First Thing Today (VIP) -- August 22, 2012

August 22, 2012 01:39 AM



GRAIN FUTURES SETBACK SLIGHTLY ON PROFIT-TAKING OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are 4 to 6 cents lower, with soybeans down 8 to 14 cents. Chicago and Kansas City wheat are mostly 8 to 10 cents lower, with Minneapolis down 4 to 6 cents. After yesterday's sharp drop, the U.S. dollar index is slightly firmer.

DAY 2 CROP TOUR RESULTS... The second day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour revealed a corn yield in Indiana of 113.25 bu. per acre, which compares to 143.1 bu. per acre last year and a three-year average of 155.84 bu. per acre. Indiana soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square totaled 1,033.24, which compares to 1,137.56 last year and a three-year average of 1,190.37. The Tour found a Nebraska corn yield of 131.79 bu. per acre, which compares to 153.7 bu. per acre last year and a three-year average of 156.94 bu. per acre. Nebraska soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square totaled 894.43, which compares to 1,286.48 last year and a three-year average of 1,277.24. Today, scouts on the eastern leg of the Tour begin their day in Bloomington, Illinois, and travel to Iowa City, Iowa, while western Tour scouts begin their day in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and travel to Spencer, Iowa. Tour results from Illinois and the three western districts in Iowa will be released tonight.

GEORGIA  GOVERNOR LATEST TO  URGE CORN RFS MANDATE CHANGE... Republican Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has submitted a formal waiver request asking EPA to reduce the federal mandate for ethanol. He joins Democratic Govs. Mike Beebe of Arkansas and Beverly Perdue of North Carolina in petitioning for lower production targets. Earlier this month, the Democratic governors of Delaware and Maryland submitted letters to EPA in support of calls for change by the livestock industry and more than 150 members of Congress. Georgia is a top poultry and egg producer. "According to the University of Georgia, the state's poultry producers are spending $1.4 million extra per day on corn due to the drought and the upward pressure caused by the demand created by the RFS for ethanol. This translates to over $516 million per year if these market conditions continue," Deal wrote. "These additional input costs are not sustainable, and I urge you to consider all options available to the agency to provide some relief in the coming year," he added.

CANADA STILL ON TRACK FOR A STRONG HARVEST... Statistics Canada will release its first survey-based estimates this morning, which are expected to show wheat and canola production above year-ago levels. According to pre-report expectations, traders look for all wheat production at 27 million metric tons (MMT) and canola production at 16.4 MMT, up from 25.261 MMT and 14.165 MMT, respectively, from last year.

OIL WORLD SEES INCREASING SOY IMPORTS INTO SOUTH AMERICA... Hamburg-based Oil World says Brazil's imports of soybeans have already approached 100,000 metric tons (MT) in August and will likely buy another 300,000 MT to 400,000 MT from Bolivia. It also notes the Argentine government's permission to allow soybean imports from Paraguay and Bolivia for crushing could lead to sizeable increases before its new crop becomes available.

RUSSIA OFFICIALLY JOINS WTO, BUT U.S. HAS TO WAIT TO GARNER TRADE CONCESSIONS... Russia today became the 156th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after completing almost two decades of negotiations. But before the U.S. can garner the trade policy concessions Russia agreed to before its WTO accession, Congress must grant the country what is called permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status. The House may vote on PNTR legislation shortly after returning from its August recess -- it is expected to take up the legislation under suspension of the rules on Sept. 12. Lawmakers differ on human rights provisions expected to be added to the legislation. If the House acts early in September, there would be pressure on the Senate to follow suit.

PORK STOCKS EXPECTED TO BE TIGHTER, BEEF STOCKS UP SLIGHTLY... Traders expect this afternoon's USDA Cold Storage Report to show pork stocks at the end of July down 5.1% from last month and beef stocks up slightly from the previous month. The average pre-report trade guess for pork stocks is 561.8 million lbs, which would still be a record high for the end of July. The average pre-report trade guess for beef stocks is 478 million lbs., which is realized, would be up 15.1% from year-ago.

PORK CUTOUT VALUES SOFTEN SHARPLY... The good news is pork movement improved to 107 loads yesterday, but the bad news is it happened on a $2.09 decline in pork values, with loin prices leading the decline. The cash hog market is called steady to lower as packers have supplies booked well into the week.

BEEF VALUES NARROWLY MIXED... Choice beef values were down 3 cents and Select rose 5 cents yesterday on solid movement of 153 loads. Traders are watching for signals a near-term high has been posted as thoughts are retailers have secured needed supplies for Labor Day features. Early expectations are for at least steady cash trade with last week's $120 to $121 trade given tighter showlists.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND HIGHLIGHTS... Japan has bought a total of 70,865 MT of food wheat from the U.S. in its third weekly tender this month. A South Korean flour miller has purchased 18,700 MT of milling wheat from the Canadian Wheat Board.

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