The Week Ahead: Feb. 18-24, 2013

February 19, 2013 12:49 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

USDA Ag Outlook Forum key focus | Congress out

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

For Washington, it will be a quiet week as the House and Senate are on their break for President’s Day and won’t return until the final week of February.

For agriculture, the real focus will be on Thursday and Friday as USDA’s annual Outlook Forum takes place near Washington, DC. The first day – Thursday – will feature the keynote address by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack which can always contain a nugget or two of news. But the main watch Thursday will be on USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber who sets the stage for the annual confab with an outlook for the broad agricultural picture. Of note will be if he opts to get into any details of the US grain and livestock situation ahead. However, he typically focuses on the broad figures and leaves those details until Friday morning when USDA analysts will detail their outlook for the 2013 crop year, updated from figures released as part of the Longterm Baseline projections. Also Thursday, USDA issues their update on the forecast for the value of US ag exports for FY 2013. The Monday holiday means that the Weekly Export Sales report will come out Friday morning, with the Cold Storage and Cattle on Feed reports rounding out the week in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, sign-up for the 2013 farm program begins Feb. 19 at local FSA offices, and runs through Aug. 2. Direct payments will be continued for the 2013 crop year as part of the 2008 Farm Bill extension. Eligible producers need to enroll in the Direct and Countercyclical Program (DCP) to receive 2013 direct payments. Payment rates and eligibility requirements for 2013 will remain the same as in 2012 and will be paid on 85 percent of the eligible crop base acres. Direct payments will be made in October 2013, and there will be no advance payments made. Payment limits and adjusted gross income criteria will apply to 2013 direct payments. It is still possible that Congress could reduce the level of direct payments for 2013, as part of budget reduction package in the next few months. That reduction could be made by lowering the payment percentage.

Producers enrolled in the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program as part of the 2008 Farm Bill will have the option to opt out of the ACRE program for the 2013 crop year when they enroll in the 2013 farm program. Previously, producers were required to remain in the ACRE program through the 2012 crop year, once they enrolled in ACRE. Enrollment in the ACRE program requires a 20 percent reduction in the level of direct payments. Farm operators currently enrolled in ACRE will have until June 3, 2013, to decide if they want to continue in ACRE for the 2013 crop year or opt out of the program. Similarly, producers who have not previously been in ACRE will have the option to enroll in ACRE for the 2013 crop year.

The holiday-shortened week will condense economic information into the last four days of the week as markets and government offices are closed Feb. 18 for President’s Day. Tuesday will bring an update of the Housing Market Index, with Wednesday providing an update on Housing Starts, the Producer Price Index and the release of minutes from the January FOMC meeting. Lots of data hits on Thursday, with the Consumer Price Index, weekly jobless claims, Existing Home Sales, the Philadelphia Fed index and Leading Indicators. Given the FOMC minutes, comments from any Federal Reserve officials could also be of note while market attention will also continue on earnings and any new mergers that happen to pop up. The G20 meeting in Russia over the weekend could also be of note for markets to open the week, but that reaction won’t unfold until Tuesday in the US. Also, markets in China will reopen for trading after being closed all of the prior week for their Lunar New Year holiday.


Tuesday, Feb. 19
2013 farm program sign-up begins: Sign-up begins Feb. 19 at local FSA offices, and runs through Aug. 2, 2013.
Spain auctions T-bills.
Bank of Japan releases minutes of its meeting in January.
Japanese finance and economic ministers hold a news conference.
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve) | Housing Market Index
USDA reports: Export inspections (AMS) | Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations (NASS) | Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WAOB)

Wednesday, Feb. 20
Minutes of the FOMC's January meeting could hold some clues to when, and why, the Fed might decide to scale back quantitative easing.
Economic reports: ICI weekly money market mutual fund data | MBA Purchase Applications | Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | Housing Starts | Producer Price Index | FOMC Minutes | ICSC-Goldman Store Sales
USDA reports: Milk Production (NASS) | Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | Catfish Feed Deliveries (NASS) | Catfish Processing (NASS) | Wheat Data (ERS)

Thursday, Feb. 21
USDA Ag Outlook Forum:
Federal Reserve: A roster of Fed presidents speaks. James Bullard of St. Louis and John Williams of San Francisco are in New York, while Richard Fisher of Dallas talks about Why the Texas Economy Outperforms the Nation, in Dallas.
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept) | Consumer Price Index | PMI Manufacturing Index Flash | Leading Indicators | Existing Home Sales | Phila. Fed Survey
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA) | Weekly National Petroleum Report (API) | Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA)
Transportation: Grain Transportation Report (AMS).
USDA reports: Outlook for US Agricultural Trade (ERS) | Meat Price Spreads (ERS) | US and Canadian Cattle and Sheep (NASS) | Livestock Slaughter (NASS) Announcement of Advanced Prices and Pricing Factors (AMS) | US and Canadian Hogs (NASS)

Friday, Feb. 22

USDA Ag Outlook Forum:
Federal Reserve: Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo speaks about international cooperation in financial rules at a Cornell Symposium.
European Commission issues interim economic forecasts.
Federal Reserve: Fed Governor Jerome Powell and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren participate in discussing a report, Fiscal Crises and the Role of Monetary Policy, at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.
SEC: Commissioners and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman participate in SEC Speaks.
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS) | Peanut Prices (NASS) | Cattle on Feed (NASS) | Cold Storage NASS | Cold Storage - Ann. (NASS) | Dairy Data (ERS)

Sunday, Feb. 24
Elections begin in Italy: Support for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has surged after his promise to cut taxes.


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


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