Phase 1 deal's broad goals, not details, included in USDA's WASDE report


Mark Weinraub, Reuters

Feb 6, 2020


CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department’s closely watched monthly supply and demand forecast will factor in the broad goals of the Phase 1 trade deal, but details of China’s purchase commitments will not be part, the agency’s top economist said on Thursday.


USDA’s commodity forecasts do consider trade actions or agreements that are in place as of the time the reports are published, the agency said in a white paper released Thursday.


So while the broad goals of the deal will be considered, the specific details are not available, USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson told Reuters in an interview.


“We don’t have the details of the Phase 1 agreement in particular,” he said. “We have the overarching sort of goals and that is going to be considered by analysts as they come up with all the WASDE estimates.”


The agreement calls for China to boost its purchases of U.S. agricultural commodities by $40 billion over the next two years.


While the Phase 1 deal may contain specific purchase commitments for individual commodities, “the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has not released that information publicly, and it therefore plays no direct role in USDA’s market analysis and forecasts,” according to USDA’s white paper.


Other unknowns include...