Corn futures are down 2 to 4 cents in old-crop futures while new-crop is down 6 cents.
- Traders are booking profits ahead of the weekend.
- Outside markets are a mixed bag on news GDP expanded at a 2.5% rate, which was up from 0.4% growth the fourth quarter, but 0.7 percentage points below expectations. The U.S. dollar index is lower and the stock market is slightly higher, but crude oil futures and the commodity complex are under pressure.
- Talk that fieldwork activity is picking up across the Midwest is pressuring futures, though flooding in areas of the eastern and northern Corn Belt will keep many out of the fields for some time. Plus, there are above-average chances of precip for these areas over the extended outlook.
- Monday's Crop Progress Report will give the market an update on how much planting progress was made over the past week.
- Gulf basis is steady for near-term delivery this morning, but 1 to 8 cents higher for summer-month delivery, signaling concerns about tight old-crop supplies.
Soybean futures are posting losses of 4 to 7 cents this morning, with new-crop futures leading to the downside.
- Traders are reducing their risk exposure ahead of the weekend.
- While tight carryover supplies and concerns about ongoing shipping delays in South America continue to limit downside risk for old-crop beans, new-crop futures are being pressure by improved planting prospects.
- Recent heavy precip means the bean crop will be planted into much-improved soils. And most expect actual plantings to top USDA's Prospective Plantings forecast.
- Also, the market remains concerns about the potential for slowed feed demand from China due to the ongoing bird flu situation. The International Grain Council has lowered China's soybean import forecast by 2 MMT to 59 MMT for the 2012-13 marketing year.
- Gulf soybean basis also points to uncertainty about how the slower demand/tight supply situation will play out. While basis fell 5 cents for immediate delivery this morning, it firmed 3 cents for early May delivery and rose 10 cents for June delivery.
Wheat futures are posting losses around 5 cents in Chicago, while Kansas City is down 6 to 7 cents and Minneapolis is 2 to 7 cents lower.
- Traders in the wheat market are booking some profits after the market staged a strong rally yesterday. Overall weakness in the commodity sector today is making it tough for the market to find any buyers.
- Futures could see a lift later in the day however as next week the HRW wheat tour gets underway and scouts are expected to see crops in tough shape.
- Monday's Crop Condition Report will likely also remind traders of recent freeze damage as well as a slow start to spring wheat planting.
- Precip in the forecast for the Southern Plains over the next several days is adding light pressure, though the extended outlook calls for a shift to below-average precip for HRW country.
Live cattle futures are off to a narrowly mixed start. Feeder cattle futures are posting slight to moderate losses.
- Light cash cattle trade took place at $128 in Iowa yesterday -- up $1 from trade in the region last week. But trade has yet to begin in the Plains.
- As traders wait for active cash cattle trade, they are evening positions. Trade above last week's mostly $126 action is already factored into prices.
- Beef movement and prices have shown signs of improving from recent sluggish levels, but action has yet to impress. Yesterday, Choice values were unchanged while Select values fell 31 cents. Movement was decent at 180 loads.
- Feeder cattle futures are seeing light profit-taking after posting strong gains in recent sessions, but pressure is being limited by weakness in the corn market.
Lean hog futures are off to a choppy start with most contracts favoring the upside.
- Lean hog futures are benefiting from overall strength in the pork market this week, which has translated to improved cash market demand.
- Yesterday the pork cutout value firmed $1.70, but movement slowed to 345.7 loads.
- The market takes recent gains in the pork market both in terms of price and movement as signs retailers will aggressively feature pork as spring grilling picks up.
- Relatively inexpensive pork may be more attractive to consumers considering tepid economic growth as indicated by 2.5% GDP growth for the first quarter.
- Pork strength has kept margins in the black despite recent firmer cash hog bids. Today bids are again expected to be mostly steady to firmer as supplies are tightening.
- Buying interest is being kept in check by the steep premium nearby contract holds to the cash hog index.