Price action: Corn futures marked very choppy trade in a narrow range today until the final few minutes of trade when prices pushed higher. Futures closed near the daily highs. December futures finished up 3 1/2 cents. Deferred contracts closed 2 1/4 to 3 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Traders barely reacted to any news today as traders moved into neutral mode ahead of Thursday's Crop Production and Supply & Demand Reports from USDA. According to pre-report estimates, traders are looking for USDA to lower its national average yield estimate to 153.9 bu. per acre for a 13.646-billion-bu. crop, down 117 million bu. from August and for USDA to cut its 2013-14 corn carryover peg by 140 million bu. from last month to 1.697 billion bushels.
The market got some light support from reports U.S. weekly ethanol output rose 29,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 848,000 bpd. But, U.S. weekly ethanol stocks rose 53,000 barrels to 16.27 million barrels. And a Taiwanese trade delegation on Tuesday signed non-binding letters of intent to buy 5 MMT of U.S. corn and 500,000 MT of U.S. distillers dried grains (DDGs) over the next two years. But news out of China that the country again expects its corn crop will be record-large at 215 MMT, up 4.6% from year-ago was seen as a negative.
Weaker basis bids in interior markets as the corn harvest moves closer was also cited as negative factor on prices in early trading.
Technical analysis: Futures marked time today waiting for the barrage of USDA reports tomorrow. But the late spurt, while small, left charts with a slightly more bullish cast and carried prices to their highest settlement price since September 1. December futures have support at the September low of $4.57 with resistance at the psychological $5.00 mark up to the August high of $5.08 1/4.
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: September soybeans closed 1 1/2 cents higher, while the November through September 2014 contract ended 2 1/4 to 5 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Soybeans favored a mildly firmer tone for much of today's session, but buying interest was limited as traders don't appear willing to add new long positions ahead of Thursday's Crop Production and Supply & Demand Reports from USDA. Traders are expecting USDA to lower its crop estimate from last month and for that to result in a cut to the 2013-14 carryover projection. The friendly pre-report expectations should also limit selling interest, though some pre-report profit-taking can't be ruled out tomorrow.
Aside from preparations for USDA's report data, traders are keeping a watch on weather conditions. While temps are moderating and some light, scattered rains pushed through the western Corn Belt today, the overall weather pattern is expected to remain generally warmer and drier than normal, which would not be favorable for the filling crop.
Technical analysis: November soybean futures have clearly defined near-term boundaries. Filling the Aug. 26 upside gap at $13.31 1/2 would suggest a short-term top is in place and would point to an extended corrective pullback. A push above the contract high at $14.09 3/4 would suggest the contract is ready to move the next leg higher on the daily chart with the upside target then $14.49 on the weekly continuation chart.
Hedgers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via a forward-price cash 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 a forward-price cash contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market.
Price action: All wheat flavors didn't stray too far from unchanged today and finished mixed. SRW wheat favored a firmer tone and HRW favored a weaker tone on the close. HRS wheat ended mostly 4 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Traders' focus was on evening positions ahead of tomorrow's USDA reports. Traders look for USDA to raise 2013-14 carryover by around 5 million bu. from last month to 445 million bushels. But continued solid-enough demand could result in USDA leaving its usage estimates unchanged.
Also this morning, USDA announced Nigeria has purchased 120,000 MT of HRW wheat, which signals U.S. wheat is competitively priced on the global market. Another positive demand signal came this morning as Gulf basis for SRW wheat climbed to stand 40 cents above December futures.
Technical analysis: December SRW wheat spent the day pivoting around yesterday's high and the $6.50 level. Near-term boundaries are resistance at the August high of $6.79 3/4 and support at the contract low of $6.35 1/2. Bears still hold the near-term advantage and bulls need closes back above $7.00 to signal a low has been posted.
Hedgers: 50% of 2013-crop is sold in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 25% of 2013-crop is sold.
Price action: Cotton futures ended mixed, with the October through May contracts ending marginally lower and deferreds ending marginally higher.
Fundamental analysis: Traders' focus was on evening positions ahead of tomorrow's 11:00 a.m. CT USDA reports. Traders look for the report to show around a 200,000-bale increase in 2013-14 carryover from last month to around 3.0 million bales. If realized, that's still down from 3.8 million bales in 2012-13.
Sharp weakness on the U.S. dollar index limited pressure on nearby wheat futures, although a weaker dollar needs to translate into an uptick in demand before traders become too influenced by movement in the dollar.
Technical analysis: December cotton futrues saw trade above yesterday's high but were turned back as the contract approached the 85.00-cent level. The contract posted a low-range close, which raises the likelihood of followthrough pressure once trade resumes. Support lies at last week's low of 82.11 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.