The Week Ahead: April 23-29, 2012

April 22, 2012 10:54 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

TOPICS: Senate Farm bill markup | House farm bill hearings | FOMC | MF Global

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

The Senate Agriculture Committee markup of the new farm bill on Wednesday, a Federal Open Market Committee announcement, a press briefing by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and a Senate panel hearing on the MF Global bankruptcy are the Washington highlights this week. At the conclusion of the week's business, the House will recess for one week, returning to Capitol Hill the week of May 7.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) wraps up their meeting on Wednesday, and that will bring updated economic forecasts from the Fed and a quarterly press conference by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. That session will be closely watched by markets for any signs the Fed is ready to or contemplating more help for the US economy.

On the economic report front, traders will get more housing data via new home sales on Tuesday and pending home sales on Thursday. Other economic data due out include Durable Goods on Wednesday along with the first reading of first quarter 2012 GDP due on Friday. Europe’s debt situation will also potentially be a factor, in part depending on weekend meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. The IMF’s "bigger firewall" has been agreed, with commitments totaling an extra $430 billion of lending capacity as meetings in Washington finished on Sunday, but questions remain over how any eurozone country would actually obtain access to the funds, according to the New York Times.

For agriculture, the weekly Crop Progress report today is a focus. The National Ag Statistics Service on Tuesday will release their annual update on how their estimates during the year stack up against their final data. Weekly Export Sales data on Thursday morning will also get lots of attention, especially relative to China due to talk last week the country bought US corn on the mid-week price dip.

The Senate Ag Committee begins a much-anticipated markup of a new farm bill on Wednesday, which could linger into a Thursday session. Meanwhile, several House Ag Committee subcommittee hearings are on tap this week regarding farm bill issues – rural development, conservation programs, and dairy policy.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is set to appoint conferees to get to work on surface transportation reauthorization (HR 4348), with the House possibly considering a motion to go to conference on the bill. A Democratic motion to instruct conferees is expected. Republicans are expected to send another 90-day extension of federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs to the conference committee.

The House will consider at least two additional pieces of legislation under suspension of the rules on Wednesday, including a bill (HR 3336) to amend the Commodity Exchange Act to exclude banks and farm credit bureaus from swap dealer status. The other bill, the DATA Act (HR .2146) would establish an independent body to track all federal spending on a single website, and require the use of consistent government-wide data standards.

This week's Washington-related agenda: The agenda for congressional committees features hearings on farm bill issues, MF Global, gas prices in the Northeast, expiring tax provisions, FDA user fees, and Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations.

Monday, April 23
Europe: European Central Bank Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny talks in New York about European monetary issues and the lingering crisis in the euro zone.
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve).
USDA reports:
Export inspections (AMS) | Livestock Slaughter - Ann (NASS) | Chickens and Eggs (NASS) | Crop Progress (NASS).

Tuesday, April 24
Presidential primaries
are held in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Spain auctions bonds; Italy sells debt.
Food and security:
The Henry Jackson Society launches a report at the UK House of Commons on the relationship between food insecurity, conflict and revolution.
Collapse of MF Global:
Committee hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Witnesses: James W. Giddens, trustee, Securities Investment Protection Act Liquidation of MF Global Inc.; Louis Freeh, trustee, MF Global Holdings; Jill Sommers, commissioner, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Robert Cook, director, Division of Trading and Markets, Securities and Exchange Commission; Richard Ketchum, president, chairman and CEO, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; Terrence A. Duffy, executive chairman, Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Fiscal 2013 appropriations - Energy and Water:
Subcommittee markup. Senate Appropriations — Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Budget reconciliation; Gasoline regulations and energy production bills:
Committee markup. House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up pending legislation and consider reconciliation recommendations to the budget committee (statements only).
Oil demand in China:
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars address titled "Increasing Oil Demand in China: Rising Risks and International Consequences."
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | S&P Case-Shiller HPI | Consumer Confidence | New Home Sales | FHFA Home Price Index.

Wednesday, April 25
The ECB announces its long-term refinancing operation allotment.
2012 farm bill:
Committee markup. Senate Agriculture Committee.
2012 farm bill - Rural Development programs:
Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture.
Impact of tax overhaul on state and local policy:
Committee hearing. Senate Finance Committee.
Gasoline regulations and energy production bills:
Committee markup. House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of energy-related bills: Gasoline Regulations Act | Strategic Energy Production Act.
Food and Drug Administration user fees:
Committee markup. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee markup of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, which would authorize the FDA to collect fees from manufacturers to expedite the process of approving drugs and medical devices. The panel will consider amendments dealing with drug supply chain integrity, medical device policy, prescription drug shortages, incentivizing new antibiotic development, and drug approval and patient access.
Securities and Exchange Commission:
Subcommittee oversight hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises.
'Replacing the Sequester':
Committee hearing. House Budget Committee.
Economic reports: Durable Goods Orders | FOMC announcement (Federal Reserve) | MBA Purchase Applications.
Energy reports:
EIA Petroleum Status Report | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Grain Transportation Report (AMS) | Weekly Traffic of Major Railroads (Assn. of American Railroads).
USDA reports:
Poultry Slaughter (NASS) | Milk - PDI (NASS) | Broiler Hatchery (NASS) Crop Production Historical Track Records (NASS).

Thursday, April 26
CAP reform meeting:
The EU agriculture and fisheries council discusses regulation of payments under the common agricultural policy (until April 27).
2012 farm bill - Conservation Programs:
Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry.
2012 farm bill - Dairy Programs:
Subcommittee hearing. House Agriculture — Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry.
Expiring tax provisions:
Subcommittee hearing. House Ways and Means — Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures.
Gas prices in the Northeast:
Committee hearing. Joint Economic Committee hearing titled "Gas Prices in the Northeast: Potential Impact on the American Consumer Due to Loss of Refining Capacity."
Economic reports: Jobless Claims | Pending Home Sales Index.
Energy reports:
EIA Natural Gas Report |
USDA reports:
Export Sales Report (FAS) | US and Canadian Hogs (NASS) | Meat Animals - PDI (NASS) | Poultry - Production and Value (NASS) | Puerto Rico - Agricultural Statistics (NASS) Monthly Milk Cost of Production (ERS).

Friday, April 27
Japan rate-setting meeting:
The Bank of Japan’s Monetary Policy Committee meets in Tokyo.
Economic reports:
Consumer Sentiment | GDP | Employment Cost Index.
USDA reports:
Dairy Products - Ann. (NASS) | Peanut Prices (NASS).


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






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