BEANS AND WHEAT FIRMER, CORN LOWER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 4 cents lower, soybeans 5 to 7 cents higher, Chicago wheat 2 to 8 cents higher, Kansas City wheat 6 to 9 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat mostly 3 to 5 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is mildly firmer this morning.
UKRAINE LIKELY TO FOLLOW IF RUSSIA RESTRICTS GRAIN EXPORTS... Ukraine's Ag Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk says there's no reason for the country to restrict grain exports. But that could change. "If Russia imposes export limits, it will force our authorities to consider similar measures," he said. Wheat futures are finding support from expectations Black Sea wheat shipments will decline this fall, whether through government restrictions or simply due to a lack of exportable supplies.
ARGENTINE WHEAT SEEDINGS FORECAST DECLINES... Argentina's ag ministry on Thursday lowered its wheat seedings forecast to 3.72 million hectares (9.14 million acres), which would be down around 20% from year-ago. The ag ministry cited dryness as the reason for the sharp drop, but government policy is also an issue as Argentine farmers don't trust the government will adhere to its new export policy.
MILLIONS BEING SPENT TO DEFEAT CALIFORNIA BIOTECH LABELING INITIATIVE... The nation's largest agribusiness and biotech companies are pouring millions of dollars into California to stop the first-ever initiative to require special labels on foods made with genetically engineered ingredients, a sign of their determination to keep the measure from sparking a nationwide movement, according to the Associated Press. The food initiative, known as Proposition 37, is one of 11 statewide measures to go before California voters in November. It would require most processed foods to bear a label by 2014 letting shoppers know if the items contain ingredients derived from plants with DNA altered with genes from other plants, animals, viruses or bacteria.
PORTMAN: REGULATORY CLIFF NEARLY AS STEEP AS FISCAL ONE... In an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) writes Pres. Obama has postponed damaging regulatory rules until after the Nov. 6 elections. "Those delayed rules, together with more than 130 unfinished mandates under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law, could significantly increase the regulatory drag on our economy in 2013," Portman says.
COF REPORT TO SHOW SHARP DROP IN CALF PLACEMENTS...USDA's monthly Cattle on Feed Report is expected to show Placements dropped sharply from year-ago despite worsening pasture conditions. Still, Aug. 1 feedlot inventories are expected to be just slightly higher than last year. The average trade guess puts On Feed at 100.7%, Placements at 91.4% and Marketings at 101.6% of year-ago levels.
STILL WAITING ON CASH CATTLE TRADE... Most traders are still expecting firmer cash cattle prices to emerge from the Plains. But traders have removed nearly all of the premium August futures hold to last week's cash trade, signaling they aren't willing to aggressively bet on higher cash cattle prices. Active cash cattle trade may not be seen until after USDA's Cattle on Feed Report this afternoon.
MORE SIGNS OF A TOP IN THE PORK PRODUCT MARKET... The pork cutout value was 88 cents lower yesterday after a $1.32 decline Wednesday, suggesting the pork product market has put in a short-term top. With pork production building seasonally and amid herd liquidation, there's more pressure on demand to chew through supplies.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Taiwan purchased a total of 94,250 MT of U.S. wheat in two tenders. South Korea bought 49,000 MT of U.S. wheat.