In brief

Illinois hits new monthly record for recreational pot sales

Recreational marijuana sales in April blew away a short-lived monthly record in Illinois, as revenues totaled nearly $115 million.

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Revenue was up nearly $6 million from the previous record in March, and more than double the average monthly total in 2020, the state’s first year of recreational marijuana sales, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

In April, the state’s 110 dispensaries sold nearly 2.5 million recreational weed products, with in-state residents spending about $80 million and out-of-state customers accounting for $35 million.

Illinois has yet to release medical marijuana sales for April.

Marijuana sales in Illinois have soared since the state legalized recreational use in January 2020, reaching $1.03 billion last year. That included $669 million in recreational weed sales and more than $366 million in medical sales. The pace has accelerated in 2021, with nearly $377 million in marijuana sales through March, including $279 million in recreational sales and $98 million in medical sales, according to the state.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in 17 states and Washington, D.C., with New Mexico, Virginia and New York the most recent to approve it. As legalization and broader public acceptance takes root, marijuana sales are growing rapidly.

A report last month by cannabis research firm Headset projects legal U.S. weed sales to hit $22.8 billion this year, a 24% annual gain.

Global minimum tax near 21% is feasible, OECD official says

U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to set a minimum global corporation tax at 21% is gaining momentum, with the official running international talks on the matter saying that an agreement could settle near that rate.

The Biden administration’s plan has turbocharged negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on how to overhaul rules on how much tax companies pay, and where. The U.S. suggestion, while subject to negotiations in Congress, would be significantly higher than the 12.5% previously discussed in the talks.

“Will Biden get to 21%, or will it be a bit lower? We’ll see,” Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the center for tax policy at the OECD, said in the French senate on Wednesday. “As for the rest of the world, I doubt we’ll be at 21%, but would we be at a rate nearing 21%? I have good hope that is possible.”

The 139 nations negotiating at the OECD have set the summer as a target for getting a deal that could deliver a significant boost to tax revenues at a time when governments finances are stretched by the Covid pandemic.

Before the Biden proposal, the Paris-based organization said a global minimum rate could boost the global tax take by $100 billion. That figure would be significantly greater if the U.S. plan takes effect.

Corn tops $7 a bushel on supply worry

Corn futures surged above $7 a bushel for the first time in more than eight years as lack of rainfall in Brazil added to supply concerns.

Corn climbed as much as 3.5% to $7.0325 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest since March 2013. Soybeans and wheat also both rose.

The rally across grain markets prompted major crop trader Bunge Ltd. on Tuesday to raise its earnings outlook for 2021 by as much as 25% above its previous forecast. The St. Louis-based company, which posted first-quarter earnings that were double analyst projections, is betting on strong demand for crops as the world emerges from the pandemic, China scoops up American supplies and the renewable diesel industry expands.

China has been buying massive amounts of American soybeans and corn to rebuild the world’s largest hog herd. That’s helping lift prices just as dry weather hits crop yields in South America and Europe. The tailwinds have also lifted Bunge’s rival Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., which last week reported its best-ever earnings for its traditional crop-trading business.

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“We are optimistic that the favorable demand environment in the first quarter will continue through 2021,” Bunge Chief Executive Officer Greg Heckman said.

By wire sources

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