In the latest drought monitor dry conditions in North Carolina increased slightly from the week before, from 31% of the state being drought free to just shy of 31% last week, most in the Coastal Plain region, with four counties on the NC/Tennessee border also drought free. All other numbers remained very near unchanged, with the majority of the Piedmont still in moderate drought, with Union and Mecklenburg County showing areas of severe drought.
Latest Drought Monitor in South Carolina Sees Little Changes
In the latest drought monitor, dry conditions in the Palmetto state remain virtually unchanged, with .13 percent of the state drought free, opposed to .14 last week, in the coastal tip of Horry County. The biggest shift in the week ending January 8th was in the severe category, going from 73.49% of the state in severe drought to 71.53%
For more on the drough conditions click here
Surprises in Historic First Crop Reports of 2013
Friday was a landmark day in the world of reporting. In order to reflect the recent changes in trading hours, basically 24/7, reports from now on will be released at noon eastern time, rather than 7:30 eastern. In the first report of 2013, USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber reports that 2012 ending corn stocks are lower than originally predicted:
“Corn stocks are lower than many anticipated. For us it points to more feed use than was anticipated in that first quarter, and I think is in part tied up with this issue that we are seeing more crop harvested in the previous crop year.”
Wheat stocks were also lower than expected, also attributable to more feed use says Glauber:
“We certainly increased the feed and residual number, for wheat up to 350 million bushels that has brought down our ending stock number for wheat down to 716 million bushels.”
Corn export numbers were also lower than projected. Joe Glauber, USDA chief economist.
Lower Gasoline Prices Predicted for 2013
Hamburgers, health care and taxes are all set to take a bigger bite out of the family budget this year. But drivers' annual gas bills are expected to drop for the first time in four years.
Forecasters say ample oil supplies and weak U.S. demand will keep a lid on prices. The lows will be lower and the highs won't be so high compared with a year ago. The average price of a gallon of gasoline will fall 5 percent. Forecasters caution that they can't predict other factors, such as Middle East tensions, refinery problems or hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast – in other words, the same events that caused gasoline prices to spike in 2011 and 2012. Any or all of those troubles could crop up again in 2013. U.S. gasoline consumption is back down to 2002 levels because of more fuel-efficient cars and the tepid economy.