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Where Is the Global Economy Headed? - 30 October 2012

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The Crop Site

Tuesday 30th October 2012.

Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor

Editorial: Where Is the Global Economy Headed?

Last week I attended the Doane's 2012 Agricultural Outlook Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Kevin Kliesen, business economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, offered insights about the US economy as well as China and Europe.

While the US economy continues to improve, gains have been purely lackluster, he said. US labor markets are mixed but slowly healing. Unemployment is still high and consumers seem cautious about spending their money. That said, he still believes financial conditions look pretty good.

Stock prices were up sharply in the third quarter, but the market continues to focus on Europe and China. Good news is that inflation has come down recently; bad news is that the US budget deficit is in dangerous territory. He said that's not a good combination for low and stable inflation over the long term.

The downshift in business capital spending is especially worrisome, he noted. This includes new orders and shipments of core capital goods - things like machinery, equipment, airplanes, the big brown truck that UPS drives - the things that really drive capital spending by companies. It's highly cyclical, meaning it declines during recession and rises very sharply during recovery.

Recently capital spending has turned negative for both shipments and orders. Kliesen questions whether this a recession signal or a recession scare? He thinks it's more of a scare reflecting developments in Europe and China.

Clearly, the global outlook is weighing heavily on the minds of businesses, particularly those who are large or have an international presence, he said. In January 2011, forecasters of the Blue Chip Forecast for Real GDP Growth expected China to grow about 9 per cent. The most recent forecast in October lowered the forecast to about 7 ¾ per cent. They've steadily marked down their forecast for China, and the same pattern is expected for 2013. China is a major global player and the US exports a lot of goods - many intermediate materials - to China. China's weakening economy tends to dampen the US export outlook.

Europe is another big market for US goods, particularly agriculture goods. It's the same story as China, just lower numbers. In January 2011, forecasters expected Europe to grow around 2 per cent. The economy began to disappoint, and now most see Europe at 0.5 per cent this year. In 2013, forecasters see very anemic, but positive growth in 2013.

For more agricultural markets coverage from the Doane's conference, click here.

Doane will be hosting another conference this year targeting investment professionals with an interest in the agriculture sector. Doane Invest - Agriculture Symposium will be held in New York City on December 11-12, 2012. Click here for more information.

Have a great week!


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   General

Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture to be Developed
Is Volatility in Global Cereal Prices Here to Stay?
Locust Alert for Northwest Africa
Economist: Global Grain Demand - It's All About China
Agriculture Key to Australia's Role in Asia
Maize Production Forecasts Tumbling

   United Kingdom

Novel Analysis Technique Gives More Accurate Measurement of Silage Feed Value
Moroccan Millers and Buyers Given Wheat Update
Farming's Hidden Contribution to UK Society
New Combine Header from John Deere

   Ireland

IFA Calls for Slurry Spreading Flexibility

   Nigeria

Nigeria's Rice Production Forecast to Increase
Nigeria Hikes Sugar Tariffs to Swell Domestic Sugar Production

   China

Sugar Production Forecast Up
Growth in Organic products as Consumers Adopt Self Protection Strategies
Farm Produce Prices Show Small Rise

   United States

Light Shed on Agricultural Water Use in Texas
Grazing Cornstalks - What about Pricing?
CME: Corn Futures Finished Down Tuesday
US Corn Groups Work for Higher Ethanol Blends
Forage Conference Focuses on Recovery
Drought Assistance Minimises Impacts, Spurs Improvements on Farmland
Weekly Roberts Market Report
CME: Corn Futures Closed Mostly Unchanged Wednesday
Farmers Need to Watch for Drought-Induced Herbicide Carryover
Texas High Plains Cotton Crop Could be Above 10-year Average
Purdue Members Awarded for Cowpea Crops Research
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Thursday
BP Cancels Plans for US Cellulosic Ethanol Plant
CME: Corn Futures Closed Slightly Lower Friday
CME Group Issues Update About Its New York Trading Floor
CME: Corn Futures Closed Lower Monday

   European Union

EU Agricultural Reform - What is Going on?
CAP Reform Agreement Possible by End of Year
EU Approves Maize which Opens Doors to US DDGS
Agriculture Industry Unites Behind Technology Roadmap

   Australia

Perception, Policy, Prices - Key Issues Affecting Agriculture
New Drought Strategy Receives Support
Global Food Giant Bid for Graincorp Highlights Wheat Bill Flaws

   Brazil

All Lots Hired in Corn Auction
Sales of Soybean Meal Beyond October Last Year

   Russian Federation

Russia to Begin Selling Wheat from the State Grain Intervention Fund
Russia Reports Increased Crop Acres

   Mexico

Feedipedia – New Resource on Feed Ingredients

   Denmark

Danish Minister Supports Transparency of EU Farm Subsidies

   India

India Cotton Export Registration Policy Extended

   Peru

Peru Minister Presents New Hybrid Corn

   Jamaica

Hurricane Sandy Could Cost Jamaica $1 Billion

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