Corn futures have improved to post 1 to 2-cent gains.
- Light short-covering is lifting the corn market today.
- Fresh news is limited today, leaving traders to focus on evening positions ahead of what will be an extended break from the markets for some. Traders on the short side of the market are unwilling to be caught by a Santa Clause rally.
- Also, recent export sales reports have reflected strong demand for U.S. corn. Thus, traders are readying positions ahead of tomorrow's update.
- But buying interest is also being tempered by news reports that China has rejected 500,000 MT to 600,000 MT of U.S. corn since mid-November due to the presence of unapproved GMO material, which is well above levels reported by Chinese quarantine officials.
- Gulf corn basis is down a penny for January delivery but steady for other months this morning.
Soybean futures got off to a choppy start, but the market has since improved to trade steady to 4 cents higher.
- Soybean futures continue to benefit from the forecast for high temps in South America, which could pose a problem for some already dry areas of Argentina.
- Traders are also evening positions ahead of the holidays.
- Strong export demand for U.S. soybeans remains an underlying bullish factor. The market will receive an update on this via tomorrow's Weekly Export Sales Report.
- Gulf soybean basis is steady to 1 cent lower for nearby delivery to suggest a softening of demand that is typical around the holidays.
- Recent strong gains in the soybean meal market are contributing spillover support. Nearby soymeal futures have surged to new contract highs.
SRW and HRW wheat remain 1 to 3 cents lower while HRS wheat is still choppy.
- The wheat market has steadily declined since the start of the market, hitting new contract lows every day this week. Today is no exception for the winter wheat markets.
- Mild strength in the U.S. dollar index ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's press conference is adding incentive to sell.
- Meanwhile, ample global supplies and a record-large Canadian wheat crop means the U.S. faces stiff export competition. The market is working to find a price that rebuilds demand.
- In addition, mild conditions on the Plains for the time being and the generally good condition of the winter wheat crop when it entered dormancy means traders have little concern about the U.S. wheat crop.
Live cattle futures are posting slight losses this morning. Feeder cattle futures are moderately lower.
- A softening in the product market have caused traders to rein in early bullish hopes for the cash cattle market.
- Choice boxed beef cuts fell $1.54 yesterday and Select firmed 37 cents but just 113 loads changed hands despite the price break in premium cuts.
- While showlist estimates are down significantly this week, packers are buying for a holiday-shortened week.
- Traders are also reducing risk ahead of Friday's Cattle on Feed Report, which is expected to show On-Feed at 95.4%, Placements at 100.9% and Marketings at 94.6% of year-ago levels.
- Gains in the corn market and profit-taking are again weighing on feeder cattle futures.
Lean hog futures are enjoying moderate gains across the board this morning.
- Lean hog futures are benefiting from ideas the downside has been overdone in recent sessions.
- Traders were also encouraged by improved movement of 408.28 loads yesterday on just a 15-cent price slide in the pork cutout value. This spurs optimism retailers may feature pork after the holidays.
- But buying interest is largely limited to short-covering as the cash hog market will likely remain under pressure over the near-term. Supplies are ample, which has kept cash hog bids steady to lower.
- February lean hogs remain at a substantial premium to the cash hog index.