Morning Commentary

May corn down 4 ¼ at $3.785

May beans down 15 ¼ at $10.3425

The DOW is down

USD is weaker

Crude oil down $.03 at $62.31

Good morning,

Corn prices fell under a little pressure during the second half of last week and are backpedaling a bit this morning on talk of cooler temps and rain across Argentina. From a technical perspective, it was actually the first lower weekly close since early in 2018.  It feels like the market might prefer to trade in a sideways to slightly lower channel for a short period of time until it learns more about second crop corn in Brazil, yields in Argentina and new-crop planting here in the U.S.

Soybean bears are talking about widespread rains falling across some important Argentine production areas this past weekend. The Argentine crop however is still being highly debated, with production estimates currently ranging from 40 to 47 MMTs. Many sources saying while moisture has improved, it has come too little too late. . Prices rallied almost +20 cents last week, which from a technical perspective painted a much better pattern on the charts. Heavy support in the old-crop JUL18 contract seems to be between $10.25 and $10.40 per bushel.The new-crop NOV18 contract will be trying to find more serious support down between $10.15 and $10.25 per bushel.

By 2020 Ford plans to have 75% of its lineup in the hybrid category as they introduce four new trucks and SUVs. In an attempt to keep customers engaged, Ford believes they will also drive sales as well as remain on top of the smart vehicle space.

Brazilian Agriculture Ministry has put a hold on the production and certification of poultry exports to the EU from food processor BRF SA. I’m told products shipped prior to March 16th will be allowed to stay in the supply line and be sold without any restrictions. The Ag Ministry will meet in Brussels to review current standards. (Source: Reuters)

South Korea has reached an agreement with the USDA to keep poultry, eggs and other products flowing should any single state in our country become affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza in the future. Doing so will prevent a repeat from 2015, which shut down all exports to the country. In 2014, the last year without trade restrictions, South Korea purchased $122 million worth of products


Morning Commentary

May corn down 1 ½ at $3.8525

May beans up 4 ¾ at $10.455

The DOW is down

USD is weaker

Crude oil up $.14 at $61.33

Good morning,

Corn bulls are happy to see continued strength in exports. Yesterday’s massive weekly export sales were reported at 2.5 MMTs which is the largest in over two decades. The data showed most of the bushels going to the usual buyers like Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, South Korea. The other good news was the fact the Rosario Grain Exchange lowered their Argentina corn production estimate -3 MMTs, from 35.0 MMTs last month down to 32.0 MMTs. Keep in mind, the USDA is currently forecasting the Argentine crop at 36 MMTs.  The trend for May corn is positive.  Closing under 382.25 would alert for corrective action.  Closing above 395.25 would rekindle bull action.  Given a sell signal in May corn Thursday, system types will find buy stops around 390.25.  Corn futures appear headed for the first lower weekly close since Feb 20th.

Soybean bears seem to be making a little more noise about a burdensome balance sheet. The production problems in Argentina have been well advertised, but the trade seems uncertain about the full extent of damage. The Rosario Grain Exchange made a huge cut yesterday to their Argentina soybean production estimate from 46.5 down to 40 MMTs. But earlier in the week I was hearing talk from good sources inside Argentina that yield loss wasn’t going to be as severe as many have been forecasting.  The trend for May beans is negative.  Look for a near term test of 1018.5 support.  A close over 1062.75 is needed to alter the outlook.  Short May beans, system traders will find buy stops above 1049.  Following loses of 31.75 cents the first week of March, spot bean futures (basis Thursday’s settlement) are little changed on the week.

Chinese grain trader Cofco International is said to be seeking damages of more than $500 million from the former owners of Netherlands-based subsidiary Nidera, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The Dutch business daily Het Financieele Dagblad cited evidence given at a hearing on March 14 in a summary judgment case at the Rotterdam District Court. (Source: Reuters)

Perdue told the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that he would strongly oppose any effort to diminish demand for renewable fuels, including fighting any efforts to cap the price of RIN. Commerce Secretary Willbur Ross also vowed to support domestic biofuels. (Politico)


Morning Commentary

May corn up 2 at $3.9075

May beans up 9 ¾ at $10.42

The DOW is up

USD is stronger

Crude oil up $.42 at $61.38

Good morning,

Corn prices are hitting stiffer technical resistance as the recent bull run is now 3-months old. The drought in Argentina has been very well advertised and the bulls are starting to look for fresh new headlines. There’s also some talk that improved rainfall in the Argentine forecast could stem a bit of the losses. Hence, insiders are wondering if the Argentine crop could really fall to 30 MMTs. Keep in mind the USDA is currently estimating the Argentine crop at 36 MMTs, which is down from their February estimate of 39 MMTs and down even further from their January estimate of 42 MMTs.

Soybean prices are recovering a bit this morning after seeing the bulls backpedal the past couple of days in regard to the more extreme estimates for Argentine soybean production. There’s starting to be more talk circulating amongst commercial sources in Argentina that perhaps the soybean crop isn’t as bad as some have been saying.

The folks at Allendale recently released their private producer survey. For corn they are projecting the U.S. producer will plant 88.5 million acres, which is below most all estimates. They are projecting a total corn crop of 14.145 billion bushels vs. the USDA who’s currently at 14.6 billion bushels. As for soybeans, they are forecasting a new record 92.1 million acres, which is actually above most estimates. They are forecasting  total U.S. soybean production at 4.429 vs. the USDA who’s currently at 4.39 billion bushel

Weekly Ethanol Production was reported to be at 1.025 million barrels per day versus 1.057 million barrels per day last week, essentially down -3% from a week ago. Weekly ethanol stocks were reported at 24,281,000 barrels vs. 23,144,000 barrels last week, essentially up almost +5% from a week ago and just over +6% compared to last year’s level. 


Morning Commentary

May corn unchanged at $3.9175

May beans up 2 ½ at $10.5125

The DOW is up

USD is stronger

Crude oil up $.48 at $61.19

Good morning,

Corn prices are steady this morning and bulls are happy to see the market post highs yesterday not seen since early-August of last year. Producers are finally getting a bit of a reprieve as new-crop DEC18 prices push north of $4.10 per bushel and less than 20 cents from the all-time contract high. Technically, the corn market is still battling the key weekly highs at $3.94 ½ ahead of the March expiration. A close over that level would set up a further bull swing with targets at $4.16. Look for buying against the $3.88 to $3.86 area. Risk a close under the $3.80 level. December is also challenging last week’s high at the $4.10 area. A close over that level would trigger another bull swing here as well. Look for support at the $4.06 level.

Soybean prices remain in a range near their recent highs as traders wait to see the extent of weather damage in Argentina and how much Argentine demand Brazil will be able to pick up and more importantly be able to service? The trade also seems to be waiting to see how or if the Chinese will take retaliatory action over U.S. taxes on steel and aluminum imports. With soy prices having rallied aggressively to the upside as of late, none of the bulls want to get out over the tips of their skis, so they are comfortable circling the wagons here for a moment and taking a slightly more defensive approach. New-crop NOV18 prices have essentially traded between $10.25 and $10.50 per bushel since late-February. The old-crop JUL18 contract has traded between $10.40 and $10.90 per bushel since February 21st.

On Monday, U.S. farmers suing Syngenta Ag over its decision to commercialize a genetically modified GMO strain of corn before China approved importing it sought court approval for a record $1.51 billion settlement. The deal covers U.S. corn producers, grain handling facilities and ethanol plants nationwide that sold corn priced after Sept. 15, 2013. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they believe this deal would be the largest agricultural class action settlement in U.S. history. In addition to the nationwide class of farmers, several state class suits went to trial. One resulted in a $217.7 million for more than 7,000 Kansas farmers in June. (Source: Reuters)


Morning Commentary

May corn down 2 ¼ at $3.8825

May beans down 2 ½ at $10.3675

The DOW is up

USD is stronger

Crude oil down $.57 a $61.47

Good morning,

Corn bulls are wanting to see the market hold it’s recent gains. Prices are slightly lower this morning but still up over +5% in the past 30-days and up over +8% in the past 90-days.The corn market is correcting after testing the weekly highs at $3.94 ½. A close over that would be significant and project a rally to targets at $4.16. Right now, look for more of a correction but expect $3.86 to offer support. Look to buy the break there. Risk a close under the $3.80 level.

Soybean prices are slightly lower this morning after taking a big step back late last week. In fact, the market is now up less than corn or wheat on a year-to-date basis. Prices have actually fallen back to the highs that were posted back in early-December of last year. If you remember, the MAY18 contract traded to $10.37 in early-December, then tumbled all the way down to nearly $9.55 by mid-January before posting it’s most recent run. The market has now trimmed nearly -50 cents from it’s highs in the past five trading sessions. The index fund long, at over 155,000 contracts, is the second largest since spring 2012.  As a result, the combined speculative long is 30% of total open interest.  From a technical standpoint, our 1043 objective was met Friday.  In closing below 1043, the trend for May beans has shifted negative.  Look for a near term test of 1018.5 support.  A close over 1064.75 is needed to alter the outlook.  Short May beans, system traders will find buy stops around 1046. 

Large poultry companies like Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride exert so much control over their contract farmers’ operations that these growers don’t appear to meet the regulatory definition of a small business required to be financed by the Small Business Administration, according to a report by the agency’s Office of Inspector General. Between fiscal 2012 and 2016, SBA guaranteed about $1.8 billion in loans to poultry farmers – accounting for more than three-quarters of its agricultural portfolio. (Source: Politico)

The Iowa Senate gave final passage to a controversial bill requiring Iowa grocers in a supplemental food program to offer conventional eggs if they sell eggs from chickens housed in a cage-free, free-range or enriched colony cage environment. House File 2408 was approved 32-17, sending it to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds for her consideration. The legislation would apply to grocers participating as a vendors in the special supplemental food program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in cooperation with state officials, and the bill would allow state officials to seek a federal waiver if necessary. Supporters of the bill have pointed out that Iowa is the nation’s leading egg producer, noting the egg industry provides thousands of jobs and consumes millions of bushels of Iowa corn and soybeans. But critics have charged the legislation is evidence that large-scale, corporate-style agriculture is dictating policy decisions at the Iowa Capitol. (Source: Des Moines Register)


Morning Commentary

May corn down 1 ¾ at $3.9175

May beans down 13 ½ at $10.505

The DOW is up

USD is stronger

Crude oil up $.54 at $60.66

Good morning,

The corn market “won” the crop report day.  Futures finished with six cent gains after the USDA offered a rare “bull sweep” in the stats for corn.  Trade was generally steady/better heading into the report, and slowly ratcheted higher after the release.  Managed Money were viewed net buyers of about 30,000 corn, which take them close to 200,000 net long, when including both futures and options.  Basis had a weaker tone in many areas as farmers sold into the rally. Yesterday’s rally in the corn market has May challenging last year’s weekly high at $3.94 ½. Expect some problems there but this move is now leaving the $3.86 level as support. Expect buying on a break. A close over those weekly highs would suggest a further rally into the $4.00 to $4.10 area. December also accelerated into new highs for the move as we complete counts and targets in the $4.08 to $4.10 area. We should see a correction from here but look for the $4.05 level to offer support on a break.

So about that report.  The trade was expecting the USDA to adjust South American production lower, and that played out very close to forecasts.  The surprise was on the domestic side, where the USDA reduced domestic carryout by a whopping 225 million bushels from Feb.  The 2.127 billion bushel US ending stocks forecast compared to pre-report estimates near 2.320 billion and the prior year at 2.293 bil.  The USDA raised every demand category at their disposal; feed/residual up 50 mil bu, ethanol up 50 mil bu, and exports up 175 million bushel.  The domestic upgrades were probably needed (particularly ethanol), but we hope they are not overshooting exports.

The world numbers were fairly unsurprising, but will likely leave hardcore bulls clamoring for additional downgrades later.  The USDA lowered Argentina production 3 mmt to 36 mmt and Brazil 0.5 mmt to 94.5 mmt.  By way of comparison, after the report, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange offered up a 34 mmt Argy corn crop estimate, which was down 3.5 mmt from their prior estimate.  Early morning, Brazil’s gov’t (CONAB) trimmed full year corn estimates back to 87.3 mmt vs. 88 prior and almost 98 mmt last year.  The only surprise was the CONAB downtick was centered more in the first crop than the second.  All told, the USDA trimmed world corn ending stocks projections nearly 4 mmt to 199 mmt.  This was exactly in-line with the pre-report analyst estimate, but compares to 231.9 mmt the prior year, and would be the lowest world carryout seen since the 14/15 campaign.  

The White House has made preliminary plans for a meeting on Monday between rivals in the corn and oil industries to discuss potential changes to the nation’s biofuels policy, two sources familiar with the planning told Reuters. Unlike previous meetings on the issue, President Donald Trump will not be in attendance, the sources said on Thursday, though agency leaders and executives from the oil and corn industry will participate and key lawmakers may also attend. The meeting is the latest in a series of talks between Big Corn and Big Oil arranged by the White House since late last year amid rising concern over the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard. Last week, Trump supported a two-step approach to reducing credit costs. That had the backing of refiners but faced resistance from the corn industry, which supports the current form of the law. (Source: Reuters)

The trend for May beans is positive.  A close over 1082.5 is needed to fuel a drive to $11.00+.  In the near term, be on guard for a choppy retrenchment to $10.43.  Short May beans, system traders will find buy stops above $10.69.25.   Computer models maintain better Argentina rains March 16-21, I think the market will edge to the low-$10.40 area.  The chart pattern still suggests an eventual push to new highs.  Keep in mind, the consumer is short and is an eager buyer.


Morning Commentary

May corn unchanged at $3.8725

May beans down 1 ¾ at $10.635

The DOW is up

USD is weaker

Crude oil down $.02 at $61.13


Good morning,

Well, it can’t go up every day.  The corn market slipped a penny in quiet, listless action.  Clearly, participants are in “hurry up and wait” mode ahead of today’s monthly USDA report.  Futures traded in a two cent range amid declining volume.  The primary question going in is how “real” the USDA will get on South American production downgrades.  Private estimates out of Argentina are centering around a low-to-mid-30’s crop versus the last USDA estimate at 39 mmt.  It may be too early for the USDA to start trimming Brazil safrinha expectations, but most feel they are too “optimistic” on the full year crop at 95 mmt?  The focus in the end will be more on world carryout, rather than domestic, with average trade guesses centering around a sub 200 mmt world corn carryout for the first time in four years.  There will be no new US production estimates, but small demand tweaks (ethanol up?) are possible.

The weekly EIA report was fairly benign for ethanol, finding slightly higher production and inventory wk/wk.  Production added 1.2% this week to 1.057 mil bbl/day, which would consume an estimated 5.7 billion bushels of corn over a marketing year.  Futures shook off the bear EIA report and relatively disappointing (confusing?) monthly export data for January.  Ethanol has done an admirable job this week catching back up with the recent run in corn.  Crush spreads have added about 3 cpg back into the mix

Yesterday’s break has the bean market correcting the recent $1.00 upswing as we battle the key trade at $10.80. Look for a further slide into the $10.45 area. Expect more liquidation in the $10.75 to $10.80 area for now. We need a close over the $10.82 ½ high to resume the rally.

Refinery and biofuel interests will return to the White House today to continue negotiations over reforming the US biofuel mandate, according to a refinery source close to the talks. The meeting initially appeared to be overtaken by the issue of President Donald Trump’s proposed steel and aluminum tariffs, but it was back on as of Wednesday, the source said. A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It will be Trump’s fourth meeting on proposals to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard and the third in just two weeks. After the last White House meeting Thursday, senators on both sides of the issue said they would keep working toward a solution that lowers RFS compliance costs for refiners while expanding markets for ethanol. But ethanol supporters, including key Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican-Iowa, said they would not accept a bargain that trades higher ethanol blends for a price cap on RINs. (Source: Platts)

This week, the R-CALF USA Board of Directors voted unanimously to call upon President Trump to impose new tariffs on cattle, beef, sheep and lamb imported from countries that maintain substantial trade surpluses with the United States. According to R-CALF USA Board President Bryan Hanson, this action is necessary to preserve national food security interests that are threatened by a growing tide of underpriced and often undifferentiated imports. Hanson explained that just as in the steel industry, new tariffs on imported cattle, beef, sheep and lamb will help rebalance trade flows in the livestock industry, which will stop the alarming decline in the number of livestock operations and feedlots in the United States. “Since the implementation of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the largest segment of American agriculture, the U.S. cattle industry, has shrunk at an alarming rate: 20 percent of all U.S. cattle operations have exited the industry, the nation’s cow herd shriveled to the smallest size in over 70 years, and in 2014 and 2015 U.S. beef production fell to the lowest level in over two decades,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. (Source: R-CALF USA)


Morning Comments

May corn down ½ at $3.8775

May beans down 3 ¾ at $10.71

The DOW is down

USD is weaker

Crude oil down $.26 at $62.34


Good morning,


Corn prices continue to trade near the upper end of their recent ranges, but are pausing nearby in anticipation of tomorrow’s USDA report. Also keep in mind, the folks at CONAB will be out tomorrow morning with their updated Brazilian crop production estimate.

 Technically, the corn market had a limited trade as well with May taking aim on the $3.90 level. Expect some problems there. We should see a s/t correction after meeting counts last week. Look for a break back into the $3.80 to $3.82 area. Expect buying there. This has December closing in on counts at $4.08. We should see some liquidation from there to the $4.10 area. Support shows back near the $4.00 area.

U.S. Ethanol Industry Produced a Record Amount of high-octane, low-carbon renewable fuel in 2017. According to EIA, the industry churned out 15.84 billion gallons of ethanol, up 3% from the 2016 total and a four-fold increase over the 3.91 billion gallons produced in 2005 when the original Renewable Fuel Standard was adopted. The data also indicated record domestic ethanol blending, with 14.4 billion gallons blended into 142.9 billion gallons of finished gasoline, equating to a record average blend rate of 10.08%.

Yesterday’s narrow range has the bean market still testing the weekly trade at $10.80 but needs a close over the $10.82 ½ high to extend. Expect more liquidation here. Look for a short term correction with support back in the $10.50 to $10.55 area.

McDonald’s USA has announced that fresh beef is now available for all Quarter Pounder and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers across some 3,500 restaurants in select markets, out of about 14,000 restaurants the company operates or franchises in the United States. The company said the fresh beef strategy is now in place in Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Nashville, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Memphis and Orlando. The program is on track to be completed at participating restaurants in the contiguous United States by early May. The fresh beef quarter-pound burgers are cooked when ordered, not ahead of time. It is one of the company’s strategies on what it calls its “food journey to build a better McDonald’s.” (Source: MeatingPlace)

Continental Grain Co. has filed with regulators about a previously undisclosed position in potential takeover target Bunge Ltd. and plans to hold discussions with the U.S. agricultural-commodity trader about a possible sale, according to people familiar with the matter. Continental, which owns more than 1 percent of Bunge, believes the company could be worth at least $90 a share in a takeout and is getting impatient with management for not delivering as potential buyers circle, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. New York-based Continental isn’t interested in being involved in any potential takeover of the company, one of the people said, but it may have interest in acquiring certain assets that could be shaken loose to satisfy antitrust concerns. Archer-Daniels-Midlands Co. is in talks to acquire Bunge, which has a market valuation of about $11 billion, people familiar with the matter said last month. (Source: Bloomberg)



Good Morning    

Current Markets as of         8:10        Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Month                        High                               Low                 Change                       Last

May 18 Corn              $3.87 ¼                      $3.85 ½          $ – ½                           $3.86 ¾                                                   

Dec 18 Corn               $4.05 ½                      $4.04               $ – ¾                           $4.05 ¼        

May 18 Beans           $10.77 ¾                    $10.72 ¾         $ – 4 ¼                        $10.73 ¼                 

Nov 18 Beans             $10.43 ¾                  $10.39 ½        $ – 1                              $10.41 ¼         


Oil    $62.80 Higher      Gold   $1,331   Higher     Dow $24,980   Higher      Wheat $5.01 Lower 

The Des Moines ethanol low rack price is $1.7525. This is $0.1675 lower than the unleaded gas low price of $1.92. 

Corn Support is $3.80 and resistance is $3.95.  Beans Support is $10.50 and resistance is $10.80. Funds bought 45 Million (9,000) contracts of corn and bought 35 Million (7,000) contracts of beans Monday.  Just over 115,000 contracts traded last night.  

Following three weeks of pump price declines, half of the country is seeing gas prices climb as much as 9 cents on the week. At $2.53, the national gas prices average is one cent more than last week with 25 states seeing gas prices increase 

Corn bulls were happy to see the JUL18 old-crop contract close at its highest level ($3.94^4) since August 15th of last year. The new-crop DEC18 contract also posted its highest close during that time period at $4.06 per bushel.

Soybean bulls continue to talk about the driest February in Argentina in the past 30-years. Last month the USDA estimated the Argentine crop at 54 MMTs, down from 56 MMTs


Weather: The U.S. Plains will remain dry as rain and snow slides across in the Midwest and Delta; models look wetter today for a previously-dry southern Brazil to continue to slow fieldwork; and ARG rain coverage looks OK this week but amounts should be minor, while confidence in extended chances remains low.



Corn – Corn was hesitant to jump too high early on, but did manage a firm close. Corn futures act like they’re on solid rock, reinforced by long term technical support, money flow, and good fundamental demand out into the summer. Calls: steady

Beans – After a little weakness early on, beans found solid support through mid-day on Monday, finishing with another day of new highs. Bean meal was steady also, but not posting new highs. Time is ticking for the Argentine crop, and production potential continues to erode. Calls: steady to -2 cents

Have a great Tuesday!   Darren, Brady and David

Gold-Eagle Cooperative Providing Quality Services and Products Innovatively, Profitably, and Professionally. 


May corn unchanged at $3.8525

May beans up ¾ at $10.7175

The DOW is down

USD is stronger

Crude oil up $.04 at $61.29

Good morning,

U.S. stocks are a bit lower this morning and have given back most all of their gains from 2018. The good news is during the past 52-weeks the S&P 500 is still up +13%, Dow up +18% and NASDAQ up +26%.

The corn market is slowing down after meeting counts at $3.86. This should force a short term correction but this move should find support at the $3.80 level. Look for buying there. This is leaving the $3.90 area as resistance on rallies. That could be our near term range. December is turning a bit choppy as we approach counts at $4.08. Look for liquidation there as well. Support shows back near the $3.98 level.

“E-15” is still the topic du jour, as traders try to glean direction from President Trump’s comments after the latest biofuel policy summit.  In brief, he appears to be pushing oil and ethanol interests toward a “grand bargain” compromise involving a “RIN price cap” for potentially-expanded access to E-15.  The devil will be in the details as to whether this is a good deal or not; namely, what price will RIN’s be capped at?  Also, what specifically will be arranged to expand offerings of the higher ethanol blends.  If it’s just the “RVP waiver” carrot dangled for years in front of ethanol, it likely won’t accomplish much, especially within the context of a low RIN price cap.  So far, the ethanol side of the deal does not seem to be too impressed and has pushed for more meetings this week.  Ethanol trade remains virtually paralyzed; within the context of the “up” week in corn, producer margins have slipped back.

Friday’s rally has the bean market spiking into targets at the weekly high at $10.80. Look for a correction from here with support back near the $10.50 level. Expect liquidation against Friday’s highs. Look for a choppy short term trade here.

Brazilian soybean exports for February are down 18% on the year to 2.86 million mt, due to a slow start of the harvest as plantings were delayed, the Brazilian ministry of development industry and foreign trade reports. Exports tend to ramp up in February at the start of the Brazilian season and typically peaks in April and May. Meal and oil exports, however, were up significantly from last year, with meal exports for February nearly doubling on the year to 1.35 million mt, while oil exports were 125,600 mt, or 50,000 mt more for the same period last year. (Source: AgriCensus) 

Improved crush margin has encouraged China’s domestic crushers to step up soy purchases, according to China National Grain and Oils Information Center. Crushers have only covered 70% of their needs for March loading and 30% for loading in April. China March soybean imports are estimated at 6.5 million metric tons. Crush margin climbed in late Feb. to the highest since Oct., according to Shanghai JC Intelligence data. The soy industry currently isn’t expecting any imminent action by the Chinese government on soybean imports after the White House announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. (Source: Bloomberg)

Canada and Brazil – not China – likely would suffer the biggest impact of any U.S. tariffs on steel, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Canadian and Brazilian steel comprised a respective 16% and 13% of U.S. steel imports as of September 2017, while China, frequently criticized politically for dumping cheap steel on trade partners, actually only the 11th largest import country last year. Meanwhile, top foreign sources of aluminum during 2013-16 included Canada (56%), Russia (8%) and the United Arab Emirates (7%). Alcoa says “vital trading partners, including Canada, should be exempt from any tariff on aluminum. (Sources: Seeking Alpha, Statista)

Cultured meat producer “Just”, believes it will have the first commercially viable lab-grown or “clean” meat ready for public consumption by year’s end. We have been hearing a lot about the topic for some time now and “Just” looks to be the first company to overcome the cost, taste and sentiment issues that have kept it off the market. Remember the first lab-grown burger had a production cost of over $300,000 a few years back. Now, with advancements in technology and procedures​,​ that cost has been slashed to a reasonable level. From what I understand, the initial offering will be a type of foie gras or chorizo or type of mushy composition. Meaning, we are years away from understanding how to incorporate the muscle and fat cells as well as the connective tissues in order to produce an actual “steak” in the lab. Interestingly, one of the final hurdles to overcome and by all accounts the most significant one before “Just” can sell its first burger is to find a substitute for the blood serum it uses to begin creating the new strain. The serum happens to be the source of protein the strain needs to develop and it is very expensive, not to mention it comes from the blood of a tiny cow, which doesn’t fit the social image the company is seeking to maintain. Keep in mind the company believes that having overcome the hurdles of cost, taste and its social agenda, they are now poised to grab market share from traditional meat producers. There might be another hurdle for “Just” and companies in the space as the United States Cattlemen’s Association recently filed a 15-page petition to the USDA asking for them to strictly define “meat” and “beef” as animals raised and slaughtered. The group believes labeling cultured products as meat will only confuse consumers. In the petition, the USCA mentions Memphis Meats, Just, and Mosa Meats, — three startups that are racing to bring lab-grown meat to market. Keep in mind that Tyson is invested in Memphis meats along with Bill Gates and Richard Branson. There is a lot of big money and consumer sentiment behind cultured meat, but from what I understand, lab-grown meat will one day, perhaps sooner than later, be economically sustainable and on the shelves at your local market. (Source: Wired, BusinessInsider)



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