Market Snapshot, 8:30 am CT (VIP) -- March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013 03:35 AM

Corn futures are 1 to 2 cents higher on help from positive outside markets.

  • The U.S. dollar index is softer this morning as traders await the Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy and the economy later today.
  • Old-crop futures are seeing a boost from the tight supply situation which is reflected by strong Gulf and country basis levels.
  • Improved technicals are also painting a more positive picture as May corn has returned above the $7.30 level for the first time since early February.
  • Gulf basis softened 3 cents for immediate delivery this morning but still stands 65 cents above May futures. Basis is a penny firmer for April delivery.


Soybean futures are 5 to 7 cents higher in old-crop contracts and 1 to 2 cents firmer in new-crop contracts.

  • Bull spreading is the dominate trend in the soybean market this morning, with old-crop contracts being supported by tight supplies.
  • Traders expect end-users' focus to shift to booking needs with South American supplies. However, ongoing shipping delays and record-setting wait lines at ports could force some end-users to buy another round of U.S. soybeans.
  • Gulf soybean basis is steady this morning to stand 65 cents above May futures for immediate delivery. Basis has softened recently to become more competitive with less-expensive Brazilian supplies.


Wheat futures are 4 to 7 cents higher on help from positive outside markets and spread unwinding with corn.

  • The U.S. dollar index is weaker this morning amid a "risk-on" attitude ahead of the Federal Reserve's statement on monetary policy later today, as well as its economic projections.
  • May Chicago wheat futures have rallied this morning to trade in line with May corn futures.
  • But the wheat market needs fresh demand news to spark more than corrective buying.
  • Traders are ignoring news that Ukraine will increase its export cap from 6.5 MMT to 7 MMT for 2012-13.


Live cattle futures are called steady to lower on softer cash cattle trade.

  • Live cattle futures are expected to see followthrough from yesterday's losses as well as weakness from a softer tone in the cash market.
  • Following yesterday's sharp drop in live cattle futures, some feedlots in Nebraska and Texas decided to move cattle around $125, which is down $1 to $2 from last week. Trade was light, but likely sets the stage for similar trade.
  • Choice boxed beef values slipped $1.66 yesterday and Select softened just 6 cents on improved movement of 180 loads. Softer beef values suggest retailers were running into resistance from consumers because of higher prices.
  • Feeder cattle are expected to be pressured this morning by weakness in live cattle and strength in the corn market.


Lean hog futures are called steady to lower on concerns about the cash market.

  • Lean hog futures have moved back into oversold territory, but there's more near-term downside risk as nearby futures are trading at a premium to the cash index.
  • The cash hog market is called steady to weaker amid plentiful supplies, which has packers focused on improving profit margins.
  • The pork cutout value dropped $1.14 yesterday. But the good news is softer prices encouraged improved movement of 80 loads of cuts and trim.
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