Price action: Corn futures spent most of the day within a penny or two of unchanged, with the market favoring the downside for bulk of it. Futures closed around a penny lower across the board.
Fundamentals analysis: The corn market saw some early selling spurred by gains in the U.S. dollar index and yesterday's upside day of trade. The weekly update on ethanol production added incentive to sell since ethanol output slowed last week. In addition, expectations for a record-large 2013 crop remains a weight on the market.
On the other hand, signs that the resulting lower prices are rebuilding demand are limiting corn's downside. Tomorrow's Weekly Export Sales Report will provide an update on this front.
Technical analysis: December corn spent the day trading within the upper half of yesterday's range. Today and yesterday's high of $4.19 is initial resistance, but the contract must move above $4.50 to signal it is working on a low. Yesterday's 2013 low of $4.10 is support.
Hedgers: 25% of 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Price action: Soybean futures ended narrowly mixed today as the January contract finished 2 1/2 cents lower, March beans were steady and deferred months posted gains of 1 to 3 cents.
Fundamentals analysis: Two-sided trade was seen throughout the day in the soybean market as there wasn't a strong market-moving presence. Bulls pulled support from strong demand for U.S. soybeans. But that was countered by generally favorable weather in South America and prospects for a record-large soybean crop there.
Funds were quiet today, selling an estimated net 2,000 contracts (10 million bu.) of soybeans on the day. Funds are gradually easing their net long position, though there's currently no strong reason for them to actively liquidate long positions.
Technical analysis: January beans are positioned well within the established trading range from the Nov. 5 low of $12.47 to the Nov. 14 high of $13.21 1/2. A breakout from that range is needed to trigger a strong trending move.
Hedgers: Get to 100% sold in the cash market on 2013-crop production. We'll manage risk on the board the remainder of the marketing year.
Cash-only marketers: Get to 75% sold on 2013-crop production.
Price action: Wheat futures slumped amid intra-day profit-taking, closing at or near their lows of the day. SRW futures finished 3 to 5 cents lower; HRW closed down mostly 3 to 4 cents; and HRS futures finished unchanged to around a penny lower.
Fundamentals analysis: Futures firmed in early morning trading on the surprising news Egypt had bought 110,000 MT of U.S. SRW wheat for 2013-14 delivery. In addition, Argentina's Rosario Grains Exchange pegged that country's wheat crop at 9.1 MMT in its first estimate for the 2013-14 marketing year, just 4.6% higher than last year's drought-reduced crop. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange currently forecasts the country's wheat production at 10.35 MMT. The Argentine government will release its first estimate Thursday.
Wheat futures saw profit-taking after prices spiked on the open to their highest level since Nov. 11. That came on top of yesterday's rise. In addition, wheat saw some selling pressure from the stronger U.S. dollar and a slightly weaker corn market.
Technical analysis: December SRW futures fell back on profit-taking after rising above the psychological $6.50 mark. The $6.54 3/4 mark topped gains today and is now resistance. Recent lows at the $6.42 area are support. The December contract needs a close above $6.60 to hint a low is in the works.
Hedgers: 75% sold on 2013-crop in the cash market. No 2014-crop sales are advised.
Cash-only marketers: 50% sold on 2013-crop. No 2014-crop sales are advised at this time.
Price action: Cotton futures were highly choppy today and settled slightly higher in all but the front-month contract, which ended under light pressure.
Fundamentals analysis: Cotton futures were supported throughout the day by news the China National Reserves Corp. pegs the 2013 China crop at 30.7 million bales, down 5.5% from USDA's current forecast due to poor late-season weather that hurt yields. Traders say this provides some explanation to the better-than-expected pace of export sales recently, as well as raises expectations that demand will continue to be strong. Early price action tomorrow will be directed by the weekly sales report.
China's state stockpiler was expected to announce when it would start releasing stocks from state reserves today. The lack of announcement triggered some talk that the reserve auctions will be pushed back, which provided temporary support for futures. But the realization that state reserve sales are very likely to happen at some point zapped buying interest late.
Technical analysis: December cotton futures saw trade above 77.00 cents but settled low-range with slight losses for the day. The contract is hovering above support at the November low of 75.27 cents. Violation of that support would make bears' next target the November 2012 low of 74.35 cents.
Hedgers: 50% of expected 2013-crop is sold in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 50% sold on 2013-crop production.