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Soybean ETF in Focus as Prices Plunge to 9-Year Low

Zacks Equity Research
BOJA vs. SBUX: Which Stock Is the Better Value Option?

As trade war escalates with President Trump announcing the list of products to face the blow of import tariffs, China has imposed a retaliatory tariff of 25% on several U.S. products including Soybean. As a result, Soybean futures for July dropped 7% on Jun 19, the lowest since March 2009, per Thomson Reuters.

Trade-War in Brief                                                    

Trump went ahead with his tariff announcement of 25% on $50 billion of Chinese goods. In the first phase 800 items have been identified, which include electric cars, semiconductors and communication devices along with several others. In the second phase around 280 more items will be put into this bracket.

The U.S. government is actually looking to reduce the trade deficit of $376 billion, address intellectual property theft by Chinese firms and negotiate further concessions for U.S. goods in the Chinese market (read: Trade War Heats Up Again: ETFs & Stocks in Focus).   

China’s Retaliation a Considerable Risk for Soybean

China retaliated, by imposing tariff on 545 U.S. goods of $34 billion, which include agricultural products, automobiles and seafood, from Jul 6. Trump warned imposition of an additional tariff of $200 billion if Beijing continues to retaliate.

The Chinese government said in a statement, "We will immediately launch tariff measures that will match the scale and intensity of those launched by the United States." Beijing also said "all economic and trade agreements reached by previous negotiations will be nullified at the same time." This includes possibility of increase of Chinese purchases of U.S. energy and agricultural goods.

In a study conducted by the U.S. Soybean export council along with Purdue University, it was said that a 10% tariff would result in an export decline of 18%. Also, if that is hiked to 30%, the exports would considerably come down by 40%, which would force farmers to reduce production, resulting in losses. The prices could fall by 2% to 5% in these different scenarios over the next few years.

China imports roughly 100 million tons of Soybeans every year, mostly from Brazil and the United States. In 2016-17, 116.9 million tons of Soy was produced by United States, 31% of which were exported to China. The Soy trade stood at $14 billion in 2017-18, with China being the world’s largest consumer and biggest buyer from the United States. 

In the face of tariff imposition, the Chinese authorities have said that they will reduce imports and encourage farmers to increase Soy cultivation in their homeland. Further they have located 1.6 million acres to increase homegrown Soy production (read: Profit from Escalating Trade War Fears with Inverse ETFs).

As Soybean remains a soft target in the trade conflict, let us focus on SOYB, to observe its movement in the one week period.

Teucrium Soybean SOYB

The fund allows investors direct exposure to soybeans without any compulsion for futures account. The fund has gathered an asset base of $15.5 million and has average daily traded volume of 34,200 shares. It has an expense ratio of 1.74%. The fund lost 4.23% in the past week. SOYB has a Zacks ETF Rank #5 (Strong Sell) with a High risk outlook (read: China's $50B Tariff Backlash Puts These ETF Areas in Focus).

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