Many Countries Struggling With Economic Downturn

December 22, 2008 06:00 PM
Snapshot of news and events for today


Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • Closed for holiday.

Monday's U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 59.34 points, or 0.7 percent, at 8519.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 31.97, or 2.04 percent, to 1,532.35.
  • The 2-year Treasury note was down 5/32 point to yield 0.803 percent -- its first time ever below 1 percent. The 10-year Treasury note fell 3/32 point, or $0.9375 for every $1,000 invested, to yield 2.141 percent. That was up from 2.132 percent. The 30-year bond fell 1-13/32 to yield 2.606 percent.

  • The dollar was at 90.04 Japanese yen, up from 89.12 yen, while the euro was at $1.3954, up from $1.3923 late Friday.

Ag futures Yesterday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened yesterday...

  • Corn: Futures closed 1 to 3 cents higher, posting a very narrow trading session in lackluster trade.
  • Soybeans: Futures gapped higher on the open, extended gains, and posted a mid-range close, finishing 17 1/2 and 18 1/4 cents higher.

  • Wheat: Futures favored a weaker tone most of the day, but finished firmer.
  • Cotton: Futures closed firmer, seeing limited price action.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures saw mixed trade, but favored a weaker tone and closed 37 to 80 cents lower.
  • Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed 12 to 55 cents lower today, seeing slight losses through the day.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






Dec. 22

Grain Inspections (A)
Cotton Ginnings(N)

Catfish Processing(N)
Catfish Feed Deliveries (N)
Cold Storage (N)
Chickens and Eggs (N)
Wheat Data (E)
Feed Grains Database


Weather - Crop Summary (N)
Monthly Milk Cost of Production (E)


Broiler Hatchery (N)
Peanut Prices (N)


Holiday - Merry Christmas!


U.S. Export Sales (F)Dairy Products Prices (N)

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • Toyota Sees First Loss in 70 Years Global Plunge in Car Demand Creates an 'Emergency That We've Never Experienced' While the company says it still expects to report a small net profit for the fiscal year ending March 31, it still forecast a consolidated operating loss of around $1.7 billion. Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said, "It's not yet possible to tell where the market's bottom will be."
  • Recession Slows Migration in U.S. The recession is slowing the movement of people within the U.S., as jobs are the primary factor in people moving from state to state, according to Census Bureau data.
  • China Cuts Interest Rates for Fifth Time Since September The People's Bank of China said it would cut the benchmark one-year lending rate by 0.27 percentage point to 5.31%. That's down from 7.47% when the central bank began slashing rates in mid-September.
  • Falling Exports Take Toll on Japan's Economy. The drop -- the biggest since the ministry began releasing such data in January 1980 and the first two-month run of trade deficit since fall of that year--was mostly due to falling shipments of cars and car parts to the U.S. and Europe and semiconductors to China, the data showed.
  • Flying J Illustrates Hard Plight of Refiners. The company filed for bankruptcy protection after the drop in the price of oil lowered the value of collateral it pledged for loans.

New York Times (registration to site required)

Washington Post

  • Plunge in Exports Reverberates Across Asia Japan Reports Record Drop as Regional Trade Slows; Toyota Warns of First Loss in 70 Years Japan reported yesterday that its exports plunged a record 27 percent in November and other countries are struggling with exports in the wake of the global economic downturn.
  • Deeper Cuts, Widespread Pain Few Industries Are Immune as Companies Shed Jobs in 'Serial' Downturn Industries with some of the steepest job losses include construction, financial services, retail and manufacturing. The regional differences in job losses reflect how large a role those industries play in a given area's economy.
Ag media Monitoring the countryside

Des Moines Register (Iowa)

  • Brasher: Braley says Congress eager for carbon emission controls The Iowa lawmaker has won a spot on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and says it's time for the issue to be addressed. Part of the debate centers on which approach to take -- cap and trade or an outright tax on fossil fuels to make them more expensive and cut their use.

Denver Post (Colorado)

  • Xcel overbilled for wind plan Company balks at PUC suggestion to refund more than $1.5 million to program's funders From 2005 to 2007, Xcel Energy sold credits for more green power than it generated at the wind farms to the tune of $1.5 million, and is balking at recommendations by the state's Public Utility Commission to repay the excess money. The company counters it has generated more than enough wind power to meet the credits sold.
Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: "The White House announced a $13.4 billion rescue package for the troubled Detroit automakers. It allows them to avoid bankruptcy. But Bush had one major condition for the bailout. He had one stipulation. He said he wanted one of those cool Trans-ams with the eagle on the hood.'"

Jay Leno: In "an interview," President Bush "said he didn't strive to be popular. That's what he said. He didn't strive to be popular. So, to use his own words – 'mission accomplished.' Hell of a job."

Jay Leno: "New York Governor David Paterson has unveiled a huge number of new taxes for New Yorkers. It is 88 new taxes if you live in New York. Taxes on soda, movie theater tickets, sporting events, taxis, buses, limos, cable TV. Is that the right thing to do, tax working people? You know what they need to do? How about a nice big Lehman Brothers or AIG incompetence tax? You know, one big tax, cover everything."

Conan O'Brien: "This week, President Bush hosted the annual White House Hanukkah party and the opening prayer was delivered by a rabbi. Or as Bush kept calling him, Jewish Santa.."

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