Corn futures have modestly trimmed early gains to trade just 1 to 2 cents higher.
- Corn futures are seeing some light short-covering as traders ready positions for the 11:00 a.m. CT Supply & Demand Report from USDA that should reflect no major balance sheet changes. USDA is expected to peg carryover at 649 million bushels.
- Buying interest is also being limited by yesterday's disappointing export sales data that reminded the market of lackluster demand.
- But Gulf basis levels did rise a penny for immediate delivery this morning.
- Also raising demand concerns, the chairman of China's largest feed mill said it may import more Argentine corn as the quality of its first batch of imports was good.
- Recent improvement in soil moisture in the Midwest and expectations for a large crop is also limiting buying interest in new-crop corn.
- Outside markets are price-negative as the dollar is sharply higher after non-farm payrolls came in much better than expected. The U.S. added 236,000 non-farm payrolls last month, which along with people leaving the work force helped to pull the unemployment rate 0.2 percentage points lower to 7.7%
Soybean futures continue to enjoy gains around 1 to 3 cents in most contracts.
- Traders are focusing on readying positions for today's Supply & Demand Report from USDA. Pre-report expectations are for USDA to lower carryover to 122 million bushels.
- USDA is also expected to peg Brazil's bean crop at 83.4 MMT, marginally below last month, and Argentina's bean crop at 51 MMT, down 2 MMT from last month.
- Light pressure stems from news China imported 2.9 MMT of soybeans in February, which is down 39.3% from January and 24.3% below year-ago.
- Countering this, however, is better-than-expected Chinese trade data. China's trade surplus narrowed to $15.25 billion in February, though exports rose 21.8% from year-ago.
- Recent improvement in soil moisture in the Midwest and expectations for a large crop is also limiting buying interest in new-crop beans.
Wheat futures continue to post slight losses in most contracts in Chicago and Kansas City while Minneapolis wheat is mixed.
- Traders are readying for USDA's Supply & Demand Report. Pre-report expectations are for it to raise its carryover estimate to 713 million bu. from 691 million bu. last month.
- Strong gains in the U.S. dollar are price-negative for wheat, which is struggling to be competitively priced.
- But the U.S. will soon face more competition globally as India yesterday more than doubled the amount of wheat allowed for export to 9.5 MMT.
- Concerns about ongoing drought in winter wheat country should also limit wheat's downside.
Live cattle futures are expected to open steady to lower amid demand concerns.
- While boxed beef prices continued their charge higher yesterday, movement was again notably slow at 118, signaling some resistance to higher prices. This will keep traders concerned about beef demand.
- A few additional cash cattle sales took place in Nebraska at $128 yesterday, which was steady with trade on the Southern Plains Wednesday.
- If beef strength continues, packers may be more willing to pay up for cash cattle next week as some have seen margins turn positive for the first time in an extended period.
- Better-than-expected jobs data this morning is a potential positive for meat demand, although strong gains in the dollar may limit buying interest in futures.
- Mild strength in the corn market this morning could limit buying interest in feeder cattle.
Lean hog futures are called to open with a weaker tone.
- Lean hog futures enjoyed strong short-covering yesterday as traders worked to pull the market out of technically oversold territory. Traders are expected to use the price strength to add new short positions today as demand concerns linger.
- Traders are also watchful for a low in the product market as retailer buying for Easter picks up. But the pork cutout value slid another 50 cents yesterday, but movement was again solid at 77.63 loads.
- Until pork prices rise along with movement, buying interest will be limited in hog futures.
- Cash hog bids are expected to be mostly steady on limited demand.