Ag News

Ag News Roundup: Trade, and Sonny

A worker dumps harvested coffee cherries in a truck at a plantation in the Minas Gerais state near Guaxupe, Brazil, on Monday, June 13, 2016. Arabica coffee declined, reversing last week’s rally, on speculation Brazil’s main growing areas escaped frost damage. A polar air mass that moved over Brazil’s coffee-growing areas at the weekend brought freezing temperatures, with arabica areas of southern Minas Gerais and Parana states getting zero to 3 degrees Celsius (32 to 37 degrees Fahrenheit). Photographer: Patricia Monteiro/Bloomberg

Happy Wednesday! Trade is on everyone’s mind today:

Bloomberg:Trump’s Trade Shifts Put Brazil Back in the Agriculture Game

“Brazil’s agriculture minister expects that rising protectionism in the U.S. will create “many opportunities” for his country’s industry, including increased trade with Mexico.

Mexico’s representatives will discuss the possibility of importing soybean, beef and pork from Brazil in a meeting with local farmers and industry members later this month, Blairo Maggi said Monday at an event in Sao Paulo.

“Brazil is back in the game,” said Maggi, whose family owns one of Brazil’s largest soybean companies, Grupo Amaggi. U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Trans-Pacific Partnership is also seen as an opportunity for Brazil to increase agricultural trades with Asian countries, Maggi said.

Brazil is the world’s biggest shipper of soybeans, coffee, sugar and orange juice. The country is also the largest exporter of beef and chicken and No. 2 for corn. Still, export volumes to Mexico have room to expand. Last year, Brazil shipped 38.6 million metric tons of the oilseed to China and a mere 129,000 tons to Mexico.

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US News & World Report: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sonny Perdue

1. George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue III was born on Dec. 20, 1946, in Perry, Georgia, to a lifelong farmer known as Big E and classroom teacher that people called Miss Ophie.

2. He earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia in 1971, where he played football as a walk-on.

3. Perdue completed a tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force, leaving as a captain.

4. Perdue was elected to the Georgia state Senate as a Democrat in 1990. He joined the Republican Party in 1998.

5. Perdue was elected governor in 2002 and become Georgia’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.

6. Perdue led Georgia through conflict over the state’s flag, which included a Confederate emblem. A design chosen under Perdue’s predecessor was unpopular, so Perdue called for a redesign and the ability for Georgians to vote on the design – one of his campaign pledges. A referendum was held in 2004, and a flag design from 2003 won with more than 70 percent of the vote.

7. Perdue grew up in the segregated South, where African-Americans helped served as mentors on his family’s farm. “They showed me how to plow a straight line, plant a straight line, and we worked side by side,” Perdue told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was probably the closest relationships I had growing up, besides the school culture.”

8. Perdue and his wife, Mary, married in 1972 and have four children. The couple has served as foster parents for newborns awaiting adoption through Macon-based Covenant Care Adoptions.

9. Perdue made his acting debut in “We Are Marshall,” a 2006 film about the 1970 plane crash that claimed the lives of 75 Marshall University football players, coaches, supporters and staff. Perdue played the East Carolina University football coach, whose team played Marshall the day of the accident.

10. Perdue is the cousin of former Dollar General CEO David Perdue, one of Georgia’s U.S. senators, with whom he founded Perdue Partners, a global trading company based in Atlanta.

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Trade Deficit Last Year Was Widest Since 2012
President Trump is setting out to narrow the gap in an effort to bolster the economy

The U.S. logged a $502.25 billion trade deficit in 2016, the largest in four years and a gap President Donald Trump is setting out to narrow to bolster the U.S. economy.

The new president faces obstacles in the coming months and years, including the potential for a stronger dollar, larger federal budget deficits and low national saving rates compared with much of the rest of the world, all of which could force trade deficits to widen.

As in past years, the 2016 gap reported Tuesday by the Commerce Department reflected a large deficit for U.S. trade in goods with other countries, offset in part by a trade surplus for services. The gap in terms of goods only was $347 billion with China last year, $69 billion with Japan, $65 billion with Germany and $63 billion with Mexico.

For December, the total trade gap decreased 3.2% from November to a seasonally adjusted $44.26 billion. Exports rose 2.7%, including increased sales of civilian airplanes and aircraft engines. Imports were up 1.5% in December, including a rise in car imports.

During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump and some of his economic advisers said he would seek to boost economic growth and support U.S. manufacturing jobs by reducing the nation’s trade deficit and thus increasing net exports. He said his administration will negotiate better deals with other countries, and he has also threatened to levy tariffs on some imports.

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BloombergHow Goldman Sees a Trump Trade War Hurting U.S.-China GDP Growth

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts are looking at how a trade war between the U.S. and China would hurt growth in the world’s biggest economies, and the outlook isn’t pretty.
If President Donald Trump imposes punitive tariffs against China of up to 10 percent, the country’s exports to the U.S. will fall as much as 25 percent, Ha Jiming, a China vice chairman at Goldman in Hong Kong, said in an article published by China Finance 40 Forum, a non-government research organization. Under that scenario, the Asian nation’s annual economic growth would decrease by as much as 1 percentage point, he wrote.
Should Beijing retaliate, trade with the U.S. would also suffer and its economic growth could fall by as much as a quarter percentage point, Ha, who is also an investment strategist, said in the article dated Feb. 7. The $18 trillion U.S. economy expanded 1.6 percent last year, compared with 6.7 percent for China’s $11 trillion of output.

“To prevent such a trade war, China could take measures including promoting outbound tourism or opening service industries such as business and finance to the U.S.,” wrote Ha “That will help the U.S. export services to China and ultimately to reduce its trade deficit.”

Trump’s combative trade stance threatens to derail growth in export-dependent economies around the globe, with the president threatening punitive tariffs on China, Mexico and other nations he blames for the loss of American manufacturing jobs. China, the U.S.’s biggest creditor and trading partner, has been criticized by Trump for manipulating its currency.

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Regardless of what some yankee groundhog said, spring seems to have come early to the South, here’s to hoping we don’t have a winter resurgence in March and April. Have a great hump day.–Melissa Beck

 

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