The price of soybean futures fell from above $10 per bushel in May to almost $8.50 in August, following Chinese retaliatory tariffs against the US. The response was triggered by tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, announced by US President Donald Trump in March.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review portal, the recent trade war between China and the US has benefited Singaporean firms, dealing in agricultural commodities, as soybean prices dropped significantly earlier this year.
Wilmar International, which is a leading agribusiness group in the region, announced on Monday that its net profit in the April-June quarter skyrocketed to $316 million, showing an almost fivefold year-to-year growth. The company also reported that its pretax profit in oilseeds and grains segment had logged a 381% increase last quarter, while growth in a strong palm oil segment was 165%
At the same time, Olam international demonstrated a 52% volume increase in soybean sales, taking the company to 13.6 million tons in the first half of 2018.
However, the group’s CEO Sunny Verghese has warned about negative long-term results of the trade conflict.
“This is bad for everybody, for China, for the US, and for all the countries involved. This will be an advent of moderating economic growth. It will be a tailwind for accelerating inflation,” Verghese told reporters on Sunday.
Relations between China and the US regarding the issue remain tense, as Washington recently threatened to target Chinese goods worth $200 billion. In response, Beijing has vowed to implement severe countermeasures against US agricultural products.