Corn futures continue to rally with old-crop futures now 30-plus cents higher and new-crop posting gains in the mid- to upper-20s.
- Traders are actively building weather premium into prices today as the market expects this afternoon's Crop Progress Report to reflect little planting progress was made over the past week and the forecast is not favorable for progress this week.
- Pre-report expectations are for corn plantings to come in at 9% complete as of Sunday, which would be the slowest planting pace in 20 years.
- Prospects do not improve over the extended outlook as temps are expected to remain below-normal for most of the Corn Belt and some areas of the eastern Corn Belt are expected to see above-average precip over the next 6 to 10 days.
- Weekly corn export inspections of 11.576 million bu. met expectations and were down slightly from last week's tally. The overall pace of inspections is still running 55.4% behind year-ago.
- Gulf basis levels softened 4 cents for immediate delivery this morning, which could signal recently improved prices have spurred some farmer selling.
Soybean futures have extended early gains to post gains in the teens to 30s in most contracts with nearbys leading gains.
- Strong gains in the corn market are pulling soybean futures higher. Friendly outside markets are adding to the positive tone.
- Old-crop beans are the upside leader thanks to ongoing concerns about tight old-crop supplies, made even tighter for the near-term by shipping issues in South America.
- A 20-cent surge in basis for early May delivery at midday also reminds of tight supplies. Basis also rose 5 cents for April and late May delivery and it was steady to 8 cents higher for summer-month delivery. This signals more export demand news may lie ahead.
- Weekly soybean export inspections of 8.935 million bu. topped expectations and week ago, but last week's tally was exceptionally light and expectations were relatively low.
- Early gains spurred some technical-based buying.
Wheat futures have improved to trade 20-plus cents higher in most Chicago, while Kansas City is posting gains in the upper teens to 20s. Minneapolis wheat is roughly 12 to 14 cents higher.
- Traders fully expect this afternoon's Crop Condition Report to reflect damage from recent freeze events. Plus, there are additional freeze chances in the forecast for the Central and Southern Plains May 2-3.
- The report is also expected to show spring wheat planting progress made minimal advances last week, with more delays expected due to flooding.
- The Wheat Quality Council's tour of the HRW crop begins tomorrow, which is also expected to remind of the poor state of the winter wheat crop.
- Also, weekly wheat export inspections surged 4.463 million bu. from last week and topped expectations by a wide margin at 30.857 million bushels.
- Traders are brushing off a reminder of India's plans to export more wheat this year to free up storage space. The state-run India Food Corp. invited bids to export about 950,000 MT of its wheat today.
Live cattle futures continue to post slight gains in most contracts ahead of midday. Feeder cattle futures are sharply lower.
- Live cattle are benefiting from moderate to active cash cattle trade at mostly $128 in the Southern Plains Friday, which was up $2 from trade the week prior.
- Also, the boxed beef market is off to a decent start this week. Choice cuts firmed $1.41 and Select values rose 77 cents this morning on decent movement of 84 loads.
- Recent gains in the boxed beef market have helped improve packer cutting margins, though they remain in the red. This could improve their willingness to raise bids, depending upon the size of showlists and overall boxed beef market performance this week.
- Decent weekend clearance has eased beef demand concerns for the time being. Traders expect beef demand to continue to improve over the next few months as temps warm.
- Feeder cattle futures are being pressured by marked strength in the corn market.
Lean hog futures have softened to post slight losses in most contracts.
- Traders are taking advantage of last week's runup in prices by booking some profits.
- The nearly $7 premium the May contract holds to the cash hog index is also adding profit-taking incentive.
- But that is the extent of selling interest as the cash hog market is steady to mostly higher this morning amid ongoing improvement in the product market.
- This morning, the pork cutout value rose 65 cents and movement was decent (though lighter than recent impressive tallies) at 153 loads.
- Outside markets are also limiting pressure as the stock market is firmer and the U.S. dollar index is softer.