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Weekend Roundup: Mall Vacancies, Soybeans, Chinese Defaults, Taxes, US Politics

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Malls are the emptiest they've been since 2012, when the U.S. economy was still struggling to recover from the last recession.

The vacancy rate reached 8.6% in the second quarter, up from 8.4% in the first quarter, as more consumers shifted their shopping online, according to data from real-estate research firm Reis Inc. The highest postrecession vacancy was in the third quarter of 2011, when it hit 9.4%, Reis said.

The shopping slowdown is being felt in all types of brick-and-mortar retail outlets throughout the country. Vacancies in open-air shopping centers, for example, increased during the last quarter in 55 of the 77 metropolitan areas studied by Reis.

The impact is especially severe among strip malls and other neighborhood and community shopping centers, which suffered their worst quarter in nine years. About 3.8 million square feet of space was emptied from April to June, pushing the vacancy rate for this type of mall up to 10.2%, Reis said.

Soybeans Tumble Near 10-Year Low

Thanks to Trump tariffs and large crops Soybeans Tumble Near 10-Year Low.

Beijing said it plans to introduce tariffs on U.S. soybean imports starting Friday, part of a package of measures retaliating against the Trump administration's own threatened duties against hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods. Soybean buyers in China—the world's largest consumer of oilseed, which gobbles up around a third of all the U.S.-grown crop—have sharply slowed their purchases in anticipation of the duties.

"That is the market," said Jeff Kaprelian, a broker at advisory firm The Hueber Report. "There is nothing more important than Chinese demand."

Record Defaults in China

Bloomberg reports China Set for Record Defaults, and Downgrades Tip More Pain.

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