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3 Big Things Today, April 6

Soybeans, Grains Lower Overnight; China Says it Will Defend Itself ‘At Any Cost.’

1. Soybeans, Grains Lower After Trump Proposes Additional $100 Billion in Tariffs

Soybeans and grains were lower after President Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to find another $100 billion in Chinese goods on which it could impose tariffs.

The announcement is the latest salvo in a tit-for-tat trade spat between the two countries.

China said earlier this week that it would impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods, including soybeans, corn, and beef, countering a plan by the U.S. to put levies on imports of $50 billion in Chinese wares. Trump said China’s plan to tax American goods was “unfair.”

After the latest threat from the U.S., China said it would defend its interests vigorously, sending commodities and stocks lower.

Soybean prices fell sharply after the first volley from China threatening retaliation on Wednesday. Declines are more subdued this morning

Soybean futures for May delivery fell 16¾¢ to $10.14½ a bushel overnight on the Chicago Board of Trade. Soy meal declined $2.90 to $380.70 a short ton, and soy oil lost 0.11¢ to 31.67¢ a pound.

Corn futures fell 4¼¢ to $3.85¼ a bushel overnight.

Wheat dropped 4½¢ to $4.60¼ a bushel in Chicago, while Kansas City futures declined 6½¢ to $4.92 a bushel overnight.

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2. China Says It’s Not Afraid of a Trade War, Will Defend Itself ‘At Any Cost’

President Trump on Thursday ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to find another $100 billion in imported Chinese goods to tax, but the Chinese aren’t taking the threat lightly.

Beijing said in a statement overnight that it would defend itself “at any cost” against tariffs imposed on its goods.

“The Chinese will dedicate itself to the end and will definitely fight back,” the statement said, “China will adopt new comprehensive response measures and, at any cost, resolutely defend the interests of the country and the people. We do not want to fight, but we are not afraid to fight a trade war.”

Trump imposed a tariff on steel and aluminum last month, then followed with an announcement saying it would put levies on imported Chinese goods valued at $50 billion. China countered with threats to impose taxes on imported U.S. goods valued at $50 billion.

Trump called those tariffs “unfair,” and yesterday ordered the trade representative to find another $100 billion in Chinese goods to tax.

U.S. and China negotiators were reportedly willing to come together after the initial series of threats to hammer out a deal to avoid any disruption in trade, but it’s now unclear where those talks will go, if anywhere, after the latest announcement by the White House.

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3. Freeze Again Expected in Parts of Oklahoma, Missouri; Thunderstorms Also Forecast

Freeze warnings were again issued in the eastern Midwest, while the eastern half of Oklahoma likely will see strong storms on Friday.

Temperatures are expected to fall into the mid-20s overnight into early Saturday morning in a line from just outside the Oklahoma panhandle east into Missouri, Illinois, and extreme southern Indiana, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts are forecast to top 45 mph.

The subfreezing weather puts winter wheat crops in the area at risk.

Strong thunderstorms also are expected in the area, the NWS said in a report early Friday morning. Golf ball to half dollar-size hail also is expected along with wind gusts of up to 70 mph, the agency said.

“Thunderstorms will occur today across mainly the eastern half of Oklahoma,” the NWS said. “Damaging winds and large hail will be the main hazards, with storms late this morning through early evening.”

Farther north, a winter storm warning is in effect for the western half of Nebraska and parts of extreme western South Dakota. Up to 6 inches of snow are expected in parts of Nebraska, making travel difficult, according to the weather service.  

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