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Farmer Terry Davidson walks through his soy fields in Illinois in July. Photo: Nova Safo/AFP/Getty Images

America's soybean farmers are hanging onto their crops in an attempt to wait out President Trump's trade war with China, more than doubling U.S. soybean inventories, reports Bloomberg.

The big picture: Retaliatory tariffs have drastically pushed down demand for American soybeans in China, easily the crop's largest market, with imports down by nearly 90%. And prices have fallen, too, as a bushel of soybeans now trades for less than $9 compared to more than $11 earlier in the year.

Between the lines: Unlike corn, soybeans don't store well, so farmers are risking their livelihoods for an economic detente that isn't guaranteed.

  • Soy had become one of the few bright spots in the American farming market given Chinese demand, so production has reached record levels just as demand crashed.
  • But many farmers have the same idea, pushing potential soy storage areas like containers and silos to the limit, forcing some to resort to one-time-use plastic bags. "I’ve heard farmers and commercial companies putting corn and soybeans into tool sheds and caves," Soren Schroder, the CEO of Bunge, the world’s largest processor of soybeans, told Bloomberg.

What's next: Bloomberg pegs soybean futures at $9.27 for next July, meaning that farmers could at least recoup some of their cash — even if it won't be at levels like earlier this year — as hope springs that the U.S. and China could reach a soybean deal at the G-20.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.