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U.S. Beef Exports to China Could Top $1 Billion a Year as Yearslong Ban Lifted -- Market Talk

0621 GMT - U.S. exports of beef to China could top $1 billion a year in the coming decade, says Joel Haggard, senior vice president for Asia Pacific at the U.S. Meat Export Federation. The potential ramp up follows China's decision to lift a 14-year ban on U.S. beef this spring, boosting hopes among ranchers of tapping China's growing middle class. Among the challenges, say industry executives, will be satisfying China's requirement that all cattle must be traceable to their U.S. birth farm or first port or first entry to the US. Less than 10% of US cattle currently meet that and other import requirements by China, they say. (Brian.Spegele@wsj.com)

McDonald's Franchisees Back Growth Plan, Value Menu -- Market Talk

12:15 ET - McDonald's (MCD) franchisees have approved a multi-year growth plan that entails upgrading restaurants with self-order kiosks, new dessert counters and other elements, according to a person familiar with the matter. McDonald's says it would put up 55% of the cost of the upgrades -- which can range anywhere from $150,000 to $700,000 per restaurant -- if franchisees agreed to fund an advertising campaign for a national value menu of items priced from $1 to $3 each. Fast-food chains have been aggressively competing on price in a bid to win over cost-conscious customers and McDonald's decided to switch to one, national value offering after numerous regional meal deals failed to gain traction. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Soybean Futures Rise as Planting Misses Expectations--Update

U.S. farmers made a less drastic shift to soybeans from corn than expected this year, according to official estimates that pushed oilseed prices higher on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects farmers to sow 89.5 million acres of soybeans this year, below analysts' forecasts but still the largest acreage on record. The government said farmers also planted more corn than initially estimated, boosting its acreage total by almost 1 million acres to an estimated 90.9 million.

Grains Leavened by Heat Fears -- Market Talk

1515 GMT - Grain prices are pushing higher with cold wet weather in North America and hot, dry weather in eastern Europe stoking fears of crop damage heading into a holiday weekend for both the U.S. and Canada. Wheat was last up 2.6% at 5.09 a bushel, corn is up 1.22% at $3.74 a bushel, and soybeans are up 0.32% at $9.28 a bushel. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Acreage, Grain Stocks, and Quarterly Plantings reports are due out in the coming hours, and they're expected to show close to--if not record--numbers for all three of those grains. "Given this bumper supply, we're trying to work out if this increase is justified or the result of low volumes," a grain trader says.(david.hodari@wsj.com ; @davidhodari)

FUTURES MARKETS

Hog Futures Extend Rally After Inventory Report

Hog futures rose on strong pork demand Friday despite a government report showing the U.S. herd swelling to the largest on record for this time of year.

Lean hog futures for July delivery climbed 1.3% to 90.625 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hitting a fresh 2 1/2-year high. The more actively traded August contract jumped 3.7% to 83.75 cents a pound.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jun 30

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Jun 30 +$28.70 +$ 90.64

Jun 29 +$23.80 +$ 89.09

Jun 28 +$29.48 +$ 90.47

* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production.

A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of

production of the animals.

Beef-O-Meter

This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite

values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices.

Beef

For Today Choice 107.7

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 106.4

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell $1.82 per hundred pounds, to $224.73, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.74 per hundred pounds, to $208.42. The total load count was 122. Wholesale pork prices rose 72 cents, to $102.56 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 30, 2017 17:17 ET (21:17 GMT)