ADDITIONAL STRENGTH OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading mostly 4 to 5 cents higher, soybeans are mostly 4 to 7 cents higher, Chicago wheat is 1 to 3 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is steady to 2 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is narrowly mixed. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.
CHINESE SOY IMPORTS SURGE IN JUNE... As expected, Chinese soybean imports surged last month as Brazilian supplies actively flowed to the country following earlier port congestion. According to official customs data, China imported a record 6.93 MMT of soybeans last month, which was up 36% from May and 23% higher than year-ago. China is expected to import more than 7 MMT of soybeans this month. For the first six months of this calendar year, Chinese soybean imports of 27.49 MMT are down 5.4% from year-ago.
CHINESE TRADE DATA DISAPPOINTS AMID WEAK EXPORTS... Chinese exports dropped 3.1% versus year-ago last month, the first decline since January 2012, while imports were 0.7% lower. For the month, China had a $27.1 billion trade surplus in June, up from a $20.4 billion surplus in May. After the official trade data was released, China's Customs Department warned of a "grim" outlook for Chinese trade the second half of the year.
HOUSE GOP LEADERS COUNTING VOTES ON AG-ONLY FARM BILL… House Republican leaders have been whipping whether there are enough votes to bring the ag-only portions of the House farm bill to the full chamber for its consideration. It's not clear if they believe they have the votes yet and eyes are on the House Rules Committee as one sign of whether such a vote will transpire. Most Democrats and some Republicans are expected to oppose the concept, which could complicate efforts to round up the 218 votes needed for passage.
EYES ON FOMC, BERNANKE… Markets will be watching the release this afternoon of minutes from the June 18-19 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) for how much of a debate there was on the timing of scaling back and then ending the asset purchases undertaken by the Fed to stimulate the U.S. economy. Then, after financial markets close, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks for the first time since his guidance to the market on potential timing for that tempering of the asset purchases spooked financial markets and sent U.S. Treasury bond yields rocketing higher.
SENATE AG PANEL TO EXAMINE SHUANGHUI/SMITHFIELD DEAL…The Senate Ag Committee will hear from Smithfield CEO Larry Pope, those from academia and a government agency created to watch the U.S.-China economic relationship today. Some lawmakers, including Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), have cited major concerns over food safety relative to the deal even though Smithfield's Pope has insisted Shuanghui is not interested in exporting to the United States. At least one of the panelists today has been critical of the Chinese firm's food safety record.
GROUPS FILE SUIT IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT OVER COOL RULE… The American Meat Institute (AMI) and seven U.S. and Canadian livestock and meat groups filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court to block the final mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule. The groups charge it is unconstitutional and are seeking to prevent implementation of the plan that would prevent co-mingling of meat supplies from the U.S., Canada and Mexico and would require meat package labels specifying where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
STILL LOOKING FOR A LOW IN BOXED BEEF... While Select boxed beef prices firmed 72 cents and packers moved 169 loads of product Tuesday, Choice boxes were another 53 cents lower. With the boxed beef market struggling to put in a low, traders are uncertain about cash cattle trade for the week, but packer margins are still strong and showlist numbers are down from week-ago.
CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/WEAKER... Cash hog bids started to soften Tuesday as packer demand wasn't as strong as anticipated. With the pork cutout value declining $1.08 yesterday, further weakening of cash hog bids is expected across the Midwest today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Japan is seeking 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley.