GRAINS FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading around 1 cent lower, soybeans are 8 to 10 cents higher and all three wheat flavors are 2 to 4 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is trading just above unchanged this morning.
THINK-TANK UPDATES CHINESE GRAIN IMPORT FORECASTS... China is expected to import 5.5 MMT of corn, 6.5 MMT of wheat and 4 MMT of rice in 2013-14, according to updated forecasts from state-run China National Grain and Oils Information Center (CNGOIC). For corn, CNGOIC says China has already booked 4 MMT of new-crop U.S. supplies. In the July Supply & Demand Report, USDA forecast 2013-14 Chinese imports at 7 MMT for corn, 8.5 MMT for wheat and 3 MMT for rice.
UPBEAT CHINESE ECONOMIC DATA... China's consumer price index (CPI) stabilized in July at 2.7% above year-ago, which was slightly lower than the 2.8% rise that was expected Food prices rose 5% and non-food prices firmed 1.6% from year-ago last month. While China's producer price index (PPI) came in 2.3% under year-ago, that was an improvement from 2.7% under year-ago in June. Meanwhile, China's factory output bested trade expectations by rising 9.7% in July.
GROUP TODAY TO LAUNCH GMO LABELING PUSH... MoveOn, a liberal advocacy group, is making a push to get states and the federal government to require special labels on food containing ingredients that has been genetically modified. The group is planning events in at least 35 cities today to urge lawmakers to require the disclaimers on food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). "If enough states pass laws requiring GMOs to be labeled, it will make business sense for Monsanto and the other huge food companies to label them everywhere in the country, and it will strengthen the case for a federal law," the organization said on its website advertising the events. Two states, Connecticut and Maine, have passed laws requiring the labels, though both require neighboring states to pass similar laws before going into effect. A bill in Congress, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, has some support in both chambers from a bipartisan group of lawmakers. Various farm and agriculture groups, however, contend that GMOs do not pose a threat to human health and are necessary to feed a growing global population.
CARGILL WON'T ALTER CATTLE BUYING PRACTICES... A day after Tyson Foods announced it would suspend purchases of cattle fed Zilmax, Cargill says it has no plans to alter its cattle procurement practices. A spokesperson for Cargill says, We believe this [beta-agonists] is a more sustainable way to maximize the yield of wholesome, nutritious, quality beef from each animal."
CASH CATTLE NEGOTIATIONS AT A STANDSTILL... Bids and asking prices remain $4 to $5 apart in the Plains as packers have shown little interest and feedlots appear unwilling to move cattle at lower prices than last week's $119 to $120 trade. If cattle futures can avoid a major pullback from yesterday's strong gains, packers are likely to raise cash cattle bids.
PORK PRODUCT MARKET TOPPING?... The pork cutout value dropped $1.03 Thursday amid heavy pressure on bellies and loins. With hog numbers set to build seasonally, the pork product market may be in the process of posting a secondary top below the seasonal peak reached early last month. While packers are still working with negative margins, they are likely to be a little more cautious with cash hog bids if the pork market weakens.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Taiwan purchased 60,000 MT of Brazilian corn.