Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

First Thing Today (VIP) -- February 14, 2014

06:24AM Feb 14, 2014

Good morning!

Grain/soy futures firmer this morning... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents higher, soybeans are mostly 6 to 10 cents higher and wheat futures are mostly 3 to 6 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.

USDA's Glauber signals acreage shifts for 2014 vs. baseline... Projections on corn and soybean acreage for 2014 will likely shift when updated numbers are released next week at USDA's Ag Outlook Forum from those published Thursday in the longterm baseline projections, according to USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber. The projections Thursday were prepared using the assumption the 2008 Farm Bill would be extended while Glauber told Congressional Quarterly that corn plantings would likely decline and soybean plantings rise compared to the baseline numbers.

Signup for disaster aid programs expected to begin by April 15... As President Obama journeys to California's drought-impacted Central Valley today, USDA will announce it expects to begin signup for the farm bill's new disaster assistance programs by April 15. The programs provide assistance to livestock producers and orchards. "This will not only impact folks in California, but it will also have the opportunity to provide help and assistance to producers in the Dakotas who suffered from historic snowstorms last fall, and for those who suffered through the 2012 droughts across the country and other isolated situations," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a briefing Thursday evening.

Bunge indicates it won't accept Syngenta's Duracade corn... The head of Bunge said Thursday, "We handle crops that have been approved in major markets." That indicates his firm will not accept Syngenta's Agrisure Duracade corn, which is available for commercial use in the U.S. for the first time this year but has not yet been approved by China, though he said an official decision has not been made. Bunge also does not accept Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera (MIR 162) corn, which is the trait that is causing China to reject some U.S. corn shipments.

Ministry raises Chinese February soy import forecast... China's Ministry of Commerce raised its February soybean import forecast to 5 MMT from 3.42 MMT previously. That's now in line with a forecast from state-run China National Grain and Oils Information Center. In January, China imported 5.91 MMT of soybeans.

Chinese inflation remains controlled... China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.5% from year-ago last month, which was unchanged from December and a 7-month low. Food prices rose 3.7% in January while non-food prices were 1.9% higher. Inflation at the wholesale level continues to run weaker than year-ago, coming in down 1.6% for January.

India forecasts record wheat crop... The first official forecast from India's farm ministry calls for a record wheat crop of 95.6 MMT this year. That would be up more than 3.1 MMT from last year's 92.46 MMT crop and add to already bulging domestic wheat supplies. Therefore, it's likely India will continue to actively export wheat.

U.S. crop insurance payouts pass $10 bil. for 2013 crops… U.S. crop insurance indemnities moved to $10.390 billion as of Feb. 10, pushing the loss ratio for the program up to 0.88, according to Risk Management Agency (RMA) data. Corn ($4.378 billion), wheat ($2.242 billion) and soybeans ($1.052 billion) remain the only three major commodities with payouts that are over $1 billion for the 2013 crop year. Corn also continues to lead all other crops in terms of coverage under the program. Corn and soybean coverage accounts for around 70% of the coverage under the program and that total moves to around 80% when wheat is included. This marks the third year in a row that payouts under the crop insurance program have exceeded $10 billion but so far, only one of those years has seen the loss ratio move past 1.0 – 2012 at 1.57.

Light cash cattle trade at steady/firmer prices... Isolated cash cattle trade was seen in Kansas yesterday at $142, which was steady to $1 higher than light cash activity in the Plains last week. Most feedlots, however, continue to hold out for stronger bids, with cash sources signaling sellers want $143 or better for this week's supplies.

Wholesale pork prices continue to rise... The pork cutout value gained another 70 cents yesterday despite sharp losses in bellies and ribs. But with movement slowing to 281.51 loads on the day, we're going to watch the market closely to see if this is a temporary slowdown or if retailers are starting to balk at rising pork prices.

Holiday trading schedule... Grain and livestock markets will observe normal trading hours today ahead of the extended, holiday weekend. Markets and government offices are closed Monday, Feb. 17, for Presidents Day. Grain markets will resume trade at 7:00 p.m. CT Monday, while livestock markets will reopen at 9:05 a.m. CT Tuesday.

Overnight demand news... Japan purchased 286,091 MT of wheat in its weekly tender, including 186,063 MT of U.S. supplies. Japan also tendered to buy 42,908 MT of Canadian wheat. Iraq tendered to buy at least 50,000 MT of U.S., Canadian or Australian wheat.