Corn futures have trimmed opening gains and are mostly steady to 1 cent higher.
- Strong export sales, slow country movement and position evening ahead of the release of key USDA reports has corn futures on the plus side, although gains have been trimmed.
- The early gains in corn futures came as an already firmer U.S. dollar index surged on the surprise announcement that the European Central Bank had cut its main interest rate to 0.25%, a historic low. Adding to strength in the dollar index was news of better-than-expected GDP growth for the third quarter.
- Weekly export sales of 1.719 MMT for 2013-14 came in well above lofty expectations, signaling exporters see prices as a value. Export commitments for 2013-14 are running 101% ahead of year-ago levels, whereas USDA projects exports will be up 66.7% over the year prior. This signals there should be some upside on USDA's export forecast.
- Traders expect USDA to peg the U.S. corn crop around 14.022 billion bu. on a national average yield of 159.43 bu. per acre tomorrow. They expect carryover to climb to around 2.056 billion bushels.
- Gulf basis is a penny weaker for immediate delivery, 1 cent stronger for December delivery and unchanged for January and later delivery.
Nearby soybean futures are 1 to 15 cents higher, with November leading gains.
- Today's strong export sales news and slow country movement of beans along with positioning ahead of Friday's USDA reports has nearby futures posting sharp gains. Soybean meal futures were leading gains in the complex.
- Weekly soybean sales of more than 1.018 MMT for 2013-14 and 18,700 MT for 2014-15 came in near the upper end of pre-report expectations. Soymeal and soyoil sales topped expectations the week ended Oct. 31.
- USDA also announced China bought 250,000 MT of soybeans for 2013-14 delivery this morning.
- Traders seem to be shrugging off the stronger U.S. dollar index even though gains in the dollar would be a negative for exports.
- Traders are also repositioning themselves ahead of tomorrow's crop reports which trader believe will show USDA raising its production estimate by around 76 million bu. to 3.225 billion bushels. They also expect carryover to rise by around 33 million bu. to 183 million bushels.
- Gulf basis is 5 cents weaker for November delivery and unchanged for later delivery in late-morning trading.
SRW wheat futures are fractionally to 2 cents higher, while HRW is slightly lower and HRS is narrowly mixed.
- Strong gains in soybean futures and small gains in corn have wheat futures favoring the upside. Tempering gains is strength in the U.S. dollar index, triggered by the European Central Bank's surprising lowering of its interest rate to a historic low and news U.S. GDP performed better than expected in the third quarter.
- This morning's export sales report revealed wheat sales of 416,800 MT for 2013-14 and 11,000 MT for 2014-15, which was in line with expectations. But that unimpressive tally will keep wheat demand concerns close at hand.
- Traders are not overly concerned about frost and freeze warnings in the Southern Plains today as the winter wheat crop is off to a strong start.
- Traders are also focused on evening positions ahead of tomorrow's USDA reports. They expect USDA to trim wheat carryover to around 527 million bushels.
- Gulf SRW basis is unchanged in late-morning trading.
Live and feeder cattle futures continue to mark slight losses this morning.
- Strength in the U.S. dollar index has traders taking profits as they wait for cash cattle trade to begin. The strength in the dollar strength came on stronger-than-expected U.S. GDP growth for the third quarter and news the European Central Bank lowered its key interest rate.
- Showlist estimates are up this week.
- Meanwhile Choice boxed beef slipped another 48 cents this morning, while Select firmed 16 cents. The high wholesale prices continue to hamper movement and today is no exception. Movement is listed at 75 loads.
- Adding pressure is news of an 18,500-MT net sales reduction for 2013 in this morning's weekly export sales report. This adds export demand concerns to existing concerns about domestic demand.
- Cash trade has yet to begin as bid and asking prices remain $4 apart. Last week, trade took place at mostly $132 on the Southern Plains with some sales at $133.
- Strength in the corn market is pressuring feeder cattle futures.
Lean hog futures have improved to mixed trade at midday.
- The main direction in lean hog futures is down in followthrough selling from yesterday.
- However, the December contract is slightly higher as traders attempt to fill the downside gap left at the open Wednesday amid news of a rebound in the pork cutout value.
- Technically oriented traders are bearish as chart signals are negative.
- Today's strength in the U.S. dollar index adds additional pressure to to exit long positions.
- The cash hog market is steady to lower as supplies continue to build.
- Providing light support this morning is news the pork cutout value jumped $2.59 this morning and movement was strong at 231.52 loads.