BEARS DOMINATE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 10 to 13 cents lower, soybeans are 5 to 14 cents lower, Chicago wheat is mostly 10 to 17 cents lower, Kansas City wheat is around 13 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat are 7 to 8 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is modestly weaker this morning.
CHINA DATA WEIGHS HEAVILY ON MARKETS... Traders are opening the week with a risk-off attitude after Chinese economic data missed the mark. China's economy grew at a 7.7% clip in the first quarter, which was down from 7.9% GDP in the fourth quarter of last year and below expectations for 8% growth. Industrial output in the first quarter also missed the mark, coming in 8.9% over year-ago compared to expectations for a 10% rise.
CHINA BIRD FLU SPREADS... China now has 60 reported cases of the H7N9 bird flu, with 13 of those resulting in deaths. More importantly, the disease has now been discovered outside of the eastern China, with one case in Beijing and two cases in Henan. With the disease moving north and west of the initial findings in far eastern China, concerns are on the rise. Aside from the threat to humans, grain traders are concerned about the impact on feed demand.
GUN CONTROL, IMMIGRATION REFORM AND OBAMA'S BUDGET PROPOSALS ARE FOCUS IN WASHINGTON THIS WEEK... A weekend agreement was worked out regarding agriculture workers as part of a major immigration overhaul. Those and other details will be released this week by Senate proponents of reform. Other issues seeing debate include gun control legislation and several hearings on President Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests. Ag Sec. Vilsack and other USDA officials will appear Tuesday before the House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee. Meanwhile, the Joint Economic Committee on Thursday will take a look at the Federal Reserve system.
NOPA CRUSH REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... Traders expect NOPA members to report soybean crush totaled 140 million bu. in March, compared to 136.3 million bu. in February. In March 2012, soybean crush totaled 140.5 million bushels. Traders expect soyoil stocks to be 2.822 billion pounds.
CHINESE FARMERS TO PLANT MORE CORN, LESS BEANS AND COTTON... Chinese farmers plan to seed 4.1% more corn this year, based on a National Bureau of Statistics survey. Soybean plantings are expected to decline 8.5%, while cotton acres are likely to drop 6.2%.
RUSSIA TO REDUCE GRAIN INTERVENTION SALES... Amid a decline in prices, Russia plans to reduce grain intervention sales to the domestic market, according to Deputy Agriculture Minister Ilya Shestakov. He failed to give a timeline for when intervention sales may be cut or by how much they would be reduced. Meanwhile, the head of Institute for Agricultural Market Studies says Russia could start exporting some wheat via the Black Sea by the end of this month or early May.
FOCUS ON BOXED BEEF MOVEMENT... Traders will continue to closely monitor boxed beef trade as they wait for signs of improved packer demand. Until packers are able to actively move beef at higher prices, traders' concerns with beef demand will continue to limit buying interest in live cattle futures.
CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/WEAKER... Packer demand for cash hogs is expected to be limited to open the week. Cash sources expect some plants to cut back on kill hours in an attempt to improve margins instead of actively competing for a tightening supply of market-ready hogs. As a result, cash hog bids are called steady to weaker across the Midwest.
WEEKEND DEMAND NEWS... Jordan tendered to buy 100,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat and 100,000 MT of optional origin feed barley.