In this file:


·         Farmer Sentiment Darkens as China Hopes Fade

·         Exclusive: China backtracked on nearly all aspects of U.S. trade deal - sources

·         Ag Economy Barometer Falls in April



Farmer Sentiment Darkens as China Hopes Fade


By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming - 5/8/2019


A Purdue University gauge of farmer confidence plunged by 18 points, its largest drop since the start of the Sino-U.S. trade war, amid rising doubts that a resolution is near, said two economists who oversee the Ag Economy Barometer on Tuesday. The monthly poll of crop and livestock producers was conducted well before the Trump administration decision for sharply higher tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese-made imports, effective Friday.


“Producers are less optimistic that the trade dispute with China will be resolved by July 1 than they were a month earlier but remain optimistic that it will ultimately be resolved with terms favorable to U.S. agriculture,” wrote economists James Mintert and Michael Langemeier. Some 28% of respondents said a settlement was likely by midsummer, compared with 45% in the previous month.


The “ongoing uncertainty” of U.S.-China trade relations “is unacceptable to U.S. farmers,” said president Davie Stephens of the American Soybean Association on Tuesday. “With depressed prices and unsold stocks forecast to double before the 2019 harvest begins in September, we need the China market reopened to U.S. soybean exports within weeks – not months or longer.” The soybean group urged the White House to reach an agreement that will remove China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans. In the past, China bought 1 of 3 bushels of U.S. soybeans grown.


A Chinese delegation is expected in Washington for ministerial-level meetings this week. President Trump announced over the weekend that tariffs would rise to 25% on $200 worth of Chinese products that now face duties of 10%. U.S. officials said China wanted to reopen discussions on topics that supposedly were decided.


The Purdue barometer has been on the decline since early this year...


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Exclusive: China backtracked on nearly all aspects of U.S. trade deal - sources


David Lawder, Jeff Mason & Michael Martina, Reuters 

May 8, 2019


WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The diplomatic cable from Beijing arrived in Washington late on Friday night, with systematic edits to a nearly 150-page draft trade agreement that would blow up months of negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, according to three U.S. government sources and three private sector sources briefed on the talks.


The document was riddled with reversals by China that undermined core U.S. demands, the sources told Reuters.


In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.


U.S. President Donald Trump responded in a tweet on Sunday vowing to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent on Friday – timed to land in the middle of a scheduled visit by China’s Vice Premier Liu He to Washington to continue trade talks.


The stripping of binding legal language from the draft struck directly at the highest priority of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - who views changes to Chinese laws as essential to verifying compliance after years of what U.S. officials have called empty reform promises.


Lighthizer has pushed hard for an enforcement regime more like those used for punitive economic sanctions – such as those imposed on North Korea or Iran – than a typical trade deal.


“This undermines the core architecture of the deal,” said a Washington-based source with knowledge of the talks.









Ag Economy Barometer Falls in April



via KTIC (NE) - May 8, 2019


The Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in April, declining to a reading of 115, an 18-point decline compared to March when the index stood at 133.


The 18-point decline in the index was the fourth largest one-month fall in the barometer since data collection began in October 2015. Organizers say the barometer’s decline was driven by worsening perceptions of both current economic conditions and weaker expectations for the future.


Producers surveyed were less inclined to think now is a good time to invest in buildings and equipment, and are less optimistic that the trade dispute with China will be resolved by July first than they were a month earlier. Over half, 56 percent, of farmers in the April survey reported they expect their farms’ financial performance to be about the same as last year.


However, 27 percent of farmers said they expect this year’s financial performance to be worse than last year...