GRAINS EASE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading fractionally to 4 cents lower, soybeans are 3 to 8 cents lower, Chicago wheat is 1 to 3 cents lower, and Kansas City and Minneapolis wheat are mixed with a downside bias. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.
FIRM CUTS EU WHEAT FORECAST... Private firm Strategie Grains cut its 2013-14 EU-27 wheat crop forecast to 132.3 MMT from 134.2 MMT last month due to lower planted area. The firm cut its 2013-14 EU-27 corn crop projection by 200,000 MT to 62.8 MMT. Total grain production for the bloc is forecast at 289.2 MMT, down 1 MMT from last month, but 6% above 2012-13. When Croatian production is added (the country will join the EU in July), Strategie Grains forecasts wheat production at 133.3 MMT and corn production at 64.9 MMT -- up 8% and 15%, respectively, from 2012-13.
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended Jan. 10, traders expect: corn sales from 150,000 to 250,000 MT; wheat sales from 450,000 to 650,000 MT; soybean sales from 750,000 to 950,000 MT; soymeal sales from 100,000 to 150,000 MT; and soyoil sales from 15,000 to 25,000 MT.
USTR POST STILL MATTER OF DEBATE... U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has indicated he's going to exit the top trade post in the Obama administration but there's no clear replacement as of yet. Obama aide Mark Froman is seen as a front-runner, but some now signal the White House is under pressure to increase diversity in the picks for open administration posts to include more women and minorities. Reuters reports other possibilities could include former Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, current Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard and Xerox chief executive Ursula Burns.
CASH CATTLE TRADE LOWER... Cash cattle trade started at $125 in Kansas and Texas late Wednesday morning and became more active later in the day in Nebraska at $123.50 to $125. While cattle futures faced sharp price pressure in reaction to the lower cash trade, they maintain a sizable premium to the cash market given tight market-ready supplies.
PORK MARGINS TURN POSITIVE... Most pork plants are cutting in the black again as the pork product market has strengthened while cash hog bids have been choppy. While margins are above breakeven, they aren't strong enough to encourage widespread strength in the cash market. Cash hog bids are expected to be steady at most Midwest locations today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Japan purchased 118,746 MT of wheat, including 63,143 MT of U.S. supplies. South Korea passed on a tender for up to 70,000 MT of optional origin feed wheat. Tunisia tendered for 50,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat and 50,000 MT of durum wheat. India tendered to export 90,000 MT of wheat.