Soybeans are going bananas

Scott Olson/Getty ImagesFarmer John Duffy and Roger Murphy load soybeans from a grain bin onto a truck
  • Soybean prices rose 3% on Tuesday.
  • They are up more than 11% after falling nearly 20% since April amid President Donald Trump’s tariffs.
  • Trump recently rolled out a $US12 billion aid package for farmers.
  • Watch soybeans trade in real time here.

Soybean prices jumped Tuesday as the prospect of easing trade tensions between the US and China set the legume up for its longest streak of gains in nearly a year.

In a sixth straight session of gains and at the highest level in more than a month, soybean futures for November delivery rose by as much as 3% to $US9.16 a barrel in midday trading. The legume has climbed more than 11% while gaining ground in 11 of the last 12 sessions. The rally follows a months-long decline that in July had dragged prices to near-decade lows.

Representatives of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He are looking to restart trade talks after a months-long standoff, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, in efforts to avoid further escalation in a trade war between the world’s largest economies.

Soybean prices had shed nearly 20% since April when the Trump administration announced plans to penalise China for alleged intellectual-property theft and what the president sees as unfair trade practices.

The Trump administration enacted earlier this month a 25% tariff on roughly $US34 billion worth of Chinese goods and threatened to slap additional duties on nearly all Chinese imports to the US, prompting Beijing to retaliate in kind.

Among the targeted $US34 billion worth of US products include soybeans, which China has since been strategising to reduce domestic reliance on by lowering trade barriers with other exporters of the legume.

Following backlash among American farmers – who make up a key part of Trump’s political base – the administration last week rolled out $US12 billion in emergency aid to farmers hurt by its trade policies. The controversial plan would include direct payments to farmers, trade promotion abroad, and government buyouts of surplus agricultural goods.

Last week, Trump struck a deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the EU to purchase more American soybeans. But the EU consumes significantly less soybeans than China, which is the world’s largest importer of the legume.

Soybean prices are down 12% year-over-year.

Screen Shot 2018 07 31 at 1.16.47 PMMarkets Insider

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