “Soybean prices fell to the lowest point in almost a decade on Monday, as looming Chinese tariffs threatened to kill off demand from the U.S.’s largest customer.” Bloomberg News notes, "In the U.S., average cash prices fell to about $7.79 a bushel this week, the lowest in almost a decade, according to an index compiled by the Minneapolis Grain Exchange." However, the price has since jumped up:

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