Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: FAO Food Price Index and More

10:35AM Jul 02, 2020
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Here are audio highlights from around the ag industry, courtesy of Pro Farmer.
( Pro Farmer )

Good Morning farm country. Davis Michaelsen here with your morning update for Thursday July 2. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning:

Corn and soybean futures climbed another 2 to 3 cents overnight as weather concerns and lighter than expected plantings for both crops prompted funds to cover short positions ahead of the long holiday weekend. Winter wheat futures are steady to fractionally higher, with spring wheat choppy to higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure and crude oil futures are enjoying modest gains.

The number of new U.S. daily coronavirus cases surpassed 50,000 for the first time ever on Wednesday, propelled by record rises in some of the most populous states, including California and Texas. The surge in cases has increased concerns about the speed at which the disease is spreading in emerging U.S. hotspots ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index climbed 2.4% in May to 93.2 points, marking the first month-to-month increase since the start of the year. FAO also raised its global cereal production forecast for 2020 by 9.30 MMT to 2.79 billion MT. That would top last year’s record by 3.0%.

Earlier this week, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said she would not back the nomination of Doug Benevento to be deputy EPA administrator until EPA says how it will handle the 52 retroactive small refinery exemptions that it has received for prior compliance years going back to 2011. Now Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said he will not let Benevento’s nomination move forward until EPA provides relief for refiners on Renewable Identification Numbers. 

A day after the Senate passed a last-minute extension of the Paycheck Protection Program loan application deadline on Tuesday, the House did the same Wednesday, clearing the bill for the president. It extends the Small Business Administration’s forgivable loan program for coronavirus-impacted companies from June 30 to Aug. 8.

The Fed's James Bullard said a wave of business failures owing to the pandemic could still trigger a financial crisis, as he justified the central bank’s continuing efforts to prop up capital markets. “We’re still in the middle of the crisis here,” Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, said in an interview with the Financial Times on Wednesday. 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Wednesday that he is “skeptical, but open to considering options” when it comes to additional aid to states and localities beyond what was included in the CARES Act and other Covid-19 relief packages.

The U.S. has postponed flights for dozens of diplomats who had planned to return to China after failing to reach agreement with Beijing over issues including Covid-19 testing and quarantine. Meanwhile, the U.S. is preparing to roll out long-delayed sanctions over human-rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang, China.

Russians appeared to have paved the way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for a package of constitutional changes. The independent monitoring organization Golos called the vote rigged from the start.

Cattle futures finished with gains on Thursday, extending the sideways to slightly higher range of consolidated trade. August futures are in line with the cash market and softer boxed beef values have been met with strong buying. Lean hog futures continue to struggle to shake market bears given massive backlogs of market-ready hogs, and animals that are being processed are heavier than year-ago.

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