Corn futures are higher at midday. After the pullback Monday to a two week low, prices are modestly higher today on possible Chinese buying interest and underlying support from the cash corn market. USDA is expected to release planting progress this afternoon. Some estimates for planting progress are as high a 20% compared to the ten-year average of 7%. May corn is 2 1/4 cents higher at $6.25 1/2 and December is 2 cents higher at $5.28 1/4.
Soybean futures are trading higher at midsession. USDA announced this morning sales of 110,000 tonnes of soybeans for the old-crop 2011/12 crop year. The old-crop sales are significant as they follow a sharp price setback on Monday and market talk that trading funds might soon be selling their record long positions in soybean futures. But demand showed up on the price setback. News from Argentina was of disappointing early harvest yields and lower production forecasts. The May contract is up 9 3/4 cents at $14.29 3/4 and November is up 12 cents at $13.62.
Wheat futures are trading higher at midday. There is recognition that the fundamentals for soybeans remain quite strong, even with good yields in 2012, and beans are leading a rebound in both corn and wheat from recent losses. An even bigger factor in the grains today is that all four outside markets are supportive to commodity investments. Gold, crude oil and the DJIA are all higher and the U.S. dollar is weaker. The reason? Rising confidence the latest Euro-crisis involving Spain and Italy is manageable and some encouraging news from China regarding that economy. CBOT May is 10 cents higher at $6.26 1/4; KCBOT May is 9 3/4 cents higher at $6.40 1/4; MGE May 5 cents higher at $8.20 1/2.
Cattle futures are trading higher at midday. The market is higher on ideas that that beef prices may have finally turned the corn. Beef prices are up sharply the past two days. This is the first solid recovery since late winter. This has traders thinking that the long awaited seasonal increase in beef demand may be gaining traction. June cattle futures are 33 cents higher at $116.48 and August is 53 cents higher at $119.55.
Lean hog futures are trading mixed at midday. The pork cutout increased modestly on Monday giving futures markets a little lift and with the collapse in hog futures over the last few sessions we are seeing a little profit taking. Developments in outside markets are also a little positive for the hog market. Cash prices are reported to be a little higher on Tuesday, but bids are still generally below $80, nearly $10 below the current May contract price. At midday the May contract is down 23 cents at $88.33. June is 20 cents lower at $88.53.