Corn futures are posting losses in the mid- to upper teens this morning.
- Corn futures are being pressured by what the market perceives as a much-improved forecast for planting progress. The forecast for May 11-15 calls for below-normal precip and below-normal temps for most of the Corn Belt.
- But there are rain chances for some areas of the Midwest late this week and below-normal temps signal a slow dry-out of soils. Plus, some growers still have field prep to do.
- This afternoon's crop progress report will likely reflect minimal advances in planting last week, but market action signals traders view this as factored into prices.
- Steady Gulf basis levels for near-term delivery signals fresh demand news is lacking.
Soybean futures are mostly 3 to 8 cents lower this morning, with new-crop contracts leading losses.
- While bears have the advantage in the soybean market this morning, pressure on old-crop futures is being limited by concerns about tight supplies. Gulf basis surged 10 cents for delivery the latter half of May this morning.
- Plus, Cargill announced it will temporarily idle its Lafayette, Indiana, soy crushing plant due to poor margins and tight supplies.
- But on the other hand, expectations for this morning's export inspections report reflect slower soybean demand due to the availability of South American supplies.
- Plus, traders feel eventual soybeans plantings will come in above March intentions, especially if corn planting does not soon pick up.
Wheat futures are posting double-digit losses at all three locations this morning. Kansas City wheat is the downside leader.
- Strength in the U.S. dollar index and spillover from corn is weighing on the wheat market.
- This afternoon's Crop Progress and Condition Report is expected to reflect continued spring wheat planting delays as well as additional deterioration to the winter wheat crop due to recent freeze events.
- Plus, the northwest Kansas HRW crop was again nipped by frost this morning.
- But the market is more focused on expectations for the global wheat crop to make up for the diminished U.S. wheat crop.
Live cattle futures are slightly higher in 2013 contracts, while far-deferred months are slightly lower. Feeder cattle futures are enjoying slight gains in most contracts.
- Cattle futures are benefiting from some short-covering amid ideas the downside was overdone Friday after a record-setting week both in terms of cash market and beef prices.
- Choice boxed beef values rose to an all-time high of $201.68 Friday, though this slowed movement to just 114 loads. Select cuts fell 51 cents.
- Packers in Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa and Kansas paid all-time high prices last week for cattle, with dressed sales of up to $207 and live sales of up to $131.
- Nevertheless, traders focused more so on the slowed demand aspect of these lofty prices and actively sold futures ahead of the weekend.
- With Memorial Day a few weeks away, the market is uncertain whether additional gains are in store for beef prices.
- Late-week cash trade is expected as most packers are well supplied for near-term needs.
- Pressure on corn futures is encouraging light short-covering in feeder cattle.
Lean hog futures are choppy on limited trade this morning.
- Uncertainty about cash prospects is limiting buying and selling interest in lean hog futures.
- The pork cutout value was choppy throughout last week and ultimately ended the slightly lower than the week prior.
- Meanwhile, packers paid up for tightening market-ready supplies, with the result being negative cutting margins.
- Unless the pork market improves, demand may be limited this week as packers work to improve margins. Some plants may trim kill hours to improve margins. Early cash hog bids are mostly steady.
- Light pressure on nearby contracts also stems from the $4.50-plus premium the May contract holds to the cash hog index with around a week remaining until its expiration.