Market Snapshot, 10:00 am CT -- July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012 05:03 AM


Corn is 2 to 10 cents higher amid weather concerns, but has seen choppy trade.

  • Strength in the U.S. dollar has encouraged some additional profit-taking at times this morning, but bulls' have maintained the upper hand thanks to ongoing crop concerns.
  • Yesterday's crop condition ratings from USDA showed just 31% of the crop is in "good" to "excellent" shape, whereas 38% of it is rated "poor" to "very poor."
  • And more condition declines likely lie ahead as triple-digit temps and generally dry conditions are taking a toll on the Midwest corn crop. Rain is in the forecast for the far upper Midwest and eastern Corn Belt this week, however.
  • Steep declines in Gulf basis levels this morning are adding profit-taking incentive.


Soybeans are currently posting slight losses across the board.

  • Dollar strength and uncertainty about how much upside is left in the current weather rally has encouraged profit-taking in soybeans today.
  • But crop concerns are limiting the market's downside. Yesterday USDA lowered its condition ratings slightly more than expected; 34% of the crop is now rated "good" to "excellent," while 30% of the crop now falls into the "poor" to "very poor" categories.
  • Severe drought across key growing areas signal improvement in the crop is likely limited.


Wheat is choppy this morning with nearby contracts favoring the upside at all locations.

  • Wheat futures are again taking their cue from the corn market. Light profit-taking on dollar strength has kept action choppy.
  • Also encouraging some profit-taking is the fact that USDA's spring wheat condition ratings are still generally favorable. Sixty-five percent of the crop is rated "good" to "excellent."
  • The market's downside remains limited by crop concerns overseas. Most recently, Kazakhstan's ag ministry says it expects its grain harvest to total 14 million metric tons (MMT), which is well below last year's 29.7 MMT production total.
  • Meanwhile, winter wheat harvest is underway in Manitoba, Canada, with reports of yields in the 60 bu. to 80 bu. per acre range.


Live cattle futures are under slight to moderate pressure this morning. Feeder cattle futures have moved off their limit-lower losses, but remain under heavy pressure.

  • The market is booking some light profits today after an unimpressive start to boxed beef trade yesterday -- prices softened and movement failed to impress.
  • Also, total showlist numbers are heavier thanks to a big increase in Nebraska feedlot numbers.
  • Strength in corn and confirmation of deteriorating pasture conditions by USDA yesterday are weighing on feeder cattle. Traders are ignoring the market's severely oversold status.


Lean hog futures are posting slight to sharp losses this morning.

  • Packers' demand for cash hogs remains light due to negative profit margins. Early cash hog bids are steady to lower.
  • While heat across the country is limiting animal weight gain, it is also encouraging producers to sell hogs early and deterring consumers from firing up the grill.
  • Pork cutout values slipped 68 cents yesterday, though movement was decent.
  • Pressure on August hogs is being limited by the steep discount it holds to the cash index.
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