July Ag Economy Barometer Increases

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reading jumped to 153 in July, up 27 points from June, and up 52 points from May. However, it’s safe to expect a decline in the August report. While the Market Facilitation Program payments are a positive to farmers, this week’s announcement that China will stop all purchases of U.S. ag products is a significant market loss. Barometer results are based on a survey of 400 producers across the U.S. conducted from July 15 through July 19, 2019, which was before USDA’s announcement of 2019 MFP payment rates. A big driver of sentiment was producers’ improved expectations for current economic conditions. The Index of Current Conditions, a sub-index of the ag barometer, increased 44 points in July to a reading of 141, marking the largest one-month improvement since data collection began in October of 2015. The barometer’s other sub-index, the Index of Future Expectations also increased, up 18 points from June, to a reading of 159 in July.