Soybean prices to a near decade low last Friday as United States president, Donald Trump expressed no signs of backing down on threats to impose $200 billion worth of additional tariffs on China, the world’s largest soy importer.
Soybeans prices fell to $8.26 a bushel for November delivery, the lowest level since late 2008. Prices have shed nearly 20 percent since March, when the Trump announced intentions to penalise China for what US officials found to be unfair trade practices.
The Trump administration enacted a 25 percent tariff on roughly $34 billion worth of Chinese goods last week. Beijing retaliated with in-kind tariffs on American products, including soybeans.
For John Heisdorffer, president of the American Soybean Association and farmer in Iowa, the tariffs come at a challenging time.
“Farmers are already deal ing with low commodity prices and a down farm economy, and the price of soybeans has continued to drop since tariff rhetoric first began,” Heisdorffer said.
“China is not a market that appeared overnight,” he said, adding that farmers have worked with the Department of Agriculture for decades to develop foreign markets for soybeans.
The summer months are a popular time for American farmers to sell soybeans to China, according to economist Kevin McNew of Farmers Business Network. He said China has bought about 2.5 million metric tonnes of soybeans on forward contracts he expects will be cancelled.
Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports to the US. Last Tuesday, he said a list of 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods is being prepared. An additional $200 billion could be targeted, the president had earlier warned, if Beijing retaliated on such a move. But officials vowed they would.