GRAINS MOSTLY FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are mixed amid bull spreading, soybeans are mostly 9 to 16 cents higher, Chicago wheat is 3 to 4 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is 5 to 6 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is 4 to 5 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is modestly firmer, but trading near session lows this morning.
KEY TOPICS ON WASHINGTON AGENDA THIS WEEK... President Obama's two-month delayed Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposals, hearings on those proposals, immigration reform, minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and nomination hearings for EPA, Energy and the Office of Management and Budget are major topics in Washington this week. Also, the Senate convenes today (no roll call votes Monday) and the House returns Tuesday. On the agricultural front, USDA's Supply & Demand Report is out Wednesday.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND RENEWABLE FUEL QUESTIONS COULD BE FOCUS THIS WEEK... Questions regarding climate change, ethanol, E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could be topics addressed by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee panel members when they meet Thursday morning to examine the president's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Gina McCarthy, the nominee, will testify before the committee.
COLD, WET WEEK AHEAD... Rains and below-normal temps will keep producers out of fields across the Corn Belt this week. Most producers are waiting on soil temps to rise before starting planting, though some planting efforts have begun. Meanwhile, sub-freezing temps are forecast for areas of the Central and Southern Plains this week. The HRW crop in Kansas and Oklahoma appears to be most at risk, but the cold temps could dip into the Texas Panhandle.
CHINA BIRD FLU UPDATE... As of this morning, China has 21 reported cases of the H7N9 strain of bird flu, with six of those resulting in deaths. Jiangsu's provincial capital of Nanjing has joined Shanghai and Zhejiang's provincial capital of Hangzhou in shuttering live poultry trading markets, according to Xinhua news agency. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says the bird flu situation is not a cause for panic and commended China for its efforts to contain the disease.
AUSTRALIA, CHINA REACH ACCORD ON CURRENCIES... Australia and China have reached an agreement to allow each other's currencies to be directly converted, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Monday. From Wednesday, the Australian dollar, known as the Aussie, will be directly convertible into the yuan and vice versa.
RUSSIAN TO BAN MEAT SHIPMENTS FROM MOST CANADIAN AND MEXICAN MEAT SUPPLIERS... Russia plans to ban meat imports from most Canadian and Mexican suppliers starting today over concerns about the use of ractopamine, Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary service (VPSS) said on Friday. According to VPSS officials, about 80% of Mexican meat suppliers and more than 50% of Canadian companies will be banned. Since Feb. 11, Russia has banned U.S. meat exports due to the use of ractopamine.
BEARISH ATTITUDE PERSISTS IN CATTLE MARKET... Nearby live cattle futures are trading at a discount to last week's cash trade, signaling attitudes are bearish as traders wait for strength in the boxed beef market. Until demand concerns are eased, the upside will be limited to modest corrective short-covering.
CASH HOGS CALLED MOSTLY STEADY... Plants are in need of hogs for later this week and market-ready supplies are tightening, but negative cutting margins are likely to keep packers from raising cash hog bids. Cash sources are expecting steady cash hog bids at most Midwest locations to open the week, although mixed undertones are likely.
WEEKEND DEMAND NEWS... China purchased 14 to 16 cargoes (nearly 1 MMT) of U.S. SRW wheat late last week, according to state-run China National Grain and Oils Information Center, confirming market talk last week. Bangladesh tendered to purchase 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat.