With Senate Acquitting Trump, Focus Turns to Biden Agenda

Posted on 02/16/2021 3:59 AM

USDA outlook forum | Retail sales | Covid relief proposal | Infrastructure

 


Washington Focus


 

The end of the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in acquittal sets the stage for President Joe Biden to and the Democratic-controlled Congress to pursue their agenda. Initial focus will be on getting Covid aid passed and approving nominations.

 

     This week the House will begin pulling the various pieces of the $1.9 trillion Democratic Covid package into a single bill for passage by the end of the month, or early March. Democrats, with control of both chambers of Congress, can sidestep Republican opposition to the $1.9 trillion deal via a budget process called reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority, rather than the usual 60 votes. One sticking point is a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour; Republicans oppose the idea, and two Senate Democrats said it shouldn’t be part of the package. It remains unclear whether a minimum-wage increase is eligible to be passed through reconciliation.

 

     House managers fell short of the 67 Senate votes needed to convict. But seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting to find Trump guilty of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, the most bipartisan support for conviction in a presidential impeachment. Republicans who voted for conviction: Sens.  Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.), and Pat Toomey (Pa.) Lawmakers from both parties called for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the attack. Burr and Toomey are retiring in 2022, while Cassidy, Collins, and Sasse just won re-election last year and won’t be up for re-election again until 2026. Romney’s current term expires in 2024; only Murkowski faces re-election next year. Meanwhile, President Biden urged Americans to remain vigilant: “This sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile.” The trial widened divides in the GOP, leaving prominent Republicans in disagreement over Trump’s future role in the party.

 

This week should bring more news about Biden’s infrastructure plans, with likely linkages to his forthcoming climate change proposals.

 

     On Tuesday night Biden will be in Wisconsin for a CNN town hall, his first official trip as president, and Thursday he is traveling to Michigan to visit a Pfizer Inc. vaccine-manufacturing plan. On Friday, Biden will Zoom into a virtual meeting of the G7 and the Munich Security Conference

 

USDA holds its virtual Ag Outlook Forum on Thursday and Friday (link). As usual, the focus will be on the supply and demand forecasts for 2020-21. But as usual, plantings and crop development will depend on weather through the growing season. The theme of this year’s confab: Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience.

 

     It will be interesting to see if a discussion ensues on recent USDA (NASS and World Board) estimates and forecasts, both of which have proved wide the mark, generating angst among some in the ag sector.

 

With a holiday-shortened week, USDA’s Weekly Inspections report is released Tuesday, with the Weekly Export Sales report coming Friday, both one day beyond their usual release days.  Similar one-day delays for weekly energy market reports.

 


Hearings and Events This Week


 

Monday, Feb. 15

  • Holiday: Markets, gov’t closed. 

Tuesday, Feb. 16

  • Federal Reserve: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman pre-recorded remarks; San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly scheduled to appear.
  • Ethanol meeting: Renewable Fuels Association virtual 2021 National Ethanol Conference with remarks from Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).
  • Congressional issues: Politico virtual discussion on "the most pressing legislative priorities" for Congress.
  • Oil and the Biden administration: Middle East Institute virtual discussion on "Oil in the Age of Biden: U.S./Middle East Oil Relationships Under a New Administration."
  • Iraq issues: Atlantic Council webinar on a new report, "Iraq: A Road Map for Recovery."
  • Community bankers: American Bankers Association virtual 2021 Conference for Community Bankers.
  • FCC remarks: Free State Foundation virtual address by new FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington.
  • Election Assistance Commission: House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on "Election Assistance Commission Oversight."
  • Energy diplomacy: Atlantic Council webinar on "Energy Diplomacy and Transatlantic Cooperation in Action: Opening the Southern Gas Corridor."
  • China One Belt Road: Hudson Institute virtual book discussion on "One Belt One Road: Chinese Power Meets the World."
  • Covid vaccines: New America webinar on "What We've Learned from the Vaccine Rollout So Far."
  • China issues: Center for Strategic and International Studies webinar on "Confronting Chinese State Capitalism."

Wednesday, Feb. 17

  • Federal Reserve: Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan comments.
  • Ethanol meeting: Renewable Fuels Association virtual 2021 National Ethanol Conference, including remarks from Daniel Yergin of IHS Markit and acting Deputy Assistant Energy Secretary for Transportation Michael Berube.
  • Global trade: Peterson Institute for International Economics webinar on "Can the G20 Reset Global Trade and Investment Cooperation? What's the Plan?"
  • U.S./China relations. U.S. Chamber of Commerce virtual release of a new report on "Understanding U.S./China Decoupling: Macro Trends and Industry Impacts."
  • Transatlantic relations: Woodrow Wilson Center's Global Europe Program webinar on "Transatlantic Tranquility: Prospects for Europe's Cooperation with the Biden Administration."
  • U.S./India relations: U.S. Chamber of Commerce webinar on "State of U.S./India Business."
  • Post-pandemic economy: Concord Coalition and the University of New Hampshire's School of Law webinar on "Fiscal, Monetary, and Economic Challenges of the Post-Pandemic Economy."
  • African American reparations: House Judiciary Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing on HR 40, the "Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act."
  • EU recovery: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (webinar on "The European Union's Road to Recovery."
  • Community bankers: American Bankers Association virtual 2021 Conference for Community Bankers.
  • Biden and Central America: Inter-American Dialogue webinar on "Biden's Central America Plan: Perspectives from the Region."
  • Sustainable energy: Business Council for Sustainable Energy and BloombergNEF embargoed virtual media briefing on "The 2021 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook."
  • Broadband issues: House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on "Connecting America: Broadband Solutions to Pandemic Problems."
  • U.S./North Korea: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace webinar on "What Will Biden Do About North Korea?"
  • Data and nutrition: Atlantic Council webinar on "Data-Informed Nutrition Policy and Practices," focusing on nutrition and global health.
  • U.S. Customs policies: Customs and International Trade Bar Association virtual discussion with John Leonard, executive director of trade policy and programs at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, about current customs initiatives and what can be expected to change under President Biden's administration.

Thursday, Feb. 18

  • Federal Reserve: Fed Governor Lael Brainard remarks on climate change.
  • USDA Annual Outlook Forum. Annual USDA gathering is virtual, with outlook on the U.S. and global ag economy, trade and more.
  • Climate financing summit: Institute of International Finance virtual 2021 US Climate Finance Summit, including remarks from Fed Governor Lael Brainard, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) acting Commissioner Rostin Benham, and acting Securities and Exchange Commission director of Corporation Finance Division John Coates.
  • China and Taiwan. U.S./China Economic and Security Review Commission teleconference on "Deterring People's Republic of China Aggression Toward Taiwan."
  • Korea and China: Center for Strategic and International Studies webinar on Korea and China.
  • Ethanol conference: Final day of the Renewable Fuels Association virtual 2021 National Ethanol Conference.
  • Climate change and the Mideast: Middle East Institute webinar on "Perilous Outlooks: Climate Change in the Persian Gulf."
  • China and economic issues: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute virtual discussion on "China, Targeted Decoupling, and the Economic Long War."
  • Covid and economic recovery: Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "The Coronavirus Crisis: Paving the Way to An Equitable Recovery."
  • CDC and Covid: House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "CDC Briefing on Covid-19."
  • Clean energy: House Energy and Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on "A Smarter Investment: Pathways to a Clean Energy Future."
  • Stock market activity: House Financial Services Committee hearing on "Game Stopped? Who Wins and Loses When Short Sellers, Social Media and Retail Investors Collide."
  • Tax preparation services: House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing on "Free Tax Preparation Services During the Pandemic."

Friday, Feb. 19

  • Covid vaccines: House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on "The Science of Covid-19 Vaccines and Encouraging Vaccine Uptake."
  • Covid and child care: House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "Covid-19 and the Child Care Crisis."
     

Economic Reports for the Week


 

U.S. retail sales on Wednesday is the highlight of this week’s slate of economic data.

 

Monday, Feb. 15

  • Holiday. 

Tuesday, Feb. 16

  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York releases its Empire State Manufacturing Survey for February. Consensus estimate is for an eight reading, higher than January’s 3.5 figure. January’s reading was the lowest since June, as the region’s manufacturing sector is still growing, but at a sluggish rate.xx

Wednesday, Feb. 17

  • MBA Mortgage Applications
  • Census Bureau retail sales data for January. Expectations are for a 1.3% month-over-month rise in consumer spending after a 0.7% decline in December. Excluding autos, sales are seen gaining 1.4%.
  • Federal Open Market Committee releases the minutes from its late-January monetary-policy meeting.
  • National Association of Home Builders NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for February. Economists forecast an 82 reading, one point lower than January’s 83 figure. The index is down slightly from its all-time high of 90 set in November. Demand remains strong in the housing market, but home builders are concerned about rising material costs, especially lumber prices, which have risen more than threefold since last April.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index for January. Expectations are for a 0.4% month-over-month rise, just a tick above December’s gain. The core PPI, which exclude volatile food and energy prices, is seen gaining 0.2%, roughly even with the December data.

Thursday, Feb. 18

  • Jobless Claims
  • Census Bureau new-residential-construction data for January. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.65 million housing starts, just below the December’s 1.67 million. The December figure was the highest annual rate of housing starts since the 2006-07 housing market bubble.
  • Fed Balance Sheet
  • Money Supply

Friday, Feb. 19

  • IHS Markit reports both its Manufacturing and Services Purchasing Managers’ indexes for February. Consensus estimates are for a 59 reading for the Manufacturing PMI and a 57.8 reading for the Services PMI. Both figures are about even with the January data.
     

Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events 


 

 

Monday, Feb. 15
 

     Ag reports and events:

  • Holiday: Chinese New Year, U.S., Canada, and Carnival holiday in much of South America including Brazil and Argentina
  • Malaysia’s Feb. 1-15 palm oil export data
  • Malaysia CPO export tax for March (tentative)
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • Ivory Coast cocoa arrivals

Tuesday, Feb. 16
 

     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook
  • USDA Agricultural Projections to 2030
  • Agricultural Baseline Database
  • Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook
  • Turkey Hatchery
  • Abares February Australian crop report
  • Holiday: China, Carnival holiday throughout much of South America

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA monthly Drilling Productivity report, with output forecasts for March

Wednesday, Feb. 17
 

     Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Potato Stocks
  • Holiday: China

     Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Thursday, Feb. 18
 

     Ag reports and events:

  • Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade: February 2021
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories
  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, Feb. 19
 

     Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • CFTC Commitments of Traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Tree Nuts: World Markets and Trade
  • Cattle on Feed
  • Farms and Land in Farms
  • FranceAgiMer crop conditions report
  • Deere hosts conference call to discuss quarterly results.

     Energy reports and events:

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

 

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