First Thing Today (VIP) -- August 14, 2012

August 14, 2012 01:22 AM


GRAINS BOUNCE BACK OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading mostly 5 to 6 cents higher, soybeans mostly 8 to 9 cents higher and wheat futures mostly 5 to 8 cents higher at all three exchanges. The U.S. dollar index is modestly weaker this morning.

CORN CCI DIPS, SOYBEAN RATING IMPROVES... When USDA's weekly crop condition ratings are plugged into the state-weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (0 = crop failure; 500 = perfect crop), the corn crop slipped 1 point to 248, while the soybean crop improved 2 points to 273. For corn, improvement was noted in Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Michigan and Wisconsin, although that was more than offset by slight deterioration in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio and Missouri. The Illinois corn CCI rating was unchanged. For soybeans, mild deterioration in Nebraska, Missouri and South Dakota was more than offset by improvement in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio. The Iowa soybean CCI rating was unchanged.

CRUSH PACE SEEN EASING SLIGHTLY... Traders expect NOPA members to report soybean crush totaled 131 million bu. in July, according to a Dow Jones survey. That would be down 2.4% from June, but 6.5% higher than the July 2011 pace. Soyoil stocks are expected to rise slightly from last month to 2.309 billion pounds.

AUSTRALIAN SCIENTISTS: EL NINO STILL BUILDING... Although El Nino development stalled the second half of July, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology says indicators are still consistent with the early stages of the weather phenomenon. The Aussie scientists expect a weak El Nino event to be fully in place by the end of September as waters in the tropical Pacific continue to warm.

PETERSON TURNS PESSIMISTIC ON FARM BILL TIMELINE, BUT STILL HOLDS OUT HOPE... Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) during remarks at a Minnesota Ag Leadership meeting said "a lot of folks are getting involved now" regarding a new farm bill. And he said that includes President Barack Obama, but Peterson said "it is hard to tell if that will help or hurt." Farm bill congressional leaders and staff continue to meet, Peterson said, but he acknowledged a meeting last Thursday with Senate counterparts "did not go all that well." Surprisingly, Peterson said the biggest farm bill issue is not the major differences regarding food stamp funding cuts between the House ($16 billion cuts) and Senate ($4 billion), but "the commodity title." The issue appears to be resistance from some regarding allowing farmers an optional target price choice. Peterson is still pushing to get the farm bill done by the end of September, but acknowledged there are only few days when Congress will be in session. He does not rule out a lame-duck session scenario, but cautioned if the farm bill jumps to 2013, he is "not sure we could get another farm bill through the Senate next year."

CHINA COTTON IMPORTS SURGE OVER YEAR-AGO... China imported 406,000 MT of cotton in July, according to the state-run website citing official customs data. While that was down 14.7% from June, it's up 158% from year-ago. Through the first seven months of this year, Chinese cotton imports are up 133% from year-ago at 3.46 MMT.

BOXED BEEF PRICES RISE, BUT MOVEMENT SLOWS... Boxed beef prices were $1.77 to $1.94 higher Monday, although packers moved only 122 loads of product at the higher prices. Cattle traders will closely watch boxed beef movement the rest of the week as continued slow sales could indicate buying for Labor Day features is nearing an end.

SLUGGISH START IN THE PORK MARKET... The pork cutout value was 33 cents lower Monday and packers moved only 51.5 loads of product. With plentiful market-ready hog supplies, packers will need encouragement from the pork product market before they actively pursue cash hogs. Cash hog bids are called steady to weaker again today.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Egypt tendered for optional origin wheat. A state-run Indian grain firm tendered to sell 125,000 MT of government wheat stocks. Japan is seeking 70,865 MT of U.S. wheat in its weekly tender.


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