CORN MIXED, BEANS AND WHEAT LOWER... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading narrowly mixed, soybeans are mostly 2 to 5 cents lower and wheat futures are 2 to 3 cents lower at all three exchanges. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.
TODAY IS TREASURY SECRETARY GEITHNER'S LAST DAY... In an interview with Politico, Geithner said this about tax reform: "I do think that it should be possible for this country, because we're capable of great things in this country, to clean up the muck in the current tax system and reduce the distortions of unfairness and create a better mix of incentives for investment and try and make sure we preserve an appropriate and progressive system. And so, I think that's an important cause and people should keep at it. I think, to be realistic, people should understand that it's not going to be that popular -- it's going to be very difficult to do. It's going to be very divisive, particularly in the business community, but it's worth the effort but it's not something you can try to rush." As for whether he might be the next Fed chairman: "No, not a chance. ... I have great respect for the institution but that will be someone else's privilege."
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended Jan. 17, traders expect: corn sales between 200,000 and 450,000 MT; wheat sales between 350,000 and 550,000 MT; soybean sales between 750,000 and 950,000 MT; soymeal sales between 200,000 and 300,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 10,000 and 30,000 MT.
CATTLE ON FEED REPORT OUT THIS AFTERNOON... USDA's monthly look at feedlot activity is expected to show a tightening supply of cattle on feed. On Feed is guessed at 95.6%, Placements at 104.1% and Marketings at 93.2% of year-ago levels. With a 12-percentage-point-plus range on the guesses for Placements, that category will surprise someone and provide the "read" on the data.
JAPAN HEALTH MINISTRY STILL NEEDS ONE MORE OK ON NEW BEEF TRADE TERMS... Feb. 1 is still the target date by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to shift trade terms for U.S. and Canadian beef, but another approval is still awaited. JiJi press reports the Health Ministry will shift the trade terms, but only after they get approval from the Pharmaceutical Affairs and Food Sanitation Council which is expected to come Monday. By raising the age limit to accepting beef from animals 30 months or younger from the current 20 months or younger, the Health Ministry said more than 90% of U.S. beef is eligible to be shipped to Japan. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Japan will also will remove their ban on French and Dutch beef, putting the 30-month age limit for France and 12 months for the Netherlands.
BOXED BEEF PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL... Boxed beef prices were 71 cents (Select) to $1.77 (Choice) lower Thursday to extend the recent price slide. While boxed beef movement has been solid, it's going to take active retailer buying at higher prices to convincingly indicate a short-term low has been posted in the product market.
CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/FIRMER... After surprising strength in the cash hog market Thursday, packers are expecting cash hog bids to be steady to firmer again today. While packer demand has been better than expected, negative cutting margins are keeping packers from more actively raising cash hog bids.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Japan purchased 11,245 MT (9,500 MT Canadian, 60 MT U.S. and 1,685 MT Australian) of wheat and 14,100 MT of Canadian barley. Malaysia bought 6,000 MT of Indian corn and tendered for 60,000 MT of South American corn. Indonesia tendered for 31,000 MT of Indian corn. Iran purchased 200,000 MT of Indian soybean meal.