What Traders are Talking About:
* Jobs data stronger than expected. The Labor Department said January non-farm payrolls increased 243,000, which easily topped expectations for a 150,000 increase and was the biggest monthly gain since April 2011. Combined, November (+57,000) and December (+3,000) jobs numbers were revised up 60,000. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, which is the lowest level since Feb. 2009.
The long and short of it: The jobs data is a positive surprise and should encourage a "risk on" attitude among traders. But the dollar has turned higher as the positive data lessens the odds of QE3.
* Good rains in Argentina. Much of Argentina received beneficial rains this week, although totals were disappointing in eastern Cordoba and Santa Fe. Forecasts call for more rain chance over the next five days, with the best rain chances next Monday through Wednesday. Meanwhile, conditions were generally hot and dry through southern Brazil this week, especially in Rio Grande do Sul. There's a chance for rains across the state this weekend, but the best chance for meaningful precip looks to be late next week.
The long and short of it: Rains will benefit soybeans and late-planted corn in Argentina. Most private crop estimates have stopped declining and some of the exceptionally low pegs have started to inch slightly higher.
* Another arctic blast for Russia, Ukraine? Bitterly cold temps across Ukraine and Russia heightened winterkill concerns with the winter wheat crop this week. Temps are expected to moderate over the weekend, but forecast models suggest another arctic blast for the region late next week. But current forecast models signal temps won't be as cold as they were this week.
The long and short of it: A lack of sufficient snowcover across Ukraine and Russia leaves the winter wheat crop more vulnerable than a "normal" year, but the full extent of winterkill problems won't be known until the crop greens up this spring.
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