Ag News: Ethanol Exports Higher and Pandemic Food Purchases Lower
**Numbers for 2021 show there’s good news for U.S. ethanol exports that reached the fifth-highest total on record despite COVID restrictions, even though exports were down 8% from the previous marketing year.
U.S. Grains Council’s Brian Healy says the lingering effects of COVID were reflected in the global ethanol trade, but looking forward, more aggressive blend rates that have been or will be set, will support increased ethanol demand and trade.
**The pandemic and the economic slowdown prompted a dramatic 7.8% cutback in consumer spending on food in 2020.
Two USDA economists tell www.agriculture.com, the reduction was more than double the impact of the Great Recession on food sales, partly because the pandemic temporarily shut down most food service.
In 2020, as in previous recessions, U.S. consumers shifted food expenditures to more cost-efficient grocery outlets.
**China says it pressed the U.S. to eliminate tariffs in talks between the countries' top trade officials, a test of bilateral engagement between the world's biggest economies.
www.agweb.com reports, the virtual talks between U.S.
Trade Representative Katherine Tai and China's Vice Premier follows Tai's announcement she would seek "frank" talks and hold China to its “Phase 1” trade commitments.
The USTR says both sides agree to continue talks and create conditions for the healthy development of economic and trade relations between the two countries.