Corn futures are trading mostly higher at midsession. Old-crop contracts are being supported by strong export demand and short-covering ahead of the three-day holiday weekend. News that Ukraine will cut its wheat exports in half is supportive as it could lead to increased corn exports. New-crop corn is trading slightly lower with some pressure coming from ideas of increased acreage this spring for the 2012 crop. March is 2 1/4 cents higher at $6.38 1/2 while December is 2 cents lower at $5.66.
Soybean futures are solidly higher at midday. The nearby soybean contract has rallied to the highest level since October amid export news. USDA confirmed the sale of 2.92 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China. The sale is being reported two days after Chinese officials met in Iowa to work on an agreement to purchase large amounts of U.S. soybeans. Strength in crude oil has been supportive for soybean oil and the soy complex as well. March is 9 3/4 cents higher at $12.68 and November is 6 1/4 cents higher at $12.61 1/2.
Wheat futures are higher at midsession, led by the CBOT. Spillover strength from corn and soybeans and the news that USDA reported the sales of 120,000 metric tons of SRW to an “unknown” destination are supporting the market. In addition, reports indicate that the Ukraine has agreed to limit wheat exports due to concern about domestic wheat supplies. The KCBT and MGE have been pulled higher, but gains are being limited following the strong rally on Thursday. CBOT March is 8 1/4 cents higher at $6.37, KCBT March is 3/4 of a cent higher at $6.83 3/4 and MGE March is 3 cents higher at $8.20 3/4.
Cattle futures are trading higher at midday. Strength in boxed beef prices this week and short-bought packers have led to ideas of higher cash trade developing sometime today. Futures are trading at record levels amid tightening supplies and ideas that demand will improve seasonally this spring. Futures traders are also gearing up for and extended holiday weekend as the markets are closed on Monday for President’s Day. February is $1.13 higher at$127.90 and April is 83 cents higher at $130.48.
Lean hog futures are lower at midsession. Profit-taking on recent gains and the sharp decline in pork cutout values on Thursday are weighing on the market. Packer processing margins had turned positive this week, but profits will be limited if pork prices can’t hold up. Losses are being limited by optimism that demand will be improving seasonally soon and that market ready hog supplies will tighten. April is 8 cents lower at $90.15 and June is 20 cents lower at $99.25.