The Week Ahead: June 3-9, 2013

June 3, 2013 02:56 AM
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Senate farm bill votes | FY 2014 Ag spending bill | Employment report | IRS woes

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

Lawmakers return from their Memorial Day recess, with the Senate resuming debate and votes on the farm bill (S 954) and the House considering two Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations bills – military construction (HR 2216) and Department of Homeland Security (HR 2217). The FY 2014 Ag spending bill will be taken up by the House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Senate is expected to complete the nearly $1 trillion farm bill this week, assuming an agreement is reached on the number and scope of amendments. Final passage is expected, following votes on amendments dealing with crop insurance, food stamps and other issues. Up first are two amendments: One would deal with funding of local and regional food aid procurement projects. Another amendment would authorize USDA to develop a crop insurance policy for alfalfa.

EPA and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the topic of a Wednesday hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform — Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements hearing. It is titled "Up Against the Blend Wall: Examining EPA's Role in the Renewable Fuel Standard."

Tax policy issues will be the real focus in the House committee arena. The House Ways and Means Committee will continue to examine the Internal Revenue Service targeting of certain tax-exempt organizations for more scrutiny. The full committee will hold a hearing Tuesday morning to hear from some of those organizations who felt they were unfairly signaled out for their beliefs.

Focus on IRS spending. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) announced a Thursday morning hearing on an upcoming report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on wasteful IRS conference spending. Inspector General J. Russell George is expected to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee .

The House Administration Committee plans to mark up several bills related to campaign finance and tax issues. Among the bills to be considered at the Tuesday meeting is legislation (HR 94) to amend the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit the use of public funds for political party conventions. The committee also will consider a bill (HR 95) to reduce federal spending and the deficit by terminating taxpayer financing of presidential election campaigns.

The Senate Finance Committee has set a Thursday morning hearing on the nomination of Michael Froman to be the new US trade representative. Froman, who President Obama nominated last month for the post, currently is the deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international affairs. He also is chairman of the Major Economics Forum on Energy and Climate, co-chairman of the Transatlantic Economic Council, and has played an active role in the G20 and G8 summits.

Enforcement of sanctions against Iran will be examined by the Senate Banking Committee during a Tuesday morning meeting. David Cohen, treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Wendy Sherman, undersecretary of state for political affairs, and Eric Hirschorn, undersecretary for industry and security at the US Department of Commerce, are scheduled to testify.

The House Appropriations Committee plans to ready other fiscal 2014 spending bills for floor action. Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said it is planning back-to-back subcommittee markups for two bills on Wednesday — Defense Department and Agriculture Department-Food and Drug Administration spending. For Agriculture, the Obama administration has requested just under $20 billion in discretionary appropriations for programs under the bill. That would be around $400 million above the current level, after the effects of the sequester are taken into account. The House subcommittee will have just under $19.5 billion to work with. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to allow a slightly higher allocation, but leaders from both chambers say they will be looking for places to cut and for greater efficiencies in programs. Leaders of the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittees say they cannot act on the administration’s request that major initiatives authorized by a 2010 food safety law be financed via new user fees, food facility registration, and inspections and import reviews. Authorizing committees will have to act first. The subcommittees also do not support an administration recommendation to trim $1.5 billion by shifting the Food for Peace international aid program to the US Agency for International Development and the jurisdiction of State-Foreign Operations appropriators. Under the proposal, about half of the budget would be used for food purchases in areas closer to recipients to reduce delivery time.

June arrives with some important economic updates on tap. Data on manufacturing leads off the week with the PMI and ISM manufacturing indices and Construction Spending on Monday. Tuesday brings the update on International Trade, with private-sector jobs data arriving Wednesday, along with Productivity and Costs, Factory Orders, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index and the Beige Book is also released that day. The only major indicator on tap Thursday is the weekly Jobless Claims data but Friday will see the key Employment report out in the morning with Consumer Credit info due in the afternoon. Markets also will weigh each piece of economic news and try to guess how it could affect the Fed’s stimulus efforts. Even before the US data arrives, China manufacturing data over the weekend will help set the trading tone to open the week. Besides China, developments out of Japan and Europe still hold potential to move US markets as well.

For agriculture, the Monday update on planting progress will be of note after hefty rains have inundated parts of the Corn Belt – today's report will also be the first report on the corn condition ratings. USDA economists will also release a cost of production forecast to start the week. Ag trade data will be issued on Tuesday with the return to Thursday for the Weekly Export Sales report. This data won’t show any impact quite yet from the unapproved GMO wheat situation, and developments on that front can still impact wheat prices. Otherwise, watching the skies and forecasts will remain key in the ag markets, along with outside markets.

Monday, June 3

Federal Reserve: Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen takes part in a panel on regulation at a monetary conference in China. Also, San Francisco Fed President John Williams participates in Stockholm forum on inflation targeting.
The Bank of Korea hosts a two-day international conference on global liquidity issues.
Russia and the European Union hold a summit in Yekaterinburg.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will speak at Share Our Strength’s Conference of Leaders in Washington.
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve) | PMI Mfg Index | ISM Mfg Index | Construction Spending
USDA reports: Export inspections (AMS) | Crop Progress (NASS) | Cost of Production Forecast (ERS)

Tuesday, June 4
Federal Reserve:
Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher speaks about US monetary policy, Kansas City's Esther George about the US economy. Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin addresses job creation trends.
Food waste: USDA Secretary Vilsack and EPA acting Administrator Bod Perciasepe will launch the US Food Waste Challenge at the Whitten Patio at USDA.
IRS targeting: Hearing. House Ways and Means Committee hearing on "Organizations Targeted by Internal Revenue Service for Their Personal Beliefs."
Iran sanctions: Hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Iran Sanctions: Ensuring Robust Enforcement, and Assessing Next Steps."
Fiscal austerity: Hearing. Senate Budget Committee hearing on "The Fiscal and Economic Effects of Austerity."
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | Motor Vehicle Sales | International Trade
USDA reports: Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WAOB) | Dairy Products (NASS) | Latest US Agricultural Trade Data (ERS)

Wednesday, June 5
South Korea markets are closed.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack delivers a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon address on environmental challenges.
Ag policy: Acting United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro will host a meeting of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee and the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees.
FY 2014 Ag appropriations: Markup. House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee markup of the FY 2014 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.
EPA and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform — Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements hearing titled "Up Against the Blend Wall: Examining EPA's [Environmental Protection Agency] Role in the Renewable Fuel Standard."
Water transportation: Hearing. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee hearing on "A Review of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Chief's Reports."
US-Vietnam: Hearing. House Foreign Affairs Committee - Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee hearing on "U.S. Relations with Vietnam."
Economic policy and the middle class: Hearing. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee - Economic Policy Subcommittee hearing on the "State of the American Dream: Economic Policy and the Future of the Middle Class."
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data | MBA Purchase Applications | ADP Employment | Productivity & Costs | Factory Orders | ISM Non-Mfg Index | Beige Book
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | National Dairy Products Sales Report (AMS) | Announcement of Advance Class and Component Prices (AMS) | US Agricultural Trade Data Update (ERS)

Thursday, June 6
The European Central Bank is expected to hold rates steady after May's cut of a quarter of a percentage point. Bank of England is also seen holding steady.
European Union leaders discuss a roadmap for Europe in Helsinki.
G20 finance ministers and central bankers meet in St. Petersburg.
Federal Reserve: Philly Fed's Charles Plosser lectures on economics at Boston College.
IRS spending: Hearing. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on "Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses."
Offshore energy and jobs act: Hearing. House Natural Resources Committee - Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing on the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to increase energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf, provide for equitable revenue sharing for all coastal States, and implement the reorganization of the functions of the former Minerals Management Service into distinct and separate agencies.
Financing small businesses: Hearing. House Small Business Committee - Investigations, Oversight and Regulations Subcommittee hearing on "Financing America's Small Businesses: Innovative Ideas for Raising Capital."
USTR nomination: Hearing. Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Michael Froman to be US Trade Representative.

Transportation: Weekly Traffic of Major Railroads (Assn. Of American Railroads) | Grain Transportation Report (AMS).
Energy reports: Weekly US underground natural gas stocks (EIA)
Economic reports: Jobless Claims (Labor Dept.) | Challenger Job-Cut Report
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS)

Friday, June 7
US-China: President Barack Obama begins meetings with China's President Xi Jinping (to June 8).
USDA Secretary Vilsack will meet with Domtar Corporation executives, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.D.) and other officials to mark the inauguration of a commercial-scale lignin separation plant in Plymouth, N.C.
Outdoor farmers market: Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse and Agricultural Market Service Administrator Anne Alonzo will open the USDA’s 2013 Outdoor Farmers Market.
Economic reports: Employment | Consumer Credit
USDA reports: Peanut Prices (NASS) | Aquaculture Trade Data (ERS)

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






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