CORN AND WHEAT LOWER, BEANS MIXED OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 5 cents lower, soybeans are fractionally to 4 cents higher in old-crop contracts and fractionally to 4 cents lower in new-crop contracts, Chicago wheat is mostly 3 to 6 cents lower, Kansas City wheat is mostly 3 to 4 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat is fractionally to 1 cent lower. The U.S. dollar index is weaker this morning.
BIRD FLU UPDATE... China has uncovered 108 cases of H7N9 bird flu, with 22 of those resulting in deaths, while Taiwan has confirmed its first case of the H7N9 virus. Studies by the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) found H7N9 is a combination of genes from various viruses. Based on samples collected by CAAS, it appears the origin of the disease was likely live poultry markets, but a final conclusion has not been reached. Meanwhile, a World Health Organization official called H7N9 bird flu "one of the most lethal" versions of the virus and says "this virus is more easily transmissible from poultry to humans than (the) H5N1" virus.
CANADIAN PLANTING INTENTIONS OUT THIS MORNING... Statistics Canada is expected to report as of late March Canadian farmers intended to plant fewer acres to canola this year, while wheat and barley seedings are likely to rise from year-ago. According to a Reuters survey, all wheat plantings are expected at 24.4 million acres, canola seedings at 20.3 million acres, and barley plantings at 7.6 million acres.
UKRAINE LIFTS WHEAT EXPORT BAN... Ukraine has lifted its ban on wheat exports as of today, according to the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation (UAC) lobby group. UAC director Serhiy Stoyanov told Reuters, "(Export) Volumes will not exceed 200,000 MT out of which 80,000 MT are already in ports. Millers' prices are higher than those of exporters."
BRAZIL STEPS UP HELP FOR ETHANOL INDUSTRY... Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega announced Tuesday the government will cut taxes and increase credits for the struggling ethanol sector. Brazil's PIS/Cofins taxes (payroll and social security taxes) will be slashed to almost zero for ethanol starting May 1, the same day the government had previously announced it would raise the mandatory blend of ethanol in gasoline back to 25%. The government will renew a 4 billion real ($2 billion) line of credit for the replanting of cane fields, and cut the interest rate on these loans to to 5.5% from 8.5% to 9.5% last year. The government will also extend 2 billion reals ($1 billion) in credit to finance the storage of ethanol from December to April, with rates on these loans dropping to 7.7% from 8.7% presently.
CASH CATTLE TRADE UNCERTAIN... Packers have yet to establish initial cash cattle bids in the Plains, leaving traders to wonder about cash trade for the week. While many traders are hopeful of steady to firmer cash prices as the boxed beef market is gradually firming, packers are working with negative margins and showlist numbers are steady to higher than week-ago across the Plains.
PORK PRODUCT MARKET CONTINUES TO STRENGTHEN...The pork cutout value firmed another $1.11 Tuesday and movement improved to 481 loads. With the product market firming, demand for cash hogs is expected to increase while market-ready supplies are tightening. As a result, cash sources are expecting steady to firmer cash hog bids today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Israel bought 100,000 MT of corn, 45,000 MT of feed wheat and 10,000 MT of feed barley -- all optional origin (likely South American or Black Sea). Japan purchased 69,840 MT of feed wheat and 19,860 MT of feed barley.