Trump Pegs Soy Downturn on `Bad' Trade When Weather's to Blame

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump on Friday blamed a plunge in U.S. soybean prices on “bad (terrible) trade deals.” Mother Nature is really the culprit.

Soybean futures soared to all-time highs in 2012 -- five years before Trump was elected -- as a drought ravaged Midwest farms and crimped production. In the seasons since then, farmers in U.S. and Brazil, the top exporters, have reaped several back-to-back bumper crops and prices have slumped.

“Weather has been abnormally good and we’ve seen above-trend yields in the U.S., and that’s been a much bigger factor in the decline,” said Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions in Omaha, Nebraska. “We’re highly dependent on trade. For soybeans, it’s absolutely critical that we participate in those markets.”

U.S. soybean shipments have soared in recent years amid rising demand from China, which has now put tariffs on American imports in retaliation for similar taxes imposed by the White House. Trump said he’s “ready to go” with $500 billion more in new tariffs on Chinese imports, according to a CNBC interview aired Friday.

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