Corn futures are called mixed as traders even positions ahead of the weekend.
- Corn futures ended the overnight session marginally to 1 cent higher in all but the front-month contract, which ended 1 1/4 cent lower.
- Traders are focused on evening positions ahead of the weekend referendum in Crimea to join Russia. Concerns such a move would heighten tensions in Ukraine could limit selling in the grain markets.
- Meanwhile, China's state corn stockpile for 2013-14 had already reached 54.66 MMT recently and is expected at a record 60 MMT by the end of next month, says China National Grain and Oils Information Center. It left its 2013-14 corn import forecast at 5.5 MMT.
- Gulf corn basis is 1 to 3 cents lower this morning for nearby delivery, which suggests either a slowdown in demand and/or transportation disruptions.
Soybean futures are called mixed amid pre-weekend position squaring.
- Soybean futures ended the overnight session mixed, with March 2 cents lower, but May through August futures 1 to 2 cents higher. New-crop futures ended 2 to 5 cents lower.
- Traders' focus in the bean pit this week has been on spreading, as bull spread unwinding was the featured activity earlier in the the week, but bull spreading returned yesterday.
- A grounded ship carrying soybeans is blocking the main waterway at Argentina's top grain port, which is limiting ship movement and adding to transportation delays. Unionized dockworkers are holding a one-day work stoppage at the port.
- Gulf soybean basis is 1 cent weaker for immediate delivery this morning that could signal a slowdown in demand, but this is more likely a function of recent increased movement of cash supplies to the market.
- Soybean futures are working on sharp weekly losses, which is the first time in several weeks this has been the case.
Wheat futures are called 1 to 3 cents higher as traders remain concerned about political tensions in Ukraine.
- SRW and HRW wheat ended the overnight session mostly 3 to 4 cents higher, with HRS steady to 1 cent firmer.
- Traders' focus is on evening positions ahead of the weekend referendum in Crimea on a proposal to join Russia. Such a move is expected to further inflame the Ukrainian crisis.
- As a result, traders have added premium into wheat futures as traders believe a lengthy period of unrest in the Black Sea region will divert demand to the U.S.
- Gulf HRW basis is 2 to 5 cents firmer for nearby delivery this morning, with SRW basis steady in all but May, which is 5 cents softer.
- Wheat futures are working on strong weekly gains and have further improved the near-term technical outlook for the market.
Live cattle futures are called to open mixed as traders even positions ahead of the weekend.
- Live cattle are expected to be choppy with an upside bias as traders wait on active cash trade to develop.
- Reports of light cash trade in Kansas yesterday at $148.50 are surfacing, which is up just 50 cents from last week. Cash sources say this light movement doesn't set a precedent for remaining feedlots.
- Choice beef values slipped 21 cents yesterday and Select rose 11 cents on movement of 114 loads. But beef prices are higher than a week ago.
- April live cattle ended yesterday at nearly a $5.00 discount to the start of this week's cash market as traders believe a near-term high has been posted in the cash market.
- March feeder futures are trading in line with the cash index, which is down 10 cents from the previous day's all-time high.
Lean hog futures are called to open steady to slightly higher amid ongoing strength in the pork market.
- Lean hog futures are expected to build on yesterday's sharp to limit higher price performance given ongoing strength in the pork market.
- Pork cutout values firmed another $1.12 yesterday, but movement slowed to 268.69, which signals the record-rise in pork prices is curbing demand.
- While slowed pork demand is a sign a high may be near, traders remain concerned about the spread of PEDV, as the virus continues to spread.
- Week-to-date slaughter is running 2.7% behind year-ago, which means packers are still seeking supplies for a Saturday kill.
- As a result, the cash hog market is expected to be mostly $1 higher again today.
- The CME lean hog index rose $1.59 to stand at $109.16, but April futures hold around a $10 premium to the index.