A popular story making the rounds this week was the population of China decreasing for the second year in a row. Births fell to a record low in 2023, while deaths reached a record high and the overall population fell by just over two million to 1.41 billion. (The population decrease in 2022 amounted to roughly 300,00, according to Bloomberg.)
A delayed recording of Covid fatalities could explain the deaths, but the birth rate has been steadily declining since 2016, the same year they ended the one-child policy allowing families to have two children. Then in July 2021, China scrapped all childbearing limitations, allowing families to have as many children as they liked.
China isn’t the only one facing this situation, as many developed nations are seeing similar numbers on varying timelines. But a country with the second-largest economy in the world and the largest population grabs the headlines. It was not a market-moving headline as this is a Tortoise story, but on a long-enough timeline it will beat the Hare of any other headline that matters, as it has everything to do with the cost of tea in China.
Grain markets for the week were steady attempting to shake off a bearish crop report from last week, but a full-on recovery wasn’t made available just yet. March corn futures down a penny on the week at $4.45/bu, March soybeans up $0.07 for the week at $12.13 and March wheat down $0.03 to finish the week at $5.93.
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