By Benjamin Parkin
Futures for soybeans and other crops tumbled on Monday as markets absorbed newly minted Chinese tariffs on U.S. agriculture.
Soybean contracts for July delivery fell 2.6% to $8.51 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. July corn futures fell 1.7% to $3.45 3/4 a bushel while July wheat slid 1% to $5.07 3/4 a bushel.
Beijing on Friday introduced tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans, retaliating against equivalent duties from the Trump administration. Grain and soybean prices surged after the announcement, which was widely anticipated, as traders bet that the negative impact was already factored into prices.
But market participants took a more cautious tone on Monday, sparking a selloff.
"At this point, the combination of a good crop and big time trade issues makes it hard to get too excited about buying the soybean market much beyond Friday's highs," said Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage.
With the tariffs in effect, traders were increasingly focusing on the U.S. harvest. Searing hot Midwestern weather has sparked some concern about the condition of otherwise thriving corn and soybean crops. But weather forecasters say that cooler and wetter conditions will spread across the region from next week, helping to relieve any dryness and pressuring prices in turn.
Some traders are watching for signs that low prices could revive buying interest despite the tariffs. In particular, they're betting that cheap U.S. soybeans -- which fell to the lowest price in a decade last week -- could attract customers from other parts of the world, helping to offset some of the lost Chinese business. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday morning that exporters sold 132,000 metric tons of soybeans to unidentified customers for delivery in the upcoming crop year.
--Write to Benjamin Parkin at [email protected]