QUIET, CHOPPY TRADE AHEAD OF USDA REPORTS... As of 6:30 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, soybeans are steady to 3 cents lower, Chicago wheat is steady to 2 cents higher, Kansas City wheat is 2 to 4 cents higher and Minneapolis wheat is 1 to 3 cents higher. The U.S. dollar index is under pressure this morning.
PLANTING INTENTIONS, GRAIN STOCKS DATA OUT THIS MORNING... USDA's much-anticipated Prospective Plantings and Quarterly Grain Stocks Reports will be released at 11 a.m. CT. Traders expect corn acres at 97.3 million, soybean acres at 78.5 million, all wheat acres at 56.4 million (spring wheat at 12.5 million) and cotton acres at 10.08 million. March 1 grain stocks are seen at 5.03 billion bu. for corn, 947 million for soybeans and 1.167 billion bu. for wheat.
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES ALSO OUT THIS MORNING... For the week ended March 21, traders expect: corn sales between 200,000 and 400,000 MT; wheat sales between 300,000 and 600,000 MT; soybean sales between 500,000 and 800,000 MT; soymeal sales between 100,000 and 200,000 MT; and soyoil sales between 0 and 15,000 MT.
CHINA CONTINUES TO BUY U.S. NEW-CROP CORN... Earlier this month, trade sources told Reuters Chinese importers had purchased 600,000 MT of U.S. new-crop corn in February and early March. China National Grain and Oils Information Center now says Chinese purchases of U.S. 2013-crop corn are in excess of 2 MMT. With U.S. new-crop prices below domestic prices in China, imports remain attractive to end-users.
JAPAN TO INCREASE FOOD WHEAT IMPORTS... Japan plans to increase milling wheat purchases by 2.7% to 4.91 MMT in 2013-14 (April-March), according to the country's ag ministry. Japan is also increasing feed wheat purchases as feedmakers look for alternatives to corn given tight supplies and high prices.
ECONOMIC, IMMIGRATION AND TRADE ISSUES ON OBAMA AGENDA for MEXICO, COSTA RICA VISITS... President Barack Obama will visit Mexico and Costa Rica during May 2-4 to discuss economic, immigration, and trade issues. He plans to meet with Mexican President Pena Nieto. The two leaders spoke by telephone Wednesday. The trip comes as Obama continues to push Congress to pass legislation that would overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
QUARTERLY SNOUT COUNT OUT THIS AFTERNOON... USDA's Quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report is expected to show the U.S. hog herd is expanding, with most categories guessed just above year-ago levels. The average pre-report guesses put All Hogs and Pigs at 100.7%, Kept for Breeding at 100.3%, Kept for Marketing at 100.8% and the Dec.-Feb. pig crop at 101.2% of year-ago levels.
STILL WAITING ON ACTIVE CASH CATTLE TRADE... Cash cattle trade is likely to be active at some point today as packers and feedlots are not expected to extend negotiations into Friday with markets closed. Traders have cash strength built into nearby live cattle futures and it appears likely cash cattle will trade above last week's $124 to $125 prices in the Plains.
PORK MARGINS TIGHTEN... The combination of steady to firmer cash hog bids and weakness in the pork product market has eroded packer cutting margins. Cash sources are still anticipating steady to possibly firmer cash hog bids today, however, as plants are still looking to fill in slaughter runs for early next week.
HOLIDAY TRADING SCHEDULE... Grain and livestock markets will observe normal trading hours today, but are closed for Good Friday. Government offices are open Friday, but no USDA reports are scheduled with markets closed.
OVERNIGHT DEMAND NEWS... Tunisia tendered to buy 42,000 MT of optional origin durum wheat.