MARKETS AND GOVERNMENT CLOSED MONDAY... Markets and government offices will be closed on Monday for Presidents Day. As a result, there will be no Pro Farmer reports on Monday. We'll return on Tuesday, Feb. 19, beginning with "First Thing Today."
FEBRUARY CROP TOUR NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE... The February issue of the Pro Farmer Crop Tour Newsletter includes an update on the South American crops and a U.S. weather update. The newsletter is available at this link.
SOUTH AMERICAN WEATHER TURNING MORE FAVORABLE... Pro Farmer South American crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier says this week was good weather-wise in South America and next week could be better. Drier weather this week allowed bean harvest and safrinha corn planting to progress in Mato Grosso, Brazil, while needed (though scattered) rains fell on southern Brazil and Argentina.
The forecast shows the chance for the best rains of 2013 for southern Brazil and central Argentina through the weekend and into early next week. If these rains develop, Dr. Cordonnier says he's likely to raise his Brazilian soybean crop estimate and his Argentine corn crop peg.
CRUSH LIGHTER THAN EXPECTED, BUT STILL STRONG... Members of the National Oilseed Processors Association crushed 158.2 million bu. of soybeans in January. While that was 2.4 million bu. less than expected and 1.2% less than the December crush pace, it topped year-ago by 10.8%.
Strong domestic and export demand for soy products, especially soybean meal, remains the catalyst for the aggressive crush pace. The biggest hurdle for soy processors is getting their hands on available supplies.
G-20 MEETINGS THIS WEEKEND... Financial markets will be watching for developments from the Group of 20 (G-20) meetings in Moscow today and tomorrow. Pro Farmer Technical Consultant Jim Wyckoff says, "In the days heading up to the meeting there have been finance officials’ remarks and a G-7 statement, mostly directed toward and trying to downplay the much-talked-about prospect of currency wars. Many industrialized nations have in recent months, or longer, worked to devalue their currencies to revive their economic growth. Japan has been aggressively moving to devalue the yen in recent months. Reports today said the G-20 will issue a statement pledging to work toward growing their economies and not devaluing their currencies. The fact world finance ministers are working so hard to play down the matter is a clue that they are actually very worried about the prospect of currency wars." Click here for more.
VILSACK CONSIDERING SENATE RUN?... USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack won't seek the Iowa Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Tom Harkin, according to Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call. Vilsack's decision makes Representative Bruce Braley the clear Democratic frontrunner. Earlier, three sources told TheIowaRepublican.com that Vilsack met with officials at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) this week to discuss a potential run for U.S. Senate. Possible Republican candidates include Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham.