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Soybeans Close Lower Monday on Trade Worries

Prices decline as tensions continue to rise.

Soybeans closed lower Monday on concerns about the trade deal between the U.S. and China. 

There's both optimism and pessimism as Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials are trying to put the final touches on a plan to resume soybean purchases from the U.S., while Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said this weekend that there was a hard deadline of March 1 to get an agreement in place.

If a deal isn't reached by the deadline date, the U.S. plans to increase its tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10%.

Analysts have said both sides want to see a deal take shape but ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China continue to crop up.

Last week, Canadian authorities arrested the chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei at the behest of the U.S. government. China has demanded her release while the U.S. said she was arrested on charges relating to violations against sanctions on Iran. 

The U.S. agreed to delay raising the tariff rate, while China agreed to resume purchases of U.S. agricultural products, according to a White House statement. So far, China has yet to buy more beans from the U.S. 

Still, there are signs of improved demand as the weekly export sales report sent Friday -- a day later than usual due to the funeral of President George H.W. Bush -- showed exporters increased sales by 42% week-to-week.

In the seven days that ended on Nov. 29, sales totaled 890,900 metric tons. That's also up 87% from the prior four-week average, the Department of Agriculture said.  China, however, wasn't on the list of buyers. 

Soybeans for January delivery fell 7 3/4¢ to $9.09 a bushel on Monday. Soymeal lost $1.60 to $309.60 a short ton, and soy oil was unchanged at 28.74¢ a pound. 

Corn futures fell 2 1/4¢ to $3.83 1/4 a bushel. 

Wheat declined 6 3/4¢ to $5.24 1/2 a bushel in Chicago while Kansas City futures lost 2 1/2¢ to $5.09 1/2 a bushel.

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