First Thing Today (VIP) -- August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012 01:44 AM



CORN CHOPPY, SOYBEANS AND WHEAT FIRMER... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, soybeans are 2 to 6 cents higher and wheat is marginally to 4 cents higher. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index is weaker and gold is sharply higher, with crude oil slightly higher.

DAY 3 CROP TOUR RESULTS... The second day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour revealed a corn yield in Illinois of 121.6 bu. per acre, which compares to 155.99 bu. per acre last year and a three-year average of 163.23 bu. per acre. Illinois soybean pod counts in a 3'X3' square totaled 944.05, which compares to 1,196.04 last year and a three-year average of 1,202.38. On the last day of sampling today, scouts on the eastern leg of the Tour begin their day in Iowa City, Iowa, while western Tour scouts begin their day in Spencer, Iowa. Both legs of the Tour will conclude in Owatonna, Minnesota, with Tour results from Iowa and Minnesota released tonight.

S. KOREA URGES G20 ACT ON FOOD, BIOFUELS... South Korean President Lee Myung-bak today sent a letter to G20 members calling on them to step up joint action to stabilize international grain prices. Lee suggested five measures including the Group of 20 countries should work together to ease export controls on food items and impose more regulation over market speculation in raw materials. Lee said G20 members should "redouble efforts" to increase agricultural production and productivity, and modify biofuel policies to cushion supply shocks. The G20 will decide this week whether to convene an emergency meeting of its Rapid Response Forum, created last year under the French presidency of the G20 to respond to abnormal market conditions.

EXPORT SALES EXPECTATIONS... Traders look for USDA's Weekly Export Sales Report for the week ended Aug. 16 to show wheat sales between 400,000 and 550,000 metric tons (MT); corn between 200,000 and 350,000 MT; soybeans between 500,000 and 650,000 MT; soymeal between 125,000 and 250,000 MT; and soyoil between 10,000 and 35,000 MT.

IOWA GOVERNOR URGES EPA TO KEEP ETHANOL MANDATE... Iowa Governor Terry Branstad yesterday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain the Renewable Fuels Standard, saying ethanol is not to blame for rising food and feed costs. This follows letters from governors of Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Delaware and Maryland, as well as more than 150 members of Congress and the livestock industry, who have urged the EPA to reducing the federal mandate.

SOVECON CUTS RUSSIA WHEAT CROP... SovEcon has cut Russia's wheat crop to 39 million metric tons (MMT) from 39 MMT to 41 MMT due to disappointing harvest results in Siberia and Urals, but again ruled out export curbs.

CHINA ISSUES MORE COTTON QUOTAS... China has issued an additional 400,000 MT of cotton import quotas to textile mills to help them source more cheap supplies due to tight domestic supplies. The government is also reportedly considering selling off its cotton reserves next month to boost supplies to the domestic market.

LIGHT CASH CATTLE TRADE IN NEBRASKA... Cash sources report light cash cattle trade began in Nebraska late yesterday at weaker prices than seen last week. But sources say this doesn't necessarily mean lower cash trade will be reported in the Southern Plains, where showlists are tighter. Boxed beef prices were 9 (Choice) to 44 (Select) cents lower yesterday, but movement improved to 234 loads.

CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY TO LOWER... The cash hog market is expected to be weaker again this morning after pork cutout values plummeted $2.98 on sharp declines in rib and ham values. While packers' profit margins remain in the black, margins have tightened -- lowering demand for cash hogs.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND HIGHLIGHTS... Libya has purchased 50,000 MT of optional-origin wheat likely to be sourced from Russia.

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