First Thing Today (VIP) -- July 3, 2013

July 3, 2013 01:22 AM


PRICE STRENGTH OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are 4 to 5 cents higher, soybeans are 13 to 17 cents higher, Chicago wheat is 10 to 12 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is mostly 5 to 10 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is steady to 5 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.

CHINA BUYS CORN, WHEAT ON PRICE BREAK... China recently booked three cargoes of new-crop U.S. corn, according to China National Grains and Oils Information Center. The state-run think-tank says the corn was purchased at $65.20 per ton cheaper than domestic corn. Meanwhile, export sources also signal China has booked 300,000 MT (six cargoes) of new-crop Australian wheat. COFCO was reportedly the buyer of the Aussie wheat, but it's for supplying the domestic market, not for state stockpiles.

INFORMA'S JULY CROP FORECASTS OUT THIS MORNING... Informa Economics will issue its July crop report at 10:30 a.m. CT. The report will contain an update of winter wheat production as well as production forecasts for corn, soybeans, spring wheat and cotton. USDA's July Crop Production and Supply & Demand Reports will be released July 11.

AG COALITION LETTER ON HOUSE FARM BILL EXPECTED TO HAVE NO IMPACT ON COMING GOP LEADERSHIP DECISION... Despite over 500 agriculture groups and agribusinesses signing a letter that urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) not to split the farm bill into two sections (farm policy and food stamps), congressional sources say efforts are still underway to determine whether or not 218 votes can be found to pass a farm policy-only bill before the August congressional recess.

GMO SUMMIT NEXT WEDNESDAY IN WASHINGTON... Major players in the food industry have scheduled a meeting for next Wednesday, July 10, that some say could become a turning point in the regulatory battle over genetically modified foods. Challenges to the use of biotechnology have created an "unprecedented period of turmoil" for food producers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said in a letter circulated among trade groups. "We have reached a pivotal point in this effort and believe now is the time to bring together a broad coalition to confront these challenges," GMA wrote in the letter, which invited CEOs and top industry officials to a July 10 summit in Washington. Options apparently under review could range from a coordinated attack against labels to acceptance of a national standard.

INCREASE IN BEEF IMPORTS COULD TRIGGER ACTIVATION OF JAPAN'S SAFEGUARD TARIFF... As domestic demand for imported beef climbs following the relaxation of maximum age limits for cattle, the likelihood that an import-curbing safeguard measure will be activated is increasing, Japanese government and industry officials told the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA). If the World Trade Organization-approved safeguard is triggered, Japan's beef import tariff, now at 38.5%, would rise to 50%. The safeguard would kick in for chilled beef if imports in one of the quarters of Fiscal Year 2013, which began in April, exceed more than 117% of either import volumes in the same quarter of FY 2012 or the average of each quarter in fiscal year 2002-2003 (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, was found in December 2003 in the United States), according to a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Meat and Poultry Division.

BOXED BEEF PRICES FIRM, BUT MOVEMENT STILL LIGHT... Boxed beef prices were 46 to 84 cents higher Tuesday, but packers moved only 168 loads of product on the day. If packers don't see boxed beef movement pick up, they may be reluctant to increase cash cattle bids until after they assess post-holiday slaughter needs.

BELLY PRICES LEADING PORK CUTOUT LOWER... Belly prices were $15.58 lower Tuesday and are now nearly $27 below their peak on June 26. Just as belly prices led the surge in the pork product market, they are also leading the decline. Behind the sharp plunge in belly prices yesterday, the pork cutout value dropped another $1.56 and is now down over $4 from its peak, also on June 26.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 45,000 MT of Black Sea feed wheat. Japan bought 42,910 MT of U.S. SRW wheat for feed and 32,250 MT of Australian feed wheat. Japan also tendered for another 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley.

HOLIDAY TRADING SCHEDULE... Grain markets close at noon CT today, while livestock markets will halt trading at 12:15 p.m. CT. All markets and government offices are closed Thursday, July 4, for the federal holiday. Trade will resume on Friday, July 5, at 8:30 a.m. CT for grains and at 9:05 a.m. CT for livestock markets.


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