On April 4th, the Chinese government announced tariffs on 106 products from the US, as a response to tariffs the US government issued on Chinese products the day before. Soybeans are a part of these tariffs, with a levy of 25% slapped on it. The US soybean trade to China is supposedly valued at $12 billion, and thus very important for farmers in the US midlands. As shown in the graph, made by the Washington Post, the soybean prices took an immediate hit and plummeted by more than five percent. One of the interesting effects of this could be that farmers, who usually plant their soy around this point in time, turn away from soy and plant corn instead.
One of the biggest stories in the last month has been the reintroduction of protectionist policies by the United States. Protectionist rhetoric was part of the campaign President Donald Trump ran on, and he’s put some truth to those words in the last month: he introduced steel and aluminium tariffs, while also applying tariffs on Chinese products. This week, China responded by imposing tariffs of their own on US products, culminating in what pundits claim to be a ‘trade war’. This graph, made by Goldman Sachs, shows the effective tariff rate since 1929, against this backdrop, it looks as if Trump tariffs are small, despite all the media attention. The recent tariffs equate to an increase of less than 1%. (source)
Update 4/4: This graph does not reflect the new tariffs that have been enforced on April 3rd, of which Douglas Irwin, author of “Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy,” says that President Trump’s action is one of the largest trade moves in more than three decades.