First Thing Today (VIP) -- January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013 12:37 AM


FIRMER TONE FOR GRAINS... Building heat and dryness in Argentina is getting increased market attention. As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading mostly 1 to 3 cents higher, soybeans are 3 to 10 cents higher and wheat futures are mostly 5 to 6 cents higher at all three exchanges. The U.S. dollar index is modestly lower this morning.

FEDERAL APPEALS COURT DENIES REQUEST TO REVISIT E15 DECISION... A U.S. Federal Appeals court Tuesday ruled 2-1 to uphold an earlier decision which rejected a challenge to the EPA approval of fuel blends containing up to 15% ethanol -- E15. Groups including the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the American Petroleum Institute had asked the court to review the EPA approval of E15, arguing that it could damage engines and fuel systems. But the court rejected the request, standing by an August ruling which found the trade groups’ claims of harm were speculative. However, the lone dissenting judge said his view was the law did not allow EPA to grant the higher ethanol blend, which some indicate could mean the case may continue.

CROP INSURANCE PAYOUTS FOR 2012 CROPS A NEW RECORD... U.S. crop insurance indemnities for 2012 crops set a new record of $11.581 billion as of Jan. 14, some $700 million above the prior record which was set for 2011 crops, according to Risk Management Agency data. In addition, the record payout mark also moved the indemnities past the level of premiums paid into the program, pushing the loss ratio to 1.05 so far. Now the focus will shift to how high the indemnities rise for 2012 crops with expectations they will reach $15 billion to $16 billion with some seeing even greater payouts.

INDIA TO CONTINUE WHEAT EXPORTS FROM GOV'T STOCKS... India plans to export about 10 MMT of wheat from government stocks, senior government sources told Dow Jones newswire. That's more than double the 4.5 MMT of wheat from government stockpiles India has already cleared for export. The country faces a storage shortage and is expecting to harvest a bumper crop this year.

CHINA TARGETING GREATER TRADE GROWTH THIS YEAR... China's Ministry of Commerce is seeking to achieve trade growth that keeps pace with GDP growth this year after missing its targets last year. Chinese trade grew at about 6% last year compared to a 10% target. The ministry says the export situation was "severe" and many remain so this year. In addition to taking steps to boost exports, the ministry also plans measures to boost imports.

BOXED BEEF TRADE REMAINS SLUGGISH... Choice boxed beef prices were 63 cents lower Tuesday and Select boxes were 16 cents higher while packers moved only 181 loads of product. The sluggish start to the week in the boxed beef market reduces odds packers will raise cash cattle bids from last week's mostly $126 trade in the Plains.

PORK PRODUCT MARKET STRENGTHENS... After a sluggish performance Monday, the pork product market rebounded with the cutout value 34 cents higher and movement improving to 123.71 loads yesterday. That should be enough to keep cash hog bids steady to firmer in some locations, although weaker bids are likely in areas where supplies are greater.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Taiwan purchased 60,000 MT of Argentine corn. South Korea bought 55,000 MT of South American soybean meal. Algeria bought at least 400,000 MT of optional origin (likely mostly French) wheat. Japan tendered for 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley. Separately, Japan tendered for 24,000 MT of feed wheat and 15,000 MT of feed barley.


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