First Thing Today (VIP) -- September 4, 2012

September 4, 2012 01:02 AM


SOYBEANS LEAD PRICE GAINS OVERNIGHT... Soybean futures rallied to new highs overnight amid supply concerns and no proof demand is slowing despite record prices. As of 6:30 a.m. CT, soybean futures are trading 19 to 26 cents higher, corn 6 to 11 cents higher, Chicago and Kansas City wheat 5 to 9 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat 7 to 12 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is modestly firmer after two-sided trade overnight.

EMPLOYMENT REPORT ON FRIDAY KEY HIGHLIGHT OF WEEK... Washington remains relatively quiet ahead of the Democratic National Convention which begins today in Charlotte, North Carolina, while the top economic information comes Friday via the monthly employment/jobs data. Another key financial date this week is Thursday, when European Central Bank officials discuss a new EU bond-buying program. For agriculture, the Labor Day holiday means some delayed weekly reports. USDA's Crop Progress Report will come today. The Weekly Export Sales Report, usually released on Thursday, will be issued on Friday, and the focus will continue on whether or not current prices are high enough to ration exports. That hasn’t been the case yet with soybeans, but is evident for corn. Meanwhile, industry estimates are expected this week regarding U.S. crop projections, with USDA releasing its updated survey results on Sept. 12. Congress is still out and will return Sept. 10. The attention will be focused on the Democratic convention, with President Barack Obama on Thursday giving his address on why he should be reelected. He will no doubt comment on some remarks made by his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, during last week’s GOP convention.

CHINA PMI DATA DISAPPOINTS... China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for August dropped to 49.2 from 50.1 in July -- the first time the reading has been below 50 since November 2011. The final HSBC PMI for August, which measures small manufacturers, dropped to 47.6 -- the lowest reading since March 2009. The disappointing PMI data signals the Chinese government is likely to take more action to boost economic activity.

CHINA SOY IMPORTS SEEN EASING SLIGHTLY... Chinese soybean imports will likely fall below 7 MMT in the Sept.-Oct. period, according to China National Grain and Oils Information Center. The state-run think-tank also raised its August soy import forecast to 4.7 MMT ahead of the release of official customs data.

FOCUS ON BOXED BEEF MOVEMENT... With Labor Day weekend marking the "official" end of the grilling season, traders will pay close attention to boxed beef movement this week. The level of beef trade will not only signal how actively consumers purchased beef over the holiday weekend, but could also provide a clue as to how aggressively retailers plan to feature beef early this fall.

CASH HOGS CALLED STEADY/LOWER... Pork plants are thought to be bought ahead on slaughter needs for the week and market-ready supplies are abundant. As a result, demand for cash hogs is expected to be limited. But with packer margins in the black, there's incentive to raise cash hog bids if supplies are tighter than expected.

WEEKEND DEMAND NEWS... Saudi Arabia purchased 575,000 MT of wheat (European Union, Australian, North American and South American origin). Egypt purchased 355,000 MT of Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian wheat. India's food ministry announced the government will release another 1.3 MMT of wheat onto the domestic market to ease prices. Taiwan purchased 55,200 MT of U.S. wheat. Japan is seeking 124,951 MT of U.S., Canadian and Australian wheat in its weekly tender.


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