Futures File: China loses pop in population

A popular story making the rounds this past 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 2 million to 1.41 billion. (The population decrease in 2022 amounted to roughly 300,000 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 of 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/bushel, March soybeans up 7 cents for the week at $12.13, and March wheat down 3 cents to finish the week at $5.93.


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