Posted on 03/03/2019 3:45 PM

EU trade commissioner comes to Washington for talks with USTR Lighthizer

Usual monthly reports on Employment and World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates (WASDE) both are released Friday. In between are a 2019 farm income estimate (Wednesday) and a host of ag- and energy-related conferences. A bevy of trade policy events this week are also on the agenda, with European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington as the two sides get ready to prepare free trade negotiations. Ongoing U.S./China trade talk developments will again get wide attention, so much that we filed two special reports Sunday on the topic as fast-breaking updates signal substantial progress is being made.

 

The two biggest reports this week come Friday, with the latest Employment report and updated supply and demand forecasts from USDA. On Wednesday come the 2019 farm income forecast.

Trade issues continue to be of major importance, with ongoing U.S./China trade policy developments a daily occurrence. Pro Farmer released two special reports on Sunday regarding the U.S./China trade talks (Link to first article; Link to second article). Check Policy Updates for the latest developments.

Pro Farmer alerted last Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad may be in Iowa early this week, reportedly Monday, to show his support for farmers. The two will meet with commodity and farm groups and several agribusiness firms. President Trump, White House sources informed, wants to make sure the two update his support for the ag sector. The events will stress the economic importance of agriculture and the State Department’s role in promoting U.S. exports. Pompeo will speak to FFA members at high school, tour a Corteva Agriscience research facility, and then speak to farmers and agribusiness leaders at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines.

Some other trade policy items on tap this week:

  • Tuesday: Washington International Trade Association will hold a forum on the state of trade in the Asia Pacific, focusing on new regional trade agreements and the U.S.-China trade dispute.
  • Wednesday: European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström meets with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington as the two sides get ready to prepare free trade negotiations. The EU also has threatened repeatedly to abandon trade talks if the U.S. imposes tariffs on autos imports and auto parts.
  • Thursday: Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security hearing on challenges posed by China for U.S. commerce, focusing on manufacturing competitiveness, intellectual property challenges, standards-setting, and cybersecurity threats.
  • Thursday: European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström speaks at the International Trade Update held at Georgetown University. She is expected to address the need for multilateralism as well as World Trade Organization issues, among other matters.
  • Thursday: A panel will discuss the systemic challenges to the WTO system. Panel speakers will include WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish.
  • Friday: Clete Willems, deputy assistant to the president for international economic affairs and deputy director of the National Economic Council, will discuss the Trump administration’s trade agenda.
  • Friday: John Melle and Kenneth Smith Ramos, who were chief North American Free Trade Agreement negotiators for the U.S. and Mexico, respectively, will discuss the lessons learned from the negotiations.

In Congress, House Democrats will work on their campaign pledge to overhaul elections, ethics and campaign finance laws, with a floor vote on the issue. “We’re very excited about it,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in her weekly press conference, because the bill “reduces the role of big, dark special interest money in politics, and it also strives to reduce the voter suppression that is so prevalent in our country.”

North Korea. Senators will weigh in on President Trump’s summit in Hanoi when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee debriefs U.S. special representative to North Korea Stephen Biegun about Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it was “smart” for Trump to meet Kim in Singapore and Vietnam to “expose the North Korean delegation to the kind of economic prosperity that could be possible if he were to choose a new path.” He commended the president for walking away when a deal on denuclearization couldn’t be reached. “Kim Jong Un now has a long train ride home, and he’ll have time to reflect on the future that is still within North Korea’s grasp,” McConnell said.

Border security and immigration. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is slated to testify Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee on border security. Also on Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on protections for “Dreamers” — those who are unauthorized after being broughtto the country as children, some of whom were protected under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy — and recipients of Temporary Protected Status. Reports note that Democrats are gearing up to release legislation protecting “Dreamers,” and Pelosi indicated in her press conference that the party will be working on immigration over the next two weeks.

House Appropriators to focus on Trump policies. Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee will hold several oversight hearings to scrutinize the Trump administration’s immigration policies and highlight issues such as gun violence and student debt.

Nominations. The Senate will continue its effort to process the president’s nominees.

Economic updates for the week include:

Monday:
— Census Bureau reports construction spending data December. Economists forecast a 0.3% gain after a 0.8% rise in November.

Tuesday:
— Census Bureau reports new-home sales data for December. Expectations are for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 580,000 units, down from November’s 657,000. The average sales price was $362,400 in November, while the median was $302,400.
— Institute for Supply Management releases its Non-Manufacturing Index for February. Consensus estimates are for a 57.5 reading, slightly above January’s 56.7.
— PMI Services Index
— Treasury Budget

Wednesday:
— ADP releases its National Employment Report for February. Economists forecast a gain of 184,000 in private sector employment, down from January’s 213,000 jump.
— The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services for December. Expectations are for a $57 billion shortfall, compared to November’s $49.3 billion.
— MBA Mortgage Applications
— Fed Beige Book
— Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) releases its interim economic outlook.

Thursday:
— Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for January. Americans are projected to add another $17 billion in debt, pushing total outstanding consumer indebtedness to $4.03 trillion, an all-time high.
— Jobless Claims
— Productivity and Costs
— Quarterly Services Report (Advance)
— Fed Balance Sheet
— Money Supply
— European Central Bank announces its monetary-policy decision. The bank is widely expected to keep its key interest rate at negative 0.4% amid falling growth projections for the euro zone.

Friday:
— Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Report for February. Consensus estimates are for the headline unemployment rate to fall to 3.9% from January’s 4%.
— Housing Starts

Fed speakers on tap:

Tuesday:
— Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren offers the National Association of Corporate Directors' New England Chapter analysis of the current economic landscape, in Boston, Mass.

Wednesday:
— Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester participates in a moderated question and answer hosted by Columbus Partnership of Columbus, Ohio.
— New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams delivers a speech on "The Economic Outlook: The 'New Normal' Is Now" at the Economic Club of New York.

Thursday:
— Fed economist Christopher Kurz discusses “Are Millennials Different?” at the National Economists Club.

Friday:
— San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly participates in the conference of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

Key USDA and international agriculture and energy-related reports and events on tap:

Monday, March 4

Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Livestock Slaughter
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • Palm oil conference in Kuala Lumpur, day 1

Energy reports and events:

  • Morgan Stanley Global Energy & Power Conf. in New York

Tuesday, March 5

Ag reports and events:

  • Hogs and Pigs Final Estimates
  • CFTC commitment of traders report (backdated)
  • Purdue agriculture sentiment for February
  • Australia’s Abares 2019 Outlook conference in Canberra, day 1
  • China’s National People’s Congress begins in Beijing
  • Palm oil conference in Kuala Lumpur, day 2
  • El Financiero Agro seminar in Mexico. Agriculture secretary among speakers in a day of sessions at the St Regis hotel

Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on “the electricity sector in a changing climate”

Wednesday, March 6

Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • Peanut Stocks and Processing
  • U.S. Bioenergy Statistics
  • 2019 Farm Income Forecast
  • International Cotton Conference in Mumbai, organized by Cotton Association of India, day 1
  • China’s National People’s Congress in Beijing continues
  • Abares 2019 Outlook conference 2019 in Canberra, day 2
  • Palm oil conference in Kuala Lumpur, day 3

Energy reports and events:

  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

Thursday, March 7

Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Cold Storage
  • Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data
  • Buenos Aires Grain Exchange weekly crop report
  • FAO February World Food Price Index, 4am (9am London)
  • China’s National People’s Congress in Beijing continues
  • International Cotton Conference in Mumbai, organized by Cotton Association of India, day 2
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports

Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change
  • Credit Suisse LNG Conf. in New York

Friday, March 8

Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report on various U.S. futures and options contracts.
  • Cattle on Feed
  • Cotton Ginnings
  • Crop Production
  • WASDE
  • Peanut Prices
  • Livestock and Meat International Trade Data
  • Aquaculture Data
  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update
  • China February soybean import volume
  • China’s National People’s Congress in Beijing continues
  • International Cotton Conference in Mumbai, organized by Cotton Association of India, day 3
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on French crop conditions

Energy reports and events:

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

Other reports and events this week include:

Monday, March 4

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad in Iowa to show President Trump's support for farmers. Pompeo will speak to FFA members at a high school, tour a Corteva Agriscience research facility, and then speak to farmers and agribusiness leaders at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines.
  • National Farmers Union annual meeting, through Tuesday, Bellevue, Wash.
  • Trade policy. Farm Foundation forum, U.S. and Canadian Perspectives on Trans-Pacific Trade, National Press Club.
  • Pakistan Ambassador to U.S. Asad Majeed Khan discusses his country’s priorities at a U.S. Institute of Peace event.
  • Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov speaks on “the U.S.-Russian relationship in times of tension” at a Stimson Center event.

Tuesday, March 5

  • Trade in Asia Pacific. Washington International Trade Association will hold a forum on the state of trade in the Asia Pacific, focusing on new regional trade agreements and the U.S./China trade dispute.
  • 13th National People’s Congress of China convenes its second annual session in Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang will give the country’s economic growth targets.
  • North Korea. Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed briefing on the “Status of the North Korea Denuclearization Effort” following the president’s summit in Hanoi. U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun testifies.
  • Electricity sector. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on “the electricity sector in a changing climate.”
  • Competition in U.S. economy. Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, Does America Have a Monopoly Problem? Examining Concentration and Competition in the U.S. Economy.

Wednesday, March 6

  • U.S./EU trade talks. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmströem meets with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington as the two sides get ready to prepare free trade negotiations.
  • Financial stability. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin will preside over the March 6 meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council
  • OECD. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development releases its interim economic outlook.
  • Transportation/Infrastructure. House Ways and Means Committee hearing to examine America’s Crumbling Infrastructure And The Need For Immediate Action.
  • Regulations. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the risks of PFAS chemicals.
  • Transportation. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on the state of the U.S. maritime industry.
  • Infrastructure. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, The Economic Benefits of Highway Infrastructure Investment and Accelerated Project Delivery.

Thursday, March 7

  • China trade issues. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security hearing on challenges posed by China for U.S. commerce, focusing on manufacturing competitiveness, intellectual property challenges, standards-setting, and cybersecurity threats.
  • Trade policy. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmströem speaks at the International Trade Update held at Georgetown University. She is expected to address the need for multilateralism as well as World Trade Organization issues, among other matters.
  • Trade policy. A panel will discuss the systemic challenges to the WTO system. Panel speakers will include WTO Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish.
  • Fed economist Christopher Kurz discusses “Are Millennials Different?” at the National Economists Club.
  • Public lands issues. Senate Energy and Natural Resources holds roundtable on public lands issues in the West.

Friday, March 8

  • Trade policy. Clete Willems, deputy assistant to the president for international economic affairs and deputy director of the National Economic Council, will discuss the Trump administration’s trade agenda.
  • Trade policy. John Melle and Kenneth Smith Ramos, who were chief North American Free Trade Agreement negotiators for the U.S. and Mexico, respectively, March 8 will discuss the lessons learned from the negotiations.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the featured speaker at an event hosted by the Economists Club of Washington.

 

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