Nearby corn futures are mostly 1 to 3 cents higher and deferreds are narrowly mixed.
- Old-crop corn futures are seeing a lift from a stronger-than-expected weekly export sales tally. Sales of 302,600 MT for 2012-13 and 210,000 MT for 2013-14 were reported.
- However, Gulf corn basis for immediate delivery has softened by 4 cents to stand 56 cents above March corn futures, which reflects a softening of demand.
- Today starts the beginning of the delivery process on March grain contracts and as expected, there were no deliveries against corn due to strength in the cash market caused by tight supplies.
- Upside potential in new-crop futures is being limited by this week's snowfall across a broad area of the western Corn Belt that has improved soil moisture prospects.
Old-crop soybean futures are 9 to 16 cents higher, with new-crop beans favoring a weaker tone in mixed trade.
- Old-crop soybean futures are being supported by stronger-than-expected weekly export sales of 689,000 MT for 2012-13. Sales of 482,000 MT were reported for 2013-14.
- China was the lead buyer of old-crop and new-crop sales. Especially important is the recent uptick in old-crop purchases as it signals they are growing impatient due to Brazilian shipping delays.
- Also this morning, USDA announced a 123,000 MT soybean sale to China for 2013-14.
- As expected, there were no deliveries against March soybean futures. Traders will also be focused on evening positions as they close their books for the month.
- Upside potential for new-crop futures is being limited by better-than-expected precip received across the western Corn Belt this week.
Chicago wheat futures are 5 to 8 cents higher, with Kansas City up 8 to 10 cents. Minneapolis wheat is 4 to 12 cents higher.
- Chicago March wheat futures are trading at around a penny discount to March corn futures, could shore up short for the contract this morning.
- This morning's weekly export sales report showed sales of 372,600 MT for 2012-13 and 152,300 MT for 2013-14, which came within traders' expectations. This is somewhat disappointing after the recent pick-up in sales.
- The latest drought monitor reflects just minor improvement across the Central and Southern Plains, although more substantial improvement should be noted in next week's monitor, as it will reflect this week's impressive snowfall.
Live cattle futures are called to open steady to firmer on followthrough buying.
- The combination of followthrough from yesterday's gains and strength in the boxed beef market is expected to support live cattle futures this morning.
- Traders are encouraged by signs the beef market has posted a seasonal low. Choice beef values were up $1.06 yesterday and Select was up $2.30 on solid movement.
- Cash cattle trade, however, is expected to be delayed until tomorrow as packers are hesitant to raise bids despite tighter market-ready supplies this week.
- Feeder cattle futures are due for a corrective bounce, but a choppy tone in the corn market this morning will limit buying to end-of-the-month position squaring.
Lean hog futures are expected to see a choppy start as traders even positions and close their books for the month.
- Lean hog futures are due for a bounce to correct the sharply oversold condition of the market. But attitudes remain bearish due to lackluster demand for cash hogs.
- Even though packers' profit margins remain well in the black and pork cutout values improved 33 cents yesterday, demand for cash hogs is light as packers scale back their Saturday kill requirements
- Despite poor road conditions across portions of the Corn Belt, the cash hog market is called steady to weaker again today.