First Thing Today (VIP) -- December 18, 2013

December 18, 2013 12:37 AM


LIMITED PRICE MOVEMENT OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, soybeans are 1 to 3 cents higher, SRW wheat futures are 2 to 3 cents lower, HRW wheat futures are 1 to 2 cents lower and HRS wheat futures are narrowly mixed. The U.S. dollar index didn't stray far from unchanged overnight.

CHINA CORN REJECTIONS HIGHER THAN REPORTED... China has reportedly rejected 500,000 MT to 600,000 MT (nine to ten cargoes) of U.S. corn since mid-November due to the presence of an unapproved GMO trait, which is much higher than reported by Chinese quarantine officials. Bloomberg reports that seven of the rejected cargoes were purchased by state-run grain firm COFCO.

FOMC MEETING CONCLUDES THIS AFTERNOON... The two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting concludes around 1 p.m. CT. Economists and investors will be focused on any mention of tapering of the Fed's $85 billion per month in asset purchases. Recent economic data has been more upbeat, but the Fed it not expected to start easing its asset purchases yet. Following the FOMC meeting, Ben Bernanke will conduct his final quarterly press briefing as head of the Fed. His comments on the strength of the economy, tapering and the Fed's long-term economic projections will be the focal points.

BAUCUS SET TO RELEASE DRAFT PLAN FOR ENERGY TAX PROVISIONS... Proposed energy-related tax code changes should be released today or Thursday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said. The document would be the fourth in a series of staff-level discussion drafts on potential revisions to the tax code. The document will likely include a reformulation of the renewable energy production tax credit and the investment tax credit. The previously released cost recovery discussion draft called for repealing some oil and gas industry tax incentives, such as the percentage depletion allowance for oil and gas wells and the last-in, first-out inventory accounting method. The production tax credit, which provides a 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for wind and other renewable energy sources has lapsed several times since it began as a temporary credit in 1992 and is expected to lapse again at the end of this year. The panel also faces debate about whether some energy-related tax expenditures should continue to be permanent in nature, which might allow them to fall aside as new industries outgrow the need for government help. The depreciation period on energy-related investments is another likely issue ahead.

CHINA REPORTS NEW BIRD FLU STRAIN... China has confirmed three cases of H7N9 bird flu in the Guangdong province. Now, health officials in east China's Jiangxi province have confirmed a human case of H10N8, a new strain of bird flu to infect people.

SLUGGISH BOXED BEEF TRADE... Monday's strong price performance in the boxed beef market failed to carry over to yesterday's action as Choice cuts dropped $1.54 and movement slowed to just 113 loads. Boxed beef trade may be the deciding factor for this week's cash cattle trade in the Plains. Traders have mixed opinions on cash trade this week as showlist numbers are down but packers are buying for a holiday-shortened slaughter schedule next week.

PLENTY OF SUPPLY, LIMITED DEMAND FOR HOGS... Market-ready hog supplies are abundant and some producers are pulling hogs forward ahead of the holidays. The heavy supply of hogs is limiting packer demand, especially with some upcoming downtime for the holidays. The big supply and limited demand will keep cash hog bids under pressure.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Japan received no bids in its tender to buy 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley.


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