US/Chinese Trade Dispute Threatens Soybean Business

The last thing a shaky looking soybean market needs right now is trade dispute between the US and China, but that's exactly what's brewing.

The Obama honeymoon period is over, and last week his administration slapped a 35% import duty on tyres from China, saying that cheap imports were putting US workers out of jobs.

China didn't take long to retaliate, yesterday announcing it was looking into the dumping of US poultry products onto it's own domestic market.

The threat of the dispute spilling over into soybeans will be a concern for the US market just before the biggest US soybean harvest in history kicks off in earnest.

China is too important a market at the moment, regularly accounting for 50-66% of the USDA's weekly export sales. Last week China booked just shy of 400,000 MT of the 830,600 MT sold, and 'unknown destinations' - a frequent euphemism for China - took a further 145,000 MT.

Of course it could be argued that China needs US beans right now, with very little left for sale in South America until their harvests kick off in the spring. They are however well stocked with government-owned supplies and just beginning to harvest their own crop as well.