Second Breakaway Region Seeks Russian Inclusion

As if the world weren’t in enough turmoil.  Now, it appears another break-away region is asking to join the Russian Federation.\r\n   There are reports overnight that a little-known region of Moldova called Trans-Dniester, which shares a border with Ukraine and has sought Russian inclusion since a failed attempt in 2006 is asking to be allowed to join.  Apparently, a referendum at that time went unrecognized.\r\n   As news of this request becomes more widely known, and if the Russian parliament moves to honor the request, gold prices could rebound in a safe-haven move by investors.\r\n   As it is, the yellow metal is slumping as investors take a riskier stance and put their money into stocks or other commodities as the economies of various nations improve.  \r\n   Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty making Crimea a part of Russia.  While the US and EU are decrying the move as illegal, markets are taking a more pragmatic approach.  The thinking is that the ownership of Crimea is not particularly important as long as Russian troops do not invade the rest of Ukraine and grain exports continue unhindered.\r\n   Currently, it seems neither Russia nor Ukraine has the will and/or the wherewithal to go to war, and markets are standing down.\r\n\r\nMONEY FLOWS INTO SOYBEANS\r\n\r\n   Meanwhile, soybeans are higher in overnight trading as money flows into the oilseed.  There is little in the way of news to recommend further buying, but investors may be looking for a tighter stocks number from the USDA.\r\n   Brazil’s soybean crushers association ABIOVE lowered its estimate of the country’s crop to 86.1 million tonnes, a decline of 2.5 million and 2.4 million below the latest USDA estimate.  This may have had something to do with the surge in activity Tuesday that is carrying through overnight.\r\n   However, further talk of cancellations by China with a half dozen cargoes of Brazilian soybeans that once belonged to Chinese importers apparently coming to the US East Coast in the next four to five months could weaken the market today.  Chinese crushers are swimming in red ink and are anxious to rid themselves of import commitments.\r\n   Brazil’s soybean harvest is said to be coming along nicely and is even ahead of normal.  \r\n\r\nCORN REVERSES, TURNS LOWER\r\n\r\n   After a “Turnaround Tuesday” of higher prices, corn is moving lower in overnight trading as concerns about Russian and Ukranian shipping troubles ease.  There are even reports that China has booked more Ukranian corn, which tells traders that a major buyer has enough confidence in these markets to commit to a purchase.\r\n   Traders also feel that the March 31 USDA Stocks and Plantings report will not make significant changes to its corn ending stocks estimate.  \r\n   Corn traders also are heartened by continued reports that El Nino is forming in the Pacific Ocean.  Such an event is associated with favorable rains across the central US, an area that could use more water as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s drought monitor shows. <a href=\”\”>Your text to link…</a>\r\n   Along the way, storms coming in from the Pacific could dump needed rain on California.\r\n\r\nBEEF REMAINS STRONG\r\n\r\n   Cash cattle markets got a boost Tuesday from firmer boxed-beef prices, although futures turned lower as nervous traders expressed concerns that consumers would not continue to pay higher prices for beef.\r\n   Cash cattle last week were steady at $148 to $152 per cwt on a live basis and mostly $240 dressed.  \r\n   Slaughter rates Tuesday continued Monday’s upward bias with 118,000 head, compared with 114,000 a week ago and 120,000 a year ago.  Week-to-date slaughter was estimated at 234,000 head, compared with 219,000 a week ago and 240,000 a year ago.\r\n   The USDA reported choice boxed-beef Tuesday at $244.06 per cwt, up $1.21 and select at $237.19, up $1.13.  The choice/select spread widened to $6.87, but the number of fabricated loads sold into the spot market was only 80.\r\n   The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $173.67, down $0.67 while the March futures contract closed Tuesday at $174.12, down $0.62.\r\n\r\nOVER THE FENCE\r\n\r\n• February placements expected higher as wheat deteriorates\r\n• Consumers may pay up for beef as pork supplies decline\r\n• Stocks report likely to show more corn feeding\r\n