AgriVisor Morning Marketwatch

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
   ***Good Morning***

***** Grains are mostly fractionally higher as the trading day begins. ***** 

   # There isn’t a lot of significant news to work with today, with a holiday atmosphere starting to set in. The shift in Arg. weather is already built in, with outside markets having mixed implications.
   # Rains over the past 24 hrs are said to have been a little disappointing across Arg. and southern Brazil. Western areas of Arg. have not seen good rains during the last few days.  The latest forecast model runs are not as good as they were yesterday either.  The next best chance for rain is said to be Friday.  After that, the 7 day outlook turns drier again.  Forecasters have not been optimistic about moisture chances beyond New Year either.
   # There is more talk about the dry weather in our Great Plains over the last week.  With the crop in dormancy, it’s not hugely important, but is worrisome.  There is some concern about the rapid shift from warm to cold air and whether it will cause some scattered winter kill.  The crop has no snow cover, which may be more important now with cold weather season upon us.
   # Across Europe, little of the crop has “hardened off” yet, including the Black Sea region. Temps are not cold enough to be a factor, but the situation does raise the risk to those crops unless snow cover develops before cold air hits the crop.  It’s been a long time since Russia has had a problem with winter kill. 
   # Thee is a strike slowing some of the export elevators in Arg., but strikes in S. America are rarely long lasting.  Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on, as it could impact soy product and grain export activity in the short term. 
   # Mostly, the trade may be watching the fund activity with the end of the year approaching, and markets marked up for tax purposes.  Funds were said to be selling more yesterday.  If they cover shorts, it could give prices a short pop up. 
   # Another 145,000 tons of soybeans were sold to unknown, probably China.  Their business has been relatively robust of recent.
   # Probably the bigger story today is going to be the tax vote in Washington. The House is up today, with some saying the Senate vote could come later today.
   # The Dollar is edging lower ahead of the tax vote.  Even though it should be economically friendly, doubts about how much are starting to creep in.  Also, the most recent thinking is leaning toward the idea that money repatriation to the US will come over a longer period of time, limiting Dollar buying interest to some degree.

***** Cattle should start the day steady/weak; Lean hogs lower. *****  

   # Wholesale beef is higher with choice at $203.15. The general weakness in the wholesale market, and coming short slaughter weeks are expected to keep cash prices on the defensive into the holidays.  Placements and On Feed numbers could be near 107% Friday.
   # Wholesale pork is sharply lower at $75.86. Cash hog prices are expected to start the day lower with the weak wholesale market and approach of the short slaughter weeks.