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US-Mexico-Canada and China Trade Deals Bolster Midwest Bankers' Confidence

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A new survey of Midwest bankers suggests they're optimistic about the economy over the next few months.  That’s thanks to the signings of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement and the China trade agreement.

The latest Rural Mainstreet Survey showed the overall index for February declined to 51.6 from 55.9 in January.  Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey.  Goss says weak farm income lead to 40.6% of bankers reporting that their banks had restructured loans.  Only a little over3 % indicated that their banks had rejected a higher percentage of farmland loans. 

The survey's confidence index increased to a healthy 58.1 from January’s weak 50.0, the survey report said.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming were surveyed.

Former Iowa governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been hired to monitor Purdue Pharma as the OxyContin maker goes through bankruptcy. His job is to ensure the company is following an agreement that it not overstate the benefits of opioids or downplay the risk of addiction. Purdue filed for bankruptcy protection as part of its effort to settle thousands of lawsuits over its role in the national opioid crisis. Vilsack is to report to Purdue's directors and to the federal bankruptcy court handling the case. The Democrat worked on rural opioid issues under former President Barack Obama. 

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