Why investors should worry about plunging copper and soybean prices

Trump’s trade war with Rwanda over used clothes Wall Street might not be freaking out about the trade war between China and the United States, but serious cracks are forming in the commodities market.

Check out copper, the industrial metal that’s so sensitive to swings in the global economy that it’s affectionately known as Dr. Copper. The price has plunged 16% over the past month and hit a one-year low on Wednesday.

Iron ore, another critical metal, has dropped 11% this year. Zinc hasn’t been this cheap since mid-2017. And a Bloomberg index of industrial metals including aluminum and nickel closed on Wednesday at the lowest since August 2017.

“Copper and other metals are reflecting concerns about a global slowdown — created by tariffs,” said Kristina Hooper, global market strategist at Invesco. “We are in a trade war that is being fought on multiple fronts.”

And then there are soybeans. China, the world’s largest consumer of American soybeans, imposed a 25% retaliatory tariff on the crop last week.

The trade brawl has already dealt a huge blow to American farmers. Soybean prices have crashed 13% this year to the lowest since December 2008, during the Great Recession.

“If you lose your biggest customer, what do you think is going to happen to prices?” asked Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group.

Related: Trade war fallout: Soybean prices plunge to a 10-year low

Contrast the commodities crash with what’s going on in the stock market.

The S&P 500 has jumped more than 2% this month, and the highflying Nasdaq has soared 4% to a record high on Thursday. The

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