First Thing Today (VIP) -- March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013 01:03 AM


CORN MIXED, BEANS AND WHEAT WEAKER... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are mixed with a downside bias amid light bull spreading, soybeans are 6 to 12 cents lower, Chicago wheat is 2 to 3 cents lower, Kansas City wheat is 3 to 4 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat is 1 to 3 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is firmer.

CHINESE FIRMS BUYING U.S. NEW-CROP CORN... Private Chinese feedmills have purchased around 600,000 MT of U.S. 2013-crop corn on the recent price drop and want the Chinese government to issue more import quotas, according to a Reuters story. Trade sources cited in the story say state-run COFCO is waiting on even lower prices before purchasing new-crop corn. Meanwhile, state stockpiler Sinograin may be in the market for U.S. corn after its stockpiling program ends April 30 if it can't secure enough domestic supplies. Currently, the domestic market price is higher than the government-set stockpiling price, limiting the amount of corn producers are willing to sell to Sinograin for state reserves.

U.S. CROP INSURANCE PAYOUTS NEAR $16 BILLION… Indemnities on 2012 crops have reached $15.750 billion as of March 11, with corn accounting for two-thirds of the payouts, according to Risk Management Agency (RMA) data. Payouts rose 2% as of March 11, with the loss ratio on the program rising to 1.42. By commodity, corn remains the dominant source of payouts, with $10.463 billion. Only soybeans at $2.005 billion and cotton at $1.071 billion have seen indemnities pass the $1 billion mark for 2012 crops.

SEQUESTER HOLDING UP 2011 SURE PAYMENTS… Payments under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) and possibly other programs are on hold pending a review by USDA of what payments are subject to the sequester cuts, according to contacts. The sequester order was signed March 8 and contacts advise that no SURE payments are being issued and other payments are also held up as USDA determines which payouts are subject to a sequester reduction. USDA has paid out $835 million under SURE having taken applications for payment since Oct. 2012.

ROUGH START FOR BOXED BEEF MARKET... Choice boxed beef prices were 40 cents lower (though Select cuts were 67 cents higher) and packers moved only 103 loads of product Monday. That sluggish start in the product market raises some questions about whether packers will increase cash cattle bids after paying mostly $128 in the Plains last week. At this point, cash cattle opinions are mixed.

PORK CUTOUT FIRMS... The pork cutout value was 69 cents higher Monday, at least temporarily halting the recent price slide. But packers moved only 24 loads of cuts and trim on the day, which will keep demand concerns on traders' minds. Until the product market strongly signals a low is in place, the upside will remain limited to corrective buying in lean hog futures.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Singapore purchased 75,000 MT of Indian wheat. Japan is seeking 130,533 MT of wheat in its weekly tender. Bangladesh tendered to buy 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat.


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