Beef exports were the smallest in 10 years during May and pork exports were the lowest in seven months, "due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing," said the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Chief executive Dan Halstrom said the global economic slowdown and stay-at-home orders in some Western Hemisphere nations also were factors. (No paywall)
The world's grain reserves are large, with a bumper crop on the horizon, but the coronavirus pandemic has already inspired agricultural protectionism in a small number of countries, said analysts in a think tank paper this week. Separately, former Agriculture Undersecretary Catherine Woteki said protectionist policies could spark "food nationalism" at a time when trade could minimize food shortages. (No paywall)
China is closer than commonly realized to fulfilling its commitment to buy vast amounts of U.S. food and ag products this year, said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday, rebutting criticism that the "phase one" trade agreement is faltering. "If you had to bet right now, you'd say they're going to do it."
Large sales of soybeans to Chinese buyers provide hope for "a robust demand recovery" this fall and into the new year, said economist Todd Hubbs of the University of Illinois on Monday, the same day that exporters reported the sale of 390,000 tonnes of soybeans for delivery to China. In the space of four days, China purchased 1.11 million tonnes of the oilseed, worth $354 million.
On the same day that Beijing reportedly told state-run trading houses to pause purchases of U.S. farm exports, the companies bought a small amount of U.S. soybeans on Monday, according to unnamed sources. The pause was described as saber rattling and also a sign that the "phase one" trade agreement was in jeopardy as Sino-U.S. relations sour.
Some Chinese trade advisers are arguing that Beijing should invalidate the "phase one" trade agreement that de-escalated the Sino-U.S. trade war as retaliation for a U.S. coronavirus blame campaign, reported a state-controlled Chinese newspaper on Monday. The agreement obliges China, formerly the top customer for U.S. ag exports, to buy roughly $40 billion a year of American food, agricultural and seafood products.
China recently stepped up its purchases of U.S. corn and cotton, said USDA chief economist Robert Johansson, but the coronavirus pandemic creates uncertainty about whether Beijing will meet its "phase one" purchase commitments. The agreement, signed on Jan. 15, calls on China to buy $40 billion worth of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood products this year and in 2021.(No paywall)
A handful of farm states, mostly in the Midwest and Plains, emerge as net winners when the impact of retaliatory Chinese tariffs are weighed against the Trump administration's trade-war payments to farmers, say three university economists.
The "phase one" trade agreement with Beijing will bring larger U.S. plantings of soybeans and cotton this spring than now projected by USDA, as growers aim for revived exports to China, analysts said over the weekend. China is the world's largest importer of the commodities but U.S. ag exports to China were halved by the tit-for-tat tariffs of the Sino-U.S. trade war.