First Thing Today (VIP) -- January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014 12:21 AM

Good morning!

Corn weaker, beans and wheat firmer... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents lower, soybeans are mostly 5 to 7 cents higher and wheat futures are fractionally to 4 cents higher with HRS contracts leading gains. The U.S. dollar index is modestly weaker after two-sided trade overnight.

Brazil modestly raises soybean, corn crop estimates... Conab, the supply agency of the Brazilian government, modestly raised its soybean crop estimate to a record 90.33 MMT from 90.03 MMT last month. However, Brazil's ag minister says the country's soybean crop could "easily" exceed 95 MMT. The agency now forecasts Brazil's corn crop at 78.97 MMT compared to 78.78 MMT last month.

Canadian dies from bird flu... An Alberta resident has died after contracting the H5N1 strain of bird flu while on a trip to China. This is the first confirmed human case of bird flu in North America. Canadian health officials say the case was isolated and the risk to others is very low.

Rep. Shimkus says RFS legislation unlikely... Key U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) said this week that he "doesn't believe there is enough legislation movement" for changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Shimkus, one of four lawmakers tapped by the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to come up with RFS legislation, said at a Bloomberg government breakfast that things are now in a "holding pattern," awaiting the final 2014 RFS plans from EPA.

Analysis: RIN price rise in early 2013 not the driver of gasoline prices... While gasoline prices and prices for renewable identification numbers (RINs) both rose in early 2013, an analysis conducted for the Renewable Fuels Association by Informa Economics and released this week concludes the RIN price rise was not the main factor that pushed gasoline prices higher. "Although retail gasoline prices and RIN prices both increased in early 2013 and remained elevated (though volatile) during the middle of the year, this was mainly coincidental, and upon closer examination it can be determined that these changes generally occurred for different reasons," the report concluded. "In fact, the increase in gasoline price early in the year actually pre-dated the increase in RIN prices."

Chinese CPI rises 2.5% in December... China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.5% over year-ago last month, which was right in line with expectations. Food prices rose 4.1% while non-food prices firmed 1.7%. For all of 2013, Chinese inflation rose 2.6%, well below the government target of 3.5%.

Wide guess ranges for weekly export sales... For the week ended Jan. 2, traders expect: corn sales between 200,000 and 700,000 MT; wheat sales between 200,000 and 500,000 MT; soybean sales between 450,000 and 950,000 MT; soymeal sales between 50,000 and 175,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 0 and 60,000 MT.

Waiting on cash cattle trade... Cash cattle negotiations have been slow to develop, partly due to inclement weather in the Plains and Midwest. While surging boxed beef prices point to cash cattle bids rising from last week's mostly $137 trade in the Plains, traders wonder how much further packers will extend the cash market given highly negative margins.

Pork product market still looking for a low... After a $1.93 rise Tuesday, the pork cutout value dropped $1.38 today, though movement surged to 573.70 loads. Until the pork product market clearly signals a seasonal low is in place, packers will be reluctant to actively bid for cash hogs and the upside will be limited to corrective buying in hog futures.

Overnight demand news... Japan purchased 600 MT of feed wheat and 14,200 MT of feed barley.


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