A History of Trade Policy Retaliation: Soybeans Edition

As the date of the resolution of the US-China trade dispute drifts further and further — perhaps past the 2020 elections according to Mr. Trump — it behooves us to look at what soybean futures contracts for September 2019 indicated as of Trump’s announcement of Section 301 action against China ($10.30 bushel on 3/22/2018) vs $8.67 today (Sept. 2019 is the front month future for soybeans now).

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Does the Safe-Haven Aspect of the US Explain Declining Treasury Rates

That’s what reader Ed Hanson surmises:

Why are long term interest rate coming down. There is one obvious answer. The world sees the US as the safest and best place to invest with their bond holdings because of rigorous US economy brought on by the Trump administration with its tax and reduced regulation policy. Perhaps it is this circumstance of inversion that means it is not indicating recession, at least for the US.

Just glance at today’s Economist for an alternative interpretation:

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Key Business Cycle Indicators, August 15th

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment (blue), industrial production (red), personal income excluding transfers in Ch.2012$ (green), manufacturing and trade sales in Ch.2012$ (black), and monthly GDP in Ch.2012$ (pink bold), all log normalized to 2019M01=0.  Source: BLS, Federal Reserve, BEA, via FRED, Macroeconomic Advisers (7/25 release), and author’s calculations.