Corn futures continue to lose ground in this morning's trading and are 6 to 8 cents lower.
- Profit-taking, spillover selling in wheat and soybean futures and a stronger U.S. dollar index have corn under pressure this morning.
- Ideas warmer weather will contribute to a boost in spring planting also has prices under pressure.
- Traders expect this afternoon's Crop Progress Report to show planting progress at an average of 9% completed, ranging from 5% to 13%, as activity increased at week's end. That figure compares to the season average of 14% completed by now.
- The forecast includes calls for 1 to 2 inches of rain across the Upper Midwest this week, which will delay fieldwork, but the rest of the eastern Corn Belt is dry and planting is underway.
- The market is also feeling light pressure from news China's corn imports from the U.S. for March at 11,942 MT are down 94.95% year-over-year.
- Traders are ignoring a strong weekly export inspections report of 1,599,228 MT, which is up 119,388 from the previous week and well above expectations.
- Traders are brushing off news of a daily export sale of 128,000 MT of old-crop corn Friday when the markets were closed.
- Basis levels at both interior and the Gulf locations are steady.
Soybean futures are 20 to 25 cents lower this morning.
- Soybean futures continue to trade lower on improving spring planting weather, spillover weakness from wheat and a stronger U.S. dollar.
- Also contributing to today's weakness is a low weekly export inspections report of 138,777 MT. The figure is at the low end of trade expectations and is down 129,652 MT from the previous week.
- The front-month and the July contract have broken under the key $15.00 level, which has triggered sell stops.
- Recent weather conditions and current forecasts do nothing to pull intended soybean acres into corn, holding onto record-high soybean planted acres.
- Interior and Gulf basis levels are cited as steady.
Wheat futures continue to mark 20 to 27-cent losses.
- Rains across HRW wheat country over the weekend, even though the driest areas received only scattered amounts, coupled with the forecast for more this week have wheat futures down sharply.
- In addition, the stronger U.S. dollar and a disappointing weekly export inspections report are contributing to declines.
- USDA reports 495,250 MT passed through export inspections last week, below expectations. The total is down 216,977 MT from the previous week.
- Traders will get an update on the condition the HRW crop this afternoon, but traders already expect it to show deterioration due to last week's freeze as already factored into prices.
- Egypt's Ag Ministry says its government has signed contracts with local farmers to procure 4.25 MMT of wheat, a 25% increase from last year's deals. This could reduce the country's import needs.
Live cattle futures are mostly slightly to moderately lower, with the exception of the April contract that is down $1.60.
- Cattle futures are under pressure due to last week's $1 to $2 lower cash cattle trade at $146 in the Southern Plains and at $148 in Nebraska by pushing futures lower.
- However, April futures continue to trade more than $3 below the low end of these prices and deferred futures have an even wider discount. That is trimming losses in deferred futures.
- Packer cutouts have improved through the recent lower cash trade, but those margins remain in the red, keeping packers as reluctant bidders.
- The wholesale beef market is providing some positive news with Choice boxed beef up $1.69 this morning and Select up $1.87. Movement is light at 95 loads, however.
- Feeder cattle prices are lower on the weakness in live cattle and a stronger U.S. dollar.
Lean hog futures are down sharply in the front-month contracts and moderately lower in the October and later contracts.
- Profit-taking is driving declines as traders believe live hogs and the wholesale pork market have made a major top.
- Wholesale pork trade is firmer this morning, with the pork cutout up 57 cents. But movement is a light 109.75 loads.
- Cash hogs appear to be mixed at the start of the week. Some packers are thought to be short-bought heading into the week, but others are closed for the day in observance of the Easter holiday.
- Traders are ignoring the recent rise in the pork cutout value and focusing on the the light movement figures in recent days as a reason to be negative.
- Traders are also digesting news of stepped-up efforts by USDA to track the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) as well as to help producers dealing with the virus.