Corn futures have improved to narrowly mixed trade.
- Focus is on preparing for USDA's reports at 11:00 a.m. CT today. Pre-report expectations are for USDA to trim its 2013-14 carryover figure by around 25 million bu. from last month to 1.606 billion bu. due to the uptick in export demand. This would still be up sharply from 821 million bu. last year, however.
- News that Iowa corn acres may drop 2.2% to 13.3 million acres in 2014, according to a survey by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association and Agrisource Inc., helped the market pare losses. Nationally, the survey pointed to acres declining 1.8% to 93.15 million acres.
- Light pressure also stems from a 2-cent slide in Gulf corn basis for March delivery this morning, while other months held steady.
Soybean futures are 2 to 3 cents higher this morning.
- Pre-report expectations are for USDA to trim 2013-14 soybean carryover by roughly 7 million bu. from January to 143 million bushels. This would be up just 2 million bu. from the year prior.
- Since large Chinese soybean order cancellations have not yet been reported, traders expect USDA to raise its export forecast this morning.
- AgRural left its Brazilian soybean production forecast at 88.8 MMT, but the consultancy did note that recent heat and dryness could hurt late-planted beans and that if conditions do not soon improve, it will lower its forecast.
- Isolated rain is in the forecast for key production regions this week, though the especially dry southeast area of Brazil is not expected to see rain until after Feb. 15.
- Traders expect USDA to peg the Argentine soybean crop at 54.13 MMT and the Brazilian bean crop at 89.76 MMT.
- The aforementioned survey by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association and Agrisource Inc. showed soybean acres in Iowa for the 2014 growing season are expected to rise 11% to 10.3 million acres. Nationally, it expects soybean acreage to rise 6.8% to 81.75 million acres.
Wheat futures are 3 to 8 cents higher, with HRS futures leading price gains.
- Traders are favoring the upside as they expect USDA's reports to favor market bulls.
- Pre-report expectations are for USDA to lower wheat carryover by 6 million bu. in 2013-14 to 602 million bushels.
- Ukraine's ag ministry says the country exported 22 MMT between July 1, 2013 and Jan. 27, 2014, a 33.3% increase over the year prior. The ministry expects the country's exports for the 2013-14 marketing year will rise from 23 MMT last year to 32.5 MMT.
- Gulf SRW and HRW wheat basis is mostly steady this morning to signal supplies and demand are aligned.
Live cattle futures got off to a choppy start, but futures have since softened to post slight losses. Feeder cattle futures also softened after a firmer start to trade mixed.
- Cash cattle trade was extremely light last week at mostly $142 in the Southern Plains and at $140 to $141 in northern locations. This was $3 to $5 below prices the week prior. Nearby contracts are in line with these prices.
- Packers had been bidding even lower since they are dealing with cutting margins that are more than $100 in the red.
- Choice and Select boxed beef cuts fell $2.74 and $3.12 on Friday, respectively, but movement picked up to 198 loads. While prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks, they remain historically high at around $210 per hundredweight.
- While last week's light trading volume points to heavier showlists this week, another week of adverse weather will again stress livestock.
- Feeder cattle futures are mixed as traders await the corn market's reaction to USDA's report data this morning.
Lean hog futures are posting slight losses this morning.
- Early cash hog bids are mostly steady. While temps remain low, hog movement in Iowa and Minnesota is said to be decent.
- Meanwhile, the cash hog index continues to rise, but it remains at a $2 discount to February lean hogs ahead of the contract's expiration Friday.
- Pressure is being limited by news the pork cutout value rose 86 cents Friday, though movement was again light at 324.31 loads.