Information produced by ADM Investor Services, Inc. and distributed by Stewart-Peterson Inc.
Wheat prices overnight are up 8 3/4 in SRW, up 8 3/4 in HRW, up 5 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 2 1/4; Soybeans up 12 1/4; Soymeal up $0.05; Soyoil up 1.33.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 2 in SRW, up 6 1/2 in HRW, up 4 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 9; Soybeans up 88 1/4; Soymeal up $2.44; Soyoil up 2.97.
For the month to date wheat prices are up 36 in SRW, up 23 1/4 in HRW, up 2 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 23 1/4; Soybeans up 78; Soymeal up $20.00; Soyoil up 0.34.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are up 9% in SRW, up 17% in HRW, down -7% in HRS; Corn is up 22%; Soybeans up 17%; Soymeal up 15%; Soyoil up 29%.
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Chinese Ag futures (JAN 23) Soybeans up 156 yuan; Soymeal up 209; Soyoil up 260; Palm oil up 212; Corn up 34 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 216 ringgit (+5.86%) at 3899.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 3,084 SRW Wheat contracts; 1 Oats; 0 Corn; 0 Soybeans; 61 Soyoil; 76 Soymeal; 40 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of September 12 were: SRW Wheat down 4,228 contracts, HRW Wheat down 1,479, Corn up 9,303, Soybeans up 18,365, Soymeal down 1,828, Soyoil down 805.
Northern Plains Forecast: Mostly dry Tuesday. Isolated to scattered showers Wednesday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Friday. Outlook: Isolated to scattered showers Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Monday, near to below normal Tuesday-Wednesday. Central/Southern Plains wheat and livestock highlights… Scattered showers. Temperatures below normal.
Central/Southern Plains Forecast: Mostly dry Tuesday. Isolated showers Wednesday-Friday, mostly north. Temperatures near to above normal Tuesday, above normal Wednesday-Friday. Outlook: Isolated showers Saturday-Wednesday, mostly north. Temperatures above normal Saturday-Wednesday.
Western Midwest Forecast: Mostly dry through Wednesday. Isolated to scattered showers north Thursday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal Tuesday, above normal Wednesday-Friday.
Eastern Midwest Forecast: Scattered showers Tuesday. Mostly dry Wednesday-Friday. Temperatures near to below normal Tuesday, near to above normal Wednesday-Friday. Outlook: Isolated to scattered showers northwest Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures above to well above normal Saturday-Wednesday.
The player sheet for Sept. 12 had funds: net sellers of 7,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 9,000 corn, sellers of 21,000 soybeans, buyers of 10,500 soymeal, and buyers of 5,000 soyoil.
- CORN TENDER: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group has issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn which can be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa
- SOYBEAN TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued international tenders to purchase around 30,000 tonnes of soybeans free of genetically modified organisms
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state buyer opened a tender for 120,000 tonnes of wheat to be shipped in March and April. The tender closes on Sept. 13.
- BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state buyer issued an international tender for 120,000 tonnes of barley, a government source said. The deadline for offers is Sept. 14.
- FEED WHEAT AND BARLEY TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said it will seek 70,000 tonnes of feed wheat and 40,000 tonnes of feed barley to be loaded by Dec. 31 and arrive in Japan by Feb. 24, 2023, via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that will be held on Sept. 14.
- WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buying agency postponed the deadline for submission of price offers in its international tender to purchase 50,000 tonnes of wheat from Sept. 1 to Sept. 18.
- Basis bids for soybeans shipped by barge to U.S. Gulf Coast terminals were steady to weaker on Monday and export premiums softened, reflecting export competition from Argentina as well as the approach of the harvest in the heart of the Midwest, traders said.
- Still, soy barges for prompt shipment to the U.S. Gulf continued to command hefty premiums over deferred loadings as Gulf exporters scrambled for supplies due to quality problems with the early soy harvest in the rain-soaked Mississippi River Delta.
- CIF soybean barges loaded Sept. 1-10 with export-grade soybeans were bid steady at around 300 cents above November futures.
- CIF soy barges loaded in the full month of September were bid around 185 cents over November futures, unchanged from Friday. October soy barges were bid at 120 cents over November futures, down 7 cents from Friday.
- U.S. Gulf soybean export premiums fell, with late-October shipments offered around 210 cents over November futures, down 15 cents from Friday.
- Farmer soybean sales spiked in Argentina last week after the Argentine government implemented a new exchange rate, dubbed the “soy dollar,” aimed at stimulating soy exports to build up foreign currency reserves.
- For corn at the U.S. Gulf, barges loaded in first-half September were bid at 125 cents over September futures and barges for full-September loadings were bid at 115 cents over December futures, both unchanged from Friday.
- Export premiums for October corn loadings held at around 145 cents over futures, unchanged from Friday.
- Spot basis bids for soybeans delivered to elevators and processing plants around the U.S. Midwest were steady to lower on Monday as futures prices surged following a bullish U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) harvest forecast, dealers said.
- Corn basis bids were mixed and wheat bids were flat.
- Spot basis bids for hard red winter wheat was mostly steady to higher at truck and rail market terminals across the U.S. southern Plains on Monday, grain dealers said.
- Dry conditions persisted across parts of the southern Plains as farmers are preparing to plant their next winter wheat crop.
- Protein premiums for wheat delivered by rail to or through Kansas City were unchanged, according to the latest CME Group data.
- Spot basis bids for corn and soybeans were flat to lower at U.S. Midwest elevators and processors on Monday, pressured by rising supplies as harvesting across the heart of the farm belt was due to ramp up soon, grain dealers said.
- Cash market activity was muted on Monday ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supply and demand report due later in the morning.
- U.S. spot cash millfeed values held steady on Monday, supported by demand for livestock feed in the Midwest and Plains, and rising prices for corn, a competing feed ingredient.
- Spot basis offers for soymeal were steady to lower at truck and rail markets on Monday, while basis values at Gulf Coast export terminals were mostly lower, brokers said.
- Cash market activity was light on Monday morning ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) monthly supply and demand reports
USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand
Below are the key takeaways from the live blog event “USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand”, followed by a complete transcript of blog entries in the order they were originally posted.
Here are the five key takeaways from the September USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand report released Monday:
- Soybean Surprise: Despite corn being the big focus going into the latest WASDE report, soybeans took center stage with Chicago futures jumping as much as 4.5%, the biggest intraday gain for the most-active contract since Feb. 24, the day Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Drought and planting delays in the US have led to a diminished outlook for yields and harvested acres. The tighter supply expectation came with a trim to US exports, turning the spotlight on future demand at a time when recession fears and expectations of fewer Chinese imports are in the forefront.
- Corn Cuts: As widely expected, the corn outlook for the US and European Union both got a cut after drought and heat in both regions hurt harvest prospects. Exports were reduced for the US but raised for Ukraine, showing the progress being made under the Ukraine grain-export corridor, as corn has accounted for about half of the crop tonnage that’s flowed so far. The war is still taking a significant toll as Ukraine shipped double that amount the prior season. World ending stocks are down. The grain squeeze means South America’s corn plantings and the ongoing situation in the Black Sea will remain a top focus.
- Wheat Swells: The global wheat crop is getting larger as the USDA raised world production by about 4 million tons, mostly due to bigger Russia and Ukrainian crops. Crops still face significant challenges and uncertainties getting out of the Black Sea, but the latest news and recent drop in prices is a sign of hope for a relief in food inflation ahead.
- Rice: Drought is hurting China’s rice production, leading the USDA to take its estimate lower, while India’s output was also cut amid dry conditions, marking the first decline in output since 2015-16. At the same time, the outlook for global consumption of rice was raised to a record of 519.3 million tons. With supplies coming down and use going up, that could mean higher prices for rice, a grain that traders had hoped earlier this year would act as a buffer to issues with wheat and corn.
- Food Price Outlook: A tighter supply outlook for corn and oilseeds is sending up crop futures as new supply fears loom. Along with the ongoing questions about Black Sea trade, Washington is hoping to head off a potential US rail strike that could seriously hurt transportation flow just as harvest heats up. Also, expectations for a third year of La Nina are stoking drought fears going into next year. That all means the prospect of severe food shortages won’t be fading anytime soon.
World Crop Estimates From USDA September Report
U.S. 2022-23 Corn Production and Yield by State
U.S. 2022-23 Soybean Production and Yield by State
USDA CROP PROGRESS: Corn Conditions 53% G/E, Soybeans 56%
US Inspected 447k Tons of Corn for Export, 329k of Soybean
28% of Ukraine Grain Sent to Low and Lower-Middle Income Nations
As of noon local time Monday, 2.7m tons of grain and foodstuffs have shipped from the three Ukrainian ports covered by the Black Sea Grain Initiative, its Joint Coordination Centre says in an emailed note.
- Of the total, 28% was sent to low or lower-middle income countries, as per World Bank classifications
- Includes cargoes to Egypt, Iran, India, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Lebanon, Somalia and Yemen
- 27% was sent to upper-middle income countries and 44% to high-income countries
- Two of the cargoes have been chartered by the UN’s World Food Programme; a third is en route to Chornomorsk port
- NOTE: Destinations of cargoes may change based on commercial activity; some grain may be processed at destination and trans-shipped elsewhere
Ukraine farmers may cut winter grain sowing by at least 30% – Union
Ukrainian farmers are likely to cut the winter grain sowing area by at least 30% because of a jump in prices for seeds and fuel combined with a low selling prices of their grain, the Ukrainian Agrarian Council (UAC) said on Monday.
Ukraine has already started 2022 winter grain sowing and the agriculture ministry said last month it expects the winter wheat sowing area could shrink to 3.8 million hectares (9.3 million acres) from 4.6 million a year earlier.
Ukraine sowed more than 6 million hectares of winter wheat for the 2022 harvest, but a large area was occupied during the Russian invasion that began in February and only around 4.6 million hectares of wheat would be harvested in Ukrainian-controlled territory.
“The main reasons that encourage agricultural producers to reduce sown areas are the high cost of fertilizers, problems with the sale of grain, as well as too low purchase prices for agricultural products,” the UAC said in a statement.
The council represents thousands of small and medium-sized agriculture producers across Ukraine.
“We will reduce the sowing of winter crops by almost half. I consider it impractical to sell wheat today at cost price and still sow when there is no sale. I am looking for a sales market. In order to sow now, the farm needs to sell 500-700 tonnes,” the UAC quoted farmer Valery Martyshko from the Kyiv region as saying.
Ukrainian grain exports have slumped since the start of the war because its Black Sea ports, a key route for shipments, were closed off, driving up global food prices and prompting fears of shortages in Africa and the Middle East.
Three Black Sea ports were unblocked at the end of July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
Trade estimates for Statistics Canada crop production report
China’s Corn Crop Growing Well Despite Extreme Weather: CASDE
China’s main corn-growing regions received significant rainfall in August, which was conducive to the formation of yields, according to the latest China Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
- While low temperatures in the northeast have slowed grain filling, most of the corn crop is growing well; yields will not be impacted if there’s no early frost
- Crop conditions in northern China are generally better than last year
- Heatwave and drought in southern Shaanxi and Sichuan Basin have affected corn yields there, but limited planting in those areas means the overall impact is not huge
- Demand from corn processing sector is weak due to widespread losses but feed consumption is expected to rise as hog breeding margins improve and the substitution of wheat has declined
- Supply-demand forecasts for corn, soybean and edible oils are unchanged for the 2022-23 marketing year
- NOTE: USDA on Monday lowered its estimate for rice production in China, the world’s biggest producer, due to drought
Palm Oil Imports by Top Buyer India Jump 88% M/m in August: SEA
Inbound shipments surged to 994,997 tons in August from 530,420 tons a month earlier, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.
- Palm oil imports have surged because of relatively high prices of competing edible oils, such as soybean oil, the group said in a statement on Tuesday
- NOTE: Palm oil prices have slumped 46% from a record close in late April; soyoil has fallen 20% during the period
- Soybean oil imports more than halved to 244,697 tons from record 519,566 tons in July
- Total vegetable oil imports, including non-edible oils, rose to 1.4m tons from 1.21m tons
- India’s sunflower oil purchases at 135,308 tons vs 155,300 tons
- Edible oil stockpiles at ports and in the pipeline were 2.3m tons at the start of August
France Sees Corn Harvest at Lowest Since 1990 on Summer Drought
The French corn harvest — excluding fields grown for seed — is seen at 11.3m tons, the smallest since 1990, its agriculture ministry said Tuesday in a report.
- That’s because of a sharp drop in yields due to the summer drought, combined with reduced plantings due to surging fertilizer and gas costs
- Including seed corn, the harvest is seen at 11.6m tons, down 25% y/y and below an August estimate of 12.66m tons
- That’s also the smallest since 1990, it says
- Soft-wheat crop estimate raised to 34.1m tons, from 33.9m tons
- Barley crop estimate kept steady at 11.4m tons
- Rapeseed crop estimate raised to 4.5m tons, from 4.3m tons
- Sugar beet crop estimated at 33.3m tons
- That would be 3% lower y/y
- Compared to other crops, beets are more resistant to drought, the ministry says
MARS Cuts Outlook for Ukraine 2022 Corn and Wheat Harvests
Ukraine’s 2022 wheat harvest is now estimated at 26.2m tons, down 18% y/y, the EU’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources unit said in a report posted Monday.
- That compares to a June outlook of 26.9m tons
- Corn crop estimate cut to 32m tons, down 24% y/y
- Compares with a June outlook for 35.3m tons
- Ukraine had mixed weather for crops throughout the summer, report says
- Prolonged rain shortfalls hurt yields in the south and west
- Center and north had better moisture
- Barley crop seen at 6.79m tons, down 28% y/y
- Sunflower crop seen 13.9m tons, down 15% y/y
- Rapeseed crop seen at 3.85m tons, up 31% y/y
- About a fifth of the soft-wheat and barley area, 10% of sunflowers and 4% of corn are in areas currently facing hostilities from Russia’s invasion
Brazil C-S 2022-23 Summer Corn Seeding 17% Done : AgRural
Summer corn planting was 17% complete as of Sept. 8, consulting firm AgRural said in an emailed report.
- That compares with 9% a week earlier and 16% a year before
- 2022/23 soybean planting starting in Brazil’s Southeastern region and in the western side of Parana state, but only in small areas
Ukraine Grain-Corridor Shipments Top 2.4m Tons, Latest Data Show
More than 2.4 million tons of grain and foodstuffs have been shipped from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports under an export corridor that opened in early August, according to the latest lineup posted by the United Nations.
- Of the total, about 687,564 tons were inspected at Istanbul for exit from the Black Sea in the week to Sept. 9
- Compares with 615,730 tons the prior week
- NOTE: Additional ships have been authorized to depart in recent days; final destinations of cargoes may change
- Here’s a breakdown of the crops shipped from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports:
- NOTE: The agreement that formed the corridor was signed in late July and is valid for an initial 120 days
- Some Ukrainian ports remain blocked by Russia’s invasion. The nation’s total grain exports for the 2022-23 season are running 49% below last year, government data show
Mexico Questions Price Hikes at Firms With Market Concentration
Mexico will discuss with business that have high market concentration how much they have raised their prices as part of government efforts to address inflation, Finance Minister Rogelio Ramirez de la O said in an interview with Radio Formula on Monday.
- Mexico questions why tortilla prices have gone up, if corn prices have gone down: Minister
- Mexico is removing import caps on chicken, meat and eggs from South America
- Mexico’s 2022 budget for its gasoline subsidy now at MXN 395 billion, Ramirez de la O said
- Mexico’s Maya Train budget for 2023 rose to about MXN 140 billion
WHEAT/CEPEA: Harvest still expected to set a record in BR; quotations fade
Cepea, September 12 – The harvesting is a possible record crop of wheat is advancing in Brazil, which is pressing down quotations. The number of deals for the new crop (2022/23) is still low but is gradually increasing as the product harvested is made available in the national spot market.
Conab has once again revised up the estimates for this year’s area and production in Brazil (2022/23 season, which began in August). According do Conab, the Brazilian wheat output may total 9.36 million tons, 22% up from that last crop (2021/22). This volume results from the larger area (+10.6%) allocated to wheat crops in Brazil, of 3.03 million hectares. Productivity estimates were revised down by 0.2% compared to that forecast in August, but it is still 10.3% higher than that in 2021/22, estimated at 3.091 tons/hectare.
As for imports, Conab estimates Brazil to import 6.3 million tons of wheat, 200 thousand tons less than that forecast in August, but still 3.6% up from that last season. The domestic availability of wheat is predicted at 16.38 million tons, and domestic consumption continued estimated at 12.27 million tons, a record. Brazilian wheat exports are estimated at 2.5 million tons between Aug/22 and Jul/23. Thus, ending stocks would total 1.61 million tons by July/23.
CROPS – According to data from Seab/Deral, by September 5th, 12% of the wheat crop in Paraná had been harvested, with 78% in good conditions; 19%, in average conditions; and 3%, in bad conditions – stable compared to the scenario last week.
BRAZILIAN MARKET – In the Brazilian market, wheat prices are fading, majorly in the wholesale market (deals between processors). Cepea, surveys show that, between September 2 and 9, the prices paid to wheat farmers (over-the-counter market) dropped by 3.4% in Paraná, 0.88% in Santa Catarina and 0.38% in Rio Grande do Sul. In the wholesale market (deals between processors), quotations decreased by 4.41% in SC, 3.92% in PR, 3.9% in São Paulo and 3.77% in RS. In the same period, the US dollar decreased by 0.5%, to BRL 5.15 on Friday, 9.
EXPORTS AND IMPORTS – According to data from Secex, Brazil exported 871.96 tons of wheat in August. In the last 12 months, the volume exported totaled 3.14 million tons, and between January and August/22, 2.6 million tons of wheat were shipped.
As for imports, Brazil imported 536.64 thousand tons of wheat last month, 7.4% more than that in July but 9.7% less than that in Aug/21. Argentina was the major supplier (65.45% of the total volume imported), at the import value of BRL 2,269.13/ton. In 12 months, imports totaled 6.03 million tons.
China to Sell Pork From State Reserves Again This Week: NDRC
China will sell pork from state reserves this week to boost supply and stabilize prices, the nation’s economic planning agency says in a statement, without offering date or volume.
- The sale will be China’s second pork sale from state reserves this year
- NDRC vows to closely monitor the hog market and sell more pork from reserves when necessary
- NOTE: The first batch of pork sold from reserves was conducted on Sept. 8
Egypt Wheat Stockpiles Sufficient for 6.6 Months: Ministry
Egypt wheat production is meeting 50% of local demand, the country’s supply ministry said.
- Egypt achieved 90% of sugar self-sufficiency
- Sugar imports do not exceed about 400k tons/year
- There is no country that can achieve self-sufficiency in all commodities: ministry
China Cuts Corn, Soybean Meal in Feed Grains to Ensure Food Security
China is reducing the amount of corn and soybean meal in feed to ensure food security, according to the latest official statistics.
The proportion of corn used in compound feed produced by Chinese companies was 30.3 percent in July, versus 52 percent in 2017, a recent report released by the China Feed Industry Association showed. Soybean meal consumption was reduced to 15.6 percent from 17.9 percent.
In recent years, the scale of livestock and poultry breeding in China has been expanding because of the rising resident income and growing meat consumption, leading to an increased demand for feed grains. In 2021, China’s feed grains accounted for over half of the country’s total grain consumption.
China’s food security lies in feed grains, Gao Yupeng, a professor at Northwest A&F University, told Yicai Global. It is difficult for the animal husbandry industry to feed livestock and poultry with Chinese grain, he added.
In the formula structure of domestic livestock and poultry feed, energy feed raw materials generally make up 65 percent, of which corn’s share is 50 percent to 55 percent, while protein feed raw materials account for about 30 percent, of which soybean meal is between 15 percent and 20 percent, said Chen Shiyan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor at China Agricultural University.
In addition to concerns about food security, grain imports have remained high in recent years, with prices surging, so the Chinese aquaculture industry has been working on reducing and substituting feed grains.
Since 2018, China has promoted wheat, barley, sorghum, rice, and other cereals combined with additives, such as enzyme preparations, to achieve corn substitution. As for soybean meal, the country has actively popularized high-quality low-protein feed grains and replaced it with other miscellaneous meals.
Chinese researchers are already studying low-soybean meal or soybean meal-free feed grain technology for pigs and chickens, which will greatly reduce the amount of protein raw materials.
In 2020, China’s compound feed production increased by 30 million tons from 2019, but soybean imports did not grow, indicating that promoting low-protein feed grains was effective. Last year, compound feed production rose by 42 million tons from the previous year, and China’s meat and milk production hit a record high, but soybean imports fell by 3.8 million tons.
CPO TO CONTINUE TRADE SIDEWAYS IN Q4 2022
Crude palm oil (CPO) prices are expected to trade sideways at around RM3,500-RM4,000 per tonne towards year-end, benefitting from the price disparity between the CPO and soybean oil (SBO) price which is currently at around US$477 (US$1=RM4.50) per tonne.
However, MIDF Research is still maintaining its ‘positive’ stance on the sector with a CPO target price of RM5,500 per tonne for 2022, but with a neutral bias towards 2023.
Nonetheless, it noted that there are downside risks to its call, such as the fragile demand outlook on the back of inflationary pressure, coupled with tight household spending due to high base interest rates both locally and globally, as well as Indonesia’s extended zero-levy policy for palm oil exports until Oct 31.
“Palm oil prices have dipped by 30 per cent since June 2022 but remain relatively firm, considering that peak season is here and demand is just picking up.
“While prices may stay muted for a month or so, record discounts to SBO prices, pending Deepavali demand from India and rising biodiesel sales are supportive of palm oil prices.
“Chinese imports, which can be among the biggest, should also improve when the country reverts to a new post-COVID normal,” it said.
As such, the research house is maintaining its CPO price forecast of RM4,500 per tonne for 2022 and RM4,000 per tonne for 2023.
Meanwhile, despite the stronger plantation results in the first half of 2022 (1H2022), Public Investment Bank Bhd (PIB) said it expects to see weaker results in 2H2022, given the sharp reversal in CPO prices.
The research firm said the CPO spot price retreated from the recent high of RM7,516 per tonne to the current level of RM4,122 tonne, a massive drop of 45 per cent.
“However, the oleo-chemical business in Malaysia is expected to see improved performance, given the recent cut in Indonesia’s CPO export tax, which makes it more competitive for Malaysian players.
“Meanwhile, there are some positive signs with regards to the domestic labour shortage issue as some companies have managed to bring in new foreign workers from Indonesia, Nepal and India, although the numbers are relatively small,” it said.
Rail-Strike Threat Squeezes Biden Between Unions, Economic Peril
- Labor’s Walsh presses unions, freight-rail firms to agree
- Chamber of Commerce says strike would be ‘economic disaster’
The Biden administration is pressuring labor unions and freight-rail operators to agree on a new contract before a Friday deadline to avert a strike that risks disrupting the US economy and undermining Democrats’ midterm election prospects.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the matter and is closely tracking the work of Cabinet officials and economic advisers — which has included multiple meetings of the National Economic Council, a White House official said Monday.
Underscoring how high the stakes are for Biden, the official said the administration has made clear to the negotiators that a shutdown of the freight-rail system is an unacceptable outcome for the economy.
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh on Sunday evening again pressed the parties to reach a resolution, the Department of Labor said in a statement Monday. Cabinet and administration officials have made dozens of calls to the involved parties, and Walsh is postponing a trip to Ireland to deal with the impasse, a department official said.
Freight railroads and labor unions worked through the weekend in a bid to hammer out a new contract to avoid a strike that could snarl supply chains, disrupt agricultural deliveries and cost the US economy more than $2 billion a day.
A strike also would carry significant political risk for Biden and his fellow Democrats, whose efforts to hang on to their House and Senate majorities in the Nov. 8 elections have been boosted by a string of legislative victories and improving economic news. Supply-chain disruptions less than two months before voters go to the polls could hurt Democrats and put Biden — who has pledged to be the most pro-union president in history — in a bind.
While 10 of 12 railroad workers’ unions have struck new labor deals, the two holdouts — the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers — account for more than 90,000 rail employees.
Railroads have advised customers of some potential service disruptions starting on Monday if talks don’t progress ahead of a potential walkout on Sept. 17. Six Class I freight railroads will begin to take steps to “manage and secure” shipments of some hazardous or sensitive materials starting Monday, the Association of American Railroads, a trade group, said in a statement.
A work stoppage also could hamper food shipments and would come at a particularly perilous time, said Brooke Appleton, vice president of public policy at the National Corn Growers Association.
“Rail is an essential piece of the agricultural supply chain, particularly as we approach harvest season, so any disruption to rail services would have a negative and lasting impact on our growers,” Appleton said via email. “Given what is at stake for the agricultural community and other sectors of the economy, we hope all parties will come to an agreement.”
Railroads and workers have faced years of challenging negotiations, which began in January 2020, shortly after the labor contract froze at 2019 levels. After the National Mediation Board failed to carve out an agreement this summer, the Biden administration’s Presidential Emergency Board recommended a 24% compounded wage hike by 2024 and $5,000 in bonuses, including some retroactive elements. The AAR said such a wage gain would be the biggest in at least 40 years.
Congress would act to avert a strike that could shut down freight-rail operations across the country, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Monday.
“There is a role for Congress if in fact they fail to reach an agreement,” the Maryland Democrat said on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power” with David Westin. “We can pass legislation if needed.”
Industry groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, have urged lawmakers to intervene by extending the Friday deadline for a deal or to force both sides to accept a settlement.
“A national rail strike would be an economic disaster — freezing the flow of goods, emptying shelves, shuttering workplaces, and raising prices for families and businesses alike,” chamber President Suzanne Clark said in a statement.
Congress has the power to delay or halt a rail work stoppage altogether. In 1986, lawmakers extended a no-strike rule for 60 days to continue negotiations with the Maine Central Railroad Union.
And in 1991, Congress ended a national railroad strike less than 24 hours after it began through a joint resolution. The House vote was 400-5.
Nigerian Firm Signs Afrexim Bank Loan for $62m Edible Oil Plants
African Export-Import Bank will provide 16.56 billion naira as part of financing for the 27 billion naira ($62 million) edible oil plants planned by Ganic Foods Ltd., the Nigerian firm says in emailed statement.
Fund will help construct a palm kernel expellers plant and a soybean solvent extraction plant, as well as a vegetable oil refinery to be sited in Nigeria’s southwest Ogun State.
Project will help “to insulate Nigeria from the pricing volatility of edible oils on international markets” upon completion
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