First Thing Today: StatsCan Expected to Report Record-large Canola Crop

Posted on 12/06/2017 6:15 AM

Good morning!

Followthrough buying lifts beans... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, soybean futures are up 2 to 3 cents amid some followthrough buying. Corn futures are also enjoying gains, with most contracts up 1 to 2 cents. Winter wheat futures are mixed, while spring wheat is steady to 1 cent higher in most contracts. The U.S. dollar index is marginally higher, while crude oil futures are posting solid losses.

StatsCan expected report biggest canola crop on record... Statistics Canada will release its final crop production estimates of the year today. Traders and analysts surveyed by Reuters expect StatsCan to peg the all wheat crop at 28.0 MMT, which would be up slightly from its September estimate but down 12% from last year's crop of 31.729 MMT. Those surveyed expected Canada's canola crop to come in at 20.2 MMT, up 492,100 MT from September and the highest figure on record. Analysts note that there is a lot of uncertainty about the report due to this year's late harvest.

Ag trade surplus down sharply from year-ago at start of FY 2018... The U.S. exported $13.150 billion worth of ag goods in October, while it imported 10.436 billion worth of such products, resulting in an ag trade surplus of $2.714 billion for the month, according to the Economic Research Service's (ERS) ag trade update released yesterday. To kick off fiscal year (FY) 2018, the trade balance is down $2.075 billion from the start of FY 2017.

Russian ag ministry official says another year of record-setting production unlikely in 2018... The 2018 grain crop is unlikely to repeat this year's record due to high grain stocks, Pyotr Chekmarev, head of the ag ministry crop growing department, told reporters. He also noted that while the weather has been pretty good so far, winter grain sowings could use some snow in some areas. Meanwhile, Russian Ag Minister Alexander Tkachev said that the ministry still expects Russia to export 45 MMT of grain in 2017-18, including 35 MMT of wheat.

Coceral raises soft wheat crop peg for the EU... The grain lobby Coceral has raised its estimate of the European Union's 2017 soft wheat crop by 900,000 MT from its October estimate, pegging the crop at 142 MMT. The grain lobby also raised its barley and corn crop estimates for the bloc to 58.4 MMT and 61.4 MMT, respectively. But Coceral lowered its rapeseed crop estimate marginally to 21.9 MMT.

Chinese official headed to the U.S. to smooth relations... Concerned about relations with the U.S., Beijing has dispatched Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang for a visit to Washington, D.C. starting today, according to Bill Bishop at Sinocism. He says China is concerned enough about the trajectory of the relationship, especially over North Korea and trade. The main goal of Zheng, who is expected to replace Cui Tiankai as Beijing's ambassador to the U.S. is "to prevent an escalation of tensions over North Korea, specifically a U.S. attack on the DPRK and sanctions on Chinese entities such as a major financial institution or PetroChina if Beijing does not cut off oil supplies to North Korea, as the Trump Administration is demanding," Bishop reports. He adds that the "recent talk by the National Security Advisor and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) about the increasing risk of war concerns Beijing, and Beijing has no doubt heard the rumor going around that the U.S. told South Korea on Nov. 29 after the latest test that it may strike North Korea unilaterally."

Senator Cruz scores Thursday meeting with Trump, cabinet officials on RFS... A meeting with President Donald Trump, several cabinet members and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Thursday on biofuels will not involve Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). But the Iowa lawmaker says he is not worried so long as Trump "keeps doing what he told the voters of Iowa, as well as me and Sen. [Joni] Ernst, which is supporting ethanol," Grassley told reporters Tuesday. He said such meetings are not unusual and noted the session is probably not as key as it could have been now that EPA has announced its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) levels. As for the hold that Cruz placed on the nomination of Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey to be a USDA undersecretary, Grassley said he did not think Trump would agree to weaken the RFS in exchange for Cruz to drop that hold.

CME lowers maintenance margins for corn, soybeans and wheat... CME Group lowered its maintenance margin for corn, soybeans and wheat as follows:

  • Corn: Down $100 to $650 per contract.
  • Soybeans: Down $250 to $1,650 per contract.
  • Wheat: Down $150 to $950 per contract.

The exchange added that all initial margin rates are 110% of these levels. These changes take effect today.

Trump to announce U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel... Trump is expected to announce today that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a decision that Arab and European leaders warn could disrupt the Mideast peace process and unleash violence across the region. West Jerusalem is the seat of Israel's government, but the Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The White House is preparing for possible unrest and is making plans to protect Americans abroad.

Russia to lift ban on EU pork... Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary watchdog announced it will lift its ban on imports of pork from the EU today. This ban was enacted due to concern about African Swine Fever outbreaks. This comes after the World Trade Organization dismissed Russia's appeal against the WTO's decision invalidating its ban on pork and pig breeding productions from the bloc.

Uncertain cash cattle prospects... So far this week, around a 1,100 head of cattle have changed hands around $122 to $123 in the Iowa/Minnesota market, up a few bucks from last week's action in the state, with a few hundred head changing hands in Kansas and Nebraska at lower prices of $117 to $118. Early week action was likely clean-up sales from last week and provides little direction for active trade. Today's online Fed Cattle Exchange auction could provide more clues.

Strong pork movement... An impressive 448 loads of pork changed hands on Tuesday on a 52-cent rise in the pork cutout value. That represents a marked increase from recent unimpressive tallies and could signal some holiday buying is underway. All cuts except bellies climbed. This will add to add to high and rising packer profit margins.

Overnight demand news... Jordan made no purchase in its tender to buy 100,000 MT of feed wheat.

Today's reports:


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