Corn futures are 1 to 4 cents higher in early trade.
- Concerns about planting delays are lifting corn futures to wrap up the week.
- Cold temps are expected to follow multiple days of precip and severe weather over the weekend. Multiple freezes are possible from the northern Corn Belt to the Central Plains.
- The NWS 6- to 10-day forecast is also concerning as it calls for below-normal temps and above-normal precip in the eastern Belt.
- Adding to concerns, International Grains Council (IGC) lowered its 2014-15 global corn production forecast by 11 MMT from last month to 950 MMT, citing corn planting delays in the U.S. This would be a 15 MMT reduction from 2013-14.
- However, buying interest is being kept in check by recognition that there is still plenty of time to get the crop seeded.
- Ukraine's grain exports climbed to 29.13 MMT as of April 25, according to the nation's ag ministry. This amounts to roughly 88.3% of the nation's projected 33 MMT export total for this marketing year which ends in June.
- Improvement in spot basis has reportedly encouraged some farmer selling of old-crop corn.
- Old-crop corn continues to benefit from news yesterday's corn export shipments last week of more than 1.621 MMT were the highest in at least 24 years (when publication of this data began).
Old-crop soybeans are 11 to 13 cents higher while new-crop are seeing gains around 1 to 3 cents.
- Soybeans are seeing bull spreading activity to wrap up the week.
- Old-crop are benefiting from recognition of tight stocks while gains in new-crop beans are being limited by the possibility of corn planting delays, which would boost soybean plantings.
- A weaker U.S. dollar index and gains in the grain markets add to the positive tone.
- The market is also responding positively to comments from Bunge's CEO that defaults on soy purchases by China due to negative crushing margins should last just two to three months.
Wheat futures are 6 to 8 cents higher in most SRW and HRW wheat contracts, while HRS wheat is 5 to 6 cents higher in nearbys.
- Ongoing concerns about the condition of the HRW wheat crop are lifting futures to wrap up the week.
- While the Southern and Central Plains are expected to receive rain and severe weather over the weekend, this is expected to be followed by a blast of cold air, including freeze events on the Central Plains.
- And the NWS 6- to 10-day forecast calls for below-normal precip across the Central and Southern Plains.
- The forecast for below-normal temps on the Northern Plains following cool conditions and some rain this week are expected to continue to slow spring wheat planting.
- The market is also benefiting from escalating tensions in the Black Sea region this week.
- However, Ukraine's ag ministry reports grain exports have advanced to 29.13 MMT this week as shipments remain uninterrupted.
- IGC lowered its global wheat production estimate for 2013-14 by 3 MMT to 697 MMT. This would be down 12 MMT from 2013-14.
Live cattle futures are posting slight to moderate gains, while feeder cattle futures are moderately higher in most contracts.
- Traders are covering short positions ahead of this afternoon's Cattle on Feed (COF) Report and cash cattle trade.
- Traders expect USDA to report On Feed at 100.2%, Placements at 100.8% and Marketings at 96.4% of year-ago levels. This would be the first time On Feed was up from year-ago since August 2012.
- Also lifting futures are expectations for at least steady cash cattle trade this week. So far, just light sales have taken place on the Northern Plains at steady prices.
- While showlists are up in the Northern Plains, supplies are estimated down on the Southern Plains this week. Boxed beef market gains could give feedlots an edge in negotiations.
- Bids stand at $142 in Texas and Kansas while asking prices are $148 or higher. The wide spread signals trade may not take place until after the COF report.
- Choice boxed beef gained $1.16 yesterday and Select firmed $1.40. Movement slowed to 96 loads, however, possibly signaling some resistance to rapidly rising prices.
- Strong gains in the boxed beef market this week have pulled packer profit margins into the black, compared with negative $90.70 per head just a week ago.
- Feeder cattle futures are going along with the uptrend to wrap up the week, with a number of contracts posting new contract highs.
May lean hogs are sharply lower while other contracts are posting slight to moderate losses with nearbys leading to the downside.
- The $4 premium the May contract holds to the cash hog index is pressuring it today.
- The rest of the market is also seeing profit-taking to wrap up the week as traders look to take advantage of weekly gains.
- The fundamentals favor market bears today.
- Packers saw margins dip into the red this week, which has pressured the cash hog market this week. Bids are mostly steady today, however, as some packers are still in need of supplies for the end of this week and early next week.
- Traders were also disappointed by a major slowdown in movement to 261.21 loads yesterday, despite a 24-cent slide in the pork cutout value. This halts talk the product market is nearing value levels for the time being.
- Grocers are reportedly buying hand-to-mouth for spring grilling needs.