USSEC Helps Debunk Myths about USDA WASDE Report among Chinese Government Agencies and General Public
- General News
Last season’s severe drought and wide range price fluctuations associated with estimates and corrections by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), recently led many Chinese government officials, industry leaders and the Chinese general public to mistakenly conclude that the USDA was trying to manipulate the market to protect U.S. farmers’ interest by releasing the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. This conclusion had a potentially damaging effect on the credibility and reputations of the USDA and of the U.S. soybean industry as a whole.
Supported by Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Beijing, USSEC sponsored two researchers from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and one reporter from an influential financial and economic news group to visit the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and the World Agriculture Outlook Board (WAOB) in Washington, D.C. to witness the preparation and release of the June report. The Chinese team was able to visit the lock-up room before the report was released and also had the opportunity to engage in discussions with USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber; WAOB Chairman Jerry Bange; NASS Associate Administrator Joe Reilly; and the statistician team. These meetings helped the Chinese team fully understand the history of the WASDE reporting system and the process of data collection and analysis, as well as the report releasing process, which have been established and observed to ensure the integrity of the system, credibility of the report and the professionals, and, finally, the accuracy of the numbers at the time of release. The Chinese team next traveled to Chicago to visit with representatives from the U.S. soybean industry to continue discussions on the WASDE report. Talking with soybean industry representatives, U.S. financial reporters, futures exchange executives, researchers with futures trading brokerages and soybean farmers further convinced the Chinese team members that the report has been widely recognized as the most reliable and credible commodity report due to its incomparable data representation, objective analysis and integrity.
Full-page coverage in the China Business News Daily on July 2, 2013 carried three separate stories about the USDA WASDE report with detailed descriptions and positive comments and conclusions. These stories are the first of their kind in Chinese mainstream media and were picked up by over 70 other news media outlets in China immediately after publication. The researchers are still working on the trip observation report, which will be presented to various government agencies and departments to provide objective knowledge about the WASDE report and the USDA system.
USSEC China Country Director Xiaoping Zhang escorted the team on this trip and provided his insights to help the team members better understand the United States farm and soy system, the industry and the market.