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CoBank: Possible Trade War Negatively Impacts Rural U.S.
USAgNet - 04/03/2018

Despite the challenges, there are abundant opportunities for U.S. agriculture this year amid drought in South America and growing export prospects. However, those opportunities are at risk according to the latest Rural Economic Review from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Division.

"Optimism over global economic growth in 2018 remains high, but it is clear that downside risks to growth far outweigh the likelihood of upside surprises," said Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Division.

"We are looking at 4 percent global growth, the highest since 2011 - developed countries such as the U.S. are providing the global stimulus needed for that growth - but trade concerns now put that at risk."

Talk of trade wars is complicating the U.S. economic outlook, but fiscal stimulus from tax cuts and increased government spending will boost U.S. growth over the next 18 months.

Persistent drought in Argentina could cut soybean output there by 20-30 percent. Global soybean stocks are at multi-year highs, but Argentina's sharp production loss puts increased focus on the U.S. growing season.

Exporters of ethanol, pork, and specialty crops are suddenly faced with the possibility that tariffs could be imposed on their shipments to China.

This year will likely be viewed as an inflection point for battery storage due to a federal order that advances the role battery storage technology will play in shaping the future of the power and energy sector.

The $1.3 trillion federal spending package, passed in late March, included $600 million for the USDA to create a pilot program to support the buildout of rural broadband.

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