Corn has turned narrowly mixed in lackluster trade.
- Corn futures have softened from earlier levels, but price action has been limited as traders even positions ahead of Friday's key USDA reports.
- Our weighted Crop Condition Index showed the corn crop dropped another 6 points last week to 249 (0 to 500 point scale), as USDA now rates half of the crop in "poor" to "very poor" condition.
- Outside markets are price friendly for grain futures this morning, as the U.S. dollar index is weaker. This is helping to limit selling pressure this morning.
Soybeans are mostly 8 to 11 cents higher on short-covering and crop concerns.
- Futures have recouped a portion of yesterday's sharp losses on short-covering. Key will be if traders decide to rebuild long positions after the recent round of profit-taking.
- Our weighted Crop Condition Index showed the soybean crop declined another 3 points to 271 (0 to 500 point scale). Traders had hoped weekend rains stabilized the crop.
- Weather models have shifted the best rain chances to the northern and eastern areas of the Corn Belt, with the Central Belt expected to see only light, scattered showers.
Chicago wheat futures are firmer, with Kansas City and Minneapolis contracts mixed.
- Wheat is following two-sided trade in the corn market, although weakness in the U.S. Dollar index is keeping selling light.
- SovEcon says it sees Russia's wheat exports falling to 8.5 million metric tons (MMT) in 2012-13 from 21.6 MMT in 2011-12. It also expects the government to use intervention stocks instead of export curbs or tariffs to control prices.
- USDA says as of Sunday, 47% of the spring wheat crop has been harvested. With harvest nearing the halfway point, traders expect hedge-related pressure to start easing.
Live cattle futures are called mixed as traders wait on cash trade to develop.
- Pressure on live cattle should be limited by a solid start to the in the boxed beef market. Choice beef values rose 35 cents yesterday and Select was up 77 cents on solid movement of 196 loads.
- This week's cattle showlist is down overall from last week, which should give feedlots more bargaining power in cash negotiations.
- Expected strength in the U.S. stock market could provide some spillover for live cattle futures, as investors are hopeful officials are working on a plan to boost the euro-zone.
- Feeder cattle futures are expected to be choppy given two-sided trade in the corn market.
Lean hog futures are called to open steady to firmer on strength in the product market.
- The pork cutout value rose $1.10 yesterday to spur talk the pork market has posted a near-term low.
- While packer margins have improved, demand for cash supplies remains lackluster as packers say they are having no difficulty securing needed supplies. Cash bids are expected to be mostly steady today, with a few weaker tones.
- China's National Development and Reform Commission says the country is stockpiling frozen pork supplies to keep domestic prices from falling further. It is also encouraging producers to lower pork production.