First Thing Today (VIP) -- October 10, 2012

October 10, 2012 01:34 AM


CORN AND BEANS WEAKER, WHEAT FIRMER OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading around 1 cent lower, soybeans 2 to 5 cents lower and wheat futures 2 to 3 cents higher at all three exchanges. The U.S. dollar index is just above unchanged this morning.

ROMNEY TALKS VALUES WITH FARMERS IN AG POLICY SPEECH... GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney journeyed to a farm 20 miles west of Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday. As most would-be presidents, he was short on farm policy specifics because that depends in large part on the personnel he would pick should he become president -- personnel drives policy. Just showing up at a farm is good enough for many potential rural voters. Romney noted he would cut corporate taxes, push for doing away with an estate tax, and indicated his support for the Renewable Fuels Standard. He weighed into the farm bill debate by saying President Obama bears some blame for the congressional inaction to date. But Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) responded that House Republican leaders are the ones standing in the way of a farm bill.

RUSSIA HOLDING GRAIN MEETING... Russian President Vladimir Putin will lead a meeting today on this year's grain harvest, with a special focus on national and global markets. Despite repeated comments from Russia's ag minister and deputy prime minister that export restrictions won't be used, there's speculation that will be discussed at today's meeting.

FRENCH WHEAT STOCKS SEEN RECORD LOW... FranceAgriMer forecasts 2012-13 wheat stocks to be the tightest on record since the French farm office began keeping stats in 1999-2000 at 1.8 MMT. That's down 600,000 MT from the agency's September forecast due primarily to a 500,000-MT increase in exports to non-EU countries, which are now forecast at 9.5 MMT for 2012-13.

AUSTRALIA POSTS RECORD WHEAT EXPORTS IN 2011-12... Australian 2011-12 (Oct.-Sept.) wheat exports increased to a record 21.7 MMT as of the end of August amid strong Asian demand, according to official data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics -- the first time exports have ever topped 20 MMT. An analyst with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia says 2011-12 wheat exports could hit 24.9 MMT.

ARGENTINE DOCKWORKERS STRIKE... Dockworkers at ports around Argentina's main grain hub at Rosario went on strike Tuesday seeking better working conditions. The dockworkers didn't give a timeline for their strike, but they are typically short-lived.

MEXICO EXPECTS TO FINISH ARGY CORN RISK ASSESSMENT IN FIRST HALF OF 2013... Last week we reported Mexico is doing risk analysis on Argentine corn as it seeks alternative sources to U.S. supplies. An official with Mexico's food safety agency told Reuters he expects to have that analysis completed sometime in the first half of next year, clearing the way for corn imports from the country. Mexico is also doing risk analysis on corn from Peru and Romania, although those assessments aren't likely to be completed until the second half of 2013.

BOXED BEEF MARKET STRENGTHENS... Boxed beef prices firmed 63 to 87 cents Tuesday and packers moved 237 loads of product on the day. The improved movement amid higher boxed beef prices gives traders some hope for steady to firmer cash cattle prices compared with last week's $124 trade in the Plains, but bids and asking prices have not yet been established, meaning there's still a lot of time before active cash trade is seen.

PORK CUTOUT IMPROVES... After a sluggish start Monday, the pork product market turned in a strong performance yesterday. The cutout value surged $1.40, while packers moved a strong 126.5 loads of product. Strength in the pork product market will boost cutting margins, but may not be enough to get packers to raise cash hog bids.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Exporters reported no tenders or purchases.


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