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2018 Holiday Sales Grew Amid Turmoil Over Trade Policy and Delay in Data Collection
Holiday retail sales during 2018 grew a lower-than-expected 2.9 percent over the same period in 2017 to $707.5 billion, the National Retail Federation said today after the Commerce Department released data that had been delayed by nearly a month because of the recent government shutdown.
“All signs during the holidays seemed to show that consumers remained confident about the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “However, it appears that worries over the trade war and turmoil in the stock markets impacted consumer behavior more than we expected. There’s also a question of whether the government shutdown and resulting delay in collecting data might have made the results less reliable. It’s very disappointing that clearly avoidable actions by the government influenced consumer confidence and unnecessarily depressed December retail sales ...
Retail Imports Still Strong as Possible March Tariff Hike Approaches
Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports have dipped since peaks seen last fall but remain at higher-than-usual levels as a possible increase in tariffs on goods from China approaches in March, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“With trade talks with China still unresolved, retailers appear to be bringing spring merchandise into the country early in case tariffs go up in March,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “We are hopeful that the talks will succeed, but until the trade war is behind us, retailers need to do what they can to mitigate the higher prices that will inevitably come with tariffs ...
November Beef Exports Remain on Record Pace; Headwinds Weigh on Pork Exports
U.S. beef exports continued on a record pace in November while pork exports trended lower year-over-year, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Beef exports totaled 112,842 metric tons (mt) in November, up 1 percent from a year ago, while value climbed 6 percent to $709.2 million. For January through November, exports reached 1.24 million mt, up 8 percent year-over-year and 6 percent above the record pace of 2011. At $7.63 billion, beef export value was up 16 percent and has already broken the full-year record set in 2017 ($7.27 billion).
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter is also on a record pace, averaging $322.97 in ...
Markets Expected to Continue Strong; Leverage Shift on the Horizon
During the first half of 2019, the United States will see a shift away from El Niño conditions as equatorial ocean currents begin to cool into the summer, Art Douglas, Ph. D., professor emeritus at Creighton University, told the audience during the popular 2019 CattleFax Outlook Seminar today. The session, held as part of the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, La., saw a capacity crowd as cattlemen and women gathered to hear expert market and weather analysis.
Douglas explained the developing trend will turn the eastern third of the United States drier, as the jet stream pushes moisture from the Gulf of Mexico across the southern tier of the nation. “After a cooler February, the United States will mostly enjoy a relatively mild spring with a reduced threat of delayed planting,” said Douglas. He pointed out that summer weather will be dependent on...
USDA Awards Agricultural Trade Promotion Program Funding
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $200 million to 57 organizations through the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP) to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets. The ATP is one of three USDA programs created to mitigate the effects of unjustified trade retaliation against U.S. farmers and exporters. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) accepted ATP applications between September 4 and November 2 – totaling nearly $600 million – from U.S. trade associations, cooperatives, and other industry-affiliated organizations. USDA has released a list of the ATP funding recipients.
President Donald J. Trump authorized up to $12 billion in programs to provide assistance to U.S. agriculture through a trade mitigation package announced by Secretary Perdue on September 4, 2018. In addition to the $200 million allocated to the ATP, the package also ...
NPPC Urges $3.5 Billion Chinese Pork Purchase
With Chinese officials in Washington to discuss trade relations, the National Pork Producers Council today urged the United States and China to quickly resolve their trade differences and asked the Asian nation to make a minimum $3.5 billion purchase of U.S. pork over the next five years.
China is the largest consumer of pork in the world, making it a top market for U.S. pork exports over the past several years. (The U.S. pork industry in 2017 shipped $1.1 billion of product there, making it the No. 3 export destination for U.S. pork.) Pork is said to represent about 15 percent of the Consumer Price Index in China and could single-handedly make a huge dent in the U.S.-China trade imbalance.
“China has been a tremendous market for U.S. pork and, absent numerous trade barriers, probably would be...
Pork Quarterly Q1 2019: Another Uncertain Year – with More Complex Disease and Trade Issues
As 2019 gets underway, we see another year full of potential in global pork, with growth in production and demand in many parts of the world. Yet this is overshadowed by the uncertainty created by complex disease and trade issues, as can be read in the just-released RaboResearch report ‘Pork Quarterly Q1 2019: Another Uncertain Year – With More Complex Disease and Trade Issues’.
Rising disease pressures are challenging the global market. “African swine fever (ASF) stands out as the single biggest challenge facing global pork in 2019,” according to Chenjun Pan, Senior Analyst – Animal Protein. “The changes ASF will bring create opportunities for some, and threats for others.” China’s need to lift imports will incentivise continued growth in key exporting countries, but how much pork China will import remains ...
USTR Publishes Negotiating Objectives for U.S.-EU Trade Talks
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) recently published a summary of negotiating objectives for U.S.-European Union (EU) trade talks. The Trump Administration last year notified Congress of its intention to negotiate a trade agreement with the EU and solicited public comments to inform its priorities. The U.S.’s top objective is to improve its trade balance and reduce its trade deficit with the E.U., which totaled more than $151 million in 2017.
The summary also details the U.S.’s priorities for transatlantic agricultural trade. According to USTR, a U.S.-EU trade agreement should secure comprehensive market access for U.S. agricultural goods in the EU by reducing or eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers that discriminate against U.S. agricultural goods. Moreover, USTR intends to...
Legislation Expanding Executive Power Over Tariffs is Not what Congress Should Focus on, Says NRF
The National Retail Federation issued the following statement from Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French on the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, legislation expected to be introduced today by Representative Sean Duffy, R-Wis., that would give the executive branch unilateral authority to raise U.S. tariffs on any foreign country.
“At a time when American businesses and families are suffering under unilateral tariffs imposed by the administration, Congress should be working to protect local communities from an escalated trade war. This misguided legislation would do the exact opposite, giving the executive branch limitless power to raise taxes in the form of tariffs. Congress has already ceded far too much ...
Farm Bureau Gives Agricultural Trade Outlook for 2019
American Farm Bureau Federation policy experts gave an overview of the issues expected to affect farmers and ranchers in 2019 in a workshop at the organization’s 100th Annual Convention.
David Salmonsen, senior director of congressional relations for AFBF, said the diverse impacts of tariffs, the outcomes of free trade agreement negotiations and the future of relations with China are all critical for the future of ag exports and the growth of American agriculture
Salmonsen discussed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and outlined the process for ratification. “It could be quick or it could be slow, but there is a timeline that has to be followed,” Salmonsen said.
If USMCA is implemented, it will increase quota access for U.S. dairy products into Canada and end...
Retail Imports Level Off After Rush to Beat Tariffs
Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports have slowed down after a months-long rush to beat increased tariffs on goods from China, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
“With the holiday season behind us, the immediate pressure to stock up on merchandise has passed but retailers remain concerned about tariffs and their impact on the nation’s economy,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “Retailers have also brought in much of their spring merchandise early to protect consumers against higher prices that will eventually come with tariffs. Our industry is hoping the talks currently under way will bring an end to this ill-advised trade war and result in ...
COFCO International Joins Initiative to Modernize Global Agricultural Commodity Trade Operations
COFCO International Ltd (“COFCO International”) is partnering with Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) (“ADM”), Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG) (“Bunge”), Cargill Incorporated (“Cargill”), and Louis Dreyfus Company (“LDC”) to standardize data and digitize global agricultural shipping transactions. Together, the companies are looking to increase transparency and efficiency for customers through digital technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
“We are pleased to join this initiative as a founding member,” said Johnny Chi, Chairman and CEO of COFCO International. “Emerging technologies like blockchain give us the opportunity to create a transparent, secure and efficient platform and transform global agricultural trade operations. Our shared vision is to develop a new standard available to everyone, bringing ...
AG Must be Part of U.S.- EU Trade Deal, Groups Insist
An ad hoc coalition of more than 50 food and agriculture organizations is insisting that any trade deal between the United States and the European Union include agriculture and that it address the EU’s restrictive tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. farm products.
In a letter sent today to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, 53 organizations, led by the National Pork Producers Council, urged the Trump administration “to continue stressing to [the EU] that only a truly comprehensive agreement will be acceptable to the Administration and, ultimately, to the U.S. Congress.”
The EU has expressed reluctance to include agriculture – as it did during earlier negotiations on the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership ...
USDA Updates Branding Requirements for Mexican Cattle
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is revising branding requirements for cattle imported from Mexico. This change simplifies the branding process, while continuing to ensure Mexican cattle are easily identifiable and traceable for the rest of their lives, in the event of an animal disease detection.
Feeder cattle will be branded with a single “M” on the right hip, and breeding bovines will be branded with a single “M” on the right shoulder. The “M” brand will be larger in size and allow for better readability. An “MX” ear tattoo is still an option for breeder cattle instead of a brand since they have not caused a readability problem and are considered a permanent form of identification. Permanent identification on Mexican cattle is important because they are known to frequently carry ...
Study Finds 11 Percent of the Price of Corn is Derived from Red Meat Exports
The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has received the results of an updated study aimed at quantifying the value delivered to U.S. corn producers through exports of red meat. The original 2016 study, as well as the 2018 follow-up, were conducted by World Perspectives, Inc. (WPI), a leading agricultural consulting firm.
The original study, titled The Intersection of U.S. Meat Exports and Domestic Corn Use, concluded that in 2015 exports of U.S. red meat accounted for 11.7 million tons of combined corn and Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) use. In its update, WPI concluded that 2018 beef and pork exports will use a combined total of 14.9 million tons of corn and DDGS, which equates to an additional 459.7 million bushels of corn produced – an increase of 29 percent over the 2015 projections.
Other highlights from the updated study...
Rabobank: The EU May Export Less Pork to the UK after Brexit
The UK has a sizable pork production shortage. To address this shortage, the UK has increased production and imports around 1m tonnes carcass weight (cwt) annually from EU member states. With the EU’s estimated self-sufficiency rate of nearly 112%, approximately 2.6m tonnes cwt of pork needs to be exported outside the EU in 2018 to balance local supply and demand. After Brexit, EU self-sufficiency could grow to 120%. Consequently, in the future EU-27, pork processors will need to work harder to secure opportunities for exporting pork meat and by-products that are not consumed within the EU. In the short-term, increasing Chinese demand will probably compensate for any loss of access to the UK market.
UK production on an increasing trend since 2010
The UK has a large pork production shortage; only half of national demand is covered by...
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