- After falling below growth neutral in August, the Rural Mainstreet Index jumped slightly above 50.0 for September and October.
- Bank CEOs across the region reported significantly lower corn and soybean yields.
- Economic confidence fell to lowest level in two years.
- Almost three of four bankers reported negative impacts from the trade war.
- Approximately 43% of bankers support halting Federal Reserve rate hikes over the next 12 months.
Overall: The overall index rose to 51.4 from 50.1 in September. Although still weak, this is the highest reading since June of this year. It also marked the third time in the past four months that the overall index has risen above growth neutral.
“Federal agriculture crop support payments and somewhat higher grain prices have boosted the Rural Mainstreet Index slightly above growth neutral for the month. Even so, almost three of four bank CEOs, or 73%, reported continuing negative impacts from the trade war,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.
But as stated by Jim Stanosheck, CEO of State Bank in Odell, Nebraska, “What is happening in the economy today is exactly what voters voted for.”
Farming and Ranching: The farmland and ranchland-price index for October slumped to a weak 40.3 from September’s 43.1. This is the lowest reading since March of this year and the 71st straight month that the index has remained below growth neutral 50.0.
Jeff Bonnett, president of Havana National Bank in Havana Illinois, said, “Hopefully the true corn acres planted, and more importantly, overall yields will be made public here soon now that we are well into harvesting this year's crop. I am not sure why this is such a secret and why we do not get more accurate information based upon certification of acres planted back in July?”
The October farm equipment-sales index improved to 39.7 from September’s 35.9. This is the highest reading for the index since June of this year, but marks the 73rd month that the reading has remained below growth neutral 50.0.