First Thing Today (VIP) -- March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014 01:07 AM

Good morning!

Quiet overnight trade... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn and wheat futures are narrowly mixed, while soybeans are 1 to 6 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is mildly firmer this morning.

Syngenta: Price behind China's rejection of U.S. corn shipments... China's ongoing rejections of U.S. corn shipments due to the presence of the MIR 162 (Syngenta's Viptera) trait are a "trade issue" driven by prices, David Morgan, Syngenta's regional director of North America, told Reuters. China's biosafety committee is expected to meet sometime this week or next, at which time the corn trait could be brought up for approval. But Morgan isn't expecting any positive action since China has dragged its feet on approval of MIR 162 for years. If the biosafety committee doesn't approve MIR 162 at the upcoming meeting, the next chance is at its June confab.

Japan modestly raises food wheat import forecast... Japan plans to import 4.93 MMT of wheat for food in 2014-15 (April-March), up modestly from 4.91 MMT in 2013-14, according to the country's ag ministry. Lower domestic production last year along with an expected increase in consumption prompted the modest increase in the food wheat import forecast. Last week, Japan's ag ministry lowered its feed wheat import forecast for 2014-15 due to expectations of higher corn consumption.

Opponents say EPA proposal on navigable waters is more expansion of government powers than a clarification..."The ‘waters of the U.S.’ rule may be one of the most significant private property grabs in U.S. history," Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said. The Obama administration has proposed rules to determine which waterways and wetlands are regulated by the federal government, a plan praised by some, including the National Farmers Union, but opposed by others, including the American Farm Bureau Federation. Chandler Goule, vice president for the National Farmers Union (NFU), was pleased that the rule clarified Clean Water Act jurisdiction, maintained existing agricultural exemptions and added new exemptions. But Don Parrish, federal regulatory relations director for the Farm Bureau, maintained the group's opposition to the proposed rule, saying it would expand federal regulatory overreach over the nation's waters. Parrish questioned the exemptions the rule immediately grants for conservation practices, saying they already were exempt from permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act.

USDA announced Tuesday it will allow South Korean farmers to ship poultry products like chicken into the United States... The Korean poultry would still be inspected at the U.S. border before it enters the country. This comes after the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reviewed Korea's poultry laws and regulations to make sure they provided enough protection for American consumers. The rule goes into effect in two months.

Higher cash cattle prices... After light cash cattle trade at steady-with-week-ago $150 prices in Texas and Kansas early Tuesday, packers raised bids to $152 later in the afternoon, which triggered more active sales. Packers paid $154 for cattle in Nebraska, which was also $2 higher than last week's trade.

Hog futures below cash index... The sharp price pullback in lean futures in combination with rising cash hog bids has dropped all contracts except June hogs, which still hold a slight premium, below the cash hog index. This doesn't guarantee the corrective selling will end, but if the cash market continues to strengthen, it should help limit price pressure. Traders won't want to let futures get too far below the cash index as slaughter supplies are tightening.

Overnight demand news... South Korea purchased 189,000 MT of U.S. and South American corn. Japan received no bids in its tender to buy 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley.


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