Millions of tons of US soy shipped to China in trade consensus

Soybeans fall into a bin as a trailer is filled at a farm in Buda, Illinois, U.S., July 6, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 July 2019

Millions of tons of US soy shipped to China in trade consensus

  • China brought in 614,805 tons of soybeans from the US in June, down 2.5 percent from June 2018 and down 37 percent from 977,024 tons in May, customs data released on Saturday showed

BEIJING: The US has shipped several million tons of soybeans to China since the two countries’ leaders met in June, Chinese state media said on Sunday, an apparent sign of goodwill before trade talks in Shanghai this week.

The US-China trade war has curbed the export of US crops to China, with soybean sales falling sharply after Beijing slapped tariffs of 25 percent on American cargoes.
China has made enquiries to US suppliers for the purchase of soybeans, cotton and other agricultural products since July 19, and some sales have been made, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce.
“As long as the American agricultural products are reasonably priced and of good quality, it is expected that there will be new purchases,” the report said.
Companies involved in the sales have applied for exclusions to tariffs on agricultural goods with Chinese customs officials, it said.
It added that the moves show China’s willingness to promote US products and make good on a consensus reached between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka in June.

As long as the US agricultural products are reasonably priced and of good quality, it is expected that there will be new purchases.

                                                                                                                                                                                     — Report

Chinese and US negotiators are set to meet in Shanghai this week for the first time since the summit, with talks to start on July 30.
Earlier this month, the Trump administration said it would exempt a relatively narrow list of 110 Chinese products from tariffs, including medical equipment and key capacitors.
China brought in 614,805 tons of soybeans from the US in June, down 2.5 percent from June 2018 and down 37 percent from 977,024 tons in May, customs data released on Saturday showed.
The state media report on Sunday said the US should “take concrete measures to implement its relevant commitments and create favorable conditions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.”


Japan’s households tighten purse strings as sales tax and typhoon hit

Updated 06 December 2019

Japan’s households tighten purse strings as sales tax and typhoon hit

  • Falls in factory output, jobs and retail add to fears of worsening slowdown after Tokyo unveils $122bn stimulus package

TOKYO: Japanese households cut their spending for the first time in almost a year in October as a sales tax hike prompted consumers to rein in expenses and natural disasters disrupted business.

Household spending dropped 5.1 percent in October from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday.

It is the first fall in household spending in 11 months and the biggest fall since March 2016 when spending fell by 5.3 percent. It was also weaker than the median forecast for a 3 percent decline.

That marked a sharp reversal from the 9.5 percent jump in September, the fastest growth on record as consumers rushed to buy goods before the Oct. 1 sales tax hike from 8 percent to 10 percent.

“Not only is the sales tax hike hurting consumer spending but impacts from the typhoon also accelerated the decline in the spending,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

“We expect the economy overall and consumer spending will contract in the current quarter and then moderately pick up January-March, but such recovery won't be strong enough.”

Household spending fell by 4.6 percent in April 2014 when Japan last raised the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent. It took more than a year for the sector to return to growth.

Compared with the previous month, household spending fell 11.5 percent in October, the fastest drop since April 2014, a faster decline than the median 9.8 percent forecast.

Analysts said a powerful typhoon in October, which lashed swathes of Japan with heavy rain, also played a factor in the downbeat data. Some shops and restaurants closed during the storm and consumers stayed home.

Separate data also showed the weak state of the economy.

The index of coincident economic indicators, which consists of a range of data including factory output, employment and retail sales data, fell a preliminary 5.6 points to 94.8 in October from the previous month, the lowest reading since February 2013, the Cabinet Office said on Friday.

It was also the fastest pace of decline since March 2011, according to the data.

Real wages adjusted for inflation, meanwhile, edged up for a second straight month in October, but the higher levy and weak global economy raise worries about the prospect for consumer spending and the overall economy.

While the government has sought to offset the hit to consumers through vouchers and tax breaks, there are fears the higher tax could hurt an economy already feeling the pinch from global pressures.

Japan unveiled a $122 billion fiscal package on Thursday to support stalling growth and as policymakers look to sustain activity beyond the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A recent spate of weak data, such as exports and factory output, have raised worries about the risk of a sharper-than-expected slowdown. The economy grew by an annualized 0.2 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace in a year.

Analysts expect the economy to shrink in the current quarter due to the sales tax hike.