Congress Out as Covid-19 Continues to Be Key Focus in Holiday-Shortened Week

Posted on 04/06/2020 4:18 AM

Ag and other lobbyists urge more funding for their sectors in coming Phase 4 package


Congress is out, with staff and key lawmakers working behind the scenes on Phase 4 of the Covid-19 rescue/stimulus package that continues to be lobbied by all sorts of groups, including agriculture. USDA on Thursday releases its monthly reports including the WASDE, but the COVID-19 outbreak has muted interest in and response after normally key reports are issued.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday signaled that she’s adjusting her agenda for the next (Phase 4) coronavirus aid measure, saying that additional direct payments to Americans is a higher priority than infrastructure, which may have to be delayed until later. “While I’m very much in favor of doing what we need to do to meet the needs of clean water, more broadband and the rest of that, that may have to be for a bill beyond this,” Pelosi told CNBC. “I think right now we need a fourth bipartisan bill — and I think the bill could be very much like the bill we just passed.”


     Pelosi said that the $350 billion included in the last stimulus for small business to maintain payrolls for two months won’t be sufficient. She said the country also will need an extension of the expanded unemployment benefits and additional direct payments to middle income individuals.“So I’d like to go right back and say ‘let’s look at that bill. Let’s update it for some other things that we need,’ and again put money in the pockets of the American people,” she said.


Farm Bureau sent a six-page letter (link) to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue detailing recommendations for spending the $23.5 billion that was included in the $2 trillion Phase 3 economic stimulus package, including aid to the ethanol sector.


The biofuel sector also sent a letter (link) went to Perdue, urging USDA Commodity Credit Corporation assistance. The letter says approximately 3.5 billion gallons of annualized ethanol production has been idled since March 1, equaling 1.2 billion bushels of annualized corn demand.


Economic reports for the week include:


     — JOLTS: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for February. Consensus estimates are for 6.8 million job openings on the last business day of February, compared with seven million in January.

     — Consumer Credit: Federal Reserve reports consumer credit data for February. Last year, consumer borrowing climbed 4.5%, to nearly $4.2 trillion, still below the five-year average jump of 5.6%.
     — Reserve Bank of Australia announces its monetary-policy decision. The central bank cut its cash target rate to a record low 0.25% on March 19 after an emergency meeting, hoping to stave off Australia’s first recession since 1991.

     — FOMC Minutes

     — Jobless Claims: Department of Labor reports initial jobless claims for the week ending on April 4. This past week, the DOL reported 6.6 million jobless claims for the week ending on March 28, the second straight record high.
     — PPI-FD: BLS releases the Producer Price Index for March. Expectations are for a 0.3% drop, after a 0.6% fall in February. The core PPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is seen gaining 0.1%, compared with February’s 0.3% decline.
     — Consumer Sentiment: University of Michigan releases its Consumer Sentiment Index for April. Economists forecast an 79 reading, a steep decline from March’s 89.1 figure.
     — Wholesale Trade
     — Fed Balance Sheet
     — Money Supply

     — CPI
     — Treasury Budget


Key USDA & international ag and energy-related reports and events:


Monday, April 6

     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data

     Energy reports and events:

  • The Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center holds a webcast on "Covid-19: Clean Energy and Climate Impacts"

Tuesday, April 7


     Ag reports and events:

  • Hatchery Production, Annual
  • Purdue Agriculture Sentiment
  • France agriculture ministry field-crop planting estimates for 2020 season

     Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Wednesday, April 8


     Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • CNGOIC’s monthly report on China soy, corn supply and demand
  • FranceAgriMer monthly cereals balance sheet

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

Thursday, April 9


     Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Crop Production
  • Peanut Prices
  • Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade
  • Cotton: World Markets and Trade
  • Grains: World Markets and Trade
  • Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade
  • World Agricultural Production
  • Season-Average Price Forecasts
  • China’s agriculture outlook committee (CASDE) monthly forecast for soybean, corn, cotton and sugar output and consumption
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports
  • Brazil crop agency Conab posts 7th report on 2019-20 soy, grains output

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, April 10


     Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions
  • Malaysian Palm Oil Board stockpiles, export and production data
  • Malaysia’s April 1-10 palm oil export numbers

     Energy reports and events:

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


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