CHOPPY PRICE ACTION IN GRAINS... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents lower, soybeans are mostly 1 to 3 cents higher, Chicago wheat is steady to 1 cent lower, Kansas City wheat is steady to 2 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat is steady to fractionally higher. The U.S. dollar index is holding near unchanged this morning.
RUSSIA TO REMOVE GRAIN IMPORT DUTY... Reuters is reporting Russian officials have decided to lift the 5% duty on grain imports until mid-summer following a government meeting on the grain situation. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also announced Russia will begin selling government grain intervention stocks in the European portion of the country next week in hopes of alleviating tight supplies and rising prices. Russia's ag minister says grain stocks will dwindle to 7.7 MMT by the end of 2012-13.
INDIA LOOKING TO BOOST WHEAT EXPORTS... A delegation of Indian officials are meeting with international trading executives as they seek ways to increase wheat exports. As of Jan. 1, India had 34.4 MMT of government-owned wheat reserves, more than three times the minimum requirement. Since July 1, India has exported only 1.76 MMT of wheat.
CROP INSURANCE PAYOUTS TOP $13.5 BIL. FOR 2012 CROPS... Indemnities for 2012 crops have now reached $13.683 billion as of Feb. 4 with the loss ratio climbing to 1.24, according to Risk Management Agency (RMA) data. Corn continues to be the biggest payout on a by-crop basis, with the $8.855 billion level accounting for just under 65% of all indemnities issued so far, pushing the loss ratio for corn to 2.05 -- for every $1 in premiums paid in, $2.05 has been paid out. Of the $8.855 billion in indemnities, 94% have been issued for a revenue-based policy. Cotton is the only other major crop with a loss ratio over 1.0, with the $991 million in indemnities pushing the loss ratio there up to 1.19 as of Feb. 4.
LISA JACKSON CITES 'MYTHS IN AG REGS' AS MAJOR REGRET FOR NOT DOING MORE PERSONAL OUTREACH IN RURAL AMERICA... Outgoing EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, from an exit interview with Reuters: "If I were starting again, I would from day one make a much stronger effort to do personal outreach in rural America," Jackson said. "Had I known that these myths about everything from cow flatulence to spilled milk could be seen as 'The EPA is coming to get you,' I would have spent more time trying to inoculate against that."
CANADIAN GRAIN STOCKS REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... The report is expected to show Canadian wheat stocks at the end of 2012 were the highest in three years, while canola stocks are expected to be the lowest in five years. Traders are expecting Statistics Canada to report Dec. 31 all wheat stocks at 21.7 MMT, canola stocks at 7.5 MMT and barley stocks at 5.3 MMT.
SOLID START FOR BOXED BEEF MARKET... After a sluggish performance yesterday morning, the boxed beef market improved in afternoon trade, with prices 18 to 39 cents higher and movement of 206 loads. With packer cutting margins buried deep in the red, it will take sustained strength in the product market to get packers to raise cash cattle bids.
CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/FIRMER... Packer demand for cash hogs was greater than anticipated Monday, suggesting they are more short-bought on slaughter supplies than thought. As a result, cash hog bids are expected to remain steady to firmer despite packers working with cutting margins that are deep in the red.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Japan is seeking 126,184 MT of U.S., Canadian and Australian wheat in its weekly tender.