Washington Daybook: Clearing Skies

Photograph by Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Corn production in the U.S. will drop 13 percent to a six-year low after the hottest July since 1936.

The severity of the worst U.S. drought in 56 years may be peaking, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an interview with Bloomberg News. Steadying weather conditions may limit food inflation next year and ease pressure to relax federal requirements for the use of corn to make ethanol.

Things may be looking up for U.S. airlines as well. Technology pushed by the FAA including improved cockpit radar is proving to save fuel on long flights by allowing planes to maneuver more like cars on a highway to avoid headwinds and bad weather, Bloomberg News reported today, especially over oceans where there are ground radar blind spots.

The BGOV Barometer shows wages made the biggest gain from January through June in more than five years, and retail sales last month rose the most since February. The S&P 500 is heading toward its sixth weekly advance and the longest winning streak since January 2011 as investors look for today’s release of an index of consumer sentiment and leading economic indicators in July.

And good news for Mitt Romney, too: A nonpartisan tax study found the Republican presidental candidate’s tax plan would shift only half as much in taxes from the rich to the not-rich and may even eliminate it, albeit using rosy assumptions.

Cary O’Reilly contributed to this post

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