Corn futures are mixed, with the March through July contracts down 1 to 2 cents and the rest of the market up 1 to 3 cents.
- A lack of fresh news is weighing on nearby corn futures, but selling is being limited by strength in the soybean market.
- After softening sharply last week, Gulf corn basis is steady to 2 cents higher for January shipment to suggest some stability in the cash market.
- Ongoing rain-related planting delays in Argentina raise the risk much of the unplanted area will be switched to soybeans, although focus in the corn market is on lackluster demand.
- Meanwhile, outside markets are subdued this morning, which is likely to remain the case during the holiday season. Broad investor attention remains on fiscal cliff negotiations, which appeared to make modest progress over the weekend.
Soybean futures are mostly 2 to 8 cents higher on supportive demand and tight supplies.
- Soybean futures continue to rally amid tight supplies and strong demand.
- Reminding the market of the strong demand pace, USDA announced a 151,000-MT soybean sale to unknown destinations, with 91,000 MT for 2012-13 and 60,000 MT for 2013-14.
- Meanwhile, AgRural raised its Brazilian soybean production estimate to 82.2 MMT, from 81.9 MMT previously, as growing conditions have improved.
- The improved technical situation is also building on itself, as January beans have returned above the psychological $15.00 mark.
Wheat futures are narrowly mixed at all three exchanges to start the week.
- Wheat is following corn this morning, which is mixed. Like corn, pressure on wheat is being limited by strength in the soybean pit.
- Choppy outside markets are also limiting price movement. The U.S. dollar index has seen two-sided trade this morning.
- Traders remain unimpressed by demand for U.S. wheat, which has been highlighted by a lack of consistency in the export market. Traders will be disappointed if the recent price slide doesn't attract fresh business.
Live cattle futures are called to open mixed as traders wait for cash clues from the boxed beef market.
- Traders will be watching the boxed beef market closely to start the week as they gauge cash clues. Beef prices were mixed again on Friday, but movement was stronger last week to suggest retailers are preparing for a round of post-holiday beef features.
- Traders are encouraged by last week's 50 cent to $1 higher cash trade across most of the Plains at $124.50, but December live cattle futures are trading at around a $2 premium to last week's cash market.
- Feeder cattle futures are expected to be choppy this morning with limited direction from either live cattle or corn.
Lean hog futures are expected to be choppy as traders gauge demand for cash hogs.
- The pork cutout value dropped $1.60 on Friday to push some cutting margins back into the red. As a result, traders are concerned demand for cash hogs will wane.
- But the cash market is called steady to firmer as cash sources report packers are working to secure needs for a big kill this week as slaughter schedules the next two weeks will be interrupted by holidays. If pork product prices continue to soften, demand for hogs will also decline.
- February lean hog futures are vulnerable to some profit-taking as the contract is trading at around a $3 premium to the cash index.