Corn futures are 4 to 5 cents higher this morning. Export basis levels firmed with the sharp decline in futures prices on Monday. While corn export demand has been soft, U.S. and South American price levels are narrowing making the U.S. more competitive. Thin supplies along U.S. export channels have helped underpin the cash market. Low water levels on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis could slow or even halt shipping if flow from the Missouri River is throttled as currently planned. Meanwhile, planting delays persist in Argentina.
Soybean prices are trading 5-6 cents higher this morning as futures rebound from 4 1/2 month lows posted on Monday amid short covering and some speculative buying following aggressive long liquidation by the funds during the previous two trading days. In addition to the upward revision in the U.S. crop and improved planting weather in Brazil, China’s soybean imports have slowed recently. China’s customs data shows soybean imports during October fell to 4.03 million tonnes, down 19% from September. Even so, prices are firm this morning as buyers look to take advantage of the recent decline.
Wheat prices are 1-4 cents higher in early trade. After two days of selling pressure, futures have a firm tone this morning as fund selling as eased, at least for the moment. The endless chatter over Ukraine’s export status continues although a cutoff of exports seems inevitable, probably by the end of the month. Kazakhstan’s Ag. Minister said their grain crop may be overstated. Cool temperatures and dryness threaten already poor winter wheat stands in the western Plains of the U.S.. The trade will be eyeing this afternoon’s crop condition report. Last week only 39% of the crop was rated good or excellent with 19% poor or very poor.
Live cattle futures are lower this morning. Cattle slaughter on Monday was estimated at 113,000 head, down 5,000 from last week and 10,000 from a year ago. Current expectations are for cash prices to trade steady to lower as Thanksgiving reduces packer demand for cattle next week. Beef prices were higher on Monday with choice beef $1.43 higher at $193.30. Select was $.15 higher at $173.71. Beef exports during September were down 16% from a year ago.
Lean hog futures are steady to slightly higher. The Goldman roll will wrap up today as their funds roll long positions from the December contract to February and April. Cash hog trade is expected to return to normal volume today following Veterans’ Day. Futures are still holding near recent highs. Futures are due for a correction lower, but there is no sign yet of a reversal.
Cotton futures are trading lower. After sharp gains on Monday, cotton futures are slightly lower in early trade as traders take profits. However, end user demand helped support Monday’s rally and is expected to underpin prices again today. Speculators have also been selling cotton, but began covering positions Monday, helping to fuel gains.