Economic April News

US producer prices index rose in March over forecasts. Economist think a tightening labor market, weak dollar and the tax cut package coupled with increased government spending will drive inflation to the Fed’s 2 percent target this year. The Fed is still expected to make two additional rate increases this year. China’s March factory and consumer inflation numbers show signs their economic growth is slowing. Some attribute this to the growing trade disputes with China and the United States. In response to U.S. criticism of Chinese trade practices, the nation has recently announced plan to tighten controls on intellectual properties and to allow more foreign investment in its financial sector by the end of this year
Stock index futures move higher, look past geopolitical risks and concerns about possible faster interest rate increases; Initial jobless claims 233,000; Claims have now held below 300,000 for 162 consecutive weeks, which is the longest streak for weekly records going back to 1967 • Minutes from the March FOMC meeting indicated Fed officials were a little more hawkish than expected; Probability of a rate hike at Jun meeting now near 90% according to FF futures
Row crop markets shake off early weakness, move higher on impressive soy demand and strong capital flow in response to positive technical action; Wheat pressured by wetter forecast • USDA weekly export sales: Soybeans larger than expected, corn/wheat below expectations; Gap between sales & shipments continues to widen, and is cause for some concern; Record shipment pace between now and end of marketing year required to meet USDA projection in corn/beans • Argentina’s Rosario Exchange cut their 2017/18 soybean production estimate from 40.0 to 37.0 MMT this month, with corn output left at 32.0 MMT • Despite recent White House meetings failing to find a common ground between the oil and biofuels sides on the RFS discussions, sources have said President Trump is still considering allowing E15 ethanol blends to sold this summer as requested ethanol proponents
Oil steadies after jumping to 3-year highs on concern that escalating tensions in the Middle East could lead to conflict and disrupted supplies; Market awaits U.S. response to Syria • U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude oil production at record highs; 1.65-mbpd now 16% of overall U.S. production; Overall domestic crude output has now surpassed the 10.5-mbpd mark • Meanwhile, OPEC monthly report shows it’s crude output fell to the lowest in a year last month amid reduced supplies from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia