Corn futures are posting losses of 5 to 14 cents with new-crop futures leading to the downside.
- Corn futures are being pressured by improvement in some weather forecasters' outlooks.
- The southern Corn Belt saw drier weather this weekend and the National Weather Service forecast for April 27 to May 1 calls for above-normal temps for much of the Corn Belt and below-normal precip for the far western Belt. However, the northern Corn Belt is expected to see above-normal precip and below-normal temps following another winter blast tonight.
- But this afternoon's Crop Progress Report will remind the market of a slow start to corn planting and the likelihood some acres will be switched to beans.
- Pre-report expectations are for it to show planting at 6% complete, which would be up marginally from 2% last week.
- Weekly corn export inspections of 12.401 million bu. matched expectations but this still represents relatively light demand.
- Steady Gulf basis levels nix any hopes for near-term export demand improvement.
Soybean futures remain under pressure, with old-crop down 14 to 18 cents and new-crop roughly 9 to 14 cents lower.
- The death tally for the Chinese bird flu situation continues to rise and Chinese media estimates the poultry industry has lost $2.7 billion due to the outbreak. As a result, the country's soybean imports are expected to post the first year-over-year loss in eight years.
- Pressure also stems from ideas a slow start to corn planting will cause producers to shift acres to beans. The extended outlook is more favorable for bean planting, especially considering much-improved soil moisture reserves.
- Weekly soybean export inspections were highly disappointing at just 4.97 million bu., which is down from the week prior and well below year-ago. The disappointing tally reminds that a large South American crop will slow demand for U.S. beans.
- Traders are ignoring USDA's announcement China bought 174,000 MT of beans for 2013-14.
Wheat futures are posting losses around 10 to 12 cents in Chicago and Kansas City while Minneapolis has pared losses to just 1 to 7 cents.
- Spillover pressure from corn and soybeans is weighing on the wheat market.
- But Minneapolis wheat has pared early losses in anticipation that this afternoon's Crop Progress and Condition Report from USDA will remind the market of a slow start to spring wheat planting due to persistent wet, chilly weather. There is more snow in the forecast for some areas of the Northern Plains tonight.
- The market also expects the report to reflect additional deterioration in the quality of the HRW wheat crop due to recent freeze events.
- Weekly wheat export inspections of 24.848 million bu. topped expectations. Traders are ignoring this most recent reminder of improved demand for U.S. wheat.
Nearby live cattle futures have pared early losses to trade slightly lower while deferred months continue to see moderate losses.
- Friday's Cattle on Feed (COF) Report continues to weigh on the cattle market as all categories came in on the bearish side of expectations. The big surprise was in Placements, which came in at 106% of year-ago. This is weighing especially heavy on deferred contracts.
- Traders continue to watch the boxed beef market for signs of a seasonal grilling rally. This morning, Choice cuts firmed 74 cents while Select fell 31 cents. Movement was solid at 99 loads.
- The next few weeks do hold chances for warmer, drier weather, but there is also concern about how cash-strapped consumers will respond to historically high beef prices.
- Traders will await showlist estimates before forming cash cattle trade expectations. Last week, trade took place at mostly $126 on the Southern Plains -- down $1 from last week.
Lean hog futures continue to post slight to moderate losses at midday, with nearbys leading to the downside.
- Cash hog bids are mostly steady today, with a few firmer bids. Packers are enjoying profitable cutting margins and supplies are tightening.
- But the market is unwilling to add risk ahead of a Cold Storage Report that is expected to show record-large frozen pork stocks of 641.8 million lbs. at the end of March.
- But selling interest is being limited by ongoing signs of improvement in pork demand and a forecast for warmer temps in the weeks ahead.
- This morning, the pork cutout value surged $2.14 and movement was solid at 221.9 loads.
- But the nearly $6 premium the front-month holds to the cash hog index is encouraging light profit-taking.