Price action: Corn futures traded slightly higher in narrow corrective trade and finished mid-range. September futures closed 5 1/4 higher while new-crop was 1 to 2 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Corn futures moved higher on spillover from strong gains in soybeans and ideas recent declines had been overdone. September futures also got some lift from improving Gulf basis levels, which serves as a reminder of tight old-crop supplies. Some traders also noted the turn toward less precipitation expected in the near-term outlook for the western Corn Belt.
Limiting gains today was the lighter-than-expected weekly corn export sales report, which showed 290,100 MT sold for 2012-13 and 220,900 MT for 2013-14. Traders are also starting to look toward USDA's Crop Production Report, due Monday, with expectations USDA will peg the total crop at 14.005 billion bushels.
Technical analysis: December corn futures posted have stabilized this week, but the overall bearish trend remains in place. Initial resistance stands at Monday's high of $4.65. The contract must close above old support at $4.90 to suggest a short-term low is in place. Support is at the psychological $4.50 level.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 100% sold on old-crop. 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Price action: August and September soybean futures closed 28 and 28 3/4 cents higher, respectively. New-crop contacts ended 13 1/2 to 18 1/2 cents higher. Futures closed in the upper end of today's range, but off session highs.
Fundamental analysis: Positive demand news and ideas the downside has been overdone fueled corrective gains in the soybean market today. Weekly soybean export sales were much stronger than anticipated at 1.097 MMT -- 290,100 MT for 2012-13 and 1.018 MMT for 2013-14. "Unknown" and China were the lead buyers of new-crop beans. In addition, monthly data showed Chinese July soybean imports were record-large at 7.2 MMT. Plus, positive trade data out of China hints that the Chinese economy isn't as sluggish as feared.
Funds were on the buy side of the ledger today, buying a net 6,000 contracts (30 million bu.) of soybeans. After recently sharply trimming their long position, fund activity will be key. If they start to rebuild a long position, it would help futures put in a short-term low. But if funds decide to go short soybeans, futures are likely to move the next leg lower.
Technical analysis: November soybean futures posted a corrective bounce, which has relieved the oversold condition. The contract needs a close above old support at the April low of $11.86 1/2 and the psychological $12.00 market to suggest a low is forming. It would take a close above $12.25 to confirm a low has been posted. Bears' downside target is $11.40 if Wednesday's low at $11.62 1/2 is taken out.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. 20% forward priced on expected 2013-crop production for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 100% sold on old-crop. 20% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Price action: Wheat futures slumped after favoring the upside at the start of the day session on spillover from a positive start in corn futures. SRW and HRW futures closed mostly 1 to 2 cents lower and near the lows of the day. HRS futures finished 3 to 5 cents lower and also low-range for the day.
Fundamental analysis: Wheat attempted to move higher in sympathy with corn and soybeans but concerns U.S. wheat is uncompetitively priced relative to cheaper global supplies sent prices lower. Adding to the negative tone was news India will allow an additional 2 MMT of wheat to move into the export market.
Traders shrugged off positive export news via USDA weekly export sales report that showed wheat export sales reached 726,200 MT for 2013-14, at the top end of expectations.
Technical analysis: SRW September futures found support today at Wednesday's low of $6.39. Yesterday's high of $6.52 3/4 offers initial resistance. It takes a close above $6.67 1/2 to hint a shor-term low has been posted.
Hedgers: 50% of 2013-crop is sold in the cash market. 100% sold on of 2012-crop.
Cash-only marketers: 25% of 2013-crop is sold. 100% sold on 2012-crop.
Price action: Cotton futures finished with gains of 67 to 114 points through the May contract, while farther-deferred contracts posted lesser gains. Futures ended high-range.
Fundamental analysis: Crop concerns in Texas and China fueled additional buying interest in the cotton market today. Traders are worried with hot, dry conditions in the top U.S. production state, along with record temps across areas of China.
Weekly cotton export sales were disappointing at just 81,400 running bales for 2013-14. Export bookings are 22.3% to start the new marketing year.
There was some positive trade data out of China, however, as Chinese exports and imports picked up last month after slumping in June. That gives traders some hope China's economy isn't as sluggish as feared.
Technical analysis: December futures are testing resistance at the June high of 89.56 cents. A close above that level would signal a breakout from the extended, choppy range and would likely trigger buy stops. But failure to find buying above that resistance would suggest futures are headed back toward the bottom of the range.
Hedgers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is hedged in December cotton futures at 83.87 cents. 50% of expected 2013-crop production is also sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop.