World Perspectives

What do February’s Retail Sales Mean for Agriculture?

The consumer is often said to be the backbone of the U.S. economy, and that looks to be a positive factor for the food and agricultural sectors. The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its monthly advanced estimates of retail and food service sales, which are widely encouraging from a macroeconomic perspective. The data show broad-based sales increases, largely driven by robust consumer spending. Consumer spending, of course, is nearly always good for the economy, provided it isn’t financed with unreasonable debt/income ratios. Total retail sales in February were down slightly from January but up 2.8 percent from February 2018. While year-over-year growth has slowed since the 7 percent spike in mid-2018, the trend remains positive a...

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From WPI Consulting

Forecasting developments in production agriculture

On behalf of a private U.S. agricultural technology provider, WPI’s team generated an econometric model to forecast the movement of concentrated corn production north and west from the traditional U.S. Corn Belt. WPI’s model has subsequently provided quantitative support to a multi-million-dollar investment into short-season corn variety development. WPI’s methodology included a series of interviews with regional grain elevators and seed consultants. Emphasizing outreach and communication with stakeholders who possess intimate sectoral knowledge – on-the-ground insights – is a regular component of WPI’s methodologies, made possible by WPI’s ever-growing network of industry contacts.

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