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The Week Ahead: Aug. 22-26, 2011

August 21, 2011
By: Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer Washington Consultant

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Fed meeting | Farm bill field hearing in Kansas | CBO updates on economy, budget | CFTC focus on commodity markets


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


President Obama and his family is on summer holiday, as is Congress. Top policy items on the agenda this week include the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke slated to address the gathering on Friday. Europe's ongoing debt situation will likely be the topic of discussion at the Fed meeting when European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet addresses the meeting, also on Friday.

On the farm bill front, the Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a field hearing in Wichita, Kansas, on Thursday, with Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) hosting the meeting.

The Congressional Budget Office on Wed., Aug. 24, will release its updated budget and economic outlook. The updated figures should be important relative to upcoming budget-cutting debates.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Office of Chief Economist will host a high-level research conference on August 25-26, to discuss key issues affecting commodity markets. CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler will give opening remarks at 9 a.m. ET on August 25, 2011.

The first day of the conference will feature presentations of academic papers grouped into three distinct subject areas: commodity index trading, market sentiment, and hedging and arbitrage. The second day will consist of two academic panels. The first panel, organized jointly with the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy, will focus on issues related to the energy markets. The second panel, organized jointly with the Economic Research Service (ERS) of USDA, will address issues associated with the agricultural markets. Howard Gruenspecht, Acting Administrator of the EIA, will give opening remarks at the beginning of the first panel. Laurian Unnevehr, Acting Administrator of the ERS, will give opening remarks at the beginning of the second panel. Andrei Kirilenko, the Chief Economist of the CFTC, will offer both welcoming and concluding remarks.

Conference details: The Conference will be held in the Conference Center at the CFTC’s Headquarters, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC. The conference will be open to the public with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Members of the public also may listen by telephone. Call-in to a toll-free or toll-telephone line to connect to a live audio feed. Call-in participants should be prepared to provide their first name, last name and affiliation. Conference call information is listed below:

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