Corn and Soybeans Are Facing Flood, Trade Cross Currents

At a Glance

  • U.S. soybeans were again hit hard following the latest trade war escalation

Two major U.S. agricultural markets are being buffeted by serious cross currents.  First, there is the escalating US-China trade war.  In the tit-for-tat tariff wars, the Chinese have aimed at soybeans. When the United States initiated the trade war back in the spring of 2018, soybeans prices dropped like a rock – by 20 percent — as China curtailed buying.  In the latest round of this escalating war, soybeans were hit hard again with selling pressure.  By contrast, U.S. corn prices hardly know there is a trade war raging, because the U.S. is not an important exporter of corn to China.

Market themes and direction can change abruptly, though.  The new focus may be on fears of what flood-delayed spring plantings will mean for the 2019 crops – both corn and soybeans – and the new direction might be upward.

Beware of shifting cross currents, as market discount trade war fears and shift to worrying about delayed spring plantings.

Bluford (Blu) Putnam has served as Managing Director and Chief Economist of CME Group since May 2011. He is responsible for leading economic analysis on global financial markets by identifying emerging trends, evaluating economic factors and forecasting their impact. Prior to joining CME Group, Putnam gained more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry with concentrations in central banking, investment research and portfolio management. He has authored five books on international finance.

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