GRAINS MOSTLY FIRMER... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are steady to 4 cents higher, soybeans are 1 to 5 cents higher in old-crop contracts and 3 to 8 cents lower in new-crop contracts, Chicago wheat is 4 to 9 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is mostly 7 to 11 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is mostly 4 to 8 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index has rebounded from losses overnight to trade modestly higher this morning.
PRESIDENT AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS TO MEET FRIDAY ON SEQUESTRATION ISSUES... No major compromises or solutions are likely after congressional leaders journey to the White House Friday to discuss across-the-board budget cuts to be phased in starting March 1. The major reason for the meeting, some say, is to give both sides cover that talks are at least being held. Significant hurdles remain on the matter, with most predicting the solution could be linked to a deal on how to handle the deadline for the continuing resolution, which expires March 27.
ARGENTINA TO RAMP UP OLD-CROP SOY SHIPMENTS... Bloomberg reports Argentina plans to ship 2 MMT of 2011-12 soybeans in the next 20 to 30 days, the 15 largest grain exporters told the country's trade secretary Wednesday. Earlier this week, we reported Pro Farmer South American consultant Dr. Cordonnier says the government wants farmers to sell their old-crop soybeans because it needs the revenue from export taxes. Exporters also told the trade secretary they feel the 2012-13 crop will come in at 50 MMT, which is better than recent low-end forecasts.
RUSSIAN GOV'T MAY COMPETE WITH EXPORTERS FOR GRAIN... The Russian government may buy grain from the southern breadbasket region to replenish intervention stocks, according to the country's deputy ag minister. The southern region is typically where the bulk of Russia's grain exports originate. The official says if this year's grain production falls below 95 MMT, there's risk of excessive exports.
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended Feb. 21, traders expect: corn sales between 350,000 and 450,000 MT; wheat sales between 400,000 and 600,000 MT; soybean sales between 750,000 and 1 million MT; soymeal sales between 150,000 and 300,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 15,000 and 30,000 MT.
SOUTH KOREA OFFERS LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS LOANS FOR FEED BUYS... South Korea will offer livestock producers $156 million in soft loans to buy feed grains, aimed particularly at hog producers who have seen prices fall to five-year lows. Some producers voluntarily trimmed sow numbers by 100,000 in Dec. 2012. Those who didn't participate aren't eligible for the low-interest loans.
WAITING ON CASH CATTLE TRADE... The winter storm through the Southern Plains earlier this week is delaying cash cattle negotiations as feedlots are concentrated on digging out, while some beef plants are not yet back to full operation. With bids and asking prices not yet fully established, cash sources aren't expecting cash cattle trade until Friday.
LIMITED DEMAND FOR CASH HOGS... Despite strong margins, pork plants are planning a small Saturday kill as inclement weather has reduced the number of hogs packers have been able to get to town. With travel still slowed, demand for cash hogs is expected to remain limited. As a result, cash hog bids are called steady to weaker again today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea bought 21,800 MT of Canadian wheat. Bangladesh purchased 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat. Tunisia tendered to buy 50,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat and 25,000 MT of optional origin feed barley. India tendered to export 140,000 MT of wheat.