First Thing Today (VIP) -- October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012 01:33 AM


FIRM TONE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 3 to 4 cents higher, soybeans 1 to 9 cents higher, Chicago wheat 3 to 4 cents higher, Kansas City wheat 2 to 4 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat 3 to 7 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning, which is helping support the firmer tone in grain and soy futures.

OBAMA, ROMNEY TANGLE IN SECOND DEBATE... President Barack Obama shed his sluggish debate style from the first session with GOP nominee Mitt Romney as the two candidates squared off in their second debate just 3 weeks before the election. Obama seemed more combative and aggressive while Romney's performance was viewed as another solid outing as the two addressed topics from foreign policy to economic policy and women's issues. Several observers give Obama the edge this time, while other post-debate readings among undecided voters rated it more a tie or a slight victory for Romney. The first debate was a clear win for Romney, the second was mixed. But watch polls of undecided voters, not the general public. That result could consolidate Romney's recent momentum, if not improve on it.

GRAIN UNION SEES SHARP REBOUND IN 2013-14 RUSSIAN WHEAT PRODUCTION...Winter wheat seeding has been "successful," according to the head of the Russian Grain Union. As a result, he expects wheat production to rebound to no less than 50 MMT to 55 MMT in 2013-14 after drought-impacted output of around 40 MMT this year.

AUSSIE WHEAT STOCKS DROP SHARPLY IN SEPTEMBER... Australia had 7.1 MMT of wheat in bulk storage as of Sept. 30, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That's down 2 MMT from the end of August and 14% below year-ago as Asian demand remains strong. Of that stocks total, 4.9 MMT are milling grade and 2.2 MMT are feed grade.

CHINA EXPORT MEASURES WORKING, ECONOMY STABILIZING... China's commerce minister says export incentives will continue to help boost shipments abroad. While global demand has slowed due to the weak economy, measures such as quickening the payment of tax rebates, cutting government red tape and increasing access to bank loans will help exporters. Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says the country's economy is stabilizing and that this year's economic growth target of 7.5% will be achieved.

BOXED BEEF PRICES STRENGTHEN AGAIN... Boxed beef movement hasn't been overly impressive the first two days this week, but prices were another $1.14 (Choice) to $1.66 (Select) higher Tuesday. With boxed beef prices strengthening, packer cutting margins have improved, although they remain in the red. Still, early indications are cash cattle prices should be steady to firmer compared with last week's $125 trade in the Plains.

PORK MOVEMENT ACCELERATES... The pork cutout value slipped 7 cents Tuesday, but packers moved a strong 103.75 loads of product on the day. The increased movement signals there's still solid retailer demand at current price levels, which is a positive, as speculation is building a short-term top in the pork product market may be near.

OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Algeria purchased 400,000 MT of optional origin (likely South American based on price) milling wheat. South Korea tendered for up to 210,000 MT of U.S., South American, South African and eastern European corn. Japan tendered for 120,000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley.


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