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At this time of the year in the agricultural markets, the harvest prospects for the northern hemisphere and weather forecasts for the southern hemisphere are typically discussed, as the 2018-19 planting season is fast approaching for the latter. But this time around the typical discussion has been eclipsed by the uncertainty in the global trade environment caused by the trade dispute between the US and China. One of the commodities that has dominated the headlines is soya beans, following the introduction of retaliatory tariffs by China. This is important because the US and China are key players in the market. In 2017 the US was the world’s second-largest exporter of soya beans after Brazil, accounting for 37% of global soya bean exports, according to data from Trade Map. The major destination of these exports was China.In fact, over the past five years about two-thirds of US soya bean exports were absorbed by China. The retaliatory tariffs hence caused much discomfort in the US far...

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