Pro Farmer's First Thing Today: U.S.-Chinese Relations and More

09:29AM Jul 09, 2020
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 9. From Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today, these are some of the stories we are watching this morning:

Corn futures opened the overnight session slightly lower, but quickly reversed higher, with most contracts currently up 3 to 4 cents. Soybean futures are also trading high-range with gains of 5 to 7 cents. SRW wheat futures are mixed, while HRW and HRS wheat futures are fractionally to 2 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index and crude oil futures are both trading just below unchanged.

China has acknowledged that ties with the U.S. are at their lowest point since the normalization of relations in 1979, in comments that suggest Beijing wants to ease tensions, analysts said. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, said in a speech today “China has never had the intention of challenging or replacing the U.S. and has no intention of entering into total confrontation with the United States.”

The U.S. trade deficit with China in the past 12 months has dropped to its lowest since 2012. A Wall Street Journal article says that unfortunately, that narrowing has come from the U.S. buying less from China, rather than China buying more from the U.S.

Many economists still believe the U.S. economy is growing again after a sharp contraction in the spring caused by the pandemic. But some have lowered their expectations in recent days, suggesting the shape of the recovery will be jagged rather than a V signifying a sharp drop in activity followed by a similarly sharp rebound.

Consumers continued to pull back on their use of credit in May, but the $18.2-billion decline largely matched expectations and was a major improvement from the fall of $70.2 billion registered in April, the sharpest decline since World War II.

President Donald Trump said he disagreed with U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for safely reopening schools and threatened to withhold federal funding for those that stay closed. Vice President Mike Pence suggested the agency will shortly produce laxer guidelines.

United Airlines is exploring the possibility of shedding almost half its U.S. workforce. Federal aid funds run out in September, and if travel demand continues to be weak at that time, the airline “simply cannot continue at our current payroll level,” it said in a memo to its staff.

House appropriators today will mark up their $24 billion Fiscal Year 2021 ag spending measure. The committee laid out several directives and complaints aimed at USDA in an accompanying bill report on Wednesday.

Cash cattle trade on the Southern Plains this week has been light to moderate around the $95 level, steady with week-ago. Colorado has also seen some light action at $95, with Nebraska seeing some light sales at $96. But while steady action is an improvement after several weeks of declines, futures are at a premium to the cash market, limiting any friendly response. Hog weights in the Iowa/southern Minnesota/South Dakota market averaged 283 lbs. in the week ending July 4, down 1.5 lbs. from the week prior but up 2.8 lbs. from last year. Cash hog bids set back 23 cents on Wednesday.

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