Grains Choppy to Start Extended Hours Trading

May 21, 2012 01:24 AM

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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade:

Corn: 1 to 3 cents higher. Futures have been choppy so far this morning, currently well off earlier highs. Outside markets are positive this morning, with the U.S. dollar index under pressure -- which is supporting crude oil and gold futures. The U.S. stock market is also set for a rebound this morning after G8 leaders met over the weekend to reaffirm their commitment to keeping Greece in the euro-zone. According to Chinese customs data, China imported 16,441 metric tons (MT) of corn in April -- a sevenfold increase from last year.

Soybeans: 8 to 20 cents higher. New-crop futures are leading gains overnight, but are currently well off session highs. Following last week's losses, futures appear to be building a base of support, with November beans pivoting around the key $13.00 level. Some of the support is coming from comments made over the weekend by China's Premier Wen Jiabao that the government will make growth a bigger priority, raising expectations of further easing of monetary policy. According to Chinese customs data, China's soybean imports in April totaled 4.88 million metric tons (MMT), up 26% from a year-ago.

Wheat: 2 to 8 cents lower. Futures have seen extremely volatile trade so far this morning, with July Chicago wheat spiking to $7.22 earlier and now under light pressure. Early strength came on followthrough from last week's sharp gains inspired by dryness concerns in the U.S., Russia and Australia. Yesterday's 6-10 day forecast calls for hot and dry conditions continuing across the U.S. Southern Plains -- raising concern about filling wheat and adding to ideas of a fast harvest.

Live cattle: Called to open higher. Futures are called to open higher in reaction to Friday's Cattle on Feed Report, which showed On Feed below year-ago levels and the tightest since September 2011. Placements at 85% and Marketings at 100% of year-ago were also bullish as it reflects a tightening feedlot situation. Additionally, last week's cash cattle trade came in mostly $3 higher than the previous week at $123 in the Southern Plains, with a few sales reported at $124. June live cattle are trading at around a $3 discount to last week's cash trade -- opening fresh upside potential for the pit.

Lean Hogs: Called to open mixed. While futures signal a near-term low has been posted, upside potential will be limited today as packers' profit margins have slipped back deep into the red. Pork cutout values slipped $1.20 on Friday, which lowers packers' demand for hogs. The cash market is expected to be mostly steady today, with some weaker tone possible due to negative margins.


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