MOSTLY FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, soybeans are 1 to 3 cents higher, SRW wheat futures are 5 to 7 cents higher, HRW wheat futures are mostly 4 to 5 cents higher and HRS wheat futures are fractionally to 5 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.
NEEDED RAINS FALL ON WESTERN CORN BELT... Much of the western Corn Belt received needed rainfall late Thursday and through the overnight hours. The heaviest rains were seen through far southern Nebraska, Kansas and across northern and eastern Iowa, with inch-plus totals common in these areas. After a very wet spring, conditions had become very dry over the past month-plus, so these rains were very welcome. These rains are moving off to the eastern Corn Belt this morning.. Meanwhile, temps are expected to be unseasonably cool through the weekend across the Corn Belt. The 10-day weather forecast continues to call for normal to below-normal temps and normal to above-normal precip across the Corn Belt.
CANTOR: HOUSE 'EVENTUALLY' WILL GO TO FARM BILL CONFERENCE WITH SENATE... House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) says the House will "eventually" go to conference with the Senate to produce a final farm bill. Cantor again noted that nothing will happen on the farm bill until he and House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) complete ongoing efforts on "forging a consensus on a nutrition bill." Meanwhile, Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) again ruled out another farm bill extension and said she and House Agriculture Committee leaders will work informally during the August recess to resolve differences between their bills. Stabenow last year also ruled out an extension, only to be handed one by Democratic and Republican leaders, an extension she eventually supported. Congressional sources predict the farm bill issues will take most of September to resolve one way or another -- either a successful compromise of some fashion, or another one- or two-year extension. Meanwhile, Lucas said even with a new farm bill, a 1-year extension may still be needed to give USDA time to end old programs and establish new ones called for in pending legislation.
EPA RFS ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON, BUT... The rumors coming from various traders and commission houses are increasing, and most if not all of them will be wide of the accuracy mark. Some of the rumors on Thursday speculating EPA changes to both the 2013 and 2014 corn-ethanol volume requirements (NOT confirmed by EPA) helped lead to a plunge in RIN values.
CFTC MAY BE SET TO KEEP MARGIN RULES... Complaints from several grain traders, futures brokers and even the CME Group appear to have had little sway with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) when it comes to new rules which would bar brokers from using excess margin money from one customer to cover any temporary shortfall in other customers’ accounts. At a meeting of the CFTC Ag Advisory Committee, Ananda Radhakrishnan, director of the CFTC's division of clearing and risk, said the rule merely clarifies what is already in law and arguments from opponents haven’t convinced CFTC staff yet to shift the rules. "Nobody’s been able to make the argument, with all due respect, that what we are suggesting is not what the law says it is," Radhakrishnan said, noting the arguments so far are that "it’s going to be expensive, the earth is going to fall and so on and so forth. But nobody has done, to my view, a legal analysis saying, ‘your analysis is wrong.’" While Radhakrishnan said his comments reflected the view of CFTC staff, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler was also at the meeting and didn’t signal he had a different view of the situation.
CBO REPORT ON ELIMINATING SEQUESTER SHOWS MAJOR IMPACTS... Opponents of the sequester (across-the-board cuts with some exceptions) are already noting a Congressional Budget Office report released Thursday that found canceling the automatic cuts for the rest of this year and next year would add almost 1 million jobs to the economy. The independent budget office, responding to a request from Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said if the sequester were canceled as of Aug. 1, federal spending would increase by $14 billion in the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and by $90 billion in fiscal 2014. That would add 0.7% to GDP growth, increasing the level of employment by 900,000 in the final quarter of fiscal 2014, the CBO said. But the report also said the increased spending eventually would raise the debt beyond current projections.
BOXED BEEF FIRMS AGAIN... After a long string of heavy price declines, the boxed beef market has posted gains the past two days, with values rising 48 to 77 cents Thursday. While this isn't enough to say a seasonal low is in place for the boxed beef market, as movement is still relatively light, it hints that a low may be in the works.
PORK CUTOUT FIRMS, BUT CASH NOT EXPECTED TO FOLLOW SUIT... The pork cutout value was $1.04 higher Thursday, but don't look for that to translate into higher cash hog bids. Packers are still working with negative cutting margins and therefore, they aren't looking to actively bid up for supplies. Most plants appear content to kill what they can acquire instead of actively pursuing supplies until margins are strong.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 65,000 MT of optional origin (likely Black Sea) corn and 60,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat. South Korea also tendered to buy 55,000 MT of optional origin soybean meal.