First Thing Today (VIP) -- July 17, 2013

July 17, 2013 01:17 AM


CORN AND BEANS MOSTLY WEAKER, WHEAT SLIGHTLY FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading fractionally to 2 cents lower in all but the September contract, which is fractionally firmer; soybeans are mostly 2 to 4 cents lower in all but the August contract, which is fractionally firmer; and wheat futures are 1 to 2 cents firmer at all three exchanges. The U.S. dollar index is modestly firmer this morning.

HOUSE AG PANEL'S LUCAS LAYS OUT FARM BILL SITUATION TO PANEL MEMBERS... Discussions are underway in the House relative to SNAP/food stamp reform legislation, but House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) reminded members in a memo the program does not end even though it is not in the version of the farm bill approved by the House. Additionally, Lucas said informal discussions can begin with the Senate on the farm bill and his focus will be on addressing what he says are shortfalls in the Senate bill -- insufficient SNAP reform, the commodity support provisions and crop insurance provisions that put the program potentially in jeopardy.

BERNANKE WATCH IS ON IN APPEARANCE BEFORE HOUSE PANEL... Lawmakers today will question Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about the central bank’s economic stimulus efforts when he delivers his semi-annual monetary policy report to the House Financial Services Committee today. It’s the first in a pair of back-to-back appearances that brings Bernanke before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. The Fed has said it will keep buying $85 billion a month of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities until the outlook for the labor market improves. And expectations are Bernanke will not shift from this stance, but is also ready to bump up the effort if additional help is needed.

CHINA SHOPPING FOR MORE WHEAT... China is shopping for at least 500,000 MT of Australian wheat, trade sources told Reuters. Industry sources speculate China may import up to 10 MMT of wheat in 2013-14 as upwards of 20 MMT of this year's Chinese crop may be downgraded to feed wheat due to weather struggles through the growing season.

CHINA'S FDI SURGES IN JUNE... China's foreign direct investment (FDI) surged 20.12% over year-ago in June to the highest level since March 2011, according the commerce ministry. First half 2013 FDI is up 4.9% from year-ago. The increased FDI suggests there's confidence in China's economy despite slowed growth. The commerce ministry also says it will soon introduce measures to support exports and imports, though it gave no specific details.

LATE-WEEK CASH CATTLE TRADE LIKELY... Packers have yet to establish cash cattle bids and appear to be in no hurry to buy cattle this week. On the flip side, feedlots are asking higher prices for cash cattle and don't want to move cattle at lower prices. As a result, cash sources aren't expecting active cash cattle trade until late in the week.

PORK MOVEMENT IMPROVES AS PRICES CONTINUE TO SLIDE... The pork cutout value was another 98 cents lower Tuesday, though packers moved a strong 435.9 loads of product on the day. With pork prices continuing to fall, the cash hog market will remain under pressure as packers try to improve margins.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 42,300 MT of U.S. wheat and 40,000 MT of Australian wheat . South Korea also bought 60,000 MT of Black Sea origin corn. Taiwan passed on a tender to buy 60,000 MT of U.S. or Brazilian soybeans.


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