World Perspectives

Recent Macroeconomics Analysis

China Strategy; Biotech Breakout

China Strategy The U.S., EU and Japan have agreed to collaborate on how to deal with non-market economic practices – read China. The debate over how to address China is the most important topic in Washington these days. Opinions are varied. Former U.S. State Department official Daniel Rus...

Anti-vaxxers Come to Ag; Identity Politics Come to Trade

Anti-vaxxers Come to Ag The Green Revolution created modern agriculture, which has been called a mechanism for turning fossil fuels (inputs) into food. In a matter of just a couple of decades, fertilizer, pesticides, and genetics enabled staple crop yields to triple. Now Europe is trying to str...

COVID Variant Inflation

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing today entitled, “CARES Act Oversight of Treasury and the Federal Reserve: Building a Resilient Economy.” Testifying were Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary, and former Fed Chair, Janet Yellen. As the title suggests, the hear...

India’s Dangerous Reversal; Dems vs. Coms

India’s Dangerous Reversal Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent reversal on farm policy reforms will reverberate for years to come. Essentially, the nation will revert to a system that used a market support price (MSP) to boost farmer income but at levels above what would al...

Cancellation of Convenience; Fox in the Henhouse

Cancellation of Convenience The WTO’s 12th ministerial conference scheduled to begin next week has reportedly been postponed due to news of a new COVID variant being circulated. The new variant provides a delay for a meeting that, at this juncture, did not have a lot of hope for agreement...

Slippery Liability Slope; Papered Over; IP Confusion; Trilateral Double Talk

Slippery Liability Slope A federal jury in Ohio opined that since the pharmacies at major corporations filled prescriptions for opioids, they are therefore guilty of being complicit in the addiction epidemic to the drugs. Unlike the manufacturers of opioids, food processors have not yet been fo...

Farm Bill Outlook; China Phase One

Farm Bill Outlook Former Congressional staffer turned University of Illinois professor Jonathon Coppess correctly opines that negotiation on the 2023 farm bill may be quite contentious. That is because farm support programs benefit a very narrow subset of the population, and a vocal group of op...

Build Back Better Legislation Through the House

The House passed the scaled back version of the President’s Build Back Better reconciliation bill; the original package was $3.5 trillion, what got through the House on a 220-213 mostly party-line vote was $1.75 trillion. One Democrat, Representative Jared Golding of Maine, was the only m...

Inflation Blame-Shifting; India’s Un-Reform

Inflation Blame-Shifting President Joe Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the major oil companies for raising the cost of the fuel they sell. Now the Washington Post reports that attacking private companies for inflation may be a broader strategy. A large majority of Am...

GM Advantage

Eggplant (Brinjal) is one of the more important vegetables consumed in South Asia. It is low in nutrients but provides bulk and fiber while also being highly absorbent of flavorings. It is also subject to attack by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer, which reduces yields on a large share of the...

True Conclusion; All the Above

True Conclusion Art Cullen, publisher of Iowa’s The Storm Lake Times, correctly opines that most farmers want to protect the soil and the environment, if only it did not hurt them financially. The problem is a lack of resources to make it an inherent business practice. Nature demands chan...

State-led Chips; Grand Bargain Needed

State-led Chips Governments around the world spend billions of dollars in pursuit of food security and now the focus has expanded to computer security. China is prioritizing its domestic needs ahead of exporting semiconductors, which will squeeze overseas customers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress...

Selective Application; Missing Agenda

Selective Application The EU proposed a new regulation requiring due diligence on the part of companies marketing specific products (soybeans, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee derived products such as leather, chocolate and furniture) that were not derived from newly deforested geographie...

Food System Speed Bumps

There were plenty of critics of the food system before the pandemic and the disruptions it caused prompted even more over-the-top accusations of total failure. The harshest critics have been those that have long focused on hunger. Never mind that hunger is caused by poverty not the food system,...

Activist Math; COP26 and Biotech Future

Activist Math In the latest analytical miss by the activist group Food & Water Watch, “The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies: The Grocery Cartels,” the group found the U.S. food system filled with oligopolies and monopolies. Notably, they mentioned nothing about Americans spendin...

“Infrastructure” Package Details

Now that the new infrastructure bill has been signed into law, we almost know what is in it. While it is called an infrastructure bill, a little over a quarter of the new spending will be for environment improvements. The agriculture sector is pleased with the investments to be made in rural br...

COP26 Informs MC12; He Who Pays; Tech Sovereignty

COP26 Informs MC12 COP26 has ended and MC12 is about to begin and while the substance is vastly different, both share the goal of reaching global agreement to do important things. On both topics, the world is divided: rich versus poor, transatlantic versus Asia. Climate campaigners mounted prot...

feed-grains soy-oilseeds

Corn versus Soybean Acres in 2022

High crop prices and generally tight stocks are bullish for fertilizer prices, from a demand-pull side. But fertilizer prices are also up on supply-push factors: short supply, distribution, and higher natural gas costs which are about 70 to 80 percent of nitrogen fertilizer costs. Anhydrous am...

Inflation is Good; Transitory Fake Meat; Not so Fast; Fading Green

Inflation is Good The news yesterday about the surprising rise in U.S. inflation spooked markets and has President Biden’s team scrambling to avoid political blame for the problem. The problem is average consumers see the price of food, fuel and housing eating up their income at a faster...

Inflation Sparks Changes; China Hits Unions

Inflation Sparks Changes Food is one of the four essentials of life and yet politicians often tax it domestically and impose tariffs against its importation. That is until food prices move too high and start to get people real mad. Brazil has announced a 10 percent cut in the import tariff to f...

Blame the Golden Goose; Sour Mystery; Port Protectionism

Blame the Golden Goose The COP26 meeting in Glasgow continues this week and developing nations are demanding that rich countries compensate them for climate change with a large wad of cash - $1 trillion per year to Africa, another $1 trillion for India, etc. They argue that the rich countries b...

Wrong Subsidies; Net-Zero; Obvious Taxes

Wrong Subsidies Green groups remind us constantly that small, extensive agriculture is better for the environment than are large “corporate” farms only concerned about efficiency and profits. They campaign to eliminate the subsidies received by large farms and instead to focus on sm...

Takeaways from Economic Data Reports

There has been a plethora of economic data reports this first week of November, plus a Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) meeting of the Federal Reserve. Here is a recap of the data and news, and some take-aways. The trade deficit grew to a record $80.9 billion in September. Imports were up a...

COP26 Fallout; China Calls Bluff?; Right to Food Quirkiness

COP26 Fallout The Global Alliance for the Future of Food complains that most of the Nationally Determined Contribution plans they examined for meeting COP26 objectives by participating countries say very little about accounting for emissions associated with food and food imports. There wasn&rsq...

China Strategy; Biotech Breakout

China Strategy The U.S., EU and Japan have agreed to collaborate on how to deal with non-market economic practices – read China. The debate over how to address China is the most important topic in Washington these days. Opinions are varied. Former U.S. State Department official Daniel Rus...

Anti-vaxxers Come to Ag; Identity Politics Come to Trade

Anti-vaxxers Come to Ag The Green Revolution created modern agriculture, which has been called a mechanism for turning fossil fuels (inputs) into food. In a matter of just a couple of decades, fertilizer, pesticides, and genetics enabled staple crop yields to triple. Now Europe is trying to str...

COVID Variant Inflation

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing today entitled, “CARES Act Oversight of Treasury and the Federal Reserve: Building a Resilient Economy.” Testifying were Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary, and former Fed Chair, Janet Yellen. As the title suggests, the hear...

India’s Dangerous Reversal; Dems vs. Coms

India’s Dangerous Reversal Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent reversal on farm policy reforms will reverberate for years to come. Essentially, the nation will revert to a system that used a market support price (MSP) to boost farmer income but at levels above what would al...

Cancellation of Convenience; Fox in the Henhouse

Cancellation of Convenience The WTO’s 12th ministerial conference scheduled to begin next week has reportedly been postponed due to news of a new COVID variant being circulated. The new variant provides a delay for a meeting that, at this juncture, did not have a lot of hope for agreement...

Slippery Liability Slope; Papered Over; IP Confusion; Trilateral Double Talk

Slippery Liability Slope A federal jury in Ohio opined that since the pharmacies at major corporations filled prescriptions for opioids, they are therefore guilty of being complicit in the addiction epidemic to the drugs. Unlike the manufacturers of opioids, food processors have not yet been fo...

Farm Bill Outlook; China Phase One

Farm Bill Outlook Former Congressional staffer turned University of Illinois professor Jonathon Coppess correctly opines that negotiation on the 2023 farm bill may be quite contentious. That is because farm support programs benefit a very narrow subset of the population, and a vocal group of op...

Build Back Better Legislation Through the House

The House passed the scaled back version of the President’s Build Back Better reconciliation bill; the original package was $3.5 trillion, what got through the House on a 220-213 mostly party-line vote was $1.75 trillion. One Democrat, Representative Jared Golding of Maine, was the only m...

Inflation Blame-Shifting; India’s Un-Reform

Inflation Blame-Shifting President Joe Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the major oil companies for raising the cost of the fuel they sell. Now the Washington Post reports that attacking private companies for inflation may be a broader strategy. A large majority of Am...

GM Advantage

Eggplant (Brinjal) is one of the more important vegetables consumed in South Asia. It is low in nutrients but provides bulk and fiber while also being highly absorbent of flavorings. It is also subject to attack by the eggplant fruit and shoot borer, which reduces yields on a large share of the...

True Conclusion; All the Above

True Conclusion Art Cullen, publisher of Iowa’s The Storm Lake Times, correctly opines that most farmers want to protect the soil and the environment, if only it did not hurt them financially. The problem is a lack of resources to make it an inherent business practice. Nature demands chan...

State-led Chips; Grand Bargain Needed

State-led Chips Governments around the world spend billions of dollars in pursuit of food security and now the focus has expanded to computer security. China is prioritizing its domestic needs ahead of exporting semiconductors, which will squeeze overseas customers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress...

Selective Application; Missing Agenda

Selective Application The EU proposed a new regulation requiring due diligence on the part of companies marketing specific products (soybeans, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee derived products such as leather, chocolate and furniture) that were not derived from newly deforested geographie...

Food System Speed Bumps

There were plenty of critics of the food system before the pandemic and the disruptions it caused prompted even more over-the-top accusations of total failure. The harshest critics have been those that have long focused on hunger. Never mind that hunger is caused by poverty not the food system,...

Activist Math; COP26 and Biotech Future

Activist Math In the latest analytical miss by the activist group Food & Water Watch, “The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies: The Grocery Cartels,” the group found the U.S. food system filled with oligopolies and monopolies. Notably, they mentioned nothing about Americans spendin...

“Infrastructure” Package Details

Now that the new infrastructure bill has been signed into law, we almost know what is in it. While it is called an infrastructure bill, a little over a quarter of the new spending will be for environment improvements. The agriculture sector is pleased with the investments to be made in rural br...

COP26 Informs MC12; He Who Pays; Tech Sovereignty

COP26 Informs MC12 COP26 has ended and MC12 is about to begin and while the substance is vastly different, both share the goal of reaching global agreement to do important things. On both topics, the world is divided: rich versus poor, transatlantic versus Asia. Climate campaigners mounted prot...

feed-grains soy-oilseeds

Corn versus Soybean Acres in 2022

High crop prices and generally tight stocks are bullish for fertilizer prices, from a demand-pull side. But fertilizer prices are also up on supply-push factors: short supply, distribution, and higher natural gas costs which are about 70 to 80 percent of nitrogen fertilizer costs. Anhydrous am...

Inflation is Good; Transitory Fake Meat; Not so Fast; Fading Green

Inflation is Good The news yesterday about the surprising rise in U.S. inflation spooked markets and has President Biden’s team scrambling to avoid political blame for the problem. The problem is average consumers see the price of food, fuel and housing eating up their income at a faster...

Inflation Sparks Changes; China Hits Unions

Inflation Sparks Changes Food is one of the four essentials of life and yet politicians often tax it domestically and impose tariffs against its importation. That is until food prices move too high and start to get people real mad. Brazil has announced a 10 percent cut in the import tariff to f...

Blame the Golden Goose; Sour Mystery; Port Protectionism

Blame the Golden Goose The COP26 meeting in Glasgow continues this week and developing nations are demanding that rich countries compensate them for climate change with a large wad of cash - $1 trillion per year to Africa, another $1 trillion for India, etc. They argue that the rich countries b...

Wrong Subsidies; Net-Zero; Obvious Taxes

Wrong Subsidies Green groups remind us constantly that small, extensive agriculture is better for the environment than are large “corporate” farms only concerned about efficiency and profits. They campaign to eliminate the subsidies received by large farms and instead to focus on sm...

Takeaways from Economic Data Reports

There has been a plethora of economic data reports this first week of November, plus a Federal Open Market Committee (FMOC) meeting of the Federal Reserve. Here is a recap of the data and news, and some take-aways. The trade deficit grew to a record $80.9 billion in September. Imports were up a...

COP26 Fallout; China Calls Bluff?; Right to Food Quirkiness

COP26 Fallout The Global Alliance for the Future of Food complains that most of the Nationally Determined Contribution plans they examined for meeting COP26 objectives by participating countries say very little about accounting for emissions associated with food and food imports. There wasn&rsq...

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