Corn futures are 5 to 8 cents lower. Old-crop futures led the initial decline but most new-crop futures have now matched the declines.
- Planters are rolling and traders are bearish as they expect farmers to make up for previously lost time in the fields. Some traders are looking for planting progress to jump to 60% to 65% by Sunday, up from the 28% reported complete as of last Sunday.
- Traders are shrugging off forecasts for rain and cooler temps to move into the Midwest today and this weekend.
- Traders believe the recent recharge of soil moisture outweighs concerns for late planting and find little to argue with USDA's forecast for carryover to rebound over 2 billion bu. for the 2013-14 marketing year.
- This morning's weekly export sales data was unimpressive as corn sales of 219,900 MT for 2012-13 and 38,600 MT for 2013-14 matched light expectations but declined from the week prior.
- The weaker U.S. dollar index today is being ignored as its overall strength relative to other key currencies continues to worry traders about exports.
Soybean futures are 4 to 17 cents higher with old crop contracts leading the gains.
- Spread activity versus corn is benefiting soybean futures today.
- The positive corn planting pace in the Midwest has traders again less concerned about a shift of corn acres to soybeans, which is supportive of new-crop contracts. In addition, the focus on corn planting has some traders beginning to fret over a delay in soybean plantings.
- Meanwhile, recent surges in Gulf basis remind of tight old-crop supplies.
- This morning's weekly export sales data showed sales of 15,300 MT for 2012-13 and sales of 346,600 MT for 2013-14. Combined, sales were within expectations.
Wheat futures are down roughly 8 to 10 cents in Chicago and Kansas City. Minneapolis wheat is fractionally higher in the front-month and slightly lower in deferred contracts.
- Spillover pressure from the corn market today is weighing on the wheat market.
- The market continues to ignore the poor state of the HRW wheat crop, which is currently being blasted by hot temps.
- This morning's Drought Monitor shows slight expansion of drought across the South, with little change made to the classifications in Kansas.
- The market expects substantial spring wheat planting progress to have been made over the past week, though storms are developing in the region today.
- Weekly export sales of 125,000 MT for 2012-13 and 415,600 MT for 2013-14 were above expectations, which is limiting selling interest today.
Live cattle futures remain mixed at midday with summer-month contracts favoring the downside. Feeder cattle futures remain under light pressure.
- Concerns over weakening demand continue to pressure both cash and futures despite another record high being posted in boxed beef prices.
- Light cash cattle trade is getting started at $125 in the Southern Plains today, down from last week's $126.
- Cash prices are still well above June and August futures. That reflects trade expectations of a falloff in beef demand this summer.
- This morning, Choice boxed beef values posted another record today, rising $1.04 to a new all-time high of $208.99, but this slowed movement to 63 loads. Select cuts rose 48 cents to $193.23.
- Weekly beef export sales declined 5,400 MT from the week prior to just 4,700 MT.
- The market is also looking for a bearish Cattle on Feed Report tomorrow, which is expected to show On Feed at 96.3% of year ago, Placements at 112.1%, and Marketings at 102.9% of last year.
Lean hog futures are posting moderate to strong gains.
- Lean hog futures have gained strength throughout the morning on mostly steady cash prices and stronger pork demand.
- Pork cutout values rose again today, up $1.01 on strong movement of 215.9 loads. Traders believe pork demand is benefiting from record-high beef prices.
- Also supporting futures today is the seasonal decline in hog numbers along with the seasonal rise in pork demand, driven by the start of grilling season. The market believes this will keep wholesale pork prices strong.
- The nearby June and July futures are trading at a slight premium to the CME Lean Hog Index, suggesting futures are quickly factoring in rising wholesale pork values.
- A weaker dollar is providing support as well.