First Thing Today (VIP) -- May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013 01:23 AM


PRICE PRESSURE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 5 to 7 cents lower, soybeans are 9 to 17 cents lower in old-crop contracts and 7 to 8 cents lower in new-crop contracts, Chicago wheat is mostly 9 to 10 cents lower, Kansas City wheat is 6 to 9 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat is 7 to 8 cents lower. The U.S. dollar index is under solid pressure this morning.

DAY 1 WHEAT TOUR RESULTS... Scouts on Day 1 of the Wheat Quality Council HRW tour found reduced yield potential compared to year-ago through central and northern Kansas and far southern Nebraska. Tour samples unveiled an average yield of 43.8 bu. per acre compared to 53.4 bu. per acre on similar routes last year and a five-year average of 44.2 bu. per acre. Independent tours in Colorado and Nebraska forecast wheat production in those states of 59.8 million bu. (34 bu. per acre yield) and 42 million bu. (30 bu. per acre yield), respectively. Scouts will take samples from western and southern Kansas today, where they are expected to find a crop suffering from greater drought stress and freeze damage.

CROP INSURANCE FINAL PLANTING DATES STILL A WAYS OFF IN MOST STATES... With snow in the forecast for areas of the Midwest the next couple days and only 5% of corn planted as of April 28, talk of late planting of the 2013 corn crop continues. While the optimal yield date for corn is viewed as mid-May, final corn planting dates are at the end of May to early June for key states like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, with Minnesota in a range of May 25 to 31. Those dates apply to corn in the Dakotas, with the window on spring wheat as late as June 5 in some areas of North Dakota. For a closer look at final corn planting dates, click here.

FOMC MEETING CONCLUDES THIS AFTERNOON... The Fed is expected to maintain its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program when it wraps up the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting around 1:15 p.m. CT. Because of a still-sluggish labor market, speculation the Fed could ease its asset purchases has calmed.

CHINESE MANUFACTURING PMI DROPS... China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) dipped to 50.6 in April from 50.9 in March, signaling the vast manufacturing sector slowed last month but remained above the contraction threshold of 50.0. Economists expected a PMI reading of 51.0. The new orders sub-index, which measures demand for Chinese goods, slipped to 51.7 from 52.3 in March.

STILL WAITING FOR WORD ON CLEARANCE TO ISSUE SURE PAYMENTS... USDA has yet to clear the issuance of payments under the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) and contacts are not clear on when that will happen. USDA had held up the payouts as it examined the impact of the sequester on payments. Even though it appears SURE and some other payments will not be affected, the go ahead to issue payouts under the program has not yet come and contacts say they are hopeful it comes soon.

BULLISH CASH CATTLE HOPES... Boxed beef prices were another $1.60 to $1.82 higher Tuesday and movement improved to 160 loads. Plus, packers established intial cash cattle bids at $127 in parts of the Plains. Firming boxed beef prices and the early establishment of cash bids just $1 below the bulk of last week's cash trade suggests steady to firmer cash cattle prices compared with week-ago are likely. With summer-month live cattle futures at a sharp discount to the cash market, there's plenty of room for a rally.

PORK MARGINS TIGHTEN... The combination of a $1.64 plunge in the pork cutout value Tuesday and firmer cash hog bids this week has tightened pork margins. Still, packers are cutting in the black and market-ready supplies are tight, which should be enough to keep cash hog bids steady to firmer at most Midwest locations.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Exporters reported no tenders or purchases.


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