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December 28, 2012
(See attached file: PR122812.pdf)(See attached file: PR122812.xlsx)

  • Wheat futures saw slight drops this week as snowfall across the Plains and Midwest combined with weak export demand to push prices downward. Profit taking and end of the year redistributing by index funds also helped push prices lower. Chicago wheat futures lost 13 cents to close the week at $7.79 per bushel, hitting a six month low. Kansas City wheat futures fell 16 cents to close at $8.26 per bushel. Minneapolis wheat futures closed down 14 cents, ending the week at $8.68 per bushel. Weak exports and concerns over the possible "fiscal cliff" also pushed the other major grains lower. Corn closed down 8 cents at $6.94 per bushel. Soybeans closed down 11 cents at $14.18 per bushel. The markets were closed for the Christmas holiday and will be closed next week on New Years Day.
  • The threat of imminent labor unrest at four ports in the Pacific Northwest was averted after longshoreman union members declared they would stay on the job despite sub-standard contract terms. The terms were forced upon them after the grain handlers declared labor negotiations had reached an impasse.
  • Cold weather is raising concerns over winterkill in the world winter wheat crop. Freezing temperatures hit the US Central Plains this week, but many areas have enough snow cover to provide sufficient insulation. The recent snowfall across the US Plains and Midwest is far from enough to break the current drought conditions gripping the region. Farmers in the Black Sea region are not so lucky with freezing temperatures hitting exposed crops in Russia's Volga and Southern Districts as well as eastern sections of Ukraine. Some analysts are estimating that winterkill of Russia's winter wheat crop could be as high as 8 to 10 percent.
  • The Baltic Panamax Index continued to drop this week, reaching 699 points compard to 710 last week. A glut of ships, dropping demand, and concerns over the US "fiscal cliff" have helped push the market lower since November 27. Maritime Research's Grain Freight Index remained unchanged this week at 401.2 points.
  • The US Dollar Index fell back this week to 79.62 from 79.71 last week.

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