Surprise: U.S. Economy Shatters Expectations in July, Adds 528,000 Jobs

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Senate to begin work Saturday on revised reconciliation package
 

                                                In Today’s Digital Newspaper

 

The U.S. economy defied expectations and added 528,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked down to 3.5% in July, matching its level prior to the pandemic.

USDA daily export sales: 132,000 metric tons of soybeans to China during the 2022-2023 marketing year; 132,000 metric tons of soybeans to unknown destinations during the 2022-2023 marketing year.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the chamber will convene on Saturday to begin working toward passage of the Democrats’ tax, health and climate legislation, signaling a final vote could come late Sunday or Monday. Last night, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said she’ll back the bill after fellow Democrats agreed to drop a provision that would have narrowed a tax break for carried interest. Nixing the carried interest loophole move takes away $14 billion in total projected revenue. We issued a special report on the topic Thursday evening and have a few updates in the Policy section.

Changes to the reconciliation measure bill that won Sinema’s approval include:

  • Adding a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks expected to bring in far greater revenues
  • Language narrowing the tax break on carried interest is out of the bill
  • Paring back parts of a 15% minimum tax of large, profitable corporations
  • Adding $5 billion in drought resiliency investments
     

USDA finally released another update on Emergency Relief Program (ERP) payments, which total just over $6 billion. We have details by crop and state in the Policy section. Meanwhile, some lawmakers are pushing ERP for 2022 disasters.

China’s military exercises aimed at Taiwan, including missiles fired into Japan’s exclusive economic zone, represent a “significant escalation” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday while traveling in Cambodia. He urged Beijing to back down. The secretary accused China of using House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit as a “pretext to increase provocative military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait.” The Pentagon has ordered the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier group “to remain on station in the general area to monitor the situation,” he added.

China sanctioned Pelosi and her immediate family in retaliation for her Taiwan visit. Meanwhile, China announced it would halt cooperation with the U.S. in several areas, including working-level talks on climate change and defense,

Three more ships carrying about 58,000 tonnes of grain left Ukrainian ports under the deal relaxing Russia’s blockade; the first sailed on Monday. According to the Financial Times, Ukraine has called for the deal to be expanded to include other products, such as metals.

Global food prices fell the most since 2008 as a United Nations index of world food costs plunged almost 9% in July. The index fell to the lowest since January, before Russia’s blockade of ports in Ukraine pushed up food costs to a record.

WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty on drug charges by a Russian court and sentenced to nine years in prison. President Biden called the conviction "unacceptable" and said Russia should "release her immediately.” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said last month that the U.S. had offered Russia a "substantial proposal" to free Griner and American businessman Paul Whelan.

Freeport, a Texas liquefied natural gas export facility that shut down after an explosion in June should get back to its pre-explosion shipping levels by early October.

Crude oil prices have plunged to their lowest levels since Russia's invasion of Ukraine

The fall in oil prices comes as a relief for consumers battling soaring inflation but signals a decline in demand as recession fears loom.

Beyond Meat Inc. is cutting 4% of its global workforce, saying the layoffs are part of its plan to reduce costs as inflation prompts consumers to buy less-expensive protein. The California-based company’s Chief Executive Ethan Brown said the company’s plant-based ground beef recently sold for about $8 a pound, while actual ground beef cost about $5 a pound. “That is a very difficult proposition when consumers have very high levels of inflation going on,” he said. Beyond Meat said its layoffs will save the company $8 million. It had 1,108 full-time employees and 311 full-time contract workers as of last December.

U.S. health officials declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a step aimed at raising access to treatments, services and funds to fight the virus, and are eyeing ways of extending available doses as demand for vaccines outstrips supply.

Election Day 2022 is 95 days away. Election Day 2024 is 833 days away.

 

MARKET FOCUS

Equities today: Asian stock markets rose Friday ahead of an update on the U.S. jobs market which again surprised with U.S. adding 528,000 jobs. U.S. equity futures signaled a weak opening. In Asia, Japan +0.9%. Hong Kong +0.1%. China +1.2%. India 0.2%. In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.5%. Frankfurt -0.2%.

     U.S. equities yesterday: The Dow ended down 85.68 points, 0.26%, at 32,726.82. The Nasdaq rose 57.42 points, 0.41%, at 12,720.58. The S&P 500 eased 3.23 points, 0.08%, at 4,151.94.

Corteva earnings topped expectations for Q2 adjusted earnings and revenues, while raising full-year guidance, citing strong demand for its crop protection products. Q2 net income rose to $1.58B, or $2.16/share, from $1.02 billion, or $1.37/share, in the year-earlier quarter, as sales increased 11% to $6.25 billion from $5.63 billion a year ago. Q2 net seed sales rose 4% Y/Y to $3.95 billion as a 7% increase in prices more than offset a 1% drop in volumes, with global corn and soybean pricing 6% and 8%, respectively. Q2 crop protection sales jumped 25% to $2.3 billion, driven by a 14% increase in volume and 14% higher prices, boosted by strong market penetration by Corteva's Enlist herbicide and Onmira fungicide, coupled with strong early demand in Latin America. Corteva raised FY 2022 guidance for adjusted EPS of $2.45-$2.60 from $2.35-$2.55, in line with $2.50 analyst consensus estimate, on revenues of $17.2 billion to $17.5 billion, up from 16.7 billion to 17 billion and exceeding $16.96 billion consensus. The company said it expects record demand for grain and oilseeds in 2022 and said grower balance sheets and income levels remain healthy despite higher input costs for fuel and fertilizer. Corteva's stock price return shows a 17% Y/Y gain and a 30% increase during the past year.

Agriculture markets yesterday:

  • Corn: December corn futures rose 10 cents to $6.06 1/4.
  • Soy complex: November soybeans rose 48 cents to $14.17 3/4, the highest close since July 29. September soymeal surged $22.10 to $453.50, a lifetime-high close for the contract. September soyoil rose 63 points to 62.45 cents.
  • Wheat: September SRW wheat rose 18 3/4 cents to $7.82 1/2. September HRW wheat rose 24 3/4 cents to $8.60 1/4. September spring wheat rose 19 cents to $8.94 1/4.
  • Cotton: December cotton rose 19 points to 94.62 cents per pound.
  • Cattle: October live cattle fell 30 cents to $143.65. September feeders fell 32.5 cents to $182.575. The average live steer price this week through Wednesday approached $142.00, up over $2 from last week’s average.
  • Hogs: October lean hogs rose $1.75 to $97.60, the contract’s highest closing price since April 22. The CME lean hog index fell 63 cents to $120.94 (as of Aug. 2) but remains near a 14-month high.
     

Ag markets today: After failing to find sustained followthrough from Thursday’s gains early in the overnight session, corn, soybean and wheat futures faded. As of 7:30 a.m. ET, corn futures were trading 3 to 4 cents lower, soybeans were 8 to 9 cents lower, SRW wheat futures were around 4 cents lower, while HRW and HRS wheat futures were mostly 1 to 2 cents lower. Front-month crude oil futures were modestly weaker and the U.S. dollar index was more than 200 points higher this morning.

Technical viewpoints from Jim Wyckoff:

     Aug 5 Corn

     Aug 5 Soybeans

     Aug 5 Crude

     Aug 5 Bonds

     Aug 5 Euro 

     Aug 5 Gold

On tap today:

     • U.S. nonfarm payrolls, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, are expected to increase by 258,000 in July  and the unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 3.6%. UPDATE: Another BIG miss as payrolls surged 528,000. For more, see item below the agenda.
     • Baker Hughes rig count is out at 1 p.m. ET
     • Federal Reserve releases its June consumer credit report at 3 p.m. ET
     • U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update, 3 p.m. ET
     • CFTC Commitments of Traders report, 3:30 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department said on Friday, again outstripping expectations, providing evidence to some that the U.S. has not entered a recession. Economists had expected job growth to slow to 250,000 last month. Overall employment has nearly returned to prepandemic levels.

     The unemployment rate was 3.5%, down from 3.6% in June, the result both of strong job creation and a labor force participation rate that declined 0.1 percentage point to 62.1%, its lowest level of the year.

     Wage growth also surged higher, as average hourly earnings jumped 0.5% for the month and 5.2% from a year ago, higher than estimates.

     Leisure and hospitality led the way in job gains with 96,000, followed by professional and business services with 89,000. Health care added 70,000 and government payrolls grew 57,000. Goods-producing industries also posted solid gains, with construction up 32,000 and manufacturing adding 30,000.

     Impact: Traders are now pricing in a higher likelihood of a 0.75 percentage point hike for the next Federal Reserve meeting in September, which would be the third straight increase of that magnitude.

Wells Fargo on prospects for U.S. recession: “Initial jobless claims have been trending higher since last November in one of the clearest signs that labor market conditions have begun to deteriorate. However, the recent trend in continuing claims adds weight to the argument that the economy is not currently in recession. That said, the recent uptick bears some resemblance to the months that preceded prior recessions, suggesting that the start of a recession may not be far off.”

U.S. mortgage rates dropped to their lowest level since April, as the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.99% this week, down from 5.30% a week earlier, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Though rates remain well above their levels from a year ago, they have fallen swiftly in recent weeks from their 13-year high of 5.81% in June.

     Meanwhile, around one in seven homes on the market had a price reduction in June, according to Realtor.com. That is nearly double the rate of one in 13 homes a year ago.

The U.S. goods and services deficit was $79.6 billion in June, down $5.3 billion from $84.9 billion in May, revised. June exports were $260.8 billion, $4.3 billion more than May exports. June imports were $340.4 billion, $1.0 billion less than May imports. Exports increased and imports decreased in June. Exports are up 23% year-over-year; imports are up 20% year-over-year. Both imports and exports decreased sharply due to COVID-19, and have now bounced back. The second graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum.

     Trade stats
     Trade deficit
     US trade deficit

Agriculture trade deficit expanded in June. Trade data released Thursday put U.S. ag exports at $16.17 billion in June vs imports of $17.23 billion for a trade deficit of $1.06 billion. Both exports and imports fell compared with May, but imports declined considerably less than exports. May’s trade deficit for agriculture was $656 million. USDA forecast fiscal year 2023 U.S. ag exports at $191 billion with imports of $180.5 billion for a trade surplus of $10.5 billion.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that its Food Price Index fell to 140.9 in July, down 8.6% from June and the fourth monthly fall since it reached a record in March. The monthly decline was the steepest since October 2008 and was led by a 19.2% drop in the Vegetable Oil Price Index to a 10-month low on falling prices for palm oil, rapeseed oil and soyoil. Cereal grain prices were down 11.5% for the month, led by a 14.5% decline in wheat prices. Sugar prices were down 3.8% in July compared with June and dairy prices fell 2.5%. Meat prices declined, but only by 0.5% in July vs June on weaker demand for beef and pork. But poultry prices hit an all-time high. 

Market perspectives:

     • Outside markets: The U.S. dollar index is firmer in early U.S. trading. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note is fetching 2.7%. Crude firmed to trade slightly higher, with U.S. crude around $88.85 per barrel and Brent around $94.45 per barrel. Gold and silver were weaker ahead of the Employment report, with gold around $1,804 per troy ounce and silver around $20.09 per troy ounce.

     • WTI falls below $90 for first time since February. U.S. crude futures dropped below $90 a barrel today for the first time since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Feb. 24. Futures for U.S.-based West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped by as much as 1%, falling to $89.80 a barrel.

     • Freeport to restart in early October. Freeport LNG will be permitted to restart operations of all three of its liquefaction trains in early October under an agreement entered into with the Pipeline Hazardous Safety Materials Administration. The company announced the consent agreement, which allows for the trains, two LNG storage tanks, and one LNG loading dock to come back online after an explosion rocked the terminal in June and sent it fully offline. Freeport said it expects to be able to deliver approximately 2 billion cubic feet of LNG per day under the restart terms, or near its full 2.13 bcf/d full capacity. Freeport also said it was complying with corrective measures provided in the agreement, including additional training and facility inspections.

     • The trend is clearly down for shipping rates. Take a look:

        Shipping trend

     • Panama Canal tentatively schedules locks’ closure to perform maintenance work. On Aug. 11, 17, 18, and 23, the Panama Canal Authority is closing the west lane of the Canal’s Gatun Panamax Locks for 4 hours per day to perform scheduled maintenance work. During the outages, the locks’ daily transit capacity is estimated at 31-33 vessels — down from the normal capacity of 34-36 vessels. On Aug. 28, the west lane of the Gatun Locks is scheduled to close for 5 hours, reducing capacity slightly, to 30-32 vessel hours per day. No major delays are anticipated. On Sept. 1, the same locks are scheduled for 8 days of major outage, reducing the capacity to 21-23 vessel hours per day. The locks’ exact transit capacity depends on vessel mix, transit restrictions, and other factors. The majority of U.S. grain destined to Asia transits the canal.

     • Two largest U.S. water reservoirs reach ‘dangerously low’ levels. Water supply at the two largest U.S. reservoirs— Lake Mead and Lake Powell— have dwindled to “dangerously low levels” due to the impacts of climate change, according to researchers at the United Nations’ Environment Program (UNEP). Both reservoirs are on the verge of reaching so-called “dead pool status,” the point at which water levels drop so low they can no longer flow downstream and power hydroelectric power stations. That could threaten water and power supplies for millions of people in the West, including in the states of Nevada, Arizona, California, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, UNEP researchers said. “The conditions in the American west, which we're seeing around the Colorado River basin, have been so dry for more than 20 years that we're no longer speaking of a drought,” Lis Mullin Bernhardt, an ecosystems expert at UNEP, said in a statement. “We refer to it as ‘aridification’ — a new very dry normal.”

     • Hurricane outlook update. Two top forecasters are trimming their Atlantic hurricane outlooks slightly after a slower start to the season, but still predict an above-average number of storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now expects 14 to 20 named storms, down from its May estimate of as many as 21.

     • Ag trade: The Philippines passed on a tender to buy 150,000 each of wheat and feed barley.

     • NWS weather: Monsoonal rains over the western U.S. expected to shift eastward as thunderstorms ahead of a cold front could bring heavy rain into the upper Midwest on Saturday... ...Heat expected to spread across the northern tier while remaining in place over the Northeast for the next couple of days... ...Cool air spreading into the Pacific Northwest will lower the fire threat across the northern Rockies to the northern High Plains.

        NWS 080522

Items in Pro Farmer's First Thing Today include:

     • Weaker price tone overnight
     • Ukraine wants export deal to extend beyond grains
     • Russia may not hit grain production forecast (details in Russia/Ukraine section)
     • Sharp jump in Russian wheat export tax
     • France raises wheat crop estimate
     • China soybean auctions continue
     • Wholesale beef prices weaken again
     • Cash hog index ends brief pullback

 

RUSSIA/UKRAINE

— Summary: Ukrainian forces struck a railway bridge in the southern Kherson region on Thursday, the Ukrainian military said, as it seeks to cut Moscow’s supply lines in preparation for a looming counteroffensive.

  • Three more ships carrying corn will leave Ukraine today, according to the Joint Coordination Center/JCC — established by the U.N., Turkey, Russia and Ukraine to coordinate food exports from Ukrainian ports. The JCC has authorized the departure of two vessels from Chernomorsk and one from Odesa, carrying a total of 58,041 tons of corn through the maritime humanitarian corridor under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the JCC announced last night in a statement.
  • Russia may not reach its expected harvest of 130 MMT of grain due to weather factors and a lack of spare parts for foreign equipment, the country’s ag ministry said on Friday. “Taken together, all of this creates risks in terms of reaching the grain harvest figure of 130 million tonnes,” the ministry said. If the country does not meet the planned volumes, the ministry said it will have to revise its export plans of 50 MMT for 2022-23.
  • Erdogan and Putin meet again. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan today in the Russian resort town of Sochi, with the two leaders set to discuss trade and energy.
     

POLICY UPDATE

— Update on Senate budget reconciliation package. We issued a special report on this topic Thursday evening.

  • Democrats, Sinema reach deal on new taxes in Inflation Reduction Act. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said she would “move forward” on a revised version of Senate Democrats’ health care, climate and deficit-reduction package, after party leaders agreed to scale back some of their original tax proposals. “We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation,” Sinema said in a statement. From here, Sinema said she would await a final review from the chamber’s parliamentarian — a critical step in the process that allows Democrats to move their spending bill — at which point she would “move forward.” Any major change would reduce the roughly $300 billion expected to be available for deficit reduction.

    Nixing the carried interest loophole move takes away $14 billion in total projected revenue.

    Sinema said she would work on carried-interest provisions in the future with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). “Following this effort, I look forward to working with Senator Warner to enact carried interest tax reforms, protecting investments in America’s economy and encouraging continued growth while closing the most egregious loopholes that some abuse to avoid paying taxes,” she said.

    In the past five years, Sinema has received $2.2 million from investment firms, according to Open Secrets. KKR and Goldman Sachs are among her top contributors. 

    The deal would pare back the original 15% corporate minimum tax proposal by creating an exemption for depreciation tax deductions. This change was urged by manufacturers.

    The earlier reconciliation version would have partly closed the carried interest loophole. This mainly benefits private equity professionals, allowing them to pay lower investment tax rates on compensation that should almost certainly be considered ordinary income. It means that private-equity firms hang onto their tax break on the sale of portfolio assets that is set at 23.8%, against ordinary income or wages that are taxed at 37%. 

    A new 1% excise tax on stock buybacks will be added to the package. This reportedly will actually raise more revenue than the provisions getting dropped. Democrats have also agreed to support several billion dollars in drought funding sought by Sinema. Critics say this latest change will decrease liquidity and increase index volatility. But others say most companies are likely to view it as another cost that won’t diminish buybacks much — nor boost dividends.

    The first procedural vote on the package is expected Saturday afternoon. 

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) currently is the lone senator out after testing positive for Covid earlier in the week, but he could be back by the time the vote on final passage is held. Senate Democrats will need every one of their 50 members present, including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has been absent due to recovery from hip replacement surgery.

    The bill still has a few hurdles remaining: It needs to go before the nonpartisan Senate parliamentarian, who will determine that each line of the bill fits the reconciliation rules. If a piece doesn’t conform to the rules, Democrats will have to rewrite it or scrap it (unlikely). Sinema said in her statement that “subject to the parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward.” If the Senate advances a final bill, the House will briefly return from the August recess to vote on it next week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters last week.
  • EV credit limits: Vehicle-price caps included in the deal — no higher $55,000 for new cars and $80,000 for pickups and SUVs — could put pressure on automakers to reduce costs of upcoming plug-in models. The average transaction price of a new electric car was $66,997 in June, soaring almost 14% from a year earlier, according to Kelley Blue Book. But language regarding this and other provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act could be altered once revised bill language is released Saturday.
  • Senate reconciliation package OKs paying 300 IRS agents same as VP Harris. The Senate reconciliation plan includes a provision to allow the Internal Revenue Service to create a high-priced strike force of 300. According to a new congressional analysis, the pay for those 300 could be as high as the $235,100 given to Vice President Kamala Harris. The spending is part of an additional $79.6 billion set aside for the IRS in the Inflation Reduction Act, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS/link). “The Secretary of the Treasury would be permitted to set the base pay and compensation for as many as 300 positions at the IRS, up to the equivalent levels set by statute for the Vice President of the United States,” said CRS in a new report on the plan. CRS said that another 200 potential IRS workers would be eligible for big paychecks under a provision meant to let the federal government pay more than current rules allow so it can attract workers from the private sector.
     
  • Hickenlooper supports permitting side deal. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) said on Thursday that he supported the Manchin/Schumer permitting side-deal made separately from the reconciliation deal, calling it “an essential part” of the core legislation negotiated between the two lawmakers. “If you really care about climate rescue, we don’t have the time to spend 10 years going through the labyrinth and the sequence of regulatory requirements,” Hickenlooper said for infrastructure like transmission lines.

— USDA has processed more than 255,000 applications for the new Emergency Relief Program (ERP). Payments of approximately $6.1 billion, to date, have been made to commodity and specialty crop producers to help offset eligible losses from qualifying 2020 and 2021 natural disasters. A new public-facing dashboard on the ERP webpage (link) has information on ERP payments that can be sorted by crop type — specialty or non-specialty, specific commodities and state. FSA will update the dashboard on Monday each week.

     Top five states receiving the most ERP payouts thus far:

  • North Dakota: $987.20 million
  • Texas: $772.89 million
  • S.D.: $485.18 million
  • Minn.: $433.40 million
  • Iowa: $381.15 million

 

PERSONNEL

— Senators yesterday by voice vote confirmed David Applegate as director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

 

CHINA UPDATE

— Chinese missiles flew over Taiwan on Thursday and five landed in Japanese territorial waters as part of Chinese military drills launched following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit. Meanwhile, China canceled a meeting with the Japanese foreign minister over a G7 statement criticizing China over Taiwan.

— White House summons Chinese ambassador for rebuke on Taiwan response. Biden officials told Ambassador Qin Gang that the United States does not want a crisis in the region, after a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to the island sharply escalated tensions in the Taiwan Strait this week. China unleashed a show of force against Taiwan on Thursday, firing missiles into the sea and threatening the island’s territorial waters. White House spokesman John Kirby said the White House condemned China’s “irresponsible” actions in Thursday’s meeting with the ambassador.

— China announces sanctions against Pelosi, calling Taiwan trip serious violation of one-China principle. Beijing’s foreign ministry has announced it will issue sanctions against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her direct family relatives after she travelled to Taiwan this week. The ministry said Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan was a serious violation of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a serious violation of the one-China principle.

— Copper financing snafu in China. A group of Chinese companies are investigating why a commodities storage site in northern China is holding only one third of the copper concentrate they were financing. Half a billion dollars of it has gone missing.

 

TRADE POLICY

— USMCA car rules. The U.S. International Trade Commission has initiated an investigation into the economic impact of auto-parts requirements set out in the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The probe on the “rules of origin” is required by the law on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, known as the USMCA.

— Canada to begin new lumber dispute settlement proceedings against the U.S. after the Commerce Department announced results of its latest administrative review of anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed on Canadian softwood lumber during the Trump administration. "While the duty rates will decrease from the current levels for the majority of exporters, the only truly fair outcome would be for the United States to cease applying baseless duties to Canadian softwood lumber,” Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a statement. The Commerce Department set a new combined anti-dumping and countervailing duty rate Thursday of 8.59% for most companies, down from the current rate of 17.91%.

     Canada will challenge the duties via a dispute settlement process under Chapter 10 of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Ng said. Canada already has launched several other unresolved challenges to the duties under the USMCA.

 

ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE

— Lawmakers seek funds to help low-income families on energy costs. A bipartisan group of lawmakers are seeking to increase funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), according to a statement from Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Nearly 60 lawmakers sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to address the expected surge in home energy prices with emergency supplemental funding for LIHEAP.

 

LIVESTOCK, FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

— Beyond Meat cuts revenue outlook, trimming workforce. Beyond Meat on Thursday lowered its revenue forecast for the year and announced it will trim its workforce by 4%, citing broader economic uncertainty and consumers trading down to cheaper proteins. The company also reported a wider-than-expected loss and weak sales for the second quarter. Net sales dropped 1.6% to $147 million. The company attributed the decline to changes in foreign exchange rates, increased discounts and sales to liquidation channels. “We recognize progress is taking longer than we expected,” CEO Ethan Brown said in a statement, referring to the company’s push into mass market consumption with plant-based products that tries to mimic meat. With consumers pressured by inflation, Brown said Beyond customers are switching to cheaper private label meat alternatives or back to traditional meat.

 

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Summary:

  • Global Covid-19 cases at 582,057,210 with 6,412,888 deaths.
  • U.S. case count is at 91,961,519 with 1,032,820 deaths.
  • Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center says there have been 604,235,972 doses administered, 223,035,566 have been fully vaccinated, or 67.69% of the U.S. population.

 

CONGRESS

Antitrust bill action ahead. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to call Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) antitrust bill targeting tech giants to a floor vote, according to a spokesperson for the top Democrat. “Sen. Schumer is working with Sen. Klobuchar and other supporters to gather the needed votes and plans to bring it up for a vote,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

 

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

Seven NATO members' parliaments still need to ratify the application of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. That includes the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and — the nation many expect to be last in this process, should its embattled president not object at decision time — Turkey.

— Cotton AWP reaches lowest point of 2022. The Adjusted World Price (AWP) for cotton is 89.44 cents per pound, effective today (Aug. 5), the lowest level for the AWP this year and the first time back under $1 per pound since the week of Dec. 31, 2021. The AWP now includes and updated “cost to market” adjustment of 22.72 cents per pound which is in effect for the 2022-23 marketing year. The “cost to market” adjustment for 2021-22 was 18.68 cents per pound. Meanwhile, USDA announced that Special Import Quota #16 would be established Aug. 11 for 55,798 bales of upland cotton, applying to supplies purchased no later than Nov. 8 and entered into the U.S. no later than Feb. 6, 2023.

— Dutch farmers’ organizations are meeting today with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and a mediator for a first round of consultation on plans to cut nitrogen emissions, which have sparked huge protests across the country.

— The U.S. declared the growing monkeypox outbreak a national emergency. The Biden administration has been under intense pressure to move more aggressively to combat the outbreak, especially as supplies of the monkeypox vaccine have been severely constrained. The declaration gives federal agencies the power to invest in vaccines and drugs, to access emergency funding and to hire additional workers to help manage the outbreak, which began in May. As of Wednesday, the U.S. had recorded nearly 7,000 monkeypox cases, with the highest rates per capita in Washington, New York and Georgia. More than 99% of the cases are among men who have sex with men.


 

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