First Thing Today Audio | July 23, 2021

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Corn futures are 1 to 2 cents lower, extending the market’s recent sideways trajectory. Soybeans are down 7 to 8 cents after the November contract yesterday dropped to its lowest level in nearly two weeks. Whether yesterday’s low holds will be telling. Winter and spring wheat futures are generally 1 to 3 cents higher. The greenback and crude oil futures are posting light gains. is up slightly.

Markets dived yesterday after midday weather updates showed better rain chances for the Midwest, Delta and Tennessee River Basin. But the evening GFS model run suggests the rain intensity of the midday model run was overdone, says World Weather Inc., adding that scattered showers and thunderstorms are still expected for these areas.

Temperatures cooled for Canada’s Prairies this week, easing moisture stress. However, rain remained largely absent, with the exception of Alberta.

Dryness in northern and central areas of Argentina’s farm belt are causing the country’s 2021-22 wheat crop to deteriorate, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said yesterday. But it added that conditions were optimal for southern areas of the farm belt that are heavily planted to wheat.

China imported record volumes of soybeans the first half of the year, but its purchases are expected to slow the second half of the year given a collapse in hog sector profitability and a big jump in wheat and rice use in feed, according to some analysts and Chinese industry sources cited by Reuters.

America’s freight railroads are struggling to bring back workers, contributing to a slowdown in the movement of chemicals, fertilizer and other products that threatens to disrupt factory operations and hinder a rebound from the pandemic, according to shippers and trade groups cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Federal Reserve officials are set to accelerate deliberations at their meeting next week over how to scale back their easy-money policies amid a stronger U.S. economic recovery than they anticipated six months ago. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said their discussions are focusing on two important questions: When to start paring their monthly purchases of securities, and how quickly to reduce, or taper, them.

Top Senate Republicans said the GOP may line up against any effort to raise the government’s borrowing limit this year, adding to the uncertainty surrounding how Congress will address the issue. Congress suspended the debt ceiling for two years in July 2019 as part of a broader agreement on overall government spending levels.

Sales of plug-in vehicles more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared with last year. While still a sliver of the overall market, that far outpaced the rise for total vehicle sales.

Today, USDA will provide updates on cattle supplies via its monthly Cattle on Feed and biannual Cattle Inventory Reports at 2:00 p.m. CT. Cash cattle prices have softened a bit this week, narrowing August futures’ discount to the cash market.

The pork cutout value edged 22 cents higher yesterday, but movement was again light amid a seasonal slowdown in processing. Cash hog bids dropped $1.47 on a national average basis on Thursday.



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