Soybean prices plunge to fresh lows as Trump's trade war persists

Chinese tariffs have impact on some local farmers

-China trade war, Brazil would indisputably replace the United States as the world's largest soybean grower as China scouts, without full success, for alternative soy suppliers.

China's retaliatory tariffs on USA soybeans, threatened for weeks and enacted Friday, have driven down prices and triggered a wave of bargain shopping by importers in other countries stocking up on cheap US supplies, according to a Reuters analysis of government data.

Last week, the US administration imposed a 25-percent additional tariff on 34 billion dollars worth of imports from China, forcing China to retaliate on USA imports.

The buying spree, mainly of Brazilian beans as they were in season, pushed up prices for the oilseed from the South American country as well as for soybean stocks in China.

The summer months are a popular time for American farmers to sell soybeans to China, according to economist Kevin McNew of Farmers Business Network.

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"Exports jumped a little more than 30,000 tonnes in market year 2017-18 to almost 80,000 tonnes in large part because of increased demand from India", the report said. Prices for soybeans for delivery in November held steady on Thursday.

Mexico has booked almost 1 million tonnes in advanced purchases of USA soybeans - four times more than last year - while Pakistan's 273,000 tonnes in forward purchases are up 44 percent from a year earlier, the USDA data shows.

Doherty said because of a trucking dispute, Brazil held up the shipment of soybeans, which means a lot of Brazilian beans will soon be coming back onto the market competing with USA farmers.

There's already been a sharp price decrease for certain products and soybean farmers are one group impacted.

President Trump has vowed to protect farmers from unfair Chinese retaliation, though the administration has declined to spell out the assistance it might provide. The soybean stockpile would surge to 580 million bushels by the time the 2019 crop is ready for harvest, the largest USA "carryover" in 74 years of USDA records. By contrast, the stockpile was a scant 92 million bushels when the 2014 harvest began.

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Market year 2018-19 soybean production is estimated to hit 120,000 tonnes, up 5,000 tonnes due to an increase in local demand for cooking oil, soy-based foods and livestock feed.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on almost all Chinese imports to the US.

Imports of soybeans in the crop year that starts on October 1 will be 93.85 million tonnes, down 1.8 million tonnes, or 2 percent, from last month's estimate, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in its monthly crop report.

There are now ample state stocks of soybeans, he said.

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