Corn futures are up 5 to 7 cents in old-crop contracts while new-crop contracts are 3 to 4 cents higher.
- Light support stems from ongoing signs that the price break has improved demand.
- Weekly corn export sales came in near the upper end of expectations at 185,200 MT for 2012-13 and 290,800 MT of 2013-14. But the overall pace of commitments fell to 55% behind year-ago, reminding that demand destruction has occurred over the past marketing year.
- Gulf corn basis firmed again this morning for immediate delivery, signaling farmer unwillingness to sell corn at current prices and/or fresh export demand news lies ahead.
- Pressure on the U.S. dollar is adding to the positive tone in corn this morning.
- Planting delays due to cold, wet conditions across the Corn Belt are not yet highly supportive for new-crop corn futures. Traders see the longer-term benefits of the rains as greater than shorter-term negatives for now.
Soybean futures are mixed with old-crop contracts fractionally to 5 cents higher and new-crop mostly 3 to 6 cents lower.
- Traders are back to bull spreading the soybean market as they continue to digest USDA's unchanged carryover estimate for beans yesterday.
- Basis levels around the country are historically high, which signals supplies are still tough to come by.
- Weekly export sales were lighter than anticipated at 319,200 MT for 2012-13 and 64,500 MT for 2013-14, though the overall pace of exports remains strong.
- Sales of soy products for 2012-13 are still well ahead of the pace needed to reach USDA's export forecast, with soymeal sales running 41% ahead of year-ago and soyoil sales ore 146% ahead of year-ago.
- New-crop futures are being pressured by talk some intended corn acres may get switched to soybeans amid planting delays due to cold, wet conditions that are expected to persist over the next two weeks.
Wheat futures are enjoying gains around 5 to 6 cents in Chicago, mostly 9 to 12 cents in Kansas City and 9 to 10 cents in Minneapolis.
- Wheat futures are benefiting from corrective short-covering, encouraged by ideas the downside was overdone yesterday and weakness in the U.S. dollar index.
- Kansas City futures are the upside leader thanks to heightened HRW crop concerns. Temps dipped below freezing across the Central and Southern Plains again overnight.
- Some damage has been done by the freeze event, but it will be a couple weeks before crop scouts have a good read on exactly how much damage.
- Weekly export sales were at the low end of the pre-report guess range at 263,500 MT for 2012-13 and 76,000 MT for 2013-14. This could curb buying interest a little.
- But countering this is USDA's daily export sales announcement that China bought 360,000 MT of SRW wheat for 2013-14 delivery. This buy is confirmation of talk last week that the country had bought up to 16 cargoes of U.S. wheat.
Live cattle futures are slightly higher in all but some of the far-deferred contracts. Feeder cattle futures are posting slight losses.
- Cash cattle activity is thought to be largely complete in the South after trade at $127 in Kansas and Texas yesterday -- down $1 from last week.
- But despite the disappointing lower cash prices, traders are covering short positions after the steep selloff yesterday was deemed as overdone.
- This lower cash trade can be chalked up to ongoing unease about the boxed beef market as prices and movement have failed to improve together and cold, wet weather has limited grilling-season demand.
- Yesterday, Choice and Select cuts fell 46 cents and $1.45, respectively, but softer prices did boost movement to 192 loads.
- Weekly export sales of 10,200 MT add to demand concerns as these were down from last week's light tally and 45% below the four-week average.
- Feeder cattle futures are seeing light followthrough selling on firmer corn prices.
Lean hog futures are enjoying slight to moderate gains in early trade.
- April lean hog futures will continue to track the cash hog market closely ahead of its expiration tomorrow.
- Most packers are paying steady prices for cash hogs today, but the late-winter storm has resulted in some varied demand.
- The recent storm event continues to disrupt transportation and the slaughter operations in the far northwest Corn Belt.
- The market is also benefiting from optimism pork demand may finally be improving. Yesterday, the pork cutout value rose 47 cents in the mandatory reported market and movement surged to 559.6 loads.
- But weekly pork export sales of 13,300 MT were down sharply sharply from 48,800 MT in last week's report.