CHICAGO — Grains trader Cargill Inc on Thursday reported a 20 percent drop in its fiscal second-quarter 2019 net earnings, as global trade tensions hit the bottom line along with challenges in the Chinese hog sector and a struggling U.S. dairy business.
Three of the company’s four business units reported results that were below the same period a year earlier.
While demand remained strong at the company’s beef business in North America, Cargill said political and marketplace headwinds hurt many of units, particularly its protein and food ingredients divisions, both of which have been strategic growth areas.
Political instability in Central America and market challenges in Southeast Asia ate into its poultry efforts, the company said. Meanwhile, earnings for its starches and sweeteners business slumped as U.S. ethanol prices hit historic lows and raw material costs rose in Europe.