Market Snapshot, 10:00 a.m. CT (VIP) -- March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013 04:04 AM

Corn futures has turned steady to 1 cent lower in most contracts. The exception is the lead-month March contract, which is modestly higher.

  • New-crop futures are being mildly pressured as more precip is headed to the Corn Belt this week. Snow is moving through the region today and tomorrow and rain is expected late in the week.
  • Double-digit losses in the wheat market are also weighing on corn futures.
  • Fresh demand news is helping limit selling interest. USDA announced an unknown destination purchased 100,000 MT of old-crop corn.
  • Gulf corn basis is 5 cents higher for immediate delivery to stand 70 cents over May futures and is 2 cents higher for April delivery.
  • Meanwhile, the former director of China's State Grain Administration says barring unfavorable weather, the country is set to produce a record corn crop in the year ahead, which will limit growth in trade with the United States.


Soybean futures are steady to 4 cents higher in all but the March contract, which is trading around 7 cents higher.

  • Traders are starting to even positions ahead of Friday's USDA Supply & Demand Report, which is encouraging mild short-covering.
  • Shipping delays out of Brazil are also supportive, although there's no fresh demand news this morning and Gulf soybean basis is slightly lower this morning, suggesting there isn't any fresh export demand business on the immediate horizon.
  • Buying interest is limited, however, as Argentina got decent rains through key production areas over the weekend.
  • Buying interest in new-crop contracts is limited by the recent pickup in moisture across the Corn Belt, which is leading some to question whether there's been a pattern change.


Wheat futures have extended earlier losses to trade 10 to 15 cents lower in Chicago, mostly 12 to 13 cents lower in Kansas City and 6 to 9 cents lower in Minneapolis.

  • Wheat futures are being pressured by recent moisture improvements across the HRW Wheat Belt, which is easing crop concerns for now.
  • Traders expect this week's drought maps to reflect improvement in the Central and Southern Plains after last week's heavy winter storm. There is the chance for rains through the Southern Plains late this week.
  • Demand news is lacking, which is keeping futures on the defensive to start the week. Traders want to see consistent signs the market has found value before there's incentive to stop the price slide.
  • The U.S. dollar index is under light pressure, but that's not enough to encourage short-covering in wheat futures.


Live cattle futures are mixed. Feeder cattle futures are slightly higher this morning.

  • Spring- and summer-month live cattle futures are attempting to build on last week's corrective gains. These contracts have not taken out last week's highs, however, signaling traders are still waiting on further proof of a short-term low before actively flowing money into the long side of the market.
  • April live cattle are trading at a slight premium to last week's $128 cash cattle trade.
  • There are hopes cash cattle prices will build on last week's strength as market-ready supplies are expected to be lighter as the storm caused weight loss and some death loss.
  • Feeder cattle futures are firmer amid corrective short-covering.


Lean hog futures are mildly favoring the upside in early price action.

  • Lean hog futures are under light pressure this morning despite the oversold condition of the market. That signals traders' attitudes remain solidly bearish.
  • Cash hog bids are steady at most Midwest locations this morning. With another winter storm blowing across the region and margins solidly in the black, some firmer undertones were anticipated, but that has not been the case so far.
  • April lean hog futures are trading at a premium to the cash index, which is limiting buying interest, especially given a lack of strength in the cash market.
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