Market Snapshot, 10:00 am CT (VIP) -- August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012 04:54 AM

Corn futures have extended early gains to trade roughly 7 to 10 cents higher.

The first day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour confirmed poor crops in South Dakota and Ohio and reports from Indiana and Nebraska today have been varied. This is encouraging traders to build more premium into prices.

Yesterday's crop condition report from USDA showed corn conditions have stabilized at a worrisome 23% "good" to "excellent" rating.

A sharply lower U.S. dollar index and strong gains in the stock market around hopes central banks will soon enact stimulus measures is adding commodity buying incentive.

Gulf basis levels are steady this morning.

Soybean futures have rallied to post gains mostly in the 20s to 30s, with nearbys leading to the upside.

The first day of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour showed crops in South Dakota and Ohio are more stressed than many expected. As a result, the market feels more rationing is needed, especially as demand has remained strong.

Chinese customs data indicates its soybean imports for July of 5.87 million metric tons (MMT) were 10% higher than the previous year. Bean imports over the first seven months of 2012 are up 20% year over year.

Traders are ignoring yesterday's crop condition report from USDA that showed the bean crop improved slightly thanks to milder weather as the crop is still in worrisome shape.

Gulf basis levels are steady to firmer this morning.

Wheat futures have improved to post double-digit gains at all locations.

Wheat futures are enjoying spillover from the corn market as well as a sharply weaker U.S. dollar index.

Concerns about wheat production in the Black Sea region and Australia remain close at hand, though fresh news on that front is lacking.

Plus, traders are beginning to place more attention on dry soils in U.S. winter wheat country, which does not bode well for planting.

Live cattle futures got off to a narrowly mixed start, but they have since softened to post slight losses. Feeder cattle futures are moderately lower.

Early expectations are for cash cattle trade to take place at steady to firmer prices compared to last week's $120 to $121 trade as showlist estimates are tighter this week and beef prices continue to strengthen.

However, slowed beef movement compared to earlier this year has traders looking for a top in the beef market as Labor Day buying concludes.

Strength in the corn market is weighing on feeder cattle futures, although tightening calf supplies are limiting downside risk.

Lean hog futures are posting slight losses in nearby contracts while deferred months are slightly higher.

Cooler temps have boosted hog weights, adding to seasonally expanding supplies.

Plus, packers are generally well supplied for the week, making them unwilling to aggressively bid for supplies. Thus, cash hog bids are steady to lower.

But pressure is being limited by the discount nearby futures hold to the cash index.

Yesterday pork cutout values firmed 46 cents and movement, but movement was disappointing at 49.25 loads.

Traders are also readying for the Cold Storage Report tomorrow, which is expected to show frozen pork supplies as of July 31 at 561.8 million lbs., which is down 5.1% from last month but a record high for the month and 23.7% above last year.

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