Corn futures haven't strayed too far from unchanged yet today and are currently marginally to a penny lower.
- Corn futures are holding up well in light of reports that one cargo of Argentine corn is on its way to the U.S. and more shipments have been booked.
- Firmer Gulf corn basis reminds the market of the tight old-crop supply situation. Gulf basis for immediate shipment is a penny firmer this morning to stand 63 cents above May futures.
- Traders' focus is also on evening positions ahead of tomorrow's key USDA reports that will give both old- and new-crop contracts key data. The first-half usage pace for the 2012-13 marketing year will be key to determine how much corn is left moving forward and how acreage stacks up will direct new-crop futures into spring.
Soybean futures are fractionally to 3 cents firmer this morning amid pre-report position squaring.
- Traders' focus is on evening positions ahead of tomorrow's key USDA reports. Traders look for the report to signal soybeans gained some corn-on-corn acres as traders expect an increase in planted soybean acres from last year.
- Gulf soybean basis is 6 cents stronger this morning for immediate delivery to stand 71 cents over March futures. This suggests a demand announcement could be coming soon, but it is also a reflection of the tight supply situation.
- May soybean futures are pivoting around resistance at last week's high of $14.51 1/2 to signal bulls have the near-term technical advantage.
Wheat futures are narrowly mixed at all three locations this morning.
- Price action has also been muted in the wheat pit this morning, with buying limited by sharp strength in the dollar index.
- Scattered demand news this morning doesn't include any U.S.-origin business. Market bulls need fresh demand news to stay interested.
- May Chicago wheat is trading at a slight premium to May corn futures this morning, though the lack of demand news is keeping traders cautious about widening the spread.
- Traders also remain concerned about the recent freeze event across the Plains, although damage estimates are not fully known.
Live cattle futures are called mixed amid position squaring.
- Traders' focus is on evening positions ahead of the extended holiday weekend, as the markets are closed on Good Friday.
- Traders will have Friday's bullish Cattle on Feed Report on their minds, but this is being countered by demand concerns.
- Light cash cattle trade at $125 was reported yesterday in Texas, but sources say this is an isolated sale and doesn't necessarily signal similar trade will be seen at this level today or tomorrow.
- But getting more than steady money from last week could be difficult given ongoing weakness in the boxed beef market. Choice beef values have slipped around $3 from last week to further tighten packer profit margins.
Lean hog futures are called mixed on a combination of followthrough buying from yesterday's gains versus profit-taking.
- Nearby lean hog futures widened the premium those contracts hold to the cash index yesterday, which makes them vulnerable to profit-taking this morning.
- However, yesterday's sharp gains in the nearby contracts signals traders view the tide has turned as demand for pork and cash hogs will improve soon.
- Pork cutout values slipped 37 cents yesterday, but movement improved to 90.21 loads to signal some demand improvement.
- After some packers unexpectedly raised bids yesterday, steady to firmer cash hog trade is expected again today. This signals packers didn't have this week's needs secured, as previously thought.