First Thing Today (VIP) -- February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013 12:22 AM


SOYBEANS LEAD GAINS OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, soybean futures are trading 8 to 12 cents higher, corn is 1 to 2 cents higher, Chicago wheat is 3 to 4 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is mostly 3 to 7 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is 5 to 8 cents higher. The U.S. dollar is also firmer this morning.

SOUTH AMERICAN WEATHER SUPPORTIVE FOR SOYBEANS AND CORN... Argentina's main grain production areas received limited rains over the weekend and forecasts call for hot and dry conditions most of this week. There is a chance for scattered rains late in the week, although coverage levels and amounts are expected to be limited. Southern Brazil received scattered rains over the weekend, but not enough to eliminate dryness concerns, while Mato Grosso stayed wet. The forecast calls for more scattered rains across southern Brazil early this week, while rains will continue to hamper harvest efforts in Mato Grosso.

ANOTHER SHORT CONGRESSIONAL WEEK... House and Senate Democratic lawmakers depart later in the week for agenda-setting meetings, with President Obama expected to attend both events. Meanwhile, a farm bill meeting is supposed to take place between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member on the House Ag Committee. Key issue will be getting a new farm bill on the House agenda. Peterson will also bring up the controversial dairy safety-net proposal that includes supply management -- something Boehner opposes. The House Budget Committee late last Friday postponed a Feb. 6 hearing where Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf had be scheduled to testify. A new date for the hearing has not been announced.

USDA LONG-TERM AG PROJECTIONS OUT FEB. 11... The annual release of Longterm Agricultural Projections from USDA is due Feb. 11, according to contacts. The projections will run through 2022 and are based on several assumptions, including on the U.S. and global economic situation along with extension of current farm programs. Normal weather is also assumed in the projections which in the past have used the November Supply & Demand Report as the "starting point" for the ag situation. Economic projections for the report are typically set the prior October. The report is usually released around 1 week prior to USDA's annual Ag Outlook Forum which is scheduled this year for Feb. 21-22 near Washington, DC.

KAZAKHSTAN RAISES GRAIN EXPORT FORECAST... Kazakhstan is now expected to export 7.8 MMT of grain in 2012-13, according to the country's ag ministry, up from the previous forecast of 7 MMT. As of Jan. 22, the country had exported 3.8 MMT of grain based on official government data. While the forecast has been raised, Kazakhstan will export far less grain than 2011-12 when it sold 12.1 MMT onto the world market.

MORE BULLISH CATTLE DATA... Last Friday's Cattle Inventory Report was bullish as the U.S. cattle herd and calf crop came in lower than anticipated, while herd rebuilding has started. As a result, live cattle futures are expected to build on last week's corrective gains,which came on the heels of a bullish Cattle on Feed Report.

CASH HOGS CALLED MOSTLY STEADY... Packers are expected to open the week offering steady bids for cash hogs at most Midwest locations. While pork plants need hogs for this week's slaughter, highly negative cutting margins are likely to keep packers from actively raising cash hog bids.

WEEKEND DEMAND NEWS... Egypt purchased 60,000 MT of U.S. SRW wheat.


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