Price action: Corn futures posted a late flurry to end with gains of 2 to 3 cents in most contracts and on session highs.
Fundamental outlook: Corn chopped just above unchanged for much of the day on support from gain in the soybean market. But corn caught a bid late to finish strong amid apparent bargain buying. While a high-range close is typically a sign that followthrough buying is likely, it will be tough to get sustained buying interest amid seasonal pressure and the ongoing uncertainty in Washington.
Rains are falling on areas of the far western Corn Belt today and are forecast to push eastward the next couple of days. That will temporarily slow harvest activity. Traders anticipate harvest progress was about one-third done as of Sunday, though there will be no update from USDA due to the ongoing shutdown.
Technical outlook: For the corn market to put in a low, futures must start turning building layers of resistance into support. The first levels of resistance in December corn futures are last week's high at $4.49 3/4 and the Sept. 30 high at $4.62. Long-term support on the daily chart is layered from the current level to the contract low at $3.98 1/4.
Hedgers: 25% of expected 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 traded higher most of today but traders trimmed gains at the close, resulting in a midrange finish. Futures closed 3 to to 7 cents higher. November futures finished 6 1/4 cents higher.
Fundamental outlook: Soybean futures surged in overnight trading on rumors China is buying U.S. soybeans. No official confirmation of sales is available due to the government shutdown, which fuels speculation. Additional support came on news the China National Grain and Oils Information Center (CNGOIC) forecast this year's Chinese bean production at 12.5 MMT, which would be down 4.2% from last year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. harvest is underway with rains and forecasts for rain disrupting the already delayed harvest. A survey of private analysts conducted by Reuters news service pegs soybean harvest progress at 45%. No official data on harvest progress is available due to the government shutdown.
Technical outlook: November futures bounced off recent support around $12.60 but ran into resistance at $12.80. The $13.00 area marks the next layer of resistance. The $12.60 area is the first line of support with $12.25 as the next level of support should $12.60 fail.
Hedgers: Get to 100% sold in the cash market on expected 2013-crop production. We'll manage risk on the board the remainder of the marketing year.
Cash-only marketers: Get to 75% sold on expected 2013-crop production.
Price action: Wheat futures faced pressure this morning, but buying interest picked up as the day progressed. SRW and HRW futures ended steady to 2 1/4 cents higher for the day. HRS wheat settled marginally higher through the May contract, with farther-deferred months steady to slightly lower.
Fundamental outlook: Wheat faced light profit-taking pressure overnight as the market lacks official export data with which to gauge export demand for U.S. wheat. Plus, much of the Southern Plains is expected to receive welcome rain the first half of the week.
But ideas demand remains strong and production concerns overseas prevented wheat from sliding far. Gains in the corn and bean markets added to the late positive tone, as did weakness in the U.S. dollar index.
Technical outlook: December SRW wheat futures remained within the market's consolidated trading range a dime or two beneath the $7.00 mark, which acts as tough resistance. The contract has been unable to close above this psychologically significant level since mid-June. The October low of $6.72 1/2 marks initial support.
Hedgers: 50% of 2013-crop is sold in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 25% of 2013-crop is sold.
Price action: Cotton futures finished mid- to high-range for the day with gains of 33 to 47 points.
Fundamental outlook: Since starting its cotton stockpiling program in September, China has purchased 245,230 MT of new-crop domestic supplies, which is down 68% from last year at this time. Unfavorable weather this year means Chinese cotton farmers are having a tough time meeting this year's higher quality standards standards. Also, domestic prices are up around 3% from year-ago.
Meanwhile, the U.S. cotton crop is maturing under generally favorable weather, which is limiting buying enthusiasm. But there is some concern about the suspension of around $3 billion in federal loans as a result of the government shutdown. This has caused U.S. cotton producers to turn to commercial banks, ultimately increasing their costs on a crop already dealing with quality issues.
Technical outlook: December cotton futures have traded in an increasingly narrow range in recent sessions, with support standing at the October low of 83.10 cents and initial resistance at the Oct. 1 low of 85.48 cents.
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.
Cash-only marketers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.