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Readings

What the World Economic Crisis Means for Global Agricultural Trade (August 2009) evaluates the potential impacts of the 2008-2009 world crisis on international agricultural trade. The most pronounced feature of the current crisis is the sharp fall in agricultural trade, which is likely to fall between 20 and 30 percent in value between 2008 and 2009. This report provides insight into how the crisis is affecting both the commodity composition and the country composition of agricultural trade.

The Transmission of Exchange Rate Changes to Agricultural Prices (July 2009) provides empirical evidence that price and exchange rate transmission for agricultural products is low in most developing economies, partly because of trade policies but also because of inadequate infrastructure and other market deficiencies. Movements in countries' exchange rates can substantially change the prices of goods faced by producers and consumers and thereby affect incentives to produce, consume, and trade goods. Exchange rate changes, however, might not be completely transmitted (passed through) to domestic prices.

The 2008/2009 World Economic Crisis: What It Means for U.S. Agriculture (March 2009) evaluates the causes and consequences for U.S. agriculture of the global economic crisis. Weakening of global demand results in lower U.S. agricultural exports and lower agricultural commodity prices, and puts downward pressure on agricultural real estate values.

Trade and Development When Exports Lack Diversification: A Case Study from Malawi (July 2009) presents an analysis of the link between trade and Malawi's economic development.  Malawi, a country that earns most of its foreign exchange from tobacco, is a case study of export concentration and heavy exposure to volatility. The results suggest that the decline in Malawi's gross domestic product (GDP) when tobacco exports are falling is almost three times greater than the increase in GDP when exports are rising. Simulations indicate that variability in tobacco exports leads to slower economic growth because GDP falls by a relatively large amount in response to a given decrease in exports, while recovering little during an upswing in exports. Gains in tobacco yield and improvements in marketing efficiency, however, can help buffer Malawi's GDP from variability in export revenues.

Exchange Rates, Foreign Income, and U.S. Agricultural Exports (October 2008) estimates the real trade-weighted exchange rate and trade partner income effects on U.S. agricultural exports. For 1970-2006, a 1-percent annual increase in trade partners' income is found to increase total agricultural exports by about 0.75 percent, while a 1-percent appreciation of the U.S. dollar relative to trade partner trade-weighted currencies decreases total agricultural exports by about 0.5 percent. While these effects carry over to 12 commodity subcategories, they are conditioned by differences between bulk and high value commodities, and differences in the export demand from high- and low-income countries.

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2021 (February 2012). The Macroeconomic Assumptions chapter provides the projections underlying the USDA baseline. Movements in real (adjusted for inflation) exchange rates and growth in income influence the long-term trade outlook.

U.S. Trade Growth: A New Beginning or a Repeat of the Past? (September 2007) evaluates how global economic growth patterns and domestic macroeconomic conditions have influenced recent trends in U.S. agricultural trade. Emerging market growth, a weaker dollar, and the potential for slower domestic consumption growth suggest a continuation of robust export growth and moderating demand for imports. For the full report, see Global Growth, Macroeconomic Change, and U.S. Agricultural Trade (September 2007).

China Currency Appreciation Could Boost U.S. Agricultural Exports (August 2007) reports that China's undervalued exchange rate keeps prices of most U.S. food and agricultural products too high to be competitive in China. Appreciation of the Chinese currency will increase the purchasing power of Chinese consumers on world markets and increase China's demand for imported commodities.

Weaker Dollar Strengthens U.S. Agriculture (February 2007) provides an overview of the impact of the current depreciation of the U.S. dollar. The depreciating dollar combined with strong economic growth in developing countries has increased the competitive advantage of U.S. agriculture and stimulated export demand for U.S. agricultural products. However, fixed currencies, trade policies, and imperfect markets can reduce the effects of depreciation.

Canada: A Macroeconomic Study of the United States' Most Important Trade Partner (September 2006) reports that Canada is a large exporter to the United States of critical raw materials-including natural gas, petroleum, and wood products-and a substantial importer of finished industrial and consumer goods. Agricultural trade between the two countries continues to grow in importance, reflecting trade liberalization and greater integration of agricultural markets.

New Directions in China's Agricultural Lending (January 2006) reports that China doubled the balance of loans to farmers between 2001 and 2005. Rural credit cooperatives and banks are being commercialized, but rural lending is still influenced by policy.

China: A Study of Dynamic Growth (October 2004) assesses China's rapid economic growth since 1978, which has been driven by high rates of investment, gains in productivity, and liberalized foreign trade and investment. China's growth is likely to continue, but the Chinese economy faces some potentially unsustainable pressures, including possible currency appreciation, rising rural-urban inequality, unemployment, banking reforms, and an unusual combination of inflationary and deflationary tendencies.

Related Links

International Organizations

Bank for International Settlements is an international organization that fosters cooperation among central banks and other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability.

United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, Statistical Databases (FAOSTAT) provide major international statistics on agriculture, fisheries, and forestry, including agricultural trade, production, and food balance-sheet data.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers access to a search engine of IMF publications. This is a valuable source of information on international macroeconomic issues.

United Nations, Project Link provides access to Project Link papers and forecasts. Project Link is a cooperative, nongovernmental, international research activity that integrates independently developed national econometric models into a global econometric model.

World Bank, World Development Reports offer information on the economic, social, and environmental state of the world.

Federal Reserve System

Federal Reserve Board, Economic Research and Data provides access to Fed research.

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Research and Data accesses research at the Kansas City Fed and a large database.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Economic Research accesses a large set of macroeconomic data links and research at the St. Louis Fed.

U.S. Government

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis accesses a large body of U.S. national income accounting data.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides access to a wide range of statistics on the U.S. consumer price index, employment, productivity, and import and export unit values.

Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers provides the President with objective economic analysis and advice on the development and implementation of a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues.

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration provides access to energy and energy-related statistics for the United States and the world.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, International Database offers direct access to the Census Bureau's population database.

U.S. International Trade Commission is a quasi-judicial federal agency that provides trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines the impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices, such as patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.

USDA, National Agricultural Library, National Agricultural Library Digital Repository (NALDR) offers online browsing of historical ERS Agricultural Economic Reports and Agriculture Information Bulletins.

Universities

University of Maryland, INFORUM, EconData provides access to a large body of published macroeconomic data.

University of British Columbia, Pacific Exchange Rate Service provides access to current and historic daily exchange rates through an online database retrieval and plotting system.

Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

For more information contact: Mathew Shane and David Torgerson

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