Price action: Corn futures settled 3/4 to 1 cent higher through the July contract. Most of the remaining contracts were steady to fractionally lower.
Fundamental analysis: Corn futures were supported through the day by strong spillover from soybeans, dryness concerns in areas of Argentina and a weaker U.S. dollar. But buying interest faded late, suggesting the market needs a shot of fresh bullish news, likely from the demand front, to spark active buying interest.
Weekly export inspections were in the middle of the guess range at 10.959 million bu., but the pace is now 56.3% below year-ago compared to USDA's forecast for a 38.4% decline in exports for the 2012-13 marketing year.
Technical analysis: After the reaction to USDA's Jan. 11 crop reports, March corn futures have settled into a short-term consolidation range from $7.22 1/2 to $7.35. An upside push from this level would have bulls targeting resistance in the $7.65 to $7.75 range. A downside breakout would point the contract to a test of the psychological $7.00 mark and possibly to a test of the January low at $6.78.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market -- 10% for March 2013 delivery. No 2013-crop sales recommended yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop --10% for March 2013 delivery; 15% for May 2013 delivery. No 2013-crop sales recommended yet.
Price action: Soybean futures extended gains with the start of open-outcry trade and finished with sharp gains. March through July futures ended 20 3/4 to 22 1/2 cents higher, with the rest of the market up 15 1/2 to 20 1/4 cents.
Fundamental analysis: A combination of concerns about dryness in Argentina, weakness in the dollar index and fresh export news gave soybean futures a lift to start the week. The near-term forecast calls for only limited rainfall for Argentina and southern Brazil. This is especially troubling in Argentina, which saw a too-wet start to the growing season. However, alleviating concerns are favorable conditions in northern Brazil.
Also supportive was news of a 120,000 MT optional-origin soybean sale to China for 2013-14, as well as stronger-than-expected weekly export inspections of 48.075 million bushels. The recent surge in demand signals end-users view U.S. soybeans as a value.
Technical analysis: March soybean futures posted an upside day of trade on the daily chart and closed above last week's high of $14.48, which strongly suggests the market has posted a near-term low. Bulls' next objective is clearing the December high of $15.01 1/4.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No futures/options positions at this time. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop production for harvest delivery. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Price action: Wheat futures saw two-sided trade today, but the market spent the majority of the day in negative territory and faded into the close. Chicago wheat ended 8 1/2 to 12 cents lower; Kansas City closed roughly 12 to 13 cents lower; and Minneapolis settled 7 to 9 3/4 cents lower.
Fundamental analysis: Wheat futures were unable to sustain early gains, and the resulting profit-taking pressure resulted in a number of contracts posting bearish reversals for the day. While the market remains concerned about dryness in the Southern and Central Plains as well as winterkill in northern locations, the wheat market needs fresh export news to spark the next leg higher in prices.
This morning's stronger-than-expected export inspections tally of 21.857 million bu. was not enough to convince traders export demand is on the mend.
Technical analysis: March Chicago wheat futures narrowly escaped posting a bearish reversal for the day. Followthrough pressure tomorrow could set the contract up for a test of the 2013 low of $7.36 1/4. New resistance is today's high of $7.99 3/4.
Hedgers: 75% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% of 2012-crop is sold. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Price action: Cotton futures enjoyed strong followthrough buying today, with most contracts hitting their highest levels since May. Futures ended high-range with gains of 63 to 148 points.
Fundamental analysis: Cotton futures broke out of a long-term sideways trading range last week thanks to ideas cotton supplies will tighten as U.S. producers increasingly turn away from cotton in favor of corn and soybeans and amid signs of improving export demand. In addition, lackluster demand at recent Chinese state reserve auctions could indicate increasing import demand from the country going forward if the government allows more import quotas.
While China's cotton imports for December of 532,1777 MT were down 33% from year-ago, the 2012 total of 5.13 MMT were up 53% over the year prior.
Technical analysis: March cotton futures ventured into, but did not close, the May gap from 79.88 cents to 80.56 cents, leaving the top of that gap as key resistance. Strong support stands at the August high of 78.02 cents.
Hedgers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production in the cash market.