Production is forecasted to remain above consumption. From Focus Economics: Prices fell to multi-year lows in July as Chi...

Where Is The Soybean Market Going?

Production is forecasted to remain above consumption.

From Focus Economics:
Prices fell to multi-year lows in July as China imposed retaliatory tariff s on U.S. soybean exports. On 6 July, soybeans traded at USD 843 cents per bushel, which was down 12.1% from the same day last month. The price was 8.3% lower on a year-to-date basis and was down 11.7% from the same day last year. On 6 July, the U.S. imposed widely-anticipated tariff s on imports from China, leading the Asian giant to retaliate with tariff s of its own, including on soybean imports from the United States. China is the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, so the increased cost of sending supplies there for U.S. farmers, coupled with broader concerns of the depressing eff ect of a trade war on the global economy, has hit market prices. Moreover, on 12 June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture upwardly revised its projection for world soybean production for the season ending in 2019. Prices are expected to recover as demand from China for the world’s supply of soybeans, despite higher tariff s on U.S. imports, will continue to remain high. For Q4 2018, panelists expect prices to average USD 1,010 cents per bushel. For Q4 2019, panelists project prices will average USD 1,056 cents per bushel.

Outlook is stable...FocusEconomics: Japan Recent data corroborates that the anticipated recovery in Q2 was likely weaker than expec...

Japan Economic Outlook August 2018

Outlook is stable...FocusEconomics: Japan

Recent data corroborates that the anticipated recovery in Q2 was likely weaker than expected. Subdued wage growth continues to dent consumer confidence. Industrial production, furthermore, declined in May for the first time in four months. However, with a smaller-than-expected drop in industrial production and robust export growth in June, external demand appears to be fueling activity within Japanese factories. Leading indicators for Q3 signal that economic activity will remain relatively weak, mostly reflecting mounting global economic uncertainties. The Tankan survey for manufacturers showed a less positive assessment of the country’s economic outlook as trade barriers increase globally and geopolitical risks threaten to strengthen the yen. On the upside, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is boosting capital expenditure, providing stimulus to the economy, while the new trade deal with the European Union should support the external sector. Despite decelerating from 2017’s outstanding performance, the economy should continue to expand at a brisk pace this year, supported by the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) ultra-loose monetary policy, a tightening labor market and construction projects related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Rising protectionism globally and a sharp appreciation of the yen due to persistent geopolitical threats are the main downside risks to the outlook. FocusEconomics panelists see the economy growing 1.1% in 2018, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 1.0% in 2019. Inflation stabilized at May’s 0.7% in June. Although the economy is running above potential, inflationary pressures remain subdued on the back of sluggish household consumption, and are mostly supported by higher energy prices. FocusEconomics panelists expect inflation to average 1.0% in 2018, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate. Next year, the panel sees inflation inching up to 1.2%. • The BoJ left its ultra-loose monetary policy program unchanged at its 14–15 June meeting, as expected. At the upcoming 30–31 July meeting, the Bank will release its quarterly economic review, in which the BoJ could decide to yet again push back when it expects to meet its inflation target. A large majority of our FocusEconomics panelists expect the BoJ’s shortterm policy rate to remain unchanged at minus 0.10% until at least the end of 2019. The yen has depreciated to a six-month low in recent days despite rising geopolitical tensions; the yen usually acts as a safe-haven asset during episodes of uncertainty. This time, however, widening interest-rate differentials with the U.S. likely spurred the weakening. On 20 July, the currency traded at 111.4 JPY per USD, a loss of 1.0% compared to the same day in June. Panelists see the yen trading at 109.5 JPY per USD at the end of 2018 and at 106.3 per USD by the end of next year.


Charts listed below are from Mizuho Research Institute, Ltd. 

COTTON In recent weeks, prices have fallen substantially due to trade tensions. On 6 July, the spot price was USD 79.4 cents per pound, w...

Cotton & Wool Economic Prices

In recent weeks, prices have fallen substantially due to trade tensions. On 6 July, the spot price was USD 79.4 cents per pound, which was down 6.9% from the same day last month. However, the price was 4.0% higher on a year-to-date basis and was up 19.4% from the same day last year. Prices dropped recently due to concerns over the impact of the 25% tariff China imposed on U.S. cotton exports effective 6 July, which will likely lower demand. China, the world’s largest consumer of cotton, strongly affects markets, and prices are unlikely move significantly going forward. Our panelists expect prices to average USD 85.9 cents per pound in Q4 2018. In Q4 2019, panelists expect prices to average USD 79.8 cents per pound. 

Wool prices rose throughout most of June, likely on solid demand from key consumer China and tight supply. However, prices pulled back in early July as the new selling season began. On 6 July, wool traded at AUD 2,027 cents per kilogram. The print was 0.4% higher than on the same day last month and was up 15.2% on a year-to-date basis. Moreover, the price was 33.0% higher than on the same day last year. Prices are seen dipping from their elevated levels going forward, as the new season brings fresh supply to market. FocusEconomics panelists project an average price of AUD 1,675 cents per kilogram in Q4 2018. Prices are projected to ease further, to AUD 1,624 cents per kilogram, in Q4 2019.

WTI BLENDS WTI Crude Oil prices hit their highest level since November 2014 on 26 June on the back of a tightening U.S. oil market ...

Oil Economics July 2018

WTI Crude Oil prices hit their highest level since November 2014 on 26 June on the back of a tightening U.S. oil market and political tensions with Iran. In the following days, prices fell slightly, trading on 6 July at USD 73.8 per barrel. The print was up 13.9% from the same day last month and was 22.0% higher on a year-to-date basis. Moreover, the price was up 62.1% from the same day last year. Oil prices rallied from the second half of June following a soft patch at the end of May, when prices were aff ected by oversupply concerns. Since then, declining inventories in the United States and fears that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iran could reduce global oil output propelled WTI Crude Oil prices. Moreover, a U.S. economy fi ring on all cylinders is ensuring strong demand for oil. In the fi rst days of June, oil prices moved sideways, and, according to a release from 5 July, the United States unexpectedly posted a small crude build of 1.2 million barrels per day in the week ending 29 June. Moreover, U.S. President Trump is pressuring OPEC countries to pump more oil to lower prices, further rattling oil markets.

Strong oil market fundamentals and mounting geopolitical threats led Brent Crude Oil prices to increase in recent weeks. The price of Brent Crude Oil, however, could not breach the USD 80 per barrel psychological mark as it did in late May. On 6 July, oil prices traded at USD 75.1 per barrel, which was up 2.5% from the same day last month. The benchmark price for global crude oil markets was 12.5% higher on a year-to-date basis and was up 54.7% from the same day last year. The U.S. is pressuring Iran’s oil buyers to “reduce to zero” their oil imports from the country by 4 November, triggering undersupply fears. These concerns a re exacerbated by Iranian threats of cutting off regional oil exports. Around 30% of global oil exports pass through the Iranian coast. Venezuela’s oil production, furthermore, continues to slip, and drawdowns in U.S. crude inventories remain high, adding upward pressure on oil prices. Saudi Arabia, however, pledged to increase supply as early as in July to alleviate shortage concerns. Moreover, OPEC and Russia declared that they will reduce their compliance level to the oil cap deal from around 150% to 100%, which implies an injection of around 700,000 barrels per day.

Note from Chad- 
Prof. Steve Hanke called for a $75.00 end of the year price (perhaps for WTI, since Brent is closing in on $75 pb) that correlates the prices of gold and crude, respectfully. I haven’t used this tool before but I would it seems  comprehensive enough. I expect Brent and WTI will increase in price before settling towards the $70-$80 mark by the end of this year. 

Data and Forecasts from Focus Economics

Finland's Economic Update July 2018  In the first quarter of 2018, the economy maintained its growth momentum from Q4 2017...

Finland's Economic Update July 2018

Finland's Economic Update July 2018 

In the first quarter of 2018, the economy maintained its growth momentum from Q4 2017, with quarter-on-quarter growth accelerating to an over seven-year high. This was due to fixed investment surging on the back of higher private sector investment. Moreover, government consumption increased in Q1, contrasting the fall in Q4. However, although unemployment decreased, and consumer confidence hit record highs, private consumption growth decelerated in Q1 from Q4. This may have been due to high household debt levels weighing on consumer spending. The external sector, for its part, detracted from growth. Meanwhile, the economy had a weak start to Q2. In April, economic activity expanded year-on-year at the slowest pace since August 2016. The current account balance also logged a deficit for the second consecutive month in April.  An expansion in private consumption should support economic growth in 2018 as unemployment dips from 2017. Moreover, accommodative monetary policy and high business confidence are seen supporting an expansion in fixed investment. However, the government’s ongoing fiscal consolidation will likely constrain government consumption growth. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP growth of 2.7% in 2018, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.2% in 2019. Harmonized inflation accelerated to 1.1% in May from 0.8% in April. Our panelists see harmonized inflation averaging 1.1% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019.

REAL SECTOR | Economic activity growth takes a breather in April 
Economic activity grew a working-day adjusted 1.8% in April compared to the same month last year, down from a significantly revised 4.0% in March (previously reported: +3.1% year-on-year) and the lowest growth rate since August 2016. This is according to the latest monthly Trend Indicator of Output released by Statistics Finland. The weaker result in April came as services production, the largest output category in Finland, registered a slower pace of growth of 2.0%, down from 2.9% in March. Moreover, secondary production, which comprises the manufacturing and construction sectors, grew 1.3% in April, down substantially from 6.3% in March. Meanwhile, primary production was solid in April, growing 8.1% (March: +2.6% yoy). A month-on-month comparison shows that economic activity on a seasonally adjusted basis contracted 0.9% in April, in contrast to the revised 0.9% expansion in March (previously reported: +0.6% month-on-month). Average year-on-year growth in economic activity ticked down to 2.9% in April from 3.0% in March.

Comprehensive data confirmed that the Eurozone economy lost steam in Q1, growing at the weakest pace since Q2 2016. The external...

Euro Area Economic Update July 2018

Comprehensive data confirmed that the Eurozone economy lost steam in Q1, growing at the weakest pace since Q2 2016. The external sector was primarily behind the slowdown, with a strong euro and slowing global recovery fueling a decline in overseas sales. Data for Q2 suggests that momentum has regained some lost ground, although growth is likely still below last year’s highs. The unemployment rate hit a new multi-year low in April, and strong services sector growth pushed the composite PMI up in June. That said, data for the manufacturing sector has been weak, with industrial production contracting in May and the manufacturing PMI falling to an 18-month low the month after. Moreover, the outlook for the sector has turned gloomier in recent weeks. On 22 June, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap a 20% tariff on all European Union manufactured automobiles if retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods enacted by the EU were not lifted. While the U.S.’s initial tariffs on steel and aluminum are expected to have a relatively small economic effect, the automobile industry is a much larger sector and tariffs could dampen manufacturing activity. FocusEconomics panelists cut 0.1 percentage points off the Eurozone’s growth forecast for 2018 this month and now see GDP growing 2.2% in 2018. A weak first quarter and rising political risks are dampening the outlook, although growth is expected to remain healthy overall thanks to a solid domestic economy. In 2019, the economy is seen expanding 1.9%. Harmonized inflation jumped from 1.3% in April to 1.9% in May amid higher energy costs. As a result, inflation is around the ECB’s target of close to 2.0%. Our panel sees inflation averaging 1.6% in both 2018 and 2019.

Amid a healthy recovery and rising price pressures, the ECB announced it was winding down its massive bond buying program on 14 June, with purchases set to end completely after December. However, the Bank still struck an accommodative tone, stating that it plans to hold the refinancing rate at a record-low 0.00% until the end of next summer. The next meeting is set for 26 July. The Consensus Forecast is that the refinancing rate will end 2018 at 0.00% and 2019 at 0.30%.

The euro continued to flounder against the U.S. dollar in June, remaining at some of the lowest values seen in 2018. On 22 June, the euro bought 1.16 USD, weakening 1.2% from the same day last month. Our panel sees the currency ending 2018 at 1.21 USD per EUR and 2019 at 1.26 USD per EUR.

Italy Update Following three months of political deadlock and two unsuccessful attempts to form a government, on 6 June the...

Italy Economic Outlook July 2018

Italy Update

Following three months of political deadlock and two unsuccessful attempts to form a government, on 6 June the Italian Parliament signed off on a government formed by the right-wing League party and the leftist populist Five Star Movement. As the two parties have different ideologies and the coalition agreement is the result of complicated negotiations, governing will not be smooth sailing. The deadlock has been resolved at a time when the recovery seems to have lost some steam. Recent GDP data shows that growth was broadly stable in Q1, but the economy shows some signs of having slowed in Q2, partly affected by subdued growth in the whole eurozone. In April, the industrial sector weakened considerably, and retail sales contracted sharply amid falling consumer confidence. However, NPLs declined further, confirming that the banking sector has indeed turned a corner, and the construction sector rebounded significantly. That said, survey-based indicators deteriorated further in May, a consequence of both weak external demand and the difficult political situation. • Going forward, Italy will navigate in uncharted political territory. Political uncertainty, together with possible financial turbulence, represents the main downside risk to growth, especially in light of the fragility of Italy’s public finances. That said, further improvements in the banking sector should help strengthen business credit and investment, while moderate inflation and employment gains should support consumer spending. FocusEconomics panelists project growth of 1.3% in 2018, down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 1.2% in 2019. • Harmonized inflation rose to 1.0% in May from 0.6% in April. Moderate domestic pressures will restrain inflation, although higher prices for fuels will act in the opposite direction. Our panelists expect inflation to average 1.2% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019.

Political turmoil

Following months of deadlock, Italy forms a new government but still faces many unknowns Three months after the elections and following two failed attempts to form a government, on 6 June the Italian parliament finally ended the political impasse and voted for a government formed by the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and right-wing League party. The deadlock was broken when the League accepted to replace their pick for Minister of Finance, Paolo Savona, who was vetoed by the president, with Giovanni Tria, a university professor with a less Eurosceptic profile. Financial markets reacted nervously, sending the 10-year bond yield above 3.0% in the days following the arrival of the new government, although yields declined thereafter. The new coalition’s proposed economic program, based on an agreement reached in mid-May following complex negotiations, is protectionist and fiscally expansionary, including both tax cuts and higher spending. It has, however, vague details on how to provide adequate financing. The proposed measures, combined with Italy’s colossal public debt and already sizeable fiscal deficit, could cause severe financial distress, especially at a time when the European Central Bank is preparing to reduce its monetary stimulus. However, a large degree of uncertainty exists over the extent to which the coalition will be able to enact its program, due to the ideological and territorial differences between the two parties and their electorates. The introduction of a proposed two-tier flat tax (at 15% and 20%) on personal and corporate income could help reduce the country’s heavy tax burden, improve competitiveness and boost both consumer and corporate spending; however, it could also jeopardize government revenues. The proposed guaranteed income, which would provide a minimum income of EUR 780 per month for a single household for a maximum of two years, along with changes to how the retirement age is determined, could increase already bulky public spending and dent labor market participation, which is already at one of the lowest rates in the European Union. In addition, a proposed new hourly minimum wage could raise labor costs for firms, hitting employment. Relations with European institutions will, furthermore, likely become strained under the new government. The coalition program commits the future government to promoting an amendment to existing European treaties that would devolve to member states some of the competences currently held by European institutions. Moreover, it questions EU rules on the fiscal deficit and proposes to exclude investment expenditure from the calculation of the deficit. These proposals, if carried out, could lead Italy to clash with European institutions and other member countries, who are already worried by the possible spillovers from a future mismanagement of public finances by the Italian authorities. In addition, the new coalition controversially wants to lift sanctions on Russia, which were the result of an agreement reached at European level. Further tensions may arise from migration policy. Italy is calling for a revision of the Dublin Treaty and wants to establish more stringent requirements for the reception and expulsion of immigrants. However, an agreement will be difficult to reach, given the existing divisions among EU countries.

July 08, 2018:  -Italy has asked European regulators to extend a state loan-guarantee plan that has helped its banks put a dent in Europe’s biggest pile of non-performing loans.

John Kemp from Reuters released a quality report today on the gasoline rise in America  and national travel. In the US we have seen a shift ...

Gasoline Prices Soar

John Kemp from Reuters released a quality report today on the gasoline rise in America  and national travel.

In the US we have seen a shift to larger SUV style cars due to cheaper gas - in part. When gas surges customers trade in cars and buying habits transition to more fuel efficient cars. This effects car manufacturers sales as well as inland freight costs for hauling other goods. Data suggests this could lead to inflation in the market.  - CH

“Cheap gasoline provided a significant stimulus to driving during the latter part of 2014 and throughout 2015 but the impact has faded as average pump prices have climbed back towards $3 per gallon” 

Outlook Remains Stable The economy appears to have regained some momentum in the second quarter following a weak first quarter, ...

United Kingdom Economic Outlook July 2018

Outlook Remains Stable

The economy appears to have regained some momentum in the second quarter following a weak first quarter, but growth is still mediocre at best. Both the manufacturing and services PMIs picked up in May, although weak new orders growth and gloomier business sentiment bode poorly for the evolution of the services PMI going forward. In addition, consumer sentiment improved in the same month, while in February–April employment continued to surge. On the downside, most new jobs were part-time, with total hours worked declining slightly. In addition, the tight labor market is still not feeding through to significantly higher pay—likely driven by weak productivity. On the political front, Brexit negotiations are making little headway on the key sticking point of the Irish border ahead of an important EU summit at the end of June. This comes against a backdrop of disagreement in parliament over MPs’ role in the Brexit process. 

Looking ahead, growth will remain muted, with fixed investment dampened by Brexit uncertainty and export growth slowing after the boost provided last year by the weaker pound. However, a slight pick-up in government spending and a loose monetary stance should support the economy. Our panelists estimate GDP growth of 1.4% in 2018, unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 1.5% in 2019.

Inflation remained at 2.4% in May, with the downward trend observed in recent months halted by higher fuel prices. Going forward, price pressures should gradually ease as the impact of the weaker pound fades, although gradually rising wage pressures and growing capacity constraints will slow inflation’s return to the Central Bank’s 2.0% target. Panelists expect inflation to average 2.5% in 2018 and 2.1% in 2019. 

The Central Bank left the base rate unchanged at 0.50% at its meeting ending on 20 June, in the face of uncertainty over the strength of the economy and gradually ebbing price pressures. However, the Bank of England (BoE) is still likely to tighten its stance later this year to ensure inflation returns to target. FocusEconomics panelists see the bank rate ending 2018 at 0.72% and 2019 at 1.03%. 

The pound has weakened against the dollar in recent weeks, on the back of the Federal Reserve’s June monetary policy tightening and ongoing Brexit uncertainty. On 22 June, the pound traded at USD 1.33 per GBP, a 1.2% weakening from the same day last month. Looking ahead, the pound is set to strengthen slightly but remain weaker than its pre-referendum levels on lingering Brexit uncertainty. Our panelists see the exchange rate ending 2018 at USD 1.39 per GBP and 2019 at USD 1.44 per GBP.

Services and manufacturing PMIs rise in May...
Pointing to pick-up in economic growth following Q1’s lull Growth in the UK services sector picked up to a three-month high in May, with the IHS Markit/CIPS UK services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rising from 52.8 in April to 54.0. May’s figure overshot market expectations of 53.0, and means the indicator moved further above the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction. Despite the uptick, in May new orders grew at only a mild pace, with firms pointing to Brexit uncertainty holding back decision-making. In addition, employment growth was subdued, and businesses reported hiring difficulties; this comes amid a tight labor market, with the unemployment rate currently at a multi-decade low. Problems recruiting suitably-skilled staff generated greater wage pressures, which coupled with higher fuel bills saw input costs rise at a rapid pace. Discouragingly, business confidence waned in May, due to concerns over Brexit and consumer demand. Despite May’s improvement, Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, cautioned that it may not last: “disappointing inflows of new work suggest that growth could wane in coming months as Brexit-related uncertainty continues to weigh on spending decisions and dampen business confidence. Measured across all major parts of the economy, new orders growth in the second quarter so far is running at the weakest since the third quarter of 2016.” The IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing PMI increased from an over one-year low of 53.9 in April to 54.4 in May. As a result, the index moved further above the 50-point threshold that separates expansion from contraction in activity in the manufacturing sector, where it has been since August 2016. May’s rise was driven by faster growth in output. On the other hand, growth in new orders and employment eased, with the expansion in new orders dipping to the slowest in 11 months on a softer domestic market. Input price inflation rose in May on higher raw material prices and shortages, leading to an increase in output prices. Despite worsening sentiment, UK manufacturers were generally positive about production forecasts over the coming year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see fixed investment rising 2.3% in 2018, which is up 0.6 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.0% in 2019. he Central Bank downgraded its growth forecasts in May, and now expects the economy to expand 1.4% in 2018 and 1.7% in 2019. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to expand 1.4% in 2018, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 1.5% in 2019.

Housing market continues to lose steam in May

According to the Nationwide Building Society (NBS), house prices in the United Kingdom fell 0.2% in May compared to the previous month in seasonally adjusted terms, contrasting April’s 0.1% increase and marking the third month-on-month price decline so far this year. On an annual basis, house prices rose 2.4% in May, down from April’s 2.6% and coming in below market expectations. The average house price in May was GDP 213,618 (May 2017: GBP 208,711). May’s tepid result comes against a backdrop of sluggish economic growth and pessimistic consumer sentiment. Going forwards, house prices are likely to continue to increase at a mild rate, underpinned by tight supply. In addition, a gradual recovery in real wages could support demand. Monetary conditions will be another key determinant of the evolution of prices. Although the Bank of England kept rates constant at its June meeting, our panelists continue to expect a rate hike this year, which would have a knock-on effect on borrowing costs.


Employment growth remains solid but wage growth is weak The unemployment rate remained at a multi-decade low of 4.2% in the February-April period, where it has been for three consecutive rolling quarters. This was underpinned by ongoing strong employment growth: 146,000 jobs were added compared to the November-January period, once more beating market expectations. However, the rise was mainly a result of greater parttime work, with the total hours worked in the economy declining slightly. Higher employment saw the inactivity rate remain at an all-time low of 21.0%. Despite the tight labor market, the recent recovery in wages appeared to lose some impetus in February-April, with nominal earnings growth excluding bonuses dipping to 2.8% from 2.9% in the prior rolling quarter. Although real earnings continued to rise marginally, average total pay is still below the precrisis peak reached in 2008. The Central Bank expects nominal regular pay growth to continue to hover slightly below 3.0% this year. As inflation gradually declines, this should see a gradual uptick in real wage growth, although it will likely remain sluggish. Public-sector pay—which has been constrained in recent years by austerity measures—is likely pick up as the government gradually lifts its spending straightjacket thanks to an improved fiscal situation. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 4.3% in 2018, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 4.5% in 2019.

Thank you Focus Economics for the economic reporting. Please visit Focus here.