Market Snapshot, 10:00 am CT (VIP) -- August 17, 2012-

August 17, 2012 05:00 AM

Corn futures have improved to trade mostly 2 to 4 cents higher.

  • Corn traders continue to weigh slowed export demand against a highly disappointing U.S. crop, with spillover from wheat helping the market to favor the upside.
  • The weather pattern has turned more favorable, but Midwest soils are still dry and the corn crop is too advanced to benefit much from recent rain and cooler temps.
  • Gulf corn basis is firmer this morning, with bids 2 to 6 cents higher.
  • Improved risk appetite across the marketplace on favorable consumer sentiment data in the U.S. is also mildly supportive.


Soybean futures continue to enjoy gains of roughly 7 to 12 cents.

  • While weather has improved, traders remain hesitant to sell as there has been no solid proof that current prices, although historically high, are slowing soybean use.
  • Recent rains have improved prospects for the filling crop, but the five-day forecast for the Midwest holds little to no rain chances.
  • Steady to firmer Gulf basis reminds the market of tight supplies and strong demand.


Wheat futures are enjoying gains in the teens at all three locations.

  • Wheat is again the upside leader in the grain market thanks to global crop concerns.
  • Talk continues to circulate that exports from Russia and Ukraine will be restricted, be it via government intervention (which officials continue to deny) or by tight supplies.
  • Traders are also concerned about building dryness in Western Australia and a sharp reduction in Argentine wheat acres due to dryness and government policy.
  • Contrary to recent reports of Asian wheat users shifting to cheaper alternatives to U.S. wheat supplies, South Korea bought 49,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. wheat and Taiwan purchased 94,250 MT of U.S. wheat today.


Live cattle futures are off to a mixed start with nearby contracts lower and deferred months firmer. Feeder cattle futures are posting slight losses in all but the front-month.

  • Live cattle futures are seeing some light followthrough sales after a disappointing finish yesterday as the market continues to wait for cash cattle trade to begin.
  • Expectations are for higher cash prices as showlist estimates are tight and the boxed beef market continues to impress. Yesterday, Choice values rose 96 cents and Select cuts firmed $1.16. But slower movement of 170 loads has traders watchful for a market top.
  • Heavier-than-expected deliveries against the August live cattle contract and declining interest in them signals some are also watching for a top in the cash cattle market.
  • Traders are also evening positions for the Cattle on Feed Report this afternoon, which is expected to show a steep decline in Placements compared to last year.
  • Feeder cattle futures are seeing light followthrough selling as the corn market is again favoring the upside.


Lean hog futures are enjoying slight gains.

  • Lean hog futures are again enjoying some short-covering as traders work to narrow the steep discount nearby futures hold to the cash hog index.
  • But buying interest is limited as supplies are building seasonally. Plus high feed costs are encouraging herd liquidation. Thus cash hog bids are steady to lower today.
  • Burdensome supplies have also taken a toll on the pork market. The pork cutout value declined another 88 cents yesterday though movement was decent.
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