A Year-Long Blip

Figure 1: Soybean spot prices. Source: Macrotrends.com, accessed 7/23/2019.

Back on July 9th of last year, an Econbrowser reader wrote:

Those of us arguing against the constant anti-tariff, anti-Trump dialogs have noted this will probably be a price blip lasting until US/Chinese negotiations end. We are on record saying the prices will be back approaching last year’s harvest season prices.

Needless to say, prices are not back to where they were in Sept-Nov 2017. Instead, Brazil has siezed market share and US soybean shipments to China have plummeted. From USDA FAS “Oilseeds”, on July 11th:

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“International spillovers of monetary policy through global banks”

That’s the title of a new special issue of the Journal of International Money and Finance, co-edited by Claudia Buch, Matthieu Bussière, Menzie Chinn, Linda Goldberg, Robert Hills, drawing on proceedings from an International Banking Research Network conference. From the introductory paper:

International spillovers of monetary policy have been core topics of theoretical and applied work in recent years, and thesubject of intense discussions in policy circles. Recent literature has improved our knowledge of international policy trans-mission, for instance: by investigating the role of global liquidity conditions; by analyzing international bond price orexchange rate responses to monetary policy decisions using very high frequency data and identification of monetary shocks;and by assessing countries’ monetary policy autonomy by examining the interest rate co-movements with base country pol-icy instruments. Still, gaps in this literature persist. In particular, most of the literature has focused on macroeconomic chan-nels, whereas comparatively less attention has been paid to transmission via banks, which may vary depending on individual banks’ characteristics and the features of national banking systems.

Against this background, the International Banking Research Network (IBRN) launched a project aimed at closing some ofthese gaps, drawing on a unique network of researchers and data. Country teams compiled individual bank-level data for theperiod from 2000 through 2015, usually based on confidential data proprietary to central banks, and then analyzed thosedata using a common empirical method. Small groups of country teams collaborated on papers to bring out instructive com-parisons and contrasts about the way in which monetary policy can have effects across borders via banks.

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Is California in Recession (Part XVII)

June employment figures are out. Time to re-evaluate this assessment from one and a half years ago in Political Calculations that California was in recession.

Going by these [household survey based labor market] measures, it would appear that recession has arrived in California, which is partially borne out by state level GDP data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. [text as accessed on 12/27/2017]

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The Course of the US-China Trade War, Viewed through the Lens of Soybeans

Or, hope died in August 2018…

Figure 1: (Log) July 2019 soybean futures contract price minus spot price (blue). Source: ino.com and macrotrends.com, and author’s calculations. Red dashed line at 7/12/2018, one year before expiration of July 2019 futures contract. Dates from Dezan Shira and Assoc.

Typically, the futures and spot should differ by cost of carry, but for soybean futures, but at the 3, 6 and 12 months horizons, the futures are an unbiased predictor of future spot rates (see Chinn and Coibion, 2014). Hence, the spread can (roughly) be interpreted as an estimate spot rate rising in the future, which is inversely proportional to the probability of a resolution of the US-China trade war (cost of carry is going to vary over the year, so the spread is only partly indicative).

For the course of the spot and July 2019 futures, see this post.

Predictions of Soybean Prices from One Year Ago

On July 9, 2018, reader CoRev disparages futures prices as accurate predictors of future spot prices for soybeans, writing:

no one has denied the impact of tariffs on FUTURES prices. Those of us arguing against the constant anti-tariff, anti-Trump dialogs have noted this will probably be a price blip lasting until US/Chinese negotiations end. We are on record saying the prices will be back approaching last year’s harvest season prices.

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Of Big Macs, PPP, the Penn Effect, and Currency Misalignment

From Anneken Tappe in CNNBusiness:

The Economist’s Big Mac Index — a lighthearted way to make the value of currencies more tangible — showed that nearly all currencies in the index are undervalued against the dollar.

The Big Mac Index, released Wednesday, is rooted in the theory of purchasing power parity: Exchange rates reflect the value of goods a currency can buy. If currency X can buy an item at a lower price than currency Y, then currency X may be comparatively undervalued and currency Y could be overvalued.

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To Worry or Not To Worry: Adjusted and Unadjusted Spreads

Torsten Sløk at Deutsche Bank had an interesting commentary [not online] this morning, noting the disjuncture between the different estimates of estimated term premia from affine (no arbitrage) models of the term structure emanating from the NY and SF Feds. I adjust the term spread by the term premium from SF and show the implied probability of recession, alongside that from the conventional 10yr-3mo.

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Guest Contribution: “A Blockchain solution for the technology war between China and the US “

Today we are pleased to present a guest contribution by Alessandro Rebucci, of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. This post is based on “Blockchain Technology and Government Applications: A Proposal for a Global Patent Office” (with E. Di Nicola Carena and P. La Mura), in A. Fatás (editor), The Economics of Fintech and Digital Currencies, CEPR ebook, Fintech and Digital Currencies Policy and Research Network, CEPR March 2019.

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