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

June 18, 2013 01:16 AM


FIRMER PRICE TONE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are mostly 2 to 4 cents higher, soybeans are 5 to 7 cents higher, Chicago and Kansas City wheat are 2 to 4 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is 1 to 2 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is modestly weaker this morning, but off its overnight lows.

CORN CCI RISES MODESTLY... When USDA's weekly crop condition ratings are plugged into the weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (0 to 500 point scale), the corn crop improved 1 point to 364. Last year on this date, the corn crop had a 361 CCI rating. Meanwhile, the first soybean CCI rating of the year came in at 361. That's 2 points lower than the initial rating last year (on June 3) but 17 points higher than year-ago on this date. Click here for a more in-depth look at corn and soybean crop condition ratings.

WHITE HOUSE VETO THREAT RE: HOUSE FARM BILL WON'T HAVE MUCH IMPACT... The White House on Monday threatened to veto the House farm bill, saying that it strongly opposed the legislation in its current form. However, the veto threat was of the more mild "senior advisers would recommend" variety rather than the "would veto" version. Of note, the administration suggested cutting billions out of crop insurance subsidies rather than food stamp funding. It also wants conservation compliance tied to crop insurance. House Ag Committee leaders downplayed the threat's impact. "The fair statement is that's an interesting position by the administration. We're going to move forward [with] our bill and we'll see what [amendments] the Rules Committee makes in order and what the United States House decides," House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said after a hearing before the Rules Committee to decide on a procedural floor rule for general debate on the bill, which is expected to begin today. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Rules, said the committee will make the final recommendation on which amendments will be made in order. The committee will try to honor Lucas and Peterson's request to avoid redundancy and out-bidding as they "sift" through the amendments for the farm bill, he said.

ENERGY SPENDING BILL MARKUP HAS SOME AG-RELATED FOCUS... The Fiscal 2014 energy and water spending bill will be marked up today by a House Appropriations subcommittee. The measure funds the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Army Corps of Engineers. House appropriators on Monday revealed that they plan to cut Energy Department spending on renewable energy in half next year as part of their plan to deal with automatic sequestration cuts in Fiscal 2014. Renewable energy would be cut to $1 billion, a reduction of $911 million compared to 2013. The bill would also prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing rules known as "administrative guidance" that expands the scope of waters regulated under the Clean Water Act.

OBAMA SIGNALS BERNANKE WON'T LIKELY BE ASKED TO EXTEND HIS POSITION AS HEAD OF FEDERAL RESERVE... President Obama strongly suggested Monday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will not be extending his stay as head of the U.S. central bank. The president said in an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose that Bernanke has done an "outstanding job," but has "already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to." Bernanke’s second four-year stint at the central bank ends Jan. 31, 2014. Bernanke himself had signaled privately months ago he was not likely to stay in the role as Chairman after term is up in January. His term as a Fed governor ends Jan. 31, 2020.

RUSSIA, UKRAINE START WINTER GRAINS HARVEST... Winter wheat harvest is just getting started in Russia, with the bulk of the harvest activity likely to begin next week, two weeks earlier than normal. Yields will be up sharply from year-ago when drought cut crop size, but crop quality is expected to decline to normal levels -- about 70% milling wheat and 30% feed wheat. Meanwhile, winter grain harvest has begun in five southern regions of Ukraine. So far, yields are up 37.2% from last year on this date.

SOLID START FOR BOXED BEEF MARKET... Boxed beef prices were 24 cents (Select) to $1.66 (Choice) higher Monday. While packers moved only 146 loads of product on the day, that's still a favorable start, especially given recent pressure on Choice boxes. But it's likely going to take strength in the product market throughout the week to get packers to raise cash cattle bids.

PORK CUTOUT STRENGTHENS... The pork cutout value followed up last Friday's price surge with a 22-cent gain Monday, though packers moved only 237.3 loads of product on the day. With pork plants cutting back on kill hours amid tight supplies, cash hog bids are expected to be steady to weaker today despite improved packer margins.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea bought 127,000 MT of optional origin corn (69,000 MT likely U.S. or South American and 58,000 MT likely Black Sea origin) and 4,000 MT of optional origin (likely Australian) feed barley, but passed on a tender to buy up to 55,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat. Taiwan passed on a tender to purchase 23,000 MT of U.S. corn and 12,000 MT of U.S. soybeans. Japan is seeking 152,321 MT of wheat in its weekly tender, excluding U.S. western white wheat for a fourth consecutive week.


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