Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egyptian Unrest Creates Concerns For All

As violent protests escalate among Egyptian citizens, we are reminded just how much our agricultural markets here in Texas are affected by such events taking place far from our borders.

Egypt is the second largest export destination for Texas wheat and an important market for U.S. agricultural products valued at nearly $1.5 billon in 2009. Egypt is also an important transportation hub for the world’s oil supply with 2.1 million barrels per day passing through its canal and pipelines. That’s the equivalent of about 11 percent of the U.S. daily oil consumption. With Egypt’s Suez Canal being a critical passageway for items that both our countries use on a daily basis, the possibility of a disruption stands to increase the cost of consumer goods, such as fuel for U.S. consumers, and wheat that we produce and sell to other countries.

Times like these remind us how dependent we are on the global free market principles that enable us to continue efficient movement of those commodities we need and rely on daily. Egypt may be half a world away, but its well-being hits home in many critical ways. And very importantly, the basic profitability of most of our farmers and ranchers is dependent upon access to stable foreign markets for their products. Let's hope this transition is a smooth one.

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