First Thing Today (VIP) -- November 23, 2012

November 23, 2012 12:40 AM


NO OVERNIGHT GRAIN TRADE... Grain futures at the Chicago Board of Trade don't resume trading following Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday until 9:30 a.m. CT. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.

ABBREVIATED TRADING HOURS TODAY... Grain futures at the Chicago Board of Trade and Kansas City Board of Trade close at noon CT today. Wheat futures at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and livestock futures close at 12:15 p.m. CT.

SOME ARGENTINE CRUSHERS GO ON INDEFINITE STRIKE... Workers at four soy processing plants near the main grain export hub of Rosario have gone on indefinite strike, demanding improved pay and working conditions, according to a union leader. These strikes are typically short-lived, but if this one lingers, it could boost demand for U.S. soyoil.

ARGENTINA LOWERS WHEAT CROP FORECAST, CORN ACREAGE... Heavy rains and flooding in Argentina's main grain belt have reduced wheat production potential and will lead to fewer-than-expected corn seedings, according to the country's ag ministry. The official wheat production forecast from the ag ministry was cut to 11.1 MMT from 11.5 MMT previously. The ag ministry also cut its corn plantings forecast to 4.7 million hectares (11.6 million acres) compared to its prior estimate of 4.97 million hectares (12.3 million hectares). The soybean seedings forecast was left unchanged at 19.35 million hectares. The ag ministry says the country will produce 55 MMT to 58 MMT of soybeans if weather is favorable the rest of the growing season.

CHINA'S MANUFACTURING SECTOR EXPANDS FOR FIRST TIME IN OVER A YEAR... China's flash HSBC purchasing manager's index (PMI) rose to 50.4 in November, the first time it has been above 50 (expansion/contraction line) in 13 months. The data signals China's economy continues to recover and is responding to pro-growth monetary policy.

KAZAKHSTAN WHEAT EXPORT UPDATE... Kazakhstan has exported 3 MMT of wheat since July 1 out of expected exports of 7 MMT of the grain for the 2012-13 marketing year, according to the country's ag ministry. Kazakh government officials also say the country will export grain to some regions of Russia starting in January to make up for shortfalls there due to this year's drought.

WEEKLY EXPORT SALES REPORT OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended Nov. 15, traders expect: corn sales between 300,000 and 450,000 MT; wheat sales between 200,000 and 400,000 MT; soybean sales between 400,000 and 650,000 MT; soymeal sales between 200,000 and 300,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 50,000 and 70,000 MT.

USDA TO UPDATE FOOD PRICE FORECASTS TODAY... USDA's monthly update on food prices is due out today and the focus will mostly be on 2013 and whether USDA economists change their current forecast for a 3% to 4% rise in food prices compared to this year. USDA's 2013 food price forecast has remained the same for months despite the drought.

COLD STORAGE REPORT SIGNALS STRONG PORK DEMAND... Pork stocks in frozen storage as of Oct. 31 were record large at 606.175 million lbs., but that was well below what traders expected, signaling pork demand last month was stronger than anticipated. Beef stocks of 423.799 million lbs. at the end of October came in just above expectations.

CASH CATTLE TRADE HIGHER... Cash cattle traded at $128 in the Plains late Wednesday, $2 to $3 higher than last week. Final sales volumes won't be known until today, but cash sources believe feedlots sold most of this week's available supplies.

CASH HOGS CALLED MOSTLY STEADY... Packer demand for hogs is expected to be strong enough to produce steady cash hog bids at most locations as plants will run a big Saturday kill to make up for downtime on Thursday. There may be enough packer demand to encourage firmer cash hog bids in some areas given strong cutting margins.

HOLIDAY DEMAND NEWS... Bangladesh bought 50,000 MT of optional origin wheat.


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