ECONOMIST: SLIP INTO RECESSION A TOSS-UP... Dr. Vince Malanga of LaSalle Economics, Inc. is disappointed by the fiscal cliff deal. He says while the deal met his expectations the risk of the U.S. economy slipping into recession is a toss-up. "The enactment of this fiscal drag is a negative in the short run and we are suspect of a sustained housing recovery; suspect of continued cash infusions to the household sector from mortgage refinancing; and suspect that business will suddenly regain confidence and loosen its purse strings," he says.
"Meanwhile, political bickering has plenty of life left. Now that the economy has been pulled from the edge of the fiscal cliff there are upcoming confrontations over the federal debt ceiling, a continuing budget resolution and another deadline for spending sequestration," adds Malanga. "From our vantage point there does not seem to be any consensus for spending restraint and we highly doubt Republicans will accede to any more tax increases. So more acrimonious debate seems certain."
MARTELL SAYS SOUTH AMERICAN WEATHER PATTERN SHIFTING... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says the weather pattern for South America is shifting, which if realized, would aid dry areas of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Additionally, she says welcome warmth and sunshine for much of Argentina would be the opposite of December and help with final planting efforts.
"December growing conditions were the driest since 1979 in Mato Grosso, Brazil's top soybean state... Goias was also exceptionally dry along with Bahia and Minas Gerais from widespread drought in the tropics. December growing conditions were exceptionally wet in Rio Grande do Sul in the south of Brazil," she notes. Click here for related maps.
SOME DROUGHT RELIEF EXPECTED IN THE SOUTHERN PLAINS... Martell says weather models are still promising of heavy rains that would ease drought conditions in areas of Texas and Oklahoma. "By Wednesday morning, a broad trough of low pressure would develop across the Southern Great Plains. West Texas is expecting .50 to 1 inch of rainfall; Oklahoma .75 to 1.50 inches. Southern Kansas would be relatively drier with expected rainfall from .15 to .55 inch. Any moisture is beneficial in the wake of historic summer-fall drought," she says. Click here for more.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER TO STAY OPEN THROUGH JANUARY... Major General John Peabody of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said today the Mississippi River will be deep enough through January for barge traffic. The Corps' work to remove rock obstacles near Thebes, Illinois, will continue through the month and the channel should be two feet deeper by the end of this week, he reports. Forecast precip is also expected to help maintain the 10-foot river depth needed to maintain barge traffic.