FIRMER TONE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents higher, soybeans are mostly 6 to 9 cents higher and wheat futures are mostly 2 to 3 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is holding near unchanged after two-sided trade overnight.
FY 2014 BUDGET CONFERENCE BEGINS TODAY... The budget panel has until Dec. 13 to try and come up with an agreement, with deadlines set for January 15 on the next sequestration cuts, and Feb. 7 on the need for another debt limit hike. Today's session will mostly be posturing by both political parties, with Democrats pushing a multibillion-dollar job creation package and Republicans calling for spending cuts as lawmakers engage in the first budget conference negotiations in four years. Key to the conference results is whether or not lawmakers can agree on a plan to replace the sequester and find agreement on an overall Fiscal 2014 spending limit. The opening meeting will see the 29 members of the conference, including seven House members and all 22 members of the Senate Budget Committee, stake out opening positions and principles.
FARM BILL CONFERENCE BEGINS THIS AFTERNOON... Not much is expected during this afternoon's first official conference session. Opening statements from conferees and other lawmakers wishing to make remarks will take up several hours. Meanwhile, negotiations on some key farm bill topics continue behind the scenes with the most important being farmer safety net issues, including crop insurance. Funding cuts ahead for food stamps will be largely decided by congressional leaders from both chambers, in consultation with the White House. House Republicans passed a bill to cut food stamp funding by $39 billion over 10 years -- a sharp contrast to the $4 billion cut in the Senate-passed bill. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Agriculture panel, said he is not keen to wrap farm policy into the broad budget conference and said he is "absolutely opposed to that." Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said "there's room for a bipartisan bill," but noted that hinges on the willingness of GOP leaders to bend toward the middle. "There is no Democrat who is going to vote for a $40 billion cut in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, period," Hoyer said during his weekly press conference. "Nor, I think, does any rational Republican think that that is the case." The conference committee meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.
FOMC MEETING CONCLUDES THIS AFTERNOON... Investors are hoping to get a clearer indication of when the Fed will begin to scale back its monthly bond purchases, though that may be wishful thinking. Expectations for the tapering of economic stimulus have been pushed into next year as the pace of U.S. economic growth remains slow.
TPP HEARING TODAY... The Senate Finance Committee today will discuss the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and lawmakers' top priorities for an agreement. A majority of House and Senate lawmakers are pushing for negotiators to include currency manipulation provisions, but that is not likely to be included. While President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman have said that their aim is to wrap up talks this year, most expect it will not conclude until early 2014. Meanwhile, the New Democrat Coalition announced Tuesday that Chairman Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Trade Task Force Co-Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) are partnering with Republican Reps. Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Charles Boustany (La.) to launch a bipartisan "Friends of TPP" Caucus. U.S. and trade officials representing the 12-nation TPP welcomed the new group and said it "is reflective of the momentum gathering in support of the conclusion of the TPP negotiations this year."
BOXED BEEF PRICES CONTINUE TO CLIMB, MOVEMENT REMAINS SLOW... Boxed beef prices were another 62 cents (Select) to $1.12 (Choice) higher Tuesday but packers moved only 117 loads of product on the day. While the strong product prices suggest cash cattle will again trade higher this week, packers will be reluctant to raise cash bids if movement doesn't improve.
LIMITED DEMAND FOR CASH HOGS... Packer demand for cash hogs is limited as market-ready supplies and hog weights are on the rise, while packers are planning a small Saturday kill. Therefore, cash hog bids are expected to be steady to weaker today.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea bought 368,000 MT of U.S. corn, bringing their two-day total of U.S. corn purchases to 508,000 MT. South Korea also bought 25,000 MT of Indian soymeal. Taiwan purchased 60,000 MT of U.S. corn. Japan bought 58,020 MT of feed wheat and 36,140 MT of feed barley.