Flue-Cured Purchase Intentions: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that U.S. cigarette manufacturers plan to purchase 454.6 million pounds (farm-sales-weight) of flue-cured tobacco from the 1998 crop. Major domestic cigarette manufacturers are required by law to report annually to USDA their intended purchases of flue-cured tobacco from the U.S. auction markets and producers. These data along with the average level of exports for the preceding three years and the amount of flue-cured tobacco needed to attain reserve stock levels are used to determine the annual flue-cured tobacco marketing quota.
Cigar Binder Grade Loan Rates: The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued price support loan rates for the grades of 1997 crop cigar binder tobaccos, types 54 and 55. The 1997 rates are based on the average support level of $1.169 per pound announced February 27, 1997, for types 54 and 55. For 1996, the average support level was $1.12 per pound. The rates for cigar binder, types 54 and 55, range from 30 cents to $1.50 per pound. Cigar binder 54 and 55 grades N2, No-G (no grade), or scrap will not be accepted for price support. Only the original producer is eligible for price support advances.
Provisions of the 1998-Crop Flue-Cured Tobacco Program: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the national marketing quota for the 1998 crop of flue-cured tobacco is 807.6 million pounds, down from the 1997 quota of 973.8 million pounds. The price support level for the 1998 flue-cured crop is $1.628 per pound, up 0.7 cent from 1997. The national acreage allotment for the 1998 crop is 386,782 acres, down from the 1997 allotment of 466,379 acres. The effective quota is expected to be about 813 million pounds, or 20 percent below 1997. The marketing assessment will be .814 cent per pound, which is paid by both growers and buyers, for a total of 1.628 cents per pound. Importers of flue-cured tobacco will be responsible for the full 1.628 cents per pound marketing assessments for imported tobacco. The amount of the no-net-cost assessments will be announced at a later date.
Price Support Grade Loan Rates for Dark Air-Cured and Fire-Cured Tobaccos: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued price support grade loan rates for the 1997-crop Kentucky and Tennessee dark air-cured tobacco, types 35 and 36, and fire-cured tobacco, types 22 and 23. These grade loan rates reflect the average support level of $1.398 per pound for dark air-cured tobacco and $1.623 per pound for fire-cured tobacco. Grade loan rates for dark air-cured tobacco will range from 49 cents to $2.19 per pound. Grade loan rates for fire-cured tobacco will range from 51 cents to $2.36 per pound. Producers are eligible for price support advances only when tobacco is consigned by the producer and only if produced on a farm that is in compliance with the tobacco marketing quota and price support programs. The associations are authorized to deduct one cent per pound to apply against overhead costs and may be authorized to make other deductions for assessments if required by law.
1997/98 U.S. Burley Auction Update: Through the 15th sale day of the 1997/98 U.S. burley and dark tobacco auction season, total gross sales of U.S. burley tobacco (type 31) reached 183,277 metric tons, down 4 percent from the same 15 day period last year when 191,774 tons were sold. Prices for type 31 are averaging $4.22 per kilogram so far this year, down 2 cents per kilogram from last year. So far this year about 4 percent of sales have gone under loan compared to no tobacco going under loan last year at this time. Sales of Virginia fire-cured (type 21), one sucker (type 35), and Virginia sun-cured (type 37) are reported to be higher so far this year. Sales of greenriver (type 36) tobacco are lower. Prices are averaging higher in all markets this year when compared to last year, while loan take is unchanged or lower. Sales of eastern district fire-cured (type 22), and western district fire-cured (type 23) are schedule to begin in January 1998.