China and Covid-19 Remain Washington Focus

Posted on 05/26/2020 4:44 AM

CFAP signup begins today


Washington Focus


Both chambers are not in Washington, with the Senate slated to return early June. The House can now vote by proxy (remote) and this week will consider a Senate-passed intelligence surveillance reauthorization and bipartisan legislation to modify the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Work continues behind the scenes on a Phase 4 Covid-19 relief package.


Washington's focus will likely be on ongoing tensions with China on several fronts, with the most vocal one being China's role in the Covid-19 pandemic. See Policy Updates for the latest on this issue.


Signup for USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) begins today (May 26), so the watch is on for any software and other glitches in the complex program.


Hearings and Events This Week


There are just a few House-related hearings on tap. The topics for those and other events focus on Covid-19 and the U.S./China relationship. The USMCA is the topic for a few events this week.


Monday, May 25

     — Holiday.

Tuesday, May 26

     — Federal Reserve. Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari to speak.

     — China & South Asia. East-West Center in Washington webinar on "China's Evolving Role in South Asia."

     — EPA economic analysis. Environmental Protection Agency meeting by teleconference of the Science Advisory Board Economic Guidelines Review Panel to conduct a peer review of the EPA's revised document titled "Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analyses" and to develop a report responsive to charge questions on the revised document.

     — Administration’s Covid-19 response. House Oversight and Reform Committee   briefing on the administration's Covid-19 response.

     — Covid-19 testing. National Institutes of Health meeting by teleconference to review and approve concept clearances for the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) program to develop Covid-19 testing technologies, which is part of NIH's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

     — China & Covid-19. Stanford University's Hoover Institution discussion via webcast on "Covid-19 and China."

     — USMCA. Cato Institute webcast on "Implementing the New NAFTA."

     — Pandemic risk legislation. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) conference call briefing to discuss the introduction of the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA), which would create "a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses resulting from future pandemics or public health emergencies."

Wednesday, May 27

     — Exxon Mobil Corp shareholders vote on measures that include splitting the CEO and board roles, reporting lobbying, and disclosing climate risks, as the largest U.S. oil producer holds a virtual annual shareholder meeting.
    — Federal Reserve. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard to speak.

    — Covid-19 & asset management. Securities and Exchange Commission meeting by webcast of the Asset Management Advisory Committee to discuss matters relating to the subcommittees and to Covid-19 and the asset management industry.

     — Covid-19 funding. Center for Global Development (CGD) discussion via webinar on "Increasing transparency around Covid-19 funding."

     — American businesses in India. Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU)discussion via webcast on steps the US Embassy in New Delhi has taken to address the current challenges and ways to support American businesses in India.

     Technology & taxes. New America webinar on "Technology and Tax During and Beyond the Coronavirus Pandemic."

     Global transport. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "Decarbonizing Global Transport."

     CSPC agenda. Consumer Product Safety Commission meeting by teleconference on the commission's agenda and priorities for FY 2021 and FY 2022.

     Energy & Covid-19. The Alliance to Save Energy webinar on "Three Percent Club. Maintaining Climate Momentum in the Time of Covid-19."

     Oil demand. United States Energy Association (USEA) webinar on "Taking a Look Ahead. The Long-Term Impacts on Oil Demand After a Crisis."

     — Budget & appropriations. Fiscal Note webinar on "Second Half Check In: Where Does Congress Go From Here?" focusing on the budget and appropriations process.

     U.S./China relations. Cato Institute discussion via webcast on "Chinese/U.S. Relations after the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     — Mexican economy & migration. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "The Mexican Economy and Its Impact on Migration."

     Electric vehicles. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) webinar on "Recharging at Retail: Expanding Public Electric Vehicle Infrastructure."

     Federal Reserve actions. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) discussion via webinar on "Will massive Federal Reserve stimulus prevent a deflationary spiral, or could it spark a big increase in inflation?"

     Renewable energy. American Solar Energy Society (ASES) discussion via webinar on "Maximizing Resources and Technologies for 100% Renewable Energy."

     Covid-19 & financial markets. Brookings Institution webinar on "Covid-19 and the Financial System: How and Why Were Financial Markets Disrupted?"

     Clean power. American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) webinar on "The Clean Power Decade," focusing on what the next decade holds for wind, solar and storage.

     Food industry issues. Washington Post Live webinar on "The Path Forward: The Food Industry," focusing on "challenges in farming, food production and distribution during the coronavirus pandemic."

Thursday, May 28

     — Federal Reserve. New York Fed President John Williams to speak.

     Covid-19 & economic response. Center for Global Development (CGD) webinar on "Can Economic and Financial Innovation Make a Difference in a Pandemic?"

     Energy cooperation with Europe. Atlantic Council webinar to launch a new report, "European Energy Security and the Critical Role of Transatlantic Energy Cooperation: Final Report and Recommendations."

     State-based visa programs. Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) webinar on "Immigration at the State Level: An Examination of Proposed State-Based Visa Programs in the U.S."

     China & technology. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "Is China Gaining on America as the Leading Standard-Setter for New Technologies and Products?"

     VA Covid-19 response. House Appropriations Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "Department of Veterans Affairs: Response to Covid-19."

     Dairy & the Middle East. The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Marketlinks webinar on "Covid-19: How the Dairy Sector Can Support Resilient Food Systems in East Africa."

     Covid-19 worker protections. House Education & Labor Workforce Protections Subcommittee hearing on "Examining the Federal Government's Actions to Protect Workers from Covid-19."

     China & Latin America. Americas Society/Council of the Americas, and the Heritage Foundation, webcast on "Addressing the China Challenge in Latin America."

     Trade negotiations. Washington International Trade Association (WITA) discussion via webinar on "Trade Negotiations in a Pandemic."

     U.S./EU relations. Atlantic Council webinar on "The United States and the European Union: Allies or Rivals?"

     U.S./China relations. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) discussion via webinar on "The U.S./China Strategic Balance after the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     Covid-19 & air travel. Washington Post Live webinar on "The Path Forward. Travel," focusing on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on travel and the airline industry.

     Covid-19 & U.S. food chain. New America webinar on "Where's the Meat?" focusing on how the coronavirus pandemic will transform the food supply chain.

Friday, May 29

     — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in webcast discussion with former Fed vice chair Alan Blinder. Separately, on the same day, Powell will participate via webcast in Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies Princeton Reunions Talk. A Conversation with Jerome Powell.

     Global economy. Washington Post Live holds a discussion via webcast on "The Path Forward. The Global Economy."

     Economic forecasts. The American Bankers Association holds a news conference via webinar to present the latest economic forecast of the Economic Advisory Committee regarding outlook for GDP, unemployment, inflation and interest rates.

     Oil prices & Russia’s economy. The Atlantic Council holds a webinar on "Pandemic, Plunging Oil Prices, and Putin. What Does the Future Hold for the Russian Economy?"

     U.S./ EU economies. The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) holds a webinar on "The US, German, and EU Economies at a Tipping Point."

     World Bank & Covid-19. The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) holds a discussion via webcast on "how the World Bank is stabilizing and stimulating economies as a result of Covid-19 and how the private sector may participate in the economic resurgence."

     U.S. foreign assistance. The Hudson Institute holds a webinar on "America's Foreign Assistance Leadership," focusing on "the role of U.S. foreign assistance in great power competition during the Covid-19 pandemic."


Economic Reports for the Week


Economic reports of interest include updates on new home sales, mortgage applications, consumer confidence, trade and jobless claims (38 million over the last eight weeks).


Monday, May 25

     — Markets closed in observance of Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 26

     — Conference Board releases its Consumer Confidence Index for May. The consensus estimate is for a 87.3 reading, roughly even with April’s 86.9.
     — Census Bureau reports new residential home sales for April. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 480,000 homes sold, 23.4% below March’s 627,000.
     — Federal Housing Finance Agency releases its Home Price Index for March. Expectations are for a 0.6% increase in single-family home prices, roughly even with February’s gain.
     — Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas releases its Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for May. Wall Street sees the index regaining some ground, to minus 61.5 from April’s minus 73.7, the lowest reading in the survey’s 16-year history.

Wednesday, May 27

— Richmond Fed Manufacturing
— Beige Book

Thursday, May 28

— National Association of Realtors releases its Pending Home Sales Index for April. The consensus estimate is for a 16.4% decline, to 73.7, following a precipitous 20.8% drop in March.
— Bureau of Economic Analysis releases its second estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product. Economists forecast a decline at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8%, unchanged from the BEA’s advance estimate at the end of April.
— Census Bureau releases April’s durable goods report. Expectations are for a 15% drop in new orders for manufactured durable goods, to $173 billion — similar to March’s 15.3% fall.
— Department of Labor reports initial jobless claims for the week ending on May 23. Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March, but claims have decreased for seven straight weeks.
— Fed Balance Sheet
— Money Supply
— Bank of Korea releases a policy statement. Economists are looking for more stimulus alongside downgrades to growth and inflation forecasts.

Friday, May 29


— Bureau of Economic Analysis reports personal income and spending data for April. Spending is expected to plummet 15%, twice the March decline. Income is seen falling 6%, triple the previous drop.
— Institute for Supply Management releases its Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index for May. A 40 reading is expected, up from April’s 35.4.
— Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in webcast discussion with former Fed vice chair Alan Blinder. Separately, on the same day, Powell will participate via webcast in Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies Princeton Reunions Talk. A Conversation with Jerome Powell.
— Eurozone inflation has weakened since governments’ started to impose lockdowns in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and figures to be released by the European Union’s statistics agency are expected to show that consumer prices were lower in May than a month earlier, and almost flat on the year.


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events

Key ag-related report is China's April trade data. In the U.S., focus has turned to new-crop weather outlook at the key corn and soybean crops have made rapid planting progress. The main area of crop concern is in North Dakota, where too much rain, again, is the culprit.


Monday, May 25


     Ag reports and events:

  • Holiday. U.S., U.K., Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan
  • China April trade data, including country breakdowns for commodities
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data


Tuesday, May 26


     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • Holiday. Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Wednesday, May 27


     Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Livestock & Meat Domestic Data
  • Peanut Stocks and Processing
  • Malaysia’s palm oil export data for May 1-25
  • Holiday. Pakistan

     Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. inventory report
  • Genscape weekly ARA crude stockpiles

Thursday, May 28

     Ag reports and events:

  • Agricultural Exchange Rate Data Set
  • Egg Products
  • Farm Labor
  • International Grains Council monthly report
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports
  • Earnings. Sanderson Farms

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change
  • EIA Weekly Petroleum Status Report including ethanol production & stocks

Friday, May 29


     Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade
  • Agricultural Prices
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions

     Energy reports and events:

  • Baker Hughes weekly U.S. oil/gas rig counts
  • EIA monthly oil production


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