U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter in July to blast Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in ALL CAPS for “demented words of violence.”
The escalating tensions between the nations failed to impede a surge in soybean business after China, another Trump foe and the world’s top oilseed buyer, shunned American shipments in an escalating trade battle.
Since July, 11 American soybean cargoes with a combined 750,602 metric tons have headed to Iran, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. That’s up fivefold from a year earlier. Confirmed deliveries in the nine months ended Aug. 31 are 166,348 tons, according to the latest U.S. Census figures.
Since China introduced tariffs on U.S. soybeans in July, Iran has been the fifth-largest importer of American supplies, USDA inspection data show.
As Trump tweeted on July 22, a cargo of U.S. soybeans was crossing the Atlantic Ocean en route to Iran. American trade sanctions announced in August against the Middle Eastern country excluded agricultural commodities.
The Vita Future, the bulk carrier sailing while Trump was tweeting, departed Bunge North America’s grain elevator in Destrehan, Louisiana, on July 9 before arriving in Iran’s Bandar Imam Khomeini port on Aug. 25.
Ten of the 11 soybean shipments to Iran have been from the Mississippi region’s export elevators, transported down to the lower Mississippi River by barge or by rail from the soybean states in the U.S. heartland. The Antigoni, Anna S and Seajoy bulk carriers are currently in transit to Iran.
Since July, Iran joined Egypt, a major aquaculture producer, among the top five U.S. customers.
Soybean futures have dropped 9.3 percent this year in Chicago. The Trump administration plans to provide $12 billion in aid to U.S. farmers hurt by the trade war with China.
Other major soybean markets have been caught up in the shift in global trade flows. Brazil has benefited by increasing sales to China. Almost 170,000 tons of U.S. supplies are heading to Argentina after a drought reduced output in the South American nation, the top producer of animal feed made from the oilseed.
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