FIRMER TONE OVERNIGHT... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are trading 2 to 5 cents higher, soybeans mostly 5 to 9 cents higher, Chicago wheat mostly 4 to 6 cents higher, Kansas City wheat mostly 3 to 5 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat fractionally to 4 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is weaker this morning, parting due to a less-than-expected drop in euro-zone economic sentiment in October.
SANDY CONTINUES TO SLAM EAST COAST... Superstorm Sandy continues to dump heavy rains (snow in some locations) and produce high winds along the East Coast. The U.S. stock and bond markets are closed today, but there are plans to resume trade Wednesday. U.S. stock futures and options will trade until 8:15 a.m. CT again today. Electronic trading in the energy and metal markets is operational today, but floor trade is closed.
MOFCOM REVISES OCTOBER SOY IMPORT FORECAST... Chinese October soybean imports are likely to total 4.22 MMT, according to the latest forecast from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). That would be down from 4.97 MMT in September, but is up from the ministry's prior forecast of 3.66 MMT.
CONSULTANT LOWERS UKRAINE GRAIN CROP FORECAST... Private consulting firm UkrAgroConsult revised its Ukraine grain crop forecast to 42.15 MMT from 42.41 MMT previously due to a smaller corn estimate. The consultancy lowered its corn crop forecast by 200,000 MT to 18.8 MMT. The wheat crop forecast was left unchanged at 14.18 MMT.
DUFFY: CME GROUP TO KEEP 21-HOUR TRADING DAY... Grain and soy futures will continue to trade 21 hours per day as long as competitor exchanges have similar hours, according to CME Group Executive Chairman Terry Duffy in an interview with Reuters. Duffy says, "Just because the IntercontinentalExchange has not garnered a lot of market share... there is a competitive issue for us. We need to remain competitive and we will keep our markets open as long as others are open at that time." However, Duffy says the exchange is open to an earlier close for open-outcry trading if that's what the majority of traders want.
CHOICE BOXED BEEF BOUNCES BACK... After sharp losses late last week, Choice boxed beef was 68 cents higher Monday. Still, it's likely going to take a strong performance in the boxed beef market throughout the week to encourage packers to pay up for cash cattle given highly negative cutting margins and concerns that high prices will slow demand.
CASH HOGS TO REMAIN STEADY/WEAKER... Packer demand for cash hogs is limited as most plants are bought ahead on slaughter needs and market-ready supplies are plentiful. The pork cutout value was 9 cents higher Monday and cutting margins are in the black, but cash hog bids are expected to remain steady to weaker across the Midwest.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... South Korea purchased 55,000 MT of optional origin corn and 63,000 MT of South American corn. South Korea also tendered for 126,000 MT of corn and 24,700 MT of U.S. wheat. India tendered to export 30,000 MT of wheat.