Corn futures have softened to post fractional to 1-cent losses in most contracts.
- A lack of fresh fundamental news is leaving traders to focus on position evening ahead of the weekend.
- While demand is strong, supplies are still seen as ample.
- A pullback in the soybean market this morning also shifted some momentum to market bears. However, a weaker U.S. dollar index is keeping selling interest in check.
- March corn futures are pivoting around $4.40 this morning and working on slight losses for the week.
- Gulf corn basis is steady this morning, signaling no fresh demand news is on the horizon.
Soybean futures have softened to trade marginally to 2 cents lower.
- Soybeans are seeing some mild profit-taking to wrap up the week. The March contract has slipped back below the technically important $13.50 level.
- Early support for nearby contracts came from news China's Ministry of Commerce raised its February soybean import forecast from 3.42 MMT to 5 MMT.
- But countering this are ideas China will soon cancel U.S. soybean orders as Brazilian beans come available. The country announced a cancellation earlier this week, though large cancellations have not yet materialized.
- Pre-report expectations for the National Oilseed Processors Association's (NOPA) monthly crush report Tuesday are for January's crush to come in at 162.4 million bu., which would be down 1.8% from December's record high but still a record for a month.
SRW wheat futures are 4 cents higher, while HRW is mixed with nearbys favoring the upside. HRS wheat are fractionally to 2 cents higher.
- Wheat futures are working on gains for the week and nearby SRW wheat futures have been testing tough resistance at $6.00. The front-month moved through that level and then faded.
- Milder weather is melting snowcover in winter wheat country, providing beneficial moisture, but also exposing the crop to the elements.
- Drought remains a concern on the Central and Southern Plains, which is keeping selling interest in check. The 7- to 10-day outlook is fairly dry for these regions.
- But on the other hand, buying interest is being limited by India's farm ministry forecast for a record wheat crop of 95.6 MMT this year, up from last year's 92.46 MMT crop.
- Gulf SRW wheat basis is steady to 2 cents lower this morning, possibly signaling a pullback in demand. Gulf HRW wheat basis, on the other hand, is steady to 3 cents higher for near-term delivery.
Live cattle futures are posting slight to moderate losses this morning. Feeder cattle futures are narrowly mixed.
- Packers have reportedly reduced kill rates due to deeply negative margins this week. This is expected to limit cash cattle trade -- in terms of volume as well as prices.
- So far, just light cash cattle trade has occurred in Kansas at $142, which is up $1 from light trade in the region last week, but down $3 from active trade in the region two weeks ago.
- The cattle market is also seeing some light profit-taking following yesterday's strong gains.
- But pressure is being limited by more signs the boxed beef market is working on a low. Choice and Select cuts firmed 5 and 13 cents, respectively, yesterday and movement was strong at 201 loads. Movement has picked up notably this week.
- Weakness in the corn market and the U.S. dollar index are lifting nearby feeder cattle futures. Some months are seeing some light profit taking after yesterday's strong rally.
Lean hog futures are posting slight to moderate gains this morning.
- Lean hog futures are benefiting from gains in the product and cash markets.
- Pork cutout values firmed 70 cents yesterday, but movement slowed to 281.51 loads.
- Packers are still enjoying strong margins, which is making them more willing to raise bids to secure supplies.
- Winter weather has slowed hog transportation in some regions this week.
- Buying interest in the front-month is limited ahead of its expiration at noon CT today as it remains above the cash index. April hogs will become the lead-month contract next week and the contract holds around a $10 premium to the index.