CORN AND WHEAT SLIGHTLY FIRMER, BEANS WEAKER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents higher, soybeans are mostly 3 to 6 cents lower and wheat futures are fractionally to 2 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is modestly firmer ahead of this morning's jobs report.
CHINA STILL EVALUATING SYNGENTA'S AGRISURE VIPTERA CORN... China is still reviewing whether to approve the GMO corn (Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera, aka MIR 162) that has caused the country to recently reject multiple shipments from the United States, according to an ag ministry spokesperson. He says Syngenta has applied for approval of this trait "many times" dating back to 2010, with the latest coming in November. Previous applications have been denied because Syngenta failed to provide sufficient application material and experimental data.
SOURCE: ARGENTINA NOT PLANNING TO CUT SOY EXPORT TAX... An Argentine ag ministry source told Reuters he does not believe the country is planning to cut its soy export tax, as was rumored Thursday. A report in La Nacion newspaper citing an unnamed source said the Argentine government was contemplating cutting the soy tax, which prompted rumors that the tax would be reduced from 35% to 20% on Jan. 1.
JOBS REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... Economists are expecting the Labor Department to signal the U.S. economy added 180,000 non-farm payrolls in November, based on a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate is expected to tick down to 7.2%.
EPA HEARING SEES ALL SIDES LAY OUT THEIR CASES ON RFS... Those for and against the EPA proposal to reduce the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard had their day in front of the agency Thursday in a day-long session on the proposed reductions. The panel of EPA officials heard from a host of presenters and will now consider the feedback from the marathon session plus public comments that are due by Jan. 28.
TRADE PANEL CHIEFS SAID TO BE NEAR TPA DEAL... Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) are said to be closing in on an agreement on a package to grant President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). It's not clear what details are yet to be resolved for the two top trade lawmakers to reach an accord. But even then, the process of selling the measure to rank-and-file members of each chamber could prove a challenge, especially relative to the 12-country Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. Key in this process could be if lawmakers insist that instructions or provisions in the package require the administration to include provisions on currency manipulation. Also, Trade Adjustment Assistance for agriculture producers could emerge as another factor.
CASH CATTLE TRADE AT STEADY PRICES... Cash cattle trade was moderately active at steady $132 prices in the Plains Thursday. While cash trade was in line with week-ago, cattle futures sold off yesterday amid speculation the cash market may be near a short-term top. Despite tight market-ready supplies and the onset of wintry weather, nearby cattle futures ended yesterday at a slight discount to the cash market.
FUTURES PREMIUM ERASED IN HOGS... December lean hog futures no longer hold a premium to the cash market after recent heavy price pressure. In fact, the lead-month contract is now below the projected cash index for today. Therefore, selling pressure should ease unless the cash market comes under heavy pressure. Cash hog bids are expected to be mostly steady across the Midwest today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Taiwan purchased 60,000 MT of U.S. corn and 35,000 MT of U.S. wheat. Japan purchased 161,200 MT of wheat in its weekly tender, including 22,012 MT of U.S. supplies. Japan also issued a tender to buy 162,011 MT of Canadian wheat. Libya bought 35,000 MT of Mexican durum wheat. South Korea passed on a tender to buy up to 70,000 MT of optional origin corn.