First Thing Today (VIP) -- July 18, 2013

July 18, 2013 01:14 AM


CORN AND BEANS LOWER, WHEAT MIXED OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 4 to 6 cents lower, soybeans are 5 to 8 cents lower and wheat futures are narrowly mixed at all three exchanges. The U.S. dollar index is firmer this morning.

VILSACK AGAIN SUPPORTS ETHANOL, NO CHANGE IN RFS... USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, talking to a group of corn growers in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, said corn growers should tell Congress "don’t mess with the RFS." Vilsack said he is sure that incoming Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy "understands the need to preserve the RFS" and that he will urge her to meet regularly with commodity leaders. He also said farmers will also have Sarah Bittleman, his former renewable fuels adviser, as an agriculture adviser at EPA.

UPDATE ON JAPAN GMO WHEAT SITUATION... As we reported in "Evening Report" last night, a Japanese delegation met with USDA officials on Wednesday regarding the GMO wheat situation. Following the meeting, industry sources in Japan told Reuters the country wants USDA to test a composite sample of each western white wheat shipment, give shippers a letter that certifies the shipment contains no GMO wheat and send samples to Japan for testing there before each vessel arrives from the United States.

PRIVATE FIRM RAISES EU WHEAT FORECAST, CUTS CORN OUTLOOK... Strategie Grains raised its 2013-14 EU wheat forecast by 1.9 MMT from last month to 133.4 MMT. EU wheat production is now seen up 6% from 2012-13. The firm cut its EU corn crop by 100,000 MT to 65.9 MMT, but that's still up 15% from last year.

WEEKLY EXPORT SALES REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended July 11, traders expect: corn sales between 600,000 and 950,000 MT; wheat sales between 1 million and 1.3 million MT; soybean sales between 350,000 and 700,000 MT; soymeal sales between 50,000 and 150,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 0 and 20,000 MT.

2012 CROP INSURANCE PAYOUTS RISE SLIGHTLY; 2013 ALREADY NEAR $1 BILLION... Crop insurance indemnities on 2012 crops moved up slightly to $17.384 billion with the loss ratio remaining at 1.57, according to Risk Management Agency (RMA) data. Indemnities for corn and cotton each increased by $1 million, marking the biggest increases for 2012 crops the week ended July 15. As for 2013, net acres insured have reached 151 million, up from 129 million the prior week but still behind the year-ago pace of 179 million net acres insured at this point in the growing season. Indemnities on 2013 are closing in on $1 billion, with $996 million paid out as of July 15, with wheat the largest chunk so far at $649 million.

BOXED BEEF MARKET STILL LOOKING FOR A LOW... Boxed beef prices were 57 cents (Select) to $1.03 (Choice) lower Wednesday, though movement improved to 244 loads. While price action doesn't signal the boxed beef market has posted a low, the pickup in movement may be an indication prices are getting low enough to attract stronger retailer buying.

PORK MARGINS IMPROVE... The combination of weaker cash hog bids this week and just a 1-cent decline in the pork cutout value Wednesday has improved packer margins. But while margins are improved, they aren't strong enough to encourage packers to pay up for cash hogs. Cash hog bids are expected to remain steady to $1 lower across the Midwest today.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 55,000 MT of optional origin (likely Black Sea) corn and 35,200 MT of Australian wheat. Japan purchased 112,176 MT of milling wheat in its weekly tender, including 48,971 MT of U.S. supplies, and also bought 13,050 MT of optional origin feed wheat. Egypt tendered to buy at least one cargo of optional origin wheat. Results of the tender will be known later this morning.


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