Trading and chartering giant Cargill has revealed a 20% drop in earnings as shipping markets "lagged" last year.

The company said net earnings for the second quarter ended 30 November were $741m, against $924m a year ago.

Adjusted operating profit was $853m in the second quarter to 30 November, versus $948m in 2017.

Revenue was down 4% at $28bn.

Cargill said the ocean transportation business lagged last year as freight markets declined sharply in response to weakening macroeconomic sentiment.

It also blamed the uncertain effects of trade conflict on commodity flows, as well as the hesitance of third-party charterers to contract vessels ahead of the implementation of new international rules on sulphur dioxide emissions.

“Our teams executed in a world of uncertainty to bring the best solutions to our customers and the consumers they serve,” said Dave MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“Now, we are pushing to ready our businesses for the future with continuous improvement, financial discipline and a disruptive mindset.”