Global Buyers Hungry for US Corn -- Market Talk
12:50 ET - Corn futures bounce on a supply-and-demand outlook that beat expectations. The USDA says that exporters will sell 2.225B bushels of corn this year, 175M bushels above its previous estimate. That's a result of "US price competitiveness, record-high outstanding sales, and reduced exports for Argentina," the agency says. That demand will help dent the domestic corn glut, cutting this year's projected stocks well more than expected. The USDA's latest supply-and-demand outlook for corn is "outrageously bullish," says Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man. CBOT March corn futures rise 1.3% to $3.84 a bushel. (firstname.lastname@example.org; @b_parkyn)
Traders See Argentine Drought as Opportunity for U.S. Farmers
South America's farmers are due to produce a smaller harvest this year as a drought in Argentina damages the country's crops.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday said Argentina will produce 47 million metric tons of soybeans in its upcoming harvest, down from its previous estimate and last year's haul of 57.8 million. The agency put corn output at 36 million tons, also down from a month earlier and below 41 million last year. Both projections were smaller than expected.
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China May Target US Farm Exports -- Market Talk
0720 GMT - China may retaliate against President Trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminium by targeting US agricultural exports after the National People's Congress finishes in late March, says Betty Wang, an economist at ANZ. "We are concerned about the escalation in Sino-US trade tensions, which remain a potential key downside risk to China's trade outlook in the near term," she says. Soybeans and cotton are among the largest US exports to China by value. Though China isn't the biggest steel exporter to the US, the US market remains China's largest aluminium export destination, she says. (email@example.com)
After TPP, Canada Eyes Trade Pact With Mercusor -- Market Talk
1427 ET - Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne heads to Paraguay Friday to launch a formal free-trade talks with the Latin American trading bloc known as Mercusor. The bloc is comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In conference call with reporters, Champagne said the Mercusor market would a new market of about $300 million for Canadian goods and services. He acknowledged Canada has had trouble getting access to this market due to numerous nontariff barriers. "In these negotiations, we want to make sure we get an ambitious agreement on the progressive side, but one that's meaningful on goods and services," he said. Canada and Brazil have a history of trade skirmishes, largely over aerospace and beef -- most recently focusing on Montreal's Bombardier and allegations the company benefited unfairly from government financing. (firstname.lastname@example.org, @paulvieira)
Kroger Tumbles Following Outlook -- Market Talk
11:26 ET - Kroger shares crumble again after quarterly results, continuing a recent pattern that's led to big swings for the nation's largest grocer by sales. Analysts' full-year EPS estimates had crept up about 10% over the past three months to around $2.15, which Kroger on Thursday offered as the top end for its own updated guidance. That's helped send shares skidding more than 12% in heavy morning trade, with more than three times the usual daily number of shares changing hands in the first two hours of the session. (email@example.com; @dougcameron)
Lower Meat Prices Pressure Livestock Markets
Hog futures were mixed on Thursday as pork prices fell.
Meatpackers sold wholesale pork for sharply lower prices on Wednesday and Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prices for pork bellies, which are used to make bacon, fell around $10 on both days to a low of $96.75 per 100 pounds. That dragged broader pork prices lower too.