First Thing Today (VIP) -- July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013 01:12 AM


GRAINS UNDER PRESSURE TO START THE WEEK... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 8 to 11 cents lower, August soybeans are around 1 cent lower while new-crop contracts are 4 to 6 cents lower, Chicago wheat is 8 to 12 cents lower, Kansas City wheat is 7 to 11 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat is 6 to 8 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is firmer this morning.

WEATHER SEEN AS LESS THREATENING... Temps are expected to be above-normal and virtually no rain is in the outlook through Friday. But temps aren't forecast to be as hot as previously anticipated. Plus, there is a chance for rains by the weekend, with cooler temps to follow. The computer-generated National Weather Service forecast for July 20-24 calls for normal to below-normal temps and above-normal precip over most of the Corn Belt.

BERNANKE BEFORE CONGRESS TWICE THIS WEEK... Highlights this week in Congress include two separate appearances before congressional hearings by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and a Senate focus on possible use of the so-called "nuclear option" for rules changes on some of President Obama nominations. Topics for hearings include climate change, U.S. trade policy, CFTC reauthorization and health care reform-delayed implementation issues.

CHINESE ECONOMIC GROWTH SLOWS, AS EXPECTED... China's gross domestic product (GDP) slowed in the second quarter to 7.5% year-on-year as weak overseas demand weighed on output and investment. The second quarter GDP was down from 7.7% in the first quarter, but was right in line with expectations. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, says China will steadily push forward market-oriented interest rates reform and the establishment of a deposit insurance system while fine-tuning monetary policy.

NOPA TO SHOW MUCH SLOWER CRUSH PACE IN JUNE... NOPA members are expected to show soybean crush declined to 115.4 million bu. in June amid tight supplies, according to the average pre-report guess. If accurate, that would be down 6.2% from May and 14% lower than year-ago. Soyoil stocks are guessed at 2.343 billion pounds.

LEW: DEBT LIMIT INCREASE NOT UP FOR NEGOTIATION... The White House is not open to negotiating terms for the next debt ceiling increase, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday during an interview on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS." Lew said top administration officials are intent on separating the debt ceiling from the broader debate over fiscal policy this year. "The president has made very clear that we will not negotiate over whether or not the government should default and we will not get into a negotiation like 2011, over the debt ceiling," Lew said. Late last month, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dismissed the idea that Congress would raise the debt limit without a conversation about the underlying issues. Treasury is expected to reach the debt ceiling sometime in October. Lew said the administration is open to negotiations over the fiscal 2014 budget, which will also be the subject of intense debate this fall. The most likely outcome is a short-term increase in the debt-limit, moving the issue into early 2014.

STILL WAITING FOR LOW IN BOXED BEEF, CASH CATTLE MARKETS... Boxed beef prices continue to slide and cash cattle traded at steady $119 prices in the Plains late Friday. With traders still waiting for signs of a short-term low in the cash and product markets, buying interest in futures will be limited. But expectations that a low will come soon should keep futures at a premium to the cash market.

CASH HOG BIDS CALLED STEADY/WEAKER... Packers are expected to open the week with steady to weaker cash hog bids across the Midwest. While market-ready supplies remain tight, packers are working with poor margins, which will limit demand for cash hogs.

WEEKEND DEMAND NEWS... Exporters reported no tenders or purchases.


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