Markets are quiet this morning with corn unchanged, soybeans up 5 and wheat down 10. Coming into this morning the thought was that markets would trade higher with the US administering Covid-19 vaccines starting this week.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency approval to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine late last week, with CDC giving its rubber stamp on Sunday. The first of the supplies have already been shipped around the country, with medical teams expected to start administering doses of it today. Covid-19 will likely continue to make headlines until our society reaches herd immunity. That means that enough people have antibodies from having contracted the illness, combined with those who have antibodies from the vaccine, to slow the spread of the virus and it starts to disappear. Health authorities believe that could happen by June. The vaccine will first be given to healthcare workers and to high risk individuals – such as the elderly. This should further reduce the death rate from the virus as one of the first indications of progress, along with reducing pressure on hospital ICU bed utilization.
China is fixated on a zero-tolerance policy for Covid-19. It locks down large population centers if it finds a few cases of the virus. Most concerning to U.S. producers are the steps it is taking against imported meat. The central government gave responsibility for managing the risk of Covid on imported meat to local provinces and cities. Nobody wants to be held responsible for an outbreak, so they’re going overboard with restrictions. Today’s China Direct newsletter from our Shanghai office describes a story that went viral in China about how consumers in Hubei were being fined for buying imported pork from a common online delivery platform. The city had previously banned the sale, purchase or storage of imported frozen products. Furthermore, a sample from that batch of Brazilian pork had tested positive for the coronavirus, leading authorities to require citizens of that city to pay to be tested, in addition to the fine for possessing the imported meat, while being confined to home isolation for the quarantine period. These obstacles are creating fear among consumers, making them wary of buying imported pork.
Have a Safe Day!