First Thing Today (VIP) -- December 12, 2013

December 12, 2013 12:26 AM


CORN AND BEANS LOWER, WHEAT MIXED... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents lower, soybeans are mostly 3 to 7 cents lower and wheat futures are narrowly mixed. The U.S. dollar index is holding near unchanged this morning.

BOXER: NO NEED FOR RFS LEGISLATION... The chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee said she sees no need for legislation related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), after convening the first hearing on the standard since the Environmental Protection Agency proposed lowering its targets. "I think the EPA has responded to some of the problems with the volumes," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said. "I think the beauty of the legislation is we built in a lot of flexibility for EPA." EPA proposed last month cutting for the first time the amount of corn ethanol the standard mandates that petroleum refiners and importers blend into their products. That proposal is expected to be completed in the spring of 2014, Chris Grundler, director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, testified during the Wednesday hearing. Grundler said the agency's decision to propose reducing the amount of corn ethanol required in 2014 was a recognition that the so-called blend wall "has been reached." While there are several existing RFS-related bills in Congress, without support from the chairwoman of the EPW, any legislation related to the RFS faces a steep hurdle. "I have the gavel for now, I'm not going to let us reverse course... I'm just not," she said.

HOUSE FARM BILL EXTENSION READIED FOR FLOOR ACTION; FARM BILL PRINCIPALS TO MEET TODAY... The House will probably vote on a temporary farm bill extension before the chamber recesses Dec. 13, but the bill faces opposition from key lawmakers in the Senate. The legislation (HR 3695) would extend the farm bill through Jan. 31, 2014, in order to give lawmakers more time to work on a final, multiyear reauthorization of the farm bill. If Congress doesn't pass an extension before Dec. 31, the dairy product price support program will revert back to "permanent law," which could eventually cause much higher retail milk prices. Senate Ag Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said the extension isn't necessary because Congress will reach an agreement before the impact on milk prices is realized. She said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack had assured her that the permanent legislation regarding dairy would not have any impact during the month of January 2014. Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said he and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) will return to Washington next week and work with Senate leaders to produce a final framework by the end of the week of Dec. 16. The lawmakers continue to wait on legislative scoring from the Congressional Budget Office and plan to meet again today, Peterson said.

WEEKLY EXPORT SALES OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended Dec. 5, traders expect: corn sales between 600,000 and 750,000 MT; wheat sales between 300,000 and 500,000 MT; soybean sales between 750,000 and 950,000 MT; soymeal sales between 100,000 and 200,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 0 and 30,000 MT.

BOXED BEEF MOVEMENT BUILDS... Boxed beef movement has improved each day this week, with packers moving a solid 236 loads of product Wednesday amid mixed prices (Choice 49 cents higher, Select 91 cents lower). While retailer demand for beef is still a concern at current price levels, some traders now feel packers may eventually pay steady $132 prices for cash cattle in the Plains. But there's still a lot of uncertainty on the cash cattle front as cash negotiations are not yet active.

PORK MOVEMENT ALSO STRENGTHENS... Packers moved a strong 565.74 loads of pork Wednesday, though the surge in movement came amid a 60-cent decline in the cutout value. With average hog weights continuing to climb as market-ready hog numbers remain hefty, packers must continue to move a lot of pork to keep supplies from backing up.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Taiwan purchased 23,000 MT of U.S. corn and 12,000 MT of U.S. soybeans. Japan bought 132,780 MT of wheat in its weekly tender, including 78,912 MT of U.S. supplies. Bangladesh tendered to buy 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat. Egypt tendered to buy 20,000 MT of optional origin soyoil.


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