First Thing Today (VIP) -- December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012 12:33 AM


PRICE REBOUND OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 2 to 5 cents higher, soybeans mostly 11 to 14 cents higher, Chicago wheat 2 to 3 cents higher, Kansas City wheat 1 to 2 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat around 2 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is firmer this morning.

HOUSE SPEAKER SUFFERS MAJOR REBUKE AS PARTY LEADERS PULL BACK PLAN B DUE TO LACK OF VOTES... In a stinging rebuke to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), GOP leaders late Thursday pulled back their "Plan B" fiscal cliff offer because enough conservative Republicans joined all Democratic members in not supporting the plan. House members were sent home and will return Dec. 27, as will the Senate after today's session. The next step is murky. Boehner said the next move is up to President Obama and Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), while Democrats are saying Boehner must return to the negotiating table with Obama. While a growing number of observers think the fiscal cliff will be breached, veteran Washington observers say a deal is still possible prior to the start of the new Congress at noon ET on Jan. 3.

CHINA TO CUT SOME CUSTOMS FEES... China will reduce inspection and quarantine fees on a wide range of food-based and resource imports and exports in an attempt to boost foreign trade, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. The cuts will take effect Jan. 1 and are forecast to save importers and exporters around 5.2 billion yuan ($827 million) annually.

CHINA TO LAUNCH RAPSEED AND RAPESEED OIL FUTURES... China's Security Regulatory Commission has approved rapeseed and rapeseed oil futures trading on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange. No start date for the new futures trading was given.

CATTLE ON FEED REPORT OUT THIS AFTERNOON... Traders look for the report to show On Feed at 93.4%, Placements at 91.2% and Marketings at 100.2% of year-ago levels. This would be the sixth straight month with Placements above year-ago.

COLD STORAGE REPORT ALSO OUT THIS AFTERNOON... Pork stocks in storage at the end of November are expected to be record large at 589.3 million lbs., based on the average trade guess. Beef stocks are guessed at 428 million pounds.

CASH CATTLE TRADE HIGHER... Initial cash cattle trade was seen around $126, up $1.50 to $2 from last week, in Kansas and Texas Thursday, although cash sources reported the volume as relatively light. Cash trade further north in the Plains remains uncertain as feedlots there deal with the harsh winter storm.

PORK MARGINS FALL FURTHER BELOW BREAKEVEN... Pork plants have seen margins fall below breakeven this week and they are now solidly in the red following a $1.13 drop in the pork cutout value Thursday. Falling cutting margins, limited packer demand for hogs through the holidays and poor road conditions will limit cash hog trade and movement today.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 193,000 MT of optional origin corn, including U.S. corn as an optional source, which was a change from the original tender that excluded U.S. corn. South Korea also purchased 60,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat (likely South American or Indian). South Korea rejected all bids in a tender for up to 130,000 MT of soymeal. Taiwan bought 75,600 MT of U.S. wheat. Japan bought 14,540 MT of milling wheat, 33,138 MT of food barley and 2,000 MT of malting barley.


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