World Perspectives

Recent Policy Analysis

Legs of War; No Cigar

Legs of War The news that Presidents Trump and Xi plus their negotiators will have extended bilateral discussions around the G20 Summit was seen as hopeful but not definitive. Both sides are dug in deep and short of one side or the other (or both). As it incurs economic calamity, this war would...

Is the Immigration-Tariff Deal with Mexico a Template for China Breakthrough?

There is a great deal of speculation on whether Presidents Trump and Xi will actually meetand/or come to a deal at the G20 Summit in Osaka on 28 and 29 June. Much of the rhetoric from the U.S. side has continued to take a tough stance in trade talks with China. However, it is now more than a ye...

Trump G20 Plan; Trade Policy Potpourri

Trump G20 Plan Donald Trump has been relentless at pressuring other NATO members to meet their commitments in terms of funding the organization’s military capacity. His admonitions have been backed by NATO’s secretary general and major media organizations like the Financial Times. I...

Appropriations Amendments Tie USDA’s Hands and Scrutinize Administration on Trade

The House ag appropriations bill includes many restrictions on USDA’s use of appropriated funding, and there are 70 amendments that provide more stipulations. Yesterday was the deadline for filing amendments with the Rules Committee, which will meet next Tuesday to decide on the ones that...

Good/Bad Trade War; Government Procurement Challenge; POTUS Contender and Commodity Outlook

Good/Bad Trade War Political analysts correctly note how the Trump trade war has “scrambled” the politics in both major political parties. Politicians do not like to be wrong, and so the most common refrain is that Mr. Trump could have used a different course to address China’...

Cold War II; Varying Farm Policy Models

Cold War II In a sign that President Trump is not going to be able to leverage a trade agreement out of China, Beijing issued notice that it will not yield to U.S. demands even with maximum pressure from Washington. This is the strength of a Marxist economy, and it is perhaps helped by a fallin...

End of GMO Panic; Contrasts and Irony

End of GMO Panic When genetically modified wheat was curiously found in an Oregon field in 2013, some importers cancelled their shipments, others stepped up inspection of American wheat, and there were of course lawsuits. There were headlines in 2016 when GM wheat was found in in a field in Was...

Ag Supports Trump Trade Policy; Contrasting Approaches to Moving

Ag Supports Trump Trade Policy The persistent question is, when will American agriculture stop supporting Trump trade policy given its deleterious impacts on the sector? The answer remains unknown, and today’s congressional hearing on the topic proved there is still a political understand...

Between Prevented Plantings and MFP: How Much More Corn?

All corn acres in the U.S. are past the deadline for full crop insurance coverage, meaning that farmers can either elect to take prevented planting payments or plant late and see crop insurance coverage drop for each day past the deadline. 5 June is the latest deadline, mostly in the easte...

biofuel

Ethanol Margins Squeezed Amid Regulatory Uncertainty

Ethanol production ended May at a pace of 1.044 million barrels per day (bpd), which was the lowest level in a month after the buildup for the summer driving season. However, it also left stocks at their second highest level on record for that month. Crude oil stocks increased early in May and...

More Tariff Threats but Progress; Subsidizing Fake News; Ethanol Supply Destruction

More Tariff Threats but Progress Fresh off his claim of successfully coercing Mexico via tariff threats into greater responsibility for the immigration mess, President Trump returned his focus today to China. Likely discouraged by skepticism expressed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that C...

More Tariffs Please; Food Tribalism and Consumer Contradictions

More Tariffs Please The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its analysis that concluded the Trump tariffs on China have had very little adverse impact on that country. It credits the stimulus measures introduced by Beijing as a successful counteraction. However, IMF Deputy Director for A...

Mixed Signals on the Economy, Trade and Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve has released it Beige Book summary of economic conditions around the country. Prominent was the plight of the ag economy, specifically deteriorating cash flow, credit payments and investment spending. Meanwhile, recent economic data together with the uncertain trade situatio...

Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Death by Duties; Life with Meat

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part of the focus on China pertains to the extent that the government controls the means of commerce. It is pervasive to be sure with more than a third of all business activity there estimated to be under such control. However, China is not alone. Western governme...

Protectionism Progresses; Misinformation Ceases; Wrong Tool

Protectionism Progresses U.S. trading partners (and many Americans) hoping to wait out the presidency of Donald Trump for someone more conciliatory in the 2020 election should be disheartened listening to the Democrats vying for the job. The trade rhetoric of most leading Democratic contenders...

Assistance Payments as Unpredictable as the Weather

After an approximate five-month delay, Congress has approved a $19 billion disaster bill that would cover in addition to other relief efforts, certain agricultural losses. The House passed the bill 354-58 yesterday (it failed the week before by one vote) and the Senate had passed it by a vote o...

Future of Trump Trade Policy; Iced Coffee

Future of Trump Trade Policy  The U.S. has lower tariffs and fewer nontariff barriers than most other countries. The theory of Trump trade policy has involved an eye for an eye – imposing tariffs to leverage more equitable treatment. It has not worked well. South Korea, Canada and Me...

biofuel

Scaled-Back RIN Reforms and Conflicting EPA Outlook on E15 Impact

As expected, last Friday the EPA published its final rule to allow year-round E15 sales. That rule included a much scaled-down proposal regarding the trading and holding of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which the agency said is a way to increases transparency to deter price manipulat...

Suicidal Tariffs; Not Beyond Meat

Suicidal Tariffs President Trump irrationally announced that he would impose 5 percent tariffs on goods from Mexico in less than two weeks and take them to 25 percent by October if Mexico City fails to stem the tide of illegal migration. Its irrationality is attested to by the reaction of the m...

USDA and Congress Introduce More Uncertainty to Planting Decisions

When USDA announced the 2109 version of its Market Facilitation Program (MFP) last week, which is intended to mitigate the impact of ongoing trade tensions, it indicated that payments would be “based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in ag...

Not US, MCA; Pride over Sustenance; Everyone's Politician

Not US, MCA Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tabled the USMCA agreement in Parliament, and Mexican President André Manuel López Obrador says he will be sending it to his country’s Senate. Today the White House sent to the Congress the draft Statement of Administrat...

Swiss Miss; Political Ground Shift; Please Make It Stop

Swiss Miss Switzerland has reportedly moved higher on the list of countries potentially negotiating a free trade agreement with the U.S. Swiss Confederation President Ueli Maurer said, “We are trying to get the free trade agreement [with the U.S.] on track.” A similar effort in 2006...

Global Politics Weighs on Trade

Pundits are debating the impacts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impressive reelection as well as the mood of his Bharatiya Janata Party. The question is whether the pre-election refusal to engage with the U.S. on stronger trade relations becomes a more permanent fixture. Even mo...

biofuel

Key EPA Biofuel Regulatory Decision Timeline

The EPA’s proposed rule on year-round E15 use is presently at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The administration has promised to have it in place by 1 June, which is Saturday. Therefore, the market should expect the rule this week.  As WPI has previously noted, the new rul...

Legs of War; No Cigar

Legs of War The news that Presidents Trump and Xi plus their negotiators will have extended bilateral discussions around the G20 Summit was seen as hopeful but not definitive. Both sides are dug in deep and short of one side or the other (or both). As it incurs economic calamity, this war would...

Is the Immigration-Tariff Deal with Mexico a Template for China Breakthrough?

There is a great deal of speculation on whether Presidents Trump and Xi will actually meetand/or come to a deal at the G20 Summit in Osaka on 28 and 29 June. Much of the rhetoric from the U.S. side has continued to take a tough stance in trade talks with China. However, it is now more than a ye...

Trump G20 Plan; Trade Policy Potpourri

Trump G20 Plan Donald Trump has been relentless at pressuring other NATO members to meet their commitments in terms of funding the organization’s military capacity. His admonitions have been backed by NATO’s secretary general and major media organizations like the Financial Times. I...

Appropriations Amendments Tie USDA’s Hands and Scrutinize Administration on Trade

The House ag appropriations bill includes many restrictions on USDA’s use of appropriated funding, and there are 70 amendments that provide more stipulations. Yesterday was the deadline for filing amendments with the Rules Committee, which will meet next Tuesday to decide on the ones that...

Good/Bad Trade War; Government Procurement Challenge; POTUS Contender and Commodity Outlook

Good/Bad Trade War Political analysts correctly note how the Trump trade war has “scrambled” the politics in both major political parties. Politicians do not like to be wrong, and so the most common refrain is that Mr. Trump could have used a different course to address China’...

Cold War II; Varying Farm Policy Models

Cold War II In a sign that President Trump is not going to be able to leverage a trade agreement out of China, Beijing issued notice that it will not yield to U.S. demands even with maximum pressure from Washington. This is the strength of a Marxist economy, and it is perhaps helped by a fallin...

End of GMO Panic; Contrasts and Irony

End of GMO Panic When genetically modified wheat was curiously found in an Oregon field in 2013, some importers cancelled their shipments, others stepped up inspection of American wheat, and there were of course lawsuits. There were headlines in 2016 when GM wheat was found in in a field in Was...

Ag Supports Trump Trade Policy; Contrasting Approaches to Moving

Ag Supports Trump Trade Policy The persistent question is, when will American agriculture stop supporting Trump trade policy given its deleterious impacts on the sector? The answer remains unknown, and today’s congressional hearing on the topic proved there is still a political understand...

Between Prevented Plantings and MFP: How Much More Corn?

All corn acres in the U.S. are past the deadline for full crop insurance coverage, meaning that farmers can either elect to take prevented planting payments or plant late and see crop insurance coverage drop for each day past the deadline. 5 June is the latest deadline, mostly in the easte...

biofuel

Ethanol Margins Squeezed Amid Regulatory Uncertainty

Ethanol production ended May at a pace of 1.044 million barrels per day (bpd), which was the lowest level in a month after the buildup for the summer driving season. However, it also left stocks at their second highest level on record for that month. Crude oil stocks increased early in May and...

More Tariff Threats but Progress; Subsidizing Fake News; Ethanol Supply Destruction

More Tariff Threats but Progress Fresh off his claim of successfully coercing Mexico via tariff threats into greater responsibility for the immigration mess, President Trump returned his focus today to China. Likely discouraged by skepticism expressed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that C...

More Tariffs Please; Food Tribalism and Consumer Contradictions

More Tariffs Please The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its analysis that concluded the Trump tariffs on China have had very little adverse impact on that country. It credits the stimulus measures introduced by Beijing as a successful counteraction. However, IMF Deputy Director for A...

Mixed Signals on the Economy, Trade and Monetary Policy

The Federal Reserve has released it Beige Book summary of economic conditions around the country. Prominent was the plight of the ag economy, specifically deteriorating cash flow, credit payments and investment spending. Meanwhile, recent economic data together with the uncertain trade situatio...

Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Death by Duties; Life with Meat

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Part of the focus on China pertains to the extent that the government controls the means of commerce. It is pervasive to be sure with more than a third of all business activity there estimated to be under such control. However, China is not alone. Western governme...

Protectionism Progresses; Misinformation Ceases; Wrong Tool

Protectionism Progresses U.S. trading partners (and many Americans) hoping to wait out the presidency of Donald Trump for someone more conciliatory in the 2020 election should be disheartened listening to the Democrats vying for the job. The trade rhetoric of most leading Democratic contenders...

Assistance Payments as Unpredictable as the Weather

After an approximate five-month delay, Congress has approved a $19 billion disaster bill that would cover in addition to other relief efforts, certain agricultural losses. The House passed the bill 354-58 yesterday (it failed the week before by one vote) and the Senate had passed it by a vote o...

Future of Trump Trade Policy; Iced Coffee

Future of Trump Trade Policy  The U.S. has lower tariffs and fewer nontariff barriers than most other countries. The theory of Trump trade policy has involved an eye for an eye – imposing tariffs to leverage more equitable treatment. It has not worked well. South Korea, Canada and Me...

biofuel

Scaled-Back RIN Reforms and Conflicting EPA Outlook on E15 Impact

As expected, last Friday the EPA published its final rule to allow year-round E15 sales. That rule included a much scaled-down proposal regarding the trading and holding of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which the agency said is a way to increases transparency to deter price manipulat...

Suicidal Tariffs; Not Beyond Meat

Suicidal Tariffs President Trump irrationally announced that he would impose 5 percent tariffs on goods from Mexico in less than two weeks and take them to 25 percent by October if Mexico City fails to stem the tide of illegal migration. Its irrationality is attested to by the reaction of the m...

USDA and Congress Introduce More Uncertainty to Planting Decisions

When USDA announced the 2109 version of its Market Facilitation Program (MFP) last week, which is intended to mitigate the impact of ongoing trade tensions, it indicated that payments would be “based on a single county rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to those crops in ag...

Not US, MCA; Pride over Sustenance; Everyone's Politician

Not US, MCA Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tabled the USMCA agreement in Parliament, and Mexican President André Manuel López Obrador says he will be sending it to his country’s Senate. Today the White House sent to the Congress the draft Statement of Administrat...

Swiss Miss; Political Ground Shift; Please Make It Stop

Swiss Miss Switzerland has reportedly moved higher on the list of countries potentially negotiating a free trade agreement with the U.S. Swiss Confederation President Ueli Maurer said, “We are trying to get the free trade agreement [with the U.S.] on track.” A similar effort in 2006...

Global Politics Weighs on Trade

Pundits are debating the impacts of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impressive reelection as well as the mood of his Bharatiya Janata Party. The question is whether the pre-election refusal to engage with the U.S. on stronger trade relations becomes a more permanent fixture. Even mo...

biofuel

Key EPA Biofuel Regulatory Decision Timeline

The EPA’s proposed rule on year-round E15 use is presently at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The administration has promised to have it in place by 1 June, which is Saturday. Therefore, the market should expect the rule this week.  As WPI has previously noted, the new rul...

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