First Thing Today (VIP) -- March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013 01:29 AM


CORN AND WHEAT MIXED, BEANS FIRMER... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed amid bull spreading, soybeans are 1 to 5 cents higher, Chicago and Kansas City wheat are narrowly mixed and Minneapolis wheat is steady to 3 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is sharply higher this morning.

ARGY CORN HEADED TO UNITED STATES... A Reuters story citing an Argentine source confirms one cargo of Argentine corn is en route to the U.S. and a "couple" more shipments are coming. The story didn't indicate where the corn is being shipped into, but it's likely the Southeast. Talk of Argentine corn imports weighed on old-crop corn futures yesterday, but the market bounced back for a high-range close and are higher this morning.

OBAMA SIGNS CR INTO LAW... President Obama on Tuesday signed into law without comment the measure which sets funding levels for the federal government for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The bill provides full-year FY 2013 appropriations for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and Veterans Affairs, as well as certain agencies, and funding for the remainder of the federal government. It also provides money to nix a threatened furlough of meat inspectors -- but that issue will resurface for the period Oct. 1 forward. The bill also includes across-the-board spending reductions for FY 2013 to comply with sequestration.

HOUSE FARM BILL TIMELINE... Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), a member of the House Ag Committee, said he is hopeful the farm bill will come out of that panel in April or May "so we've got it ready to go to the House floor." In in interview with the Avalanche-Journal newspaper (Texas), he said he was going to encourage House leadership to bring that bill to the floor, "because we owe the farmers and ranchers and producers in this country a five-year farm bill to give them some certainty in what the farm policy in this country is going to be for a while." Regarding the vastly different Fiscal 2014 budget resolutions in the House and Senate, Neugebauer said he thinks there will be a conference committee to see if there can be some reconciliation, but that they are "so far apart -- the Democrats want to raise taxes and we want to cut spending" -- that he isn't sure whether there is any common ground. The leadership will have to make that decision, he said. "The essential elements are that we need to quit spending money that we don't have," he concluded.

COALITION URGES U.S., OTHER COUNTRIES TO WELCOME JAPAN INTO TPP... A coalition of food and ag organizations and companies today urged the U.S. and other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to quickly welcome Japan into the trade talks. Japan recently announced its intention to join the TPP negotiations, which currently include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam. In a letter to President Obama, the coalition of 75 food and agricultural organizations and companies said the inclusion of Japan in the trade talks would generate enormous interest and support in U.S. agriculture. "The addition of Japan to the negotiations will exponentially increase the importance of the TPP to U.S. farmers and ranchers, processors and exporters as well as other sectors of the U.S. economy," said the coalition. ‘Furthermore, it will spur interest in the TPP among other countries in Asia and Latin America."

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY PETITIONS SUPREME COURT TO HEAR LAWSUITS CHALLENGING E15... Automobile and engine manufacturers have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to overturn EPA waivers that allow an increase in the ethanol content of gasoline. The manufacturers said they should have standing to challenge two EPA Clean Air Act waivers approving model year 2001 and newer vehicles to use gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol (E15) because they are "objects of the relevant statutory regime." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had dismissed challenges to E15 brought by engine manufacturers, petroleum refiners, and food producers in August 2012 for lack of standing. The manufacturers are seeking review of that decision.

LIGHT CASH CATTLE TRADE AT $125... Light cash cattle trade was reported in Texas late Tuesday at $125, which is steady with the bulk of last week's trade. But cash sources are unsure if this is a true test of this week's cash market as packer bids were still largely absent across the Plains.

CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/FIRMER... Cash sources are looking for steady to firmer cash hog bids across the Midwest today after unexpected firmer bids in some locations yesterday. That would suggest packers don't have as many supplies secured around the upcoming Easter holiday as they have been indicating.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 38,400 MT of Australian milling wheat and 62,000 MT of optional origin (likely Black Sea) feed wheat, but passed on a tender to buy 70,000 MT of optional origin corn.


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