Editorial


Walmart Develops Angus Beef Supply Chain; Implications for Egg Producers?

05/01/2019

Pressure on the major supermarkets by Amazon Prime and deep discounter Aldi has resulted in the mega-chains reevaluating their business models. Walmart Stores has announced the result of a two-year program to build a supply chain for Angus beef to be sold in 500 southeast stores. This initiative obviously bypasses current major suppliers including Tyson Foods and Cargill.

According to Scott Neil, Senior Vice President for Meat, Seafood and Fresh Quality Control stated that the Angus beef supply chain is “an opportunity to look at it from end to end”. The program will include 44 farms and 6 Cattle Feeders in Texas. Creekstone Farms operating a slaughter plant in Kansas and a packing plant owned by Walmart to be operated by FPL Food will process cattle.

The action by Walmart follows the opening of a milk processing facility in Indiana that commenced operation in 2018 displacing Dean Foods as a major supplier. The Liberty Foods broiler complex financed and dedicated to Costco in Nebraska is a parallel development in which a retailer has integrated back into the supply chain.

If this trend continues, it is highly probable that Walmart, Kroger or Costco, may consider entering egg production through the purchase of an existing producer or developing a strategic partnership to eliminate intermediaries and stabilize prices into their DCs.

Given that many producers are now obliged to replace obsolete cage units with aviaries or other alternative systems requiring capital investment, retailers may determine the benefit of an inexpensive acquisition or financing conversion to secure a steady supply of eggs at a predetermined cost irrespective of market fluctuation. The only deterrents to integration would be considerations such as diversion of capital to farm production, becoming involved in management and assuming risks of disease and natural disasters.


 

Egg Industry News


Review of April 2019 Production Costs and Statistics.

05/14/2019
  • April 2019 USDA Ex-Farm Benchmark Price Down 34.6 Percent from March 2019 to 39.7 cents per dozen Consistent with Seasonal Trends and Oversupply.

  • April 2019 USDA Average Nest-run Production Cost 1.4 Percent Lower than March 2019 at 59.5 cents per dozen.

  • April 2019 USDA Benchmark Nest-run Margin Decreased from March 2019 to Loss of 19.8 cents per dozen.

  • April National Flock ( over 30,000 hens/farm) Up 6 million or 1.9 percent to 325.3 million.

INTRODUCTION.

Summary tables for the latest USDA April 2019 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on May 12th 2019 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and reviewed in comparison with values from the previous April 9th 2019 posting reflecting March 2019 cost and production data.


 

USDA-WASDE FORECAST #588 May 10th 2019

05/15/2019

OVERVIEW

The May 10th 2019 USDA WASDE projections for the 2019 corn and soybean harvests are based on historical yield and harvest data. The corn acreage to be harvested was determined from planting completed and stated intentions at 85.4 million acres (81.8 million in 2018). In 2019 soybeans will be harvested from 87.8 million acres (88.3 million acres in 2018). There was apparently no material change due to recent Midwest flooding or the forecast for wet conditions from snowmelt delaying planting.

The USDA projected corn yield to attain 176.0 bushels per acre, (178.9 bushels in 2018). Soybean yield was projected at 49.5 bushels per acre (52.1 bushels in 2018). These values presume suitable planting and growing conditions, time of sowing and standard rates of germination.

The May USDA projection of ending stock for corn was increased by 22.1 percent to 2,485 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans will be 8.5 percent higher at 970 million bushels. Ending stocks for both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations. It is emphasized that projections are based on the presumption of at least a partial settlement of the trade dispute with China followed by restoration of exports to that Nation, a prospect that appears in question given lower demand from China and the latest round of tariffs imposed by both nations.


 

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, May 16th 2019.

05/16/2019
  • Hen Numbers in Production Down 0.2 Million to 335.7 million .
  • Decrease in Shell Inventory by 2.3 Percent following a 9.1 Percent Increase in Past Week.
  • USDA Midwest Benchmark Generic Prices for Extra Large and Large on Average Down 8.3 Percent Compared to Past Week. Mediums Down 6.6 Percent.
  • Breaking Stock Price Down 18 Percent and Checks by 48 percent. Both Categories Substantially Below Cost of Production

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on May 13 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large were down 8.1 and 8.4 percent respectively compared to the past week. Mediums were down 6.6 percent. The progression of prices during 2019 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


 

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT

05/11/2019

The following quotations for May and July as indicated were posted by the CME at close of trading on Thursday May 10th together with values for the previous week in parentheses. Last week the commodities market recorded marked declines in the futures prices of corn, soybeans and soybean meal for May and July. This was attributed to the unexpected imposition of tariffs on goods to be imported from China in response to backtracking and lack of progress in bilateral trade negotiations to settle the trade dispute. Optimism leading to increases in commodity prices two weeks ago was apparently premature. The negative effect of the release of the USDA Grain Stocks Report on Friday March 29th documenting soybean stocks followed by the April 9th WASDE #587 confirmed the effect of reduced shipments of soybeans to China. The numerous conflicting statements by White House spokespersons over the months since the dispute began is disconcerting to the commodities market and contributes to fluctuation in prices.

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

May 342 (355)

July 350 (370)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

May 798 (830)

July 808 (843)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

May 286 (292)

July 287 (297)

Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal this past week were:-

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn: May quotation down 13 cents per Bu         (-3.6 percent)

Soybeans: May quotation down 32 cents per Bu  (-3.8 percent)

Soybean Meal: May quotation down $6 per ton.   (-2.1 percent)

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

COMMENTS

The USDA Crop Progress Report for the week ending May 6th noted that 23 percent of the corn crop had been planted, compared to a five-year average of 46 percent. Six percent of the corn crop has emerged compared to the five-year average of 13 percent.

Six percent of the soybean crop has been planted, compared to the five-year average of 14 percent

The March 29th USDA Grain Stocks Report, issued Quarterly confirmed a 3.2 percent decline in corn stocks in all positions to 8.60 billion Bu. compared to the March 2018 report. Farm storage represented 59.6 percent of this total, 2.5 percent higher than for the corresponding period in 2018.

Soybean stocks increased by 28.7 percent from March 2018 to 2.716 billion Bu. in March 2019. On- farm storage attained 1.270 billion Bu. representing 46.7 percent of all stocks. On-farm storage was 48.5 percent higher in March 2019 compared to 2018 reflecting the intent of farmers to hold stocks in anticipation of a rise in price following resumption of exports to China.

Negotiations with China are apparently at an impasse unless China makes extensive, durable and firm concessions as suggested following shuttles between Beijing and Washington that will continue as high-level discussions in the U.S. this week. Some concessions have been made by China on coercive trade practices and dispute resolution as amplified by President Xi addressing participants in a Belt and Road Conference this past week but apparently not to the satisfaction of the White House. From an agricultural industry perspective the question of delays by China in approving new GM cultivars has yet to be settled. No date has been set for a summit to sign a trade deal. Prices will be influenced by the trend in stock levels, area to be planted in 2019 and early crop progress in the face of possible flooding.

The March 28th USDA projection of plantings based on farmers' intentions suggest that an additional 3.66 million acres will be planted to corn compared to 2018.This increase will be offset by a reduction in soy acreage by 4.58 million acres.

According to the April 9th 2018 WASDE Report #587, 81.7 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2019 to produce 14.42 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.54 Billion bushels from 88.1 million acres harvested. The levels of production for the two commodities are based on preliminary pre-planting projections of yield and acreage. Ending stocks were revised based on anticipated domestic use and exports.

See the WASDE posting summarizing the March 8th USDA-WASDE Report #587 under the STATISTICS tab documenting price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced, used and exported from the 2019 harvest.

Unless shipments of corn and soybeans to China resume in volume, as anticipated, the financial future for row-crop farmers appears bleak despite the release of two tranches amounting to $8 billion as "short-term" compensation for producers of commodities.

Mid-May will be make-or-break for negotiations with China. The outcome has profound implications not only for the two antagonists but for the World economy.


 

Status of Corn and Soybean Crops

05/14/2019

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on May 13th documented the status of the 2019 corn and soybean harvests.

Although advancing planting was delayed by wet weather possibly attributable to an El Nino event.

EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS will report on the progress of the two crops and will post weekly updates through the end of the harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week Ending

Crop Parameter

May 5th

May 12th

5-Year Average

Corn Planted %

23

30

66

Corn Emerged %

6

10

29

       

Soybeans Planted %

6

9

29

Soybeans Emerged %

-

-

-


 

Preparation for 2019 Hurricane Season

05/14/2019

In a May 9th release, the USDA issued a recommendation for producers to plan in advance for possible hurricane damage and disruption. The USDA has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to create the Disaster Resource Center website www.usda.gov/topics/disaster. The USDA has also launched a disaster assistance discovery advisory accessible on www.farmers.gov to assist producers with information on programs contributing to recovery.

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance Program for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish and provides assistance with emergency loans.

Lessons learned from previous hurricanes include the need to have available sufficient diesel fuel to run emergency generators for periods in excess of 72 hours, especially for hatcheries, planning access routes for feed and disposal of birds killed by wind and flooding in addition protection of employees and facilities.


 

Salmonellosis Linked to Imported Tuna

05/19/2019

In a May 9th 2019 release the Food and Drug Administration announced that JK Fish of Vietnam was added to import alert 16-120 allowing the Agency to detain product without physical sampling and analysis.

This action was taken following isolation of Salmonella Newport from samples of ground tuna imported to the U.S. and sold to restaurants and food service companies. Thirteen illnesses have been diagnosed and confirmed with two hospitalizations. Seven states have recorded cases ranging from Connecticut to Washington.

 On April 15th, Jensen Tuna voluntarily recalled frozen ground tuna following the initial diagnoses. The Centers for Disease Control and state public health authorities analyzed information leading to ground tuna as the most probable vehicle for infection and FDA established the trace-back to Jensen Tuna and their supplier in Vietnam.


 

CDC Investigates Listeria Outbreak

04/29/2019

PulseNet has identified eight cases of listeriosis spread among four states extending from November 15th. 2018 through March 4th 2019.  All patients were hospitalized and one fatality occurred in Michigan.  Interviews suggested deli meats and cheeses from different retail locations could have served as vehicles of infection. Investigators identified Listeria monocytogenes in meat not identified as to type, sliced in delis in multiple stores presumably applying whole genome sequencing to establish any relationship among isolates.  As yet, a common supplier has not been identified but investigations are in progress.

The CDC issued the standard warnings suggesting that pregnant women and seniors should be careful in consuming deli meat.  This is patently wishy-washy.  Either susceptible consumers including those with immunosuppression should eat deli meat or they should not; at least until the source is identified and recalled.  Suggestions regarding surveillance in plants and enhanced cleaning of slicers in delis are obviously practical and potentially beneficial.


 

FDA to Strengthen Voluntary Recall Protocol

05/02/2019

According to an April 23rd release, Melinda K. Plaisier, Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs outlined the proposed procedures for voluntary recalls in a draft Guidance Document relating to 21 CFR part 7, subpart C.

Food producers will be required to prepare plans relating to voluntary recalls to ensure prompt and efficient execution. 

 

 

The key areas will be:-

 

  • Training – the draft guidance provides recommendations for companies manufacturing or distributing foods or products regulated by the FDA.  Specific trained personnel must be designated and their responsibilities defined.
     
  • Record keeping – traceability requires accurate records including digital systems with specific reference to blockchain technology.  Products must be appropriately coded with corresponding distribution records.
     
  • Procedures – written procedures are required to implement a recall to limit exposure of consumers to potentially hazardous products.
     
    During the past 18 months the FDA has refined recall procedures.  Under specific circumstances the Agency will disclose supply chain and retail distribution information relating to both human and animal foods.  There will be greater transparency relating to recalls with posting on the FDA Enforcement Report which list all events monitored by the FDA.
     
    The Agency points to alerts, advisories and consumer warnings issued in relation to contaminated foods, drugs and dangerous products that have averted illness, injury or death.

 

Development of Recyclable Plastic

05/02/2019

A report in Nature Chemistry* describes the synthesis of a new vitrimer plastic with the ability to degrade, representing a possible solution to the problem of persistence of current plastics in the environment. It is estimated that only ten percent of U.S. plastic material is recycled with remainder destined for landfills or waterways.  The new plastic incorporates dynamic covalent diketone amine allowing plastic to be degraded to constituent parts in the presence of an acid.  The new plastic can be recycled from the degraded acid slurry for reuse. It is possible to separate the new plastic from conventional waste in recycling facilities.

 

The economic feasibility of the new plastic material is not known and there is no timetable for extension from the laboratory to commercial application for either packaging or products.

 

*Environment doi:10.1126/science.aax7790


 

Walmart Gathering Experience from Retail Lab Store

05/02/2019

A 50,000 square foot Neighborhood Market on Long Island is providing Walmart with data from store monitoring. Strategically placed cameras coupled with machine learning are used to alert staff to replenish shelves and to replace aging produce.

Mike Hanrahan, CEO of Walmart Intelligent Retail Lab and a co-founder of Jet.com, purchased by Walmart in 2015, stated “We really like to think of this store as an artificial intelligence factory, placed where we are building these products, experiences, where we are testing and learning”. The ceiling cameras are supplemented with sensors on shelves that detect stock not visible to the cameras of the monitoring system.

Walmart has ensured that shoppers’ privacy is respected and the cameras cannot recognize faces or track movement. The retail lab follows an earlier lab store based on a downsized Sam’s Club to test Scan & Go that allows customers to scan items and check out on their phones.

Information gained from lab store will allow Walmart to gradually refine and introduce technology into mainstream stores. The intent is to lower operating costs which will enable the company to compete with both mainstream supermarkets and Amazon.


 

CDC Report Emphasizes Value of EQAPs

05/02/2019

The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the week of April 26th (Volume 68:369-373) noted that a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis was traced back to a single farm that was not in compliance with the FDA Final Rule on Salmonella Prevention.

During the period 2015 through 2018, FoodNet, the active population-based surveillance system for laboratory-diagnosed infections, recorded an incidence rate of 18.3 cases per 100,000 population for all Salmonella infections. Salmonella Enteritidis was an important serotype contributing to diagnosed cases but in contrast to previous years, the vehicle of infection includes poultry meat and produce in contrast to eggs.

The trend in the incidence of egg-borne salmonellosis since introduction of Egg Quality Assurance Programs (EQAPs) introduced by states, the UEP and producers that preceded the FDA Final Rule of 2010 clearly attests to the value of industry initiatives These comprise placement of chicks from NPIP-certified hatcheries, vaccination, biosecurity and mandated periodic assay of flocks for Group-D Salmonella. The remaining risk to consumers is from flocks flying under the FDA radar based on size or where small-scale farmers deviate from prudent and established good production practices.


 

IAFP 2019 Meeting in Louisville

05/03/2019

The 2019 annual meeting of the International Association for Food Protection will take place in Louisville, Kentucky July 21-24.  The opening session will include the Ivan Parkin lecture delivered by Dr. Barbara Chamberlin, Professor at New Mexico State University on The Power of Play: Using Media to Educate our Stakeholders.  The U.S. Regulatory Update on Food Safety will take place on Monday, July 22 featuring Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner FDA and Dr. Mindy Brashears, Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety, USDA.

 

The John H. Silliker Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Robert V. Tauxe, Director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Disease, CDC entitled, From Outbreak Catastrophes to Clades of Concern, How Whole Genome Sequencing can Change the Food Safety Landscape.

 

The meeting attended by more than 3,500 will include workshops, scientific sessions, posters, exhibitors and an awards banquet.

 

Information on registration is available from www.foodprotection.org/annualmeeting/registration


 

Tennessee Legislature Fails to Act on Raw Milk Bill

05/03/2019

Following outbreaks of E. coli O157: H7 from raw milk resulting in hemolytic uremic syndrome during 2018, Senator (Dr.) Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) introduced Senate Bill 15 which would have restricted distribution of potentially contaminated product. The Bill would have allowed consumption of raw milk only by a sole owner of a dairy effectively outlawing the co-sharing schemes intended to circumvent any ban on sale of raw milk.

The legislature of the state of Tennessee has effectively deferred consideration of the Bill until resumption of the General Assembly, adjourned for 2019.

 

Failure to enact legislation as proposed by Senator Briggs is retrograde and endangers public health.  EGG-NEWS has consistently maintained that providing children with raw milk is a form of abuse given the risk and consequences involved.


 

USDA Reaffirms Science in Decision-making

05/03/2019

In an April 26th press release, the USDA reaffirmed a commitment to science-based decision-making.  Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Acting Chief Scientist and Administrator of the ARS and Dr. Scott Hutchins, Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics attended the G20 meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists held in Tokyo during late March.

 

Hutchins stated, “I was pleased to see an affirmation of the rule for science-based decision-making for advancing global food production in the communiqué.”  He added, “Globally we are seeing an increase in the use of scientific information in policy-making and it is important that we remain vigilant in our risk-assessment process to ensure that we continue to accelerate innovation in agriculture.”

 

While there is no doubt as to the commitment and integrity of the Secretary of Agriculture and his immediate subordinates, who incidentally are all “acting” there is trepidation over undue pressure from the White House on policy and issues which may be regarded as politically sensitive.  It must be remembered that the 2017 nominee for the position currently held by Dr. Scott Hutchins was a conservative Mid-west talk show host with no scientific credentials.


 

Panera Bread to Appoint New CEO

05/03/2019

JAB Holding Company, owner of Panera Bread and other investments has announced that Niren Chaudhary will transferred from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts where he has served as COO since 2017 to become the president and CEO of Panera Bread.  He will replace Blaine Hurst who has led the company since early 2018 and will retire.  Prior to joining Krispy Kreme, Chaudhary spent 23 years with Yum! Brands including president of KFC Global and president of Yum! India.

 

Blaine Hurst joined Panera in 2010 and was appointed president following the acquisition by JAB.


 

Emergence of Multi Drug-Resistant Salmonella Anatum in Taiwan

05/09/2019

Epidemiologic surveillance in Taiwan demonstrated a sharp rise in the isolation of Salmonella Anatum from human patients and chicken carcasses from 2015 through 2017. Concurrently Salmonella Stanley and S. Agona remained constant in prevalence. In 2011, a new strain of Salmonella Anatum was identified. This strain was generally susceptible to most antibiotics. The increase in Salmonella Anatum infections after 2015 were associated with multiple drug-resistant strains. These isolates carried blaDHA-1 encoding for resistance to beta lactamase including third-generation cephalosporins. This gene is located on a plasmid which can be transferred to E.coli and other potential pathogens restricting the range of antibiotics which can be used for treatment.

*Chiou, C-S, et. al. New multi drug-resistant Salmonella Enteriga serovar anatum clone Taiwan 2015-2017, Emerging Infectious Diseases 25:144-147


 

EPA Backtracks on Plan to Reveal Names of Waiver Recipients

05/15/2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has apparently cancelled an announced policy to publish the identity of refineries receiving waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard.

 

The proposal made public in mid-April blindsided the White House and the oil industry.  The proposal was not published in the Federal Register but was widely discussed, meeting with the support of the Renewable Fuels Association, the industry group representing ethanol producers.

Withdrawing the plan after announcement will incur the enmity of both the corn lobby and the RFA.

 

Waivers can be extended to small fuel refiners processing under 75,000 barrels of fuel per day if it can be proved that complying with the RFS, requiring purchasing of EINs would represent a financial hardship.  It is noted that many small refineries are in fact owned by large oil companies including Chevron and Exxon.

 

Waivers have been a source of concern for the RFA since they materially diminish their potential market and reduce the artificial demand for ethanol to be added to gasoline.


 

PETA Attempting to Influence NIH Budget

05/15/2019

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA) has initiated a campaign to influence the budget of the National Institutes of Health to eliminate the use of animal in research.  The organization is using a mobile billboard in the area near the Mar-a-Lago, Florida White House in a direct attempt to influence the President to reduce NIH funding.

 

The medical and scientific community point to the absolute need for controlled and ethical use of animals in research. It is a matter of fact that the majority of Nobel Prizes awarded to scientists in the category of Physiology or Medicine have resulted in part from research on animals.

 

The Federal Animal Welfare Act establishes rules for safety, housing, nutrition. Experimental protocols are subject to approval by institutional committees comprising peer scientists, ethicists and lay members.


 

Sainsbury’s Introducing Advanced Payment Technology

05/15/2019

Following the cancellation of the proposed acquisition of ASDA, a Walmart subsidiary in the U.K., by competitor Sainsbury, the company will deploy more technology to improve efficiency.

 

A Sainsbury SmartShop® Scan, Pay & Go System has been installed in a Holborn Circus community store in London offering cashless shopping.  Since introduction, 80 percent of transactions have been cashless. 

 

Clodagh Moriarty, Chief Digital Officer stated, “This is an experiment rather than a new format for us – it hasn’t been done in the U.K. before and we are really excited to understand how our customers respond to the app. experience.”

 

Sainsbury’s was the first U.K. supermarket to introduce mobile-phone payments although the system is in operation in conveniencee stores in London.


 

Outreach Initiative for Students on Egg Production

05/15/2019

The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture have launched My American Farm game together with a lesson plan, activity sheet and comic. The Poultry Adventure game was developed to help students in  3rd through 5th grade to understand poultry and egg production.

Barbara Jenkins, Executive Director of USPOULTRY Foundation stated “We are thrilled to collaborate with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture to share more about poultry and egg production with elementary students”. She added “As we strengthen our youth outreach efforts, this collaboration is just one of the many ways to reach elementary school-age students to help form their positive opinion of our industry”.

Christy Lilja, Executive Director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture stated “This game is unique to our My American Farm collection because of the focus on both math fluency and the problems presented to students by pushing them to critically think about what the answers to those math problems mean in each poultry and egg production phase”.

Links to the My American Farm can be accessed through www.poultryfoundation.org/directory/prog_student_outreach.cfm.

 


 

Confusion over Progress in Trade Talks

05/15/2019

Following a White House decision, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency imposed a previously delayed tariff of 25 percent on approximately $200 billion in value of goods imported from China. The White House has also threatened to double down and impose tariffs on approximately $300 million in goods from China.

This action increased the tariff from 10 percent and could represent a deal-breaker in talks that have proceeded through eleven rounds since mid-2018. No announcement was made following the meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Steven Mnuchin on Thursday and Friday, 9th and 10th May. According to International Trade, almost half of the $540 billion imported from China annually will be subject to the 25 percent tariff. In a countermove, China imposed tariffs on $110 billion of U.S.-origin imports and has implemented a number of administrative impediments to trade.

The White House action was announced following a realization that China might not be negotiating in good faith especially with respect to coercive trade practices and protection of intellectual property.

In unofficial social media posts, the White House has implied that increased tariffs represented  additional income for the Treasury derived from exporters in China. This assertion was corrected by Larry Kudlow in a Sunday Fox News interview. In effect, tariffs are an indirect tax on consumers and are especially damaging to specific sectors including agriculture that rely on exports to China for a number of commodities including soybeans and sorghum. Economists have warned that the intensifying trade war will disrupt global commerce, reduce U.S. GNP by 0.5 percent and could contribute to a recession with a resulting loss of 300,000 jobs.

The tariffs will take effect on shipments loaded from China effective Wednesday, May 8th. There is therefore a window of approximately three weeks representing the duration of trans- Pacific shipping to allow the negotiators to reach agreement without the tariffs being imposed.


 

Mexico Balks at Modifications to Previously Negotiated USMCA

05/15/2019

The USMCA signed by the Presidents of Mexico and the U.S. and the Prime Minister of Canada have yet to be ratified by all three legislatures of the participating nations. Apart from the issue of rescinding steel and aluminum tariffs imposed unilaterally by the U.S. affecting both Canada and Mexico, the latter nation is implacable with regard to changing labor conditions.

The Democratic caucus in the House is demanding greater protection for U.S. workers, and stricter environmental and prescription-drug provisions.

Jesus Seade, Undersecretary for North America for the Government of Mexico indicated that his nation does not anticipate any changes from the conditions as negotiated. Mexico will not allow inspection of factories but will fully enforce labor reforms that coincide with the policies of the Administration of President Lopes Obrador.

The position of Mexico is that the agreement should be ratified by all parties as negotiated and if changes are required, they can be considered when the USMCA is renegotiated.

Currently the U.S. and its neighbors function under NAFTA which has served to regulate trade for 25 years. With the passage of time, new considerations have necessitated changing aspects of the relationship among the three nations. Unless USMCA is ratified, disruption of trade will occur to the detriment of the agricultural sector and especially impacting broiler and egg exports that will be placed at a disadvantage if Mexico imposes tariffs.


 

Walmart Posts Improved Top and Bottom Lines

05/16/2019

Walmart Stores Inc. Posted a one percent increase in revenue to $123.9 billion for the 1st quarter of FY 2020 ending April 30th compared to the comparable quarter of FY 2019. The Company generated net income of $3.842 billion ($2,134 billion Q1 FY 2019) and an EPS of $1.33 ($0.72). WMT recorded a 2.9 percent increase in same-store sales growth (without fuel). E-commerce revenue rose by 37 percent.

 


 

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Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
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