Market Snapshot, 8:30 am CT (VIP) -- March 22, 2013

March 22, 2013 03:41 AM
 

Corn futures are 2 to 6 cents lower amid end-of-the-week profit-taking.

  • Outside markets are mixed this morning as the Cyprus financial crisis continues to linger. Investors remain uneasy as they wait to see if a deal can be reached before the weekend.
  • While corn is weaker on profit-taking, the market has seen a boost on the start of open-outcry trade throughout the week. If pit traders view overnight weakness as a buying opportunity, it would keep this week's uptrend solidly in place.
  • Gulf corn basis is 2 cents softer this morning for immediately delivery to stand 58 cents above May futures. This reflects a softening of demand, but also an increase in farmer selling this week.
  • Traders' focus is also beginning to shift toward next week's key Quarterly Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings Reports.

 

Soybean futures are 6 to 7 cents lower as traders even positions ahead of the weekend.

  • Soybean futures are seeing light profit-taking pressure following yesterday's double-digit gains. But the market is still working on solid gains for the week.
  • Shipping delays at Brazil's ports have provided the market with its latest lift, but as yesterday's weekly export sales report showed, this hasn't resulted in an immediate uptick in demand for U.S. soybeans.
  • Meanwhile, the Argentine ag ministry released its first forecast for the 2012-13 bean crop, pegging it at a near-record 51.3 MMT.
  • Traders' focus will also be on evening positions ahead of the weekend and as traders look forward to evening positions for next week's key reports.

 

Wheat futures are mostly 1 to 3 cents lower on spillover from neighboring pits.

  • Wheat futures are seeing spillover from neighboring pits as well as concerns that recent strengthening in the U.S. dollar index has softened demand for U.S. wheat.
  • Traders continue to digest news out of Ukraine. The latest is that it may raise its grain export forecast for 2013-14 to 27 MMT due to expectations for a record crop in excess of 53 MMT.
  • May Chicago wheat futures this morning are trading at around a 3-cent discount to May corn futures, which signals the market is still searching for demand.

 

Cattle futures are called steady to firmer as traders ready positions for the Cattle on Feed Report.

  • Traders look for this afternoon's Cattle on Feed Report to show On Feed at 93.5%, Placements at 91% and Marketings at 92.7% of year-ago levels.
  • While focus has been off the tight supply situation and on demand concerns, the COF Report should trigger some short-covering.
  • Interestingly, Select boxed beef prices moved to a premium to Choice values yesterday. This should shift demand back to higher-quality cuts, but is a reminder of consumer resistance to high beef prices.
  • April live cattle ended the day yesterday at around a $1.50 premium to this week's $125 cash cattle trade, which signals traders believe a near-term low is close at hand.

 

Lean hog futures are called steady to firmer on followthrough from yesterday's gains.

  • Futures are expected to build on yesterday's gains, with help coming from an overdue rebound in pork cutout values.
  • Pork values improved $1.09 yesterday to lift packers' profit margins. But movement slowed to just 34.13 loads, keeping demand concerns on traders' minds.
  • Traders will also be evening positions ahead of this afternoon's Cold Storage Report, which could limit upside potential due to concerns about demand and the slow start to the grilling season
  • The cash hog market is called steady to lower as packers say they are having no difficulty securing needs for next week's holiday-shortened kill schedule.
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