Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: Lebanese Explosion, Virus Aid and More

09:51AM Aug 05, 2020
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Here are audio highlights from around the ag industry, courtesy of Pro Farmer.
( Pro Farmer )

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Good Morning farm country. Davis Michaelsen here with your morning update for Wednesday, August 5. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning: 

After punishing losses in the corn, soybean and wheat markets on Tuesday, with corn and some HRW and HRS wheat futures hitting new contract lows, traders have shifted to some light corrective trade at midweek. Corn futures are up a penny, soybeans are 1 to 3 cents higher as is the wheat complex. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure and crude oil futures are posting strong gains.

Brazil will likely export 6.72 MMT of soybeans in August, which would be a 33% year-over-year gain, according to the country’s National Grain Exporter Association (ANEC). The group also expects the country’s corn exports to climb by a third from year-ago.

APK Inform says dry weather in Ukraine’s central and southern regions created “unfavorable” conditions for sowing of winter crops. In many of these areas, the consultancy reports moisture reserves for one meter of soil have already been completely exhausted.

Lebanon’s main grain silo at Beirut port and all of the wheat inside was destroyed by a blast Tuesday, the country’s economy minister, Raoul Nehme, said today. Nehme said the country now has “a bit less than a month” worth of wheat reserves and that Lebanon needs at least three months of supply to ensure food security for the country’s 6 million people.

U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will participate in talks on or around Aug. 15 to assess the progress of the Phase 1 agreement with China, according to sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal and later by other media outlets. The two will meet via videoconference with the focus expected to be on China’s purchase commitments of U.S. agriculture, energy and manufactured goods while China is expected to raise the issue of the U.S. cracking down on Chinese tech companies.

Democrats and the White House say they've both made concessions on the coronavirus aid bill and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the plan is for negotiators to agree by the end of the week. However, the two sides remain far apart on key issues such as unemployment insurance and aid for states and cities.

Live cattle saw light pressure for much of the session yesterday, with traders chipping away some of the premium futures hold to the cash market. Another week of steady to higher trade is expected. Price action was choppy in the lean hog futures market on Tuesday, with traders uncertain whether the market’s modest rebound has run its course. While there are some hints hog prices may be near a low, the market typically softens seasonally during the third and fourth quarters of the year.

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