Corn futures are steady to 2 cents lower in lackluster trade.
- Price action in the corn market so far today has been rather lackluster given there's no fresh news for the market to digest.
- Traders are focused on evening positions ahead of the weekend. Old- and new-crop futures are working on light weekly gains.
- Gulf corn basis for immediate delivery has softened 3 cents this morning to stand 68 cents above May futures, while basis is a penny stronger for April shipment.
- Traders say softer Gulf basis confirms talk that end-users are looking for alternatives to U.S. corn.
Soybean futures are favoring a firmer tone in mixed trade.
- Old-crop futures remain firmer, and new-crop futures are now favoring a firmer tone on spillover support.
- New-crop futures are being lifted by USDA's announcement that China has purchased 165,000 MT of soybeans for 2013-14.
- Weakness in the dollar index is also supporting soybean futures this morning as it creates a "risk-on" atmosphere.
- Gulf soybean basis is 10 cents weaker for immediate delivery to stand 65 cents above May futures, while basis is 7 cents lower for April delivery.
- Reports that soybeans at Brazil's Port of Paranagua moved to a discount to Chicago prices for the first time is raising expectations that demand for South American beans will soon be on the rise.
- However, another round of mini port strikes are scheduled for next week, which will keep shipping delays on traders' minds.
Wheat futures are mostly 1 to 4 cents lower on profit-taking.
- The wheat market needs a dose of fresh demand news to support prices.
- May Chicago wheat have returned to a premium to May corn futures this week. Now traders are concerned that the slight premium structure wheat holds to corn will limit wheat's demand potential.
- Warmer weather in the Southern Plains is increasing the crop's need for moisture, which is limiting downside price risk.
Live cattle futures are called mixed as traders wait on cash trade to begin.
- Cash cattle trade has been delayed, which has traders concerned that packers' demand for supplies is lighter than usual this week.
- This week's showlist is near steady with last week and boxed beef movement has been rather lackluster this week.
- As a result, expectations for cash cattle trade have softened slightly, with traders now expecting steady trade with last week's $128 cash action.
- Choice boxed beef values slipped $1.17 and Select declined by 87 cents yesterday.
- April live cattle ended the day yesterday in line with last week's cash trade.
Lean hog futures are called steady to lower based on concerns about the pork market.
- Pork cutout values slipped 90 cents yesterday to further tight packers' profit margins and raise concerns about demand.
- As a result, the cash hog market is called steady to $1 lower to finish the week. Packers say they have had no difficulty securing this week's needs.
- The CME lean hog index is projected down 12 cents to $77.37. April lean hog futures are trading at around a $3.50 premium to the cash index, which opens the door for fresh downside risk.