Grain Futures Firmer to Start the Week

March 11, 2013 01:29 AM

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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 6:30 a.m. CT:

Corn: 2 to 4 cent higher. Old-crop futures are leading gains this morning as traders recognize the tight supply situation. Buying in new-crop futures is being limited to short-covering after a mix of precip moved across the Corn Belt this weekend and continues this morning. Flooding in some parts of the Midwest (including mine) are due to frozen soils unable to capture the moisture, which limits drought improvement. Although a more active weather system makes everyone hopeful the drought pattern has been broken.

Soybeans: Marginally to 8 cents higher. Futures saw double-digit gains earlier but have backed off from the highs. But while the market hasn't been able to remain near session highs, attitudes are positive for old-crop futures in particular to start the week given the tight supply situation. USDA's Supply & Demand Report was quickly absorbed by the market and focus has turned to shipping delays in South America and the prospect that demand for old-crop U.S. soybeans will be stronger-than-needed for the near-term

Wheat: Marginally to 1 cent higher. Chicago wheat is seeing light spillover from corn, while Kansas City and Minneapolis are mixed this morning. May Chicago wheat is trading at a discount to May corn futures this morning, which is contributing to spillover buying. But new-crop futures hold a premium to old-crop, which is a reminder that traders remain concerned about drought prospects. While some drought relief to the Plains has been seen recently, longer-term outlooks aren't promising of complete drought relief.

Live cattle: Mixed. Futures are called mixed on a combination of followthrough pressure amid demand concerns and short-covering as April live cattle are trading at a discount to last week's cash trade. Traders are keeping a close eye on the boxed beef market, as they fear surging beef prices have slowed demand. Beef prices ended last week mixed, but for the week were sharply higher. It will be difficult for the market to generate much more than short-covering given ongoing demand worries.

Lean hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to see a choppy start, with pressure limited by indications the market has bottomed. But to confirm last week's recovery was the start of a larger price correction, the market needs to build on those gains. That could be difficult given ongoing weakness in the pork cutout market, which his keeping packers' demand for cash hogs light. Early expectations are for steady to weaker cash hog bids, although packers' margins are well in the black.


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