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Ahead of the Open (VIP) -- April 17, 2014

08:17AM Apr 17, 2014

Corn futures are called mixed as traders even positions ahead of the Easter holiday.

  • Corn futures ended the overnight session narrowly mixed, favoring a slightly weaker tone.
  • Traders are focused on evening positions ahead of the weekend, and bulls still hold the near-term technical advantage.
  • May corn continues to pivot around the key $5.00 level.
  • This morning's weekly sales report didn't provide any surprising news. Weekly corn sales of 601,900 MT for 2013-14 and 192,600 MT for 2014-15 were within expectations and exports were strong at more than 1.1 MMT.
  • USDA announced a 125,000 MT corn sale to South Korea for 2013-14, signaling prices are still a value.

 

Soybean futures are called to open 1 to 5 cents higher amid bull spread unwinding.

  • Old-crop soybean futures ended the overnight session close to unchanged, with new-crop futures 3 to 4 cents higher.
  • Traders are focused on evening positions ahead of the Easter weekend, as the market is closed for Good Friday.
  • USDA reports weekly soybean export sales of 19,200 MT for 2013-14 and 400,700 MT for 2014-15, which was at the top end of expectations. Exports of 339,200 MT were reported. No major cancellations were reported.
  • The fact that USDA is reporting net old-crop sales is positive for the market as it signals the market will continue to search for a price that rations demand.
  • Traders still have the NOPA crush data released earlier in the week on their minds as it also provided a signal that rationing is not occurring.
  • Also supportive is news that Argentine trucker and dockworkers have started an indefinite strike in an attempt to get better wages.

 

Wheat futures are called 7 to 8 cents higher amid concerns about the winter wheat crop.

  • SRW wheat ended the overnight session mostly 7 cents higher, with HRW and HRS up mostly 7 to 8 cents.
  • Traders remain concerned about the condition of the HRW crop after a freeze event earlier in the week. Ongoing drought in the region makes the crop more vulnerable to freeze damage.
  • This morning's weekly export sales report is positive for the wheat market as it showed sales of 438,000 MT for 2013-14 and sales of 359,900 MT for 2014-15 -- topping expectations. Exports of 556,300 MT were steady with the previous week.
  • Strategie Grains has again raised its EU 2013-14 soft wheat export forecast 1.2 MMT to 26.8 MMT to reflect the strong sales pace.

 

Live cattle futures are called slightly higher on strength in the beef market.

  • Live cattle futures didn't stray too far from unchanged in overnight trade. Futures favored a firmer tone overnight.
  • Traders are becoming more optimistic a near-term low has been posted in the beef market, which suggests the cash market could end up steady with last week's $147 trade.
  • Choice beef values firmed 89 cents and Select rose $1.33 on impressive movement of 209 loads.
  • Cash trade is expected to begin today as many packers are closed on Friday and Saturday ahead of Easter.
  • April live cattle have narrowed the discount the contract holds to last week's cash market to a little over a dollar.
  • This morning's weekly sales data showed beef sales of 21,900 MT -- a new marketing year high -- amid strong Asian demand.

 

Lean hog futures are called to open mixed amid pre-weekend position squaring.

  • With the markets closed on Good Friday, lean hog futures are expected to be mixed as traders focus on evening positions.
  • Buying will be limited by continued deterioration in the pork market, although movement picked up to suggest the market was finding value.
  • Still, packer demand for cash hogs is light this week as they work to improve margins and adjust to a shortened kill schedule ahead of Easter. As a result, cash bids are called steady to $1 lower.
  • Meanwhile, an uptick in pork export sales is a positive sign. Weekly pork sales of 8,600 MT were nearly double last week's light tally, with South Korea the top buyer, followed by Canada, Japan and Mexico.
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