Market Snapshot, Noon CT (VIP) -- March 16, 2013

April 16, 2013 06:55 AM

Corn futures continue to post gains of mostly 4 to 11 cents, with old-crop futures leading to the upside.

  • Corn futures are enjoying corrective short-covering today as traders view yesterday's losses as overdone, especially considering the slow start to planting season.
  • Yesterday's Crop Condition Report revealed corn planting was just 2% complete as of April 14, which compares to 16% complete last year and 7% complete on average.
  • While the slow start is not yet overly concerning, the 6- to 10-day forecast calling for chilly temps after more wet, cold weather this week would keep producers out of fields.
  • Outside markets are also highly supportive of commodity buying as the U.S. dollar index is under heavy pressure and the stock market is enjoying strong gains.
  • But gains are being kept in check by relatively weak export demand, though recent Gulf basis strength signals this may be improving.


Soybean futures are roughly 12 to 18 cents higher in old-crop contracts, while new-crop futures have also improved to post gains around 8 to 10 cents.

  • Old-crop soybeans are seeing corrective short-covering on ideas yesterday's price drop was overdone, especially considering very tight supplies.
  • Also, a 5- to 8-cent surge in Gulf basis at midday for April delivery and a 5-cent rise for May delivery this morning signals some export bargain buying may be occurring. This keeps tight old-crop supplies in focus.
  • But buying interest in new-crop futures continues to lag that in the old-crop market due to expectations corn planting delays will lead to higher 2013 bean acres.
  • Plus, most think USDA's March 28 Prospective Plantings Report pegged bean acres on the light side.


Wheat futures have extended early gains to trade roughly 3 to 7 cents higher in Chicago and Kansas City while Minneapolis wheat is double-digit higher.

  • Improved risk appetite and sharp weakness in the U.S. dollar index is encouraging short-covering in the wheat market today after heavy losses yesterday.
  • Minneapolis wheat is the upside leader thanks to concerns about a slow start to spring wheat planting. Spring wheat planting is 6% complete compared to 33% last year and 13% complete for the five-year average. More snow in the forecast points to more delays.
  • Light support also comes from slight deterioration in yesterday's crop condition report for HRW wheat; additional declines due to last week's freeze events will likely be reflected in subsequent updates.
  • And while the forecast calls for more beneficial precip in winter wheat country, it also holds the chance for another freeze event Thursday and Friday.


Live cattle futures have improved to post slight gains in all 2013 contracts. Feeder cattle futures have also improved to mixed trade.

  • Friendly outside markets and ideas the downside was overdone yesterday are encouraging short-covering the cattle markets today.
  • Heavy pressure on futures yesterday spurred light cash cattle trade in Texas and Iowa at $125 -- down $2 from the bulk of trade last week -- and there is talk of additional light sales at that level in Texas today.
  • Adding to ideas active trade may take place at lower prices this week are sharply higher showlist estimates and an unimpressive performance in the boxed beef market to start the week.
  • Prices were again mixed this morning with Choice cuts up 29 cents and Select down 20 cents. Movement was light at 88 loads.
  • A slow start to grilling season due to a wet, chilly spring and the stirring of domestic and macro-economic concerns has added to beef demand concerns.
  • Strength in the corn market is limiting buying interest in feeder cattle futures.


Lean hog futures are enjoying slight gains in most contracts ahead of midday.

  • Sharp weakness in the U.S. dollar index and improvement in risk appetite is encouraging short-covering in lean hog futures after heavy losses yesterday.
  • But buying interest is limited to short-covering due to ongoing concerns about pork demand as the market has struggled to put in a low.
  • This morning, the pork cutout value rose 25 cents on improved movement of 218.5 loads.
  • This could signal some spring grilling demand is picking up, but in light of recent disappointment of such hopes and a chilly, wet forecast, traders will need "proof" of this before adding long positions.
  • While recent lower cash hog prices and improvement in pork prices have lifted packer profit margins into the black, limited demand and efforts to improve these margins are resulting in steady to lower cash hog bids today.
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