Corn futures have softened to post losses mostly around 4 to 6 cents.
- Traders are favoring the downside as they ready positions for USDA's barrage of reports Friday. Pre-report expectations are for USDA to to peg the 2013 corn crop at 14.053 billion bu. in its final estimate for the 2013 crop, up 68 million bu. from November.
- Traders expect USDA to estimate Dec. 1 corn stocks at 10.77 billion bushels. Ending stocks for 2013-14 are expected to come in at 1.844 billion bu., which would be up 52 million bu. from USDA's December forecast.
- News Chinese quarantine officials have reportedly relaxed inspections for unapproved GMO material in U.S. DDGs limited selling interest early.
- However, trade sources expect inspections of U.S. corn shipments to remain tight. For this reason, private firm Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. cut its 2013-14 Chinese corn import forecast by 2.2 MMT to 4.4 MMT.
- A U.S. Grain Council (USGC) delegation is in China this week working toward garnering the country's approval of MIR 162 (Syngenta's Agrisure Viptera), which has triggered the rejection of corn and DDGs in recent months.
Soybean futures are down 2 to 9 cents with far-deferred months leading losses.
- Bears have the upper hand as traders ready for USDA's reports Friday. Pre-report expectations are for minor revisions to favor market bears.
- USDA is expected to raise its 2013 production estimate by 12 million bu. from November to 3.27 billion bushels.
- Dec. 1 soybean stocks are expected to come in around 2.17 billion bu., which would be up 200 million bu. from year-ago. Ending stockpiles for 2013-14 are expected to come in around 151 million bu., which would be up roughly 1 million bu. from USDA's December forecast.
- Expectations for timely rains in Brazil and Argentina also remind of record-large crop prospects for South America. Early harvest yield results in Brazil are very good.
- Traders are largely ignoring another daily sales announcement, as strong demand is known. USDA announced China purchased 115,000 MT of U.S. soybeans for 2013-14.
Wheat futures have reversed early gains and are now 5 to 6 cents lower in the SRW market, while HRW is 2 to 4 cents lower. HRS wheat is narrowly mixed.
- Overnight gains in the wheat market spurred by winterkill concerns have given way to selling pressure.
- Temps are moderating on the Plains and beneficial rains are expected for some regions.
- Traders are also readying for USDA's reports Friday. All winter wheat seedings in 2014-15 are expected to come in at 43.7 million acres, which would be up roughly 600,000 acres from 2013.
- Traders expect USDA to peg Dec. 1 wheat stocks at 1.41 billion bushels. Ending stocks for 2013-14 are expected to come in around 559 million bu., which would be down 16 million bu. from December.
Live cattle futures are slightly higher this morning. Feeder cattle futures are also posting slight gains in all but far-deferred months.
- Futures are mildly favoring the upside as traders wait for cash cattle trade to begin. Nearby contracts are at a slight discount to the bulk of last week's trade at $137 in the Southern Plains. Initial bids are at $135, which are countered by asking prices of $139.
- At least steady cash prices are expected, thanks to a surge in boxed beef prices and slightly tighter showlists in Texas and Kansas. However, market-ready numbers are up in Colorado and Nebraska.
- Very cold temps are thought to have slowed animal weight gain this week and the last.
- Choice boxed beef values surged another $1.77 yesterday to $207.31 per cwt., while Select jumped $2.18 to a record-high $203.56 per hundredweight. However, this slowed movement to 130 loads.
- Slower beef movement is keeping bullish enthusiasm in check as it could signal the cash cattle and futures markets are nearing a short-term top.
- Feeder cattle futures are benefiting from efforts to bring futures in line with the cash index, which is at nearly a $3 premium to nearby futures.
Lean hog futures are seeing some mild short-covering today.
- Traders are mildly covering short positions in the hog market. However, buying interest is limited to corrective buying given the premium futures hold to the cash index.
- A rebound in the product market yesterday is also mildly supportive. The pork cutout value surged $1.93 yesterday and movement picked up to a strong 445.15 loads.
- Cash hog bids are steady to slightly lower today as packers work to make up for plant closures or slowed production early this week. But supplies are also readily available as weather conditions are improving.
- Average hog weights rose 0.6 lb. last week in Iowa and southern Minnesota; the head count is down marginally from year-ago but up significantly from the week prior.
- The market remains on-watch for confirmation of a seasonal low in prices.