Agribusiness Report: More Cuba Restrictions Lifted

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - The Obama Administration has lifted more trade and travel restrictions on Cuba, but it's up to Congress to lift U.S. credit restrictions on agriculture commodity exports. That's a part of a decades old U.S. embargo of banks ability to lend credit to Cuba for ag exports.

Cuba limits trade by funneling all sales through a state body.

While the White House broadened goods and travel, the American Farm Bureau says there are limits to what can be done.

Trade advisor Dave Salmonsen says, "These trade financing restrictions, the lack of use credit, provides an extra burden, allows for other countries to come in and get better price than the Cubans, it will restrict, we've seen that for some sales to wheat, rice, probably other commodities where we're just not as competitive because these trade financing restrictions so that's why we keep pushing to get the overall embargo lifted and take care of this."

The Treasury Department already lifted "cash-in-advance" restrictions on agriculture sales to Cuba. However, U.S. firms, including those in agriculture, say they lose business to competitors by not allowing Cuban access to credit.

This week is started off in the red across the board for commodities with some interest rate news from Japan. Analyst Don Roose weighs in.

"The grain markets are giving back the rally that we had the end of the week on grains. Japan went to a negative interest rate environment."

"That really gave us a push to the upside to end the week in the equities and also in the commodities. But also, back at it here with improved weather in South America over the weekend, and also a pickup in farmer movement. has caused a stall out in the market and pressing us lower here today."

"The cattle market really was supported at the end of last week from the storm that is moving through. It doesn't look like it's going to be as severe in some of the big cattle feeding areas. Particularly Oklahoma and Texas as as earlier thought. So trying to give back a little bit of the gains. We did see cash cattle trade as high as 138 on Friday."

"The hog market continues to be an overachiever from the futures running a too big of a premium to the cash. Also the index feels like it's trying to push up closer to the futures market. But we did have last week's production up 3.4% over a year ago."

The colfax sheep and goat auction on Saturday saw 251 head of sheep. Feeder lambs fetched the days high average price of $2.15 per pound, while fed lambs averaged $1.30 per pound. The 55 goats at the auction saw a high average price ranging from $110 to $195 per head.

Malaysia has voted to sign and ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In a motion last week passed by a voice vote, Malaysian officials say T.P.P. is essential to maintain economic growth as a trade-reliant economy.

The T.P.P. is expected to open markets to Malaysian companies in the amount of 800 million people and economies worth a total of $27.5 trillion dollars.

The deal gets rid of trade barriers against countries like the U.S. The agreement is set to be signed by country leaders in New Zealand next month.