The Week Ahead: March 10-16, 2014

March 10, 2014 02:13 AM
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via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Focus on FY 2015 budget, USDA reports

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Congress returns from another short week to focus on hearings on budget plans for FY 2015 for a host of government agencies, as both chambers prepare to make spending decisions for year the fiscal year that begins October 1. The overall funding level has been determined, but the process is getting rolling towards working out the details. Legislation on tap includes a Medicare long-term doctor payment fix, a bill to change the Medicare prescription program, a measure to prevent oil spills on certain farms and military sexual assault prevention. At the end of this legislative week, both chambers of Congress are scheduled to take a one-week Spring recess.

In the House, Republican leaders have scheduled the Medicare sustainable growth rate bill (HR 4015) and prescription drug program legislation (HR 4160). The House also plans to take up a farm spill prevention (HR 311).

The Senate is scheduled to resume on debate on several judicial nominations and a scaled-back version of a bill (S 1917) to prevent sexual assaults in the military.

The House agenda includes a bill (HR 311) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rule with respect to certain farms, and a bill (HR 4160) that would prohibit further action on the proposal to change the Medicare prescription drug benefit programs. The House also will consider a bill (HR 3189) that would prohibit the Interior and Agriculture departments from requiring certain applicants to surrender their water rights in order to obtain land permits.

Congressional committees will meet on several issues, including a continued review of President Barack Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 budget requests, nominations to and oversight of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors, surface transportation reauthorization, communications issues, and environmental concerns.

The following hearings will focus on tax and revenue issues, especially relative to the FY 2015 budget:

  • The Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday morning will examine the president's FY 2015 budget plan. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will testify.

  • Lew testifies before the House Budget Committee later Wednesday as that panel continues its review of the president's FY 2015 revenue and economic policy proposals.

  • That hearing begins at 2 p.m. in Room 210 of the Cannon House Office Building.

  • The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning will explore alternative solutions on the Internet sales tax issue.

  • The Senate Finance Committee will hold a Thursday morning hearing on how Congress can act to improve the lives of middle class Americans.

  • The House Ways and Means Committee meets on Wednesday to discuss the FY budget proposal for the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is scheduled to testify before the committee.

  • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies on Wednesday afternoon will focus on the FY 2015 budget for the Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will testify.

  • The Senate Appropriations Transportation-HUD subcommittee meets Thursday morning on budget estimates for DOT. Foxx is expected to testify.

  • The Senate Appropriations State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies Subcommittee also meets Thursday morning for a hearing on the FY 2015 budget request for the Department of State. The subcommittee will hear from Secretary of State John Kerry.

  • The House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee will hold a Thursday morning hearing on the FY 2015 budget for the Department of Defense. The Subcommittee will hear from DOD Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey.

  • The House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee has a Thursday morning hearing on the FY 2015 budget for the Department of Agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack will testify at the hearing,

Federal Reserve oversight. The House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee will have a Wednesday morning hearing on oversight of the Federal Reserve System. Witnesses will focus on the central bank's role in credit allocation.

Nominations. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday morning will hold a confirmation hearing on the president's nominees for the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors. Nominees Stanley Fischer, Jerome Powell and Lael Brainard are scheduled to testify.

Transportation hearing: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit will hold a Wednesday morning hearing on the implementation of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Witnesses will also focus on the FY 2015 budget request for surface transportation.

Economic data continue to be affected by what has been a rather harsh winter for several areas of the country. That continues to take some of the sting out of disappointing or below-expectations economic data. And as we’ve seen, the situation with Ukraine and Russia remains a potential catalyst to alter directions in global financial markets. On the US data front next week is the Wholesale Trade report Tuesday with the monthly Treasury budget statement on Wednesday. It’s a much fuller day Thursday when weekly jobless claims, Retail Sales, Import and Export Prices and Business Inventory reports are all due. The week wraps up with Producer Price Index and Consumer Sentiment readings on Friday. Beyond that, economic updates from Europe or China will be watched along with the Ukraine situation.

For agriculture, USDA’s monthly Supply/Demand report arrives today and traders will be watching a combination of foreign and domestic areas. On the US side, the strong pace of soybean export sales and shipments to date compared to the 2013/14 projection would appear to give USDA room to raise that export outlook On the foreign side, the watch will be on South American weather situation. Tensions in Ukraine are raising hopes that the US could garner some additional sales of wheat. The longer the tensions continue, the greater the expectation will be for US sales possibilities. The Thursday USDA update remains important as traders watch for additional soybean sales cancelations by China.

Monday, March 10
Trade negotiations: In Brussels, the fourth round of negotiations toward a transatlantic free-trade agreement begins.
World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo speaks at the US Chamber of Commerce.
Japan releases fourth-quarter gross-domestic-product growth.
Federal Reserve: Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser speaks on monetary policy, banks and protectionism in Paris. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks on the economy and monetary policy in Columbus, Georgia.
Economic reports: Selected Interest Rates (Federal Reserve)
USDA reports: Export inspections (AMS) | Livestock & Meat International Trade Data (ERS) | Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WAOB) | World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WAOB) | World Agricultural Productions (FAS) | Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Grains: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Cotton: World Markets and Trade (FAS) | Crop Production (NASS) | Season Average Price Forecast (ERS) | US Agricultural Trade Data Update (ERS)

Tuesday, March 11
Bank of Japan makes a monetary policy announcement following a two day meeting.
Economic reports: ICSC-Goldman Store Sales | NFIB Small Business Optimism Index | Wholesale Trade

Wednesday, March 12
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble holds a news conference about the budget.
Minimum wage policy: Committee hearing. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Fiscal 2015 budget: Committee hearing. Senate Budget Committee. Witness: Jacob Lew – Secretary of the Treasury.
Fiscal 2015 budget: Committee hearing. House Budget Committee. Witness: Jacob Lew.
Federal reserve oversight: Subcommittee hearing. House Financial Services — Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade.
Fiscal 2015 budget: Committee hearing. House Ways and Means Committee. Witness: Ssecretary of Health and Human Services.
MAP-21 implementation, Fiscal 2015 budget - Surface Transportation: Subcommittee hearing. House Transportation and Infrastructure — Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Energy reports: Weekly Petroleum Status Report (EIA) | Weekly ethanol plant production (EIA).
Economic reports: Treasury Budget | Weekly Mortgage Rates (Freddie Mac) | ICI weekly money market mutual fund data Weekly mortgage applications (Labor Dept.) | MBA Purchase Applications
USDA reports: Broiler Hatchery (NASS) | National Dairy Products Sales Report (AMS) | Oil Crops Outlook (ERS) | Cotton and Wool Outlook (ERS) | Wheat Outlook (ERS) | Price Reactions After USDA Crop Reports (NASS) | Rice Outlook (ERS) | Feed Outlook (ERS)

Thursday, March 13
Nominations: Senate Banking Committee weighs the nominations of Stanley Fischer, Jerome Powell, and Lael Brainard for the Federal Reserve Board.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang holds a news conference at the end of the annual National People's Congress.
Agriculture bills, budget views and estimates report: Full committee markup. House Agriculture Committee will meet to consider its "Views and Estimates" report to the House Budget Committee and other pending legislation.
Keystone XL Pipeline and national interest: Committee hearing. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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.) | Retail Sales | Business Inventories | Import & Export Prices
USDA reports: Export Sales (FAS) | Feed Grains Database (ERS) | Turkey Hatchery (NASS) | Aquaculture Data (ERS) | US Bioenergy Statistics (ERS)

Friday, March 14
Russia's central bank holds a monetary-policy meeting after holding an emergency meeting to raise interest rates earlier in March.
Federal Reserve vice chair nominee Stanley Fischer speaks at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Economic Summit 2014.
Fiscal 2015 appropriations: Agriculture, Rural, FDA: Subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations — Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies. Witnesses: Tom Vilsack - Secretary of Agriculture; Joe Glauber, chief economist, USDA; Michael Young, budget officer, USDA.
Economic reports: Consumer Sentiment
USDA reports: Sugar and Sweeteners Outlook (ERS) | Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (ERS) | Peanut Prices (NASS)


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






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