Corn futures are solidly higher in early trade Monday with prices up 14-15 cents. USDA reported a 5 million bushel corn sale to Mexico, but the weekly export inspections report normally released Monday morning has been delayed until this afternoon. Expectations are for exports to come in around 20 million bushels. The crop condition rating due this PM is expected to be steady with a week ago at 23% good to excellent. Harvest is spreading and yield reports continue to disappoint. Another firm’s crop tour this week will also refocus attention on poor yields.
In mid morning trading, soybean futures are extending overnight advances. The market is sharply higher with worries resurfacing about production levels falling short of the current USDA forecast while demand shows few signs yet of easing. Recent pullbacks in the market have encouraged consumer buyers who are short on forward coverage to buy beans and products. High basis levels have been another motivation for traders to step up today and buy soybeans. Weather news is supportive. With the exception of the western Missouri River Valley, most of the Midwest was dry over the weekend. September beans were 25 cents higher and November was up 28 cents.
Wheat futures are higher in midday trade Monday, largely on contagion from very strong futures in corn and soybeans as early yield reports continue even worse than expected and there’s little sign of the demand rationing that will be needed. In addition, commodity trading funds continue to be strong buyers in wheat on continued decline in production estimates from Russia. Now authorities there are warning the wheat crop may be less than 40 million tons compared to USDA’s August forecast of 43 million. Concern continues to mount about dry conditions in western Australia as that crop enters its fast growth phase with rising water needs. At this writing, CBOT September wheat is up 6 ½ cents at $9.01, KCBT September is up 5 ½ cents at $9.15 ¼ and MGE September is up 5 cents at $9.45.
Cattle futures are steady to 20 points higher this morning. The number of cattle on feed as of August 1 was pretty much as expected at up 1% although placements were down 10 percent from a year ago, a bit below expectations. Marketings were also lower than expected at -0.3% from a year ago which raises some concern that feedlots may not be current. But a strong trend in wholesale beef in recent weeks shows good demand and has been positive for cash and futures prices.
Lean hog futures are 15 to 30 points lower at midday on Monday. After a brief bound on Friday, hog futures prices are drifting lower along with cash prices. Data shows sow slaughter increasing significantly and breeding herd liquidation suggests lower pork production in 2013 and deferred contracts have been rising since mid-May. An uptick in corn prices is helping to support hog futures on Monday.