First Thing Today (VIP) -- October 24, 2013

October 24, 2013 01:38 AM


CHOPPY ACTION IN THE GRAIN & SOY MARKETS... Corn futures traded in a narrow, choppy range overnight and as of 6:30 a.m. CT the market is favoring the downside. Soybeans are also seeing light profit-taking after a solid upside day of trade yesterday. Nearbys are a penny or two lower, while deferred contracts are mixed. Wheat futures are also choppy this morning. The U.S. dollar index is mildly lower, while crude oil futures are seeing some light bargain buying.

HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVES WRRDA… The House voted 417-3 to approve the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), sending the measure ahead to a conference with the Senate to iron out differences between their two versions of the legislation. Conservative groups had tried to rally opposition to the package but the bipartisan-generated legislation enjoyed broad support. The situation underscores that opposition by conservative groups may be starting to lose traction.

CONSERVATIVE GROUPS NOW TAKE AIM AT FARM BILL… Today's USA Today carries a story noting the coming focus that conservative groups will take on the farm bill as the first conference session between the House and Senate is on tap for Oct. 30. The groups are focusing their attention on subsidies in the bill, including crop insurance, and they are ALSO taking aim at nutrition programs. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in the wake of the WRRDA bill passage that he expected "productive" farm bill talks ahead between the two chambers.

COURT RULES AGAINST EPA IN STORMWATER RUNOFF DISPUTE... A Federal District Court ruled in favor of Lois Alt, a West Virginia poultry producer, in her dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding stormwater runoff. U.S. District Court Judge John Preston Bailey said Alt does not need to obtain water pollution permits for stormwater runoff from her farm because this is agriculture runoff, not a fixed pollution source. That means it is exempt from needing a permit and being regulated under the federal Clean Water Act. EPA had threatened to fine Alt if she did not seek these permits, but after she sued, EPA withdrew the fines and later offered to dismiss the case. But Alt, with the backing of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the West Virginia Farm Bureau, saw the case through as the case has implications for farmers nationwide.

WEEKLY EXPORT SALES FOR WEEK ENDED OCT. 3 OUT TODAY... USDA will update its export sales data for the week ended Oct. 3 today. Traders expect: corn sales between 650,000 and 850,000 MT; wheat sales between 600,000 and 850,000 MT; soybean sales between 850,000 MT and 1.05 MMT; soymeal sales between 150,000 and 250,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 10,000 and 20,000 MT.

ADD'L EXPORT SALES DATA COMING… Late today or Oct. 25, USDA will report "incomplete" export sales for the weeks ended Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. The timing of the update is undetermined. The data will include sales reported by U.S. exporters to USDA via e-mail or fax during the shutdown, if received, although e-mail and fax submissions are typically not received. Exporters submit their sales figures via an online system that was unavailable during the shutdown, so the tally reported this afternoon or Friday will be "incomplete." On Oct. 31, USDA will issue the report for the week ended Oct. 24 at 7:30 a.m. CT. This report will combine export sales for weeks ending Oct. 10, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24. Subsequent reports will be released as scheduled.

CHINA'S FLASH PMI HITS SEVEN-MONTH HIGH... The preliminary HSBC Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reading for China came in better than expected at 50.9, which compares to 50.2 in September and expectations for a 50.4 PMI reading. This also notched a seven-month high. Nevertheless, concerns linger that the People's Bank of China may may tighten liquid as credit growth has been rapid.

BEEF STRENGTH & TIGHT SUPPLIES SPUR RECORD CASH PRICES... Cash cattle trade got started in Texas and Kansas yesterday at $132 with a few sales at $133, which compares to trade at $129 to $130 in the region last week with the bulk of sales taking place at the lower end of that range. This marks a record high in Texas. Trade also got underway in Nebraska at $3 to $4 higher prices of $132 to $134. Tight showlists and strength in the boxed beef market spurred higher cash prices. Choice cuts surged another $1.46 yesterday to $200.79 per cwt. Select was also up $1.88 and a solid 181 loads changed hands. But futures already had higher cash trade factored into prices and ended the day mixed. The market could see a return in buying interest today.

PORK PRICES SLIDE.. Ideas the upside was overdone on Tuesday led to profit-taking in nearby hog futures and more of the same could be seen today as the fundamentals favor market bears. Supplies are building as temps cool and the pork market continues to soften. Yesterday's $1.69 drop in the pork cutout value did spur strong movement of 438.47 loads, however. Harvest efforts by farmers are helping to keep the cash market mostly steady, however, as producers are reluctant to leave the fields with harvest underway.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Vietnam bought at least 400,000 MT of Brazilian corn in a series of deals. South Korea's Corn Processing Industry Association bought 55,000 MT of either U.S. or Brazilian corn in a private deal after rejecting offers in an international tender yesterday. Taiwan bought 60,000 MT of Brazilian corn. Iraq bought 150,000 MT of Australian and Canadian wheat. Morocco tendered for up to 330,000 MT of EU soft wheat under a reduced tariff agreement, but it received no offers. Two state-run traders in India are expected to issue tenders for a total of 280,000 MT of wheat.

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