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The Trade War Is Creating a Windfall for Rivals of U.S. Soy in China

  • Spread of soybean oil over palm soars in China, luring imports
  • Trade conflict, hog virus mean fewer beans are being crushed
Palm fruit plantation in Malaysia.

Palm fruit plantation in Malaysia.

Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

The giant blow dealt to U.S. farmers by China’s retaliatory tariffs on American soybeans is shaping up to be the biggest windfall yet for palm oil producers half a world away.

China is likely to import a record 6.7 million tons of palm oil in the year from October, according to the China National Grain and Oils Information Center. That’s because rival soybean oil prices are surging as supplies of beans, used to produce animal feed, shrink due to the trade war and African swine fever.