Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
The nation's economy seems to be taking but tentative steps toward expansion. For its part the Federal Reserve this week chose not to alter interest rates, currently at 40 year lows. But Fed Leaders remain worried about the prospect of deflation, noting industrial commodities have fallen and the prices have failed to spur the nation's manufacturing sector. Consumers too are tentative, but many question the notion of deflation – noting that the cost of products in the nation's broad service sector has been rising. Insurance, medical costs, cable and other communication fees have all been rising dramatically.
For all practical purposes the American economy seems to be functioning with a dual operating system: one, commodity-oriented, the other, service-base. Much of Rural America remains tied to the commodity sector, so Spring is an important season. This week prospects were dampened a bit.
At the beginning of the week, the USDA crop report showed spring planting for all major crops to be equal to or slightly ahead of the average pace. The one exception is spring wheat, which continues to be well ahead of both last year's sowings and the five-year average.
But the planting picture is likely to change. A weather cycle of almost daily moisture has been moving through the Midwest dumping rain by the bucketful and at times causing lethal destruction. Weather forecasts for the region predict continued wet conditions on into next week.
Meanwhile, the markets are mostly unconcerned with the weather conditions. Prices in the soybean pit continue to be driven by tight supplies rather than weather. And the corn market is also facing one of the smallest carryouts on record, a factor that is amplified by stubborn sellers in the country.