THOSE within the oilseed trade continue to watch the rhetoric coming out of Beijing and the White House to see whether a resolution to the costly trade war between the US and China is any closer.
There have been a number of hints from Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that they are prepared to sit down and work out their differences on trade, but many cynics remain unconvinced.
In spite of a tweet from Mr Trump last week speaking of positive developments and a speech from Mr Xi this week talking of China’s acceptance of globalization many within the agriculture sector say they want to see definitive action before believing the parties have resolved their differences.
For now, the status quo, with China imposing a harsh 25 per cent tariff on US soybeans, remains.
However, soybean markets continue to see a tightening of the discount for US soybeans against other origins, meaning at least some within the market believe there is some scope for a resolution to the trade dispute.
Cheryl Kalisch-Gordon, Rabobank, said the current situation was marked by extraordinary volatility in markets.
“Seeing the market move so pronouncedly in reaction to tweets is something we haven’t seen before, it reflects the high amount of uncertainty in the market,” Dr Kalisch-Gordon said.
She said while it was heartening to see positive noises, ultimately people wanted to see action.
“Words don’t mean much without meaningful trade outcomes,” she said.
“Furthermore, constantly hearing that something is about to happen then seeing it not occur jades the good will of people involved.”
Peter McMeekin, consultant with Grain Brokers Australia, said current market movements highlighted the impact of social media on trade.
“We have all heard of bull markets and bear markets, but now we have ‘tweet’ markets after a post on Twitter by ‘The Don’ sent US futures markets sharply higher last Thursday and Friday,” Mr McMeekin said.
He said the rally was based on the hope of progress in the trade negotiations with China.
As news of a possible resolution to the trade impasse surfaced on Thursday, the bean sellers disappeared, and short covering sent the futures market more than three per cent higher.
Luke Mathews, Grain Growers trade and economics manager, said he was hoping for a constructive outcome but added that the day to day commentary was not necessarily indicative of the situation.
“From our perspective, the ongoing tensions between US and China are not constructive, they are threatening open and free trade in agricultural commodities so even if there was a short term benefit for Australia as China chose not to buy from the US it would be overwhelmed by the negatives.”