First Thing Today (VIP) -- April 16, 2013

April 16, 2013 01:21 AM


CORN AND WHEAT MIXED, BEANS FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading narrowly mixed, soybeans are mostly 5 to 14 cents higher, Chicago wheat is steady to 1 cent lower, Kansas City wheat is around 1 cent higher and Minneapolis wheat is 1 to 4 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.

HRW CCI RATING DROPS, SRW RISES... When USDA's weekly crop condition ratings are plugged into the weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (0 to 500 point scale), the HRW crop dropped 2 points to 272, while the SRW crop improved 2 points to 373. For HRW, CCI ratings for Kansas and Oklahoma declined, while the Texas crop improved modestly over the past week.

CHINA BIRD FLU UPDATE... China now reports that 14 of 63 people infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus have died and the World Health Organization (WHO) says it will send a team of experts within the next week to China to help with the investigation. The situation has negatively impacted China's poultry industry, with the head of the Chinese National Poultry Association telling Reuters the industry has seen losses of more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) due to the virus. The head of the New Hope Group, China's largest producer of animal feed, says poultry consumption is down more than 50% in eastern China where the virus is believed to have started and has hit hardest.

UNVEILING OF SENATE IMMIGRATION BILL DELAYED OUT OF RESPECT FOR BOSTON TRAGEDY... Bipartisan immigration overhaul legislation may not be released until at least Wednesday out of respect for the tragic events that took place during the Boston Marathon on Monday -- lawmakers had wanted to unveil it today. GOP senators were briefed on the bill Monday night; Senate Democratic members of the group are expected to brief their colleagues Wednesday. President Obama will be briefed on the bill today by key senators. Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has scheduled two hearings on the bill, one for Friday and one for next Monday. A markup of the measure is expected to take place next month. Of note to agriculture, the measure will include major changes that should increase the number of seasonal and other farm workers that are so important to the dairy and meat industries.

RENEWABLE FUEL, FUTURE MEAT INSPECTOR FURLOUGHS COULD BE TOPICS AT HEARING TODAY... Ag Sec. Tom Vilsack appears today before the House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee on President Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests. Current issues over E15, the blend wall and the overall Renewable Fuels Standard could arise. Other possible topics include meat inspector furloughs come Oct. 1 if no action is taken beyond the current exemption that ends Sept. 30; crop insurance funding questions; and farm bill-related issues.

BEEF MOVEMENT REMAINS SLOW... Packers moved only 134 loads of boxed beef Monday on mixed price action. Until packers are able to actively move beef at higher prices, there will be concerns with demand. It appears packers are going to have to actively lower boxed beef prices before retailer interest picks up.

PORK PRICES FIRM... The pork cutout value was $1.12 higher Monday, though movement slowed from recent days to 296.4 loads. Despite yesterday's gains in the pork cutout, packer demand for cash hogs is expected to remain limited across the Midwest as most are still working to improve margins.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Bangladesh tendered to buy 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat.


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