Karl's Feed
Jul 3, 2014

Illinois high court rules constitution protects health benefits

CHICAGO, July 3 (Reuters) – The Illinois Supreme Court
decided Thursday that healthcare for retired state workers is a
constitutionally protected pension benefit, a ruling with
implications for pension reform legislation passed by the state
legislature earlier this year.

The 6-to-1 decision allows the continuation of class-action
challenges to a 2012 Illinois law that gave the state the right
to impose healthcare insurance premiums on its retired workers.
The challenge to the state effort to change healthcare benefits
centered on a constitutional provision that membership in any
public sector pension or retirement system “shall be an
enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which
shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Jun 27, 2014

U.S. soy supply seen at 37-year low, plantings hit record

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Relentless demand from exporters and processors likely thinned U.S. soybean stocks by June 1 to the lowest since the 1970s, but farmers have responded by planting their largest-ever soy crop this season, analysts expect government data to show on Monday.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s (USDA) annual acreage and quarterly grain stocks reports, scheduled for release at 11:00 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT), will offer clues into how the government will update its supply and demand forecasts in mid-July.

Jun 23, 2014

Despite concessions to U.S. farmers, Big Data giants still in control

By Karl Plume

(Reuters) – In the tussle between U.S. farmers and Big Data purveyors, farmers are winning some control over details about crop and growing conditions on their land, but most data sellers are retaining ultimate say over how they can use the information that could be worth billions of dollars.

Although companies like Deere & Co and Monsanto Co’s Climate Corp are giving some ground by putting legal teeth behind promises made during sales pitches, they are refusing to back away from claims they have an absolute right to all data collected as combines, tractors and other equipment work fields across the country.

Jun 6, 2014

Corn, wheat bounce from 3-month lows on short-covering

CHICAGO, June 6 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures jumped 1.5
percent on Friday in the strongest gains in a month on technical
buying and short-covering after sinking to a three-month low the
previous day. Still, they remained on pace for a fourth straight
weekly decline.

Hard red winter wheat futures surged more than 2 percent on
concerns about adverse weather in some key production areas,
including Russia’s Volga Valley and the southern U.S. Plains.
The rally helped to lift soft red winter wheat from three-month
lows.

Jun 5, 2014

DuPont signs up U.S. Midwest colleges for big data services for farms

June 5 (Reuters) – DuPont Pioneer has signed up eight
U.S. Midwest universities to work on research into nitrogen use
on farms, the latest in a flurry of deals by agriculture firms
looking to reap the benefits of the data collection from farm
machines.

The seed and chemicals company will provide some funding for
the research and equipment and technology for the schools,
according to the three-year agreement announced on Thursday.

Jun 5, 2014

Corn, soybeans tumble on good crop weather, fund selling

CHICAGO, June 5 (Reuters) – U.S. corn futures dropped for a
fourth straight day on Thursday, hitting the lowest point since
February, as favorable Midwest crop weather bolstered
expectations for a bumper harvest this autumn and triggered fund
selling.
Soybean prices fell 1 percent to the lowest in more than two
weeks, led by deferred-month contracts after the U.S. Department
of Agriculture reported lower-than-expected new-crop export
sales last week.
Wheat fell for the 19th time in 21 sessions and hit a
three-month low on poor export demand and a generally favorable
global crop outlook ahead of the northern hemisphere winter crop
harvest.
Traders were rolling positions out of July contracts to
deferred months, ahead of position rolling by a large fund
expected to begin on Friday.
“We’re starting to see some profit taking and some position
moving ahead of the roll, and we’re seeing some people exit the
market,” said Karl Setzer, analyst with MaxYield Cooperative.
“The market’s trying to find a weather issue, not just in
the United States but anywhere around the world, and it’s just
not there,” he said.
The large long position held by commodity funds in both corn
and soybeans made them susceptible to fund selling.
Chicago Board of Trade July corn fell 5-1/2 cents, or
1.2 percent, to $4.50-3/4 a bushel by 11:00 a.m. CDT (1600 GMT),
the contract’s lowest since Feb. 14.
CBOT July soybeans shed 16-1/4 cents, or 1.1 percent,
to $14.66-1/4 a bushel. Selling accelerated as the contract
broke below its 50-day moving average around $14.73-1/2.
USDA on Thursday reported U.S. old-crop corn export sales
last week at the high end of trade expectations at 550,700
tonnes, but new-crop sales were below forecasts at 19,600
tonnes.
Old-crop soybean export sales totalled 41,300 tonnes, within
trade expectations. But new-crop sales of 230,500 tonnes were
well below forecasts for 500,000 to 750,000 tonnes.
CBOT July wheat fell 6-1/2 cents, or 1.1 percent, to a
three-month low of $6.08 a bushel.
Analytics firm Informa Economics updated its U.S. winter
wheat production estimates at midmorning, pegging production at
1.396 billion bushels – down 100 million from its previous
estimate – but the data garnered little reaction in the futures
market.
U.S. wheat is facing stiff competition from rival exporters
such as Russia and Ukraine, which have been winning much of the
tender business.
“Any strength in U.S. wheat prices would largely serve to
make exports from the country uncompetitive. Therefore, we
expect prices to be capped unless there is a supply shock
elsewhere in the world,” Societe Generale said in a report.

RIC Name Last Pct Chg Net Chg Close
1Cc1 CORN JUL4 451.00 -1.15 -5.25 456.25
1Sc1 SOYBEANS JUL4 1466.50 -1.08 -16 1482.5
1SMc1 SOY MEAL JUL4 493.70 -0.56 -2.8 496.5
1BOc1 SOYBEAN OIL JUL4 38.63 -1.58 -0.62 39.25
1Wc1 WHEAT SRW JUL4 608.25 -1.02 -6.25 614.5
1RRc1 ROUGH RICE JUL4 14.115 -0.77 -0.11 14.225
BL2c1 M.WHEAT EUR NOV4 190.75 -0.26 -0.5 191.25
CLc1 LIGHT CRUDE JUL4 102.37 -0.26 -0.27 102.64
.DJI DJ INDU AVERAGE 16820.77 0.5 83.24 16737.53
XAU= GOLD 1254.19 #N/A 11.39 1242.8
.BADI BALTIC EXCH DRY 977 1.88 18 959
.DXY US DOLLAR INDEX 80.542 -0.15 -0.121 80.663

Jun 2, 2014

Blackhawks fall narrowly short in brave Cup defense

By Karl Plume

(Reuters) – The Chicago Blackhawks saw their hopes of a second consecutive Stanley Cup triumph dashed in heartbreaking fashion with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings in a deciding Game Seven of their Western Conference Finals on Sunday.

Chicago won the opener of a thrilling series between the last two Stanley Cup champions but lost the next three, leaving no room for error against a Kings team armed with an opportunistic offense and bruising defense.

May 30, 2014

Illinois budget with income tax revenue hole passes

, May 30 (Reuters) – The Illinois Senate
gave final approval to the state’s $35.7 billion fiscal 2015
budget on Friday, sending the governor a spending plan that
plugs a big tax revenue hole with one-time measures.

Temporary income-tax rate hikes, passed in 2011 in the midst
of one of the state’s budget pinches, are set to partially
expire on Jan. 1, causing an estimated $2 billion revenue
decline in the fiscal year that begins on July 1. Yet the budget
bills, which were passed by the Democratic-controlled House on
Tuesday, keep most spending flat despite the projected revenue
decline.

May 27, 2014

Brazilian soybeans reach U.S. East Coast, more cargoes en route

May 27 (Reuters) – Two bulk shipments of Brazilian soybeans
arrived at the U.S. ports of Wilmington, North Carolina, and
Norfolk, Virginia, over the weekend, the first large South
American shipments to hit the U.S. East Coast this season,
Reuters shipping data showed.

They were the latest shipments since two cargoes arrived at
the U.S. Gulf Coast early last month, starting the country’s
biggest wave of soy imports in history, with about 2 million
tonnes expected to reach U.S. shores over the next two months.

May 23, 2014

Soybeans slide, corn firms in pre-holiday consolidation

CHICAGO, May 23 (Reuters) – U.S. soybean futures eased on
Friday as investors unwound spreads and squared positions ahead
of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but the market remained
poised for its strongest weekly advance in five weeks.

Wheat fell for the fourth straight day and hit a 10-1/2 week
low on weak demand and abundant global supplies. Corn firmed on
bargain buying and as traders unwound long soybean and short
corn spreads.