Corn futures were slightly lower early on Tuesday as the trade awaits the USDA’s World Ag. Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) to be released at 11:00 CST. USDA is expected to increase U.S. exports and cut ending stocks by 15-25 million bushels. There is no production estimate in December. Meanwhile CONAB, Brazil’s crop estimating agency, put out a new corn production estimate at 78.8 million tonnes, little changed from the previous estimate which ranged from 78.5-79.8 million tonnes. However, it appears they are still using last season’s estimate for the second crop corn to be planted later this winter which is probably way too high for this year. USDA’s estimate for Brazil is 70 million tonnes. March futures were 2 cents lower at $4.36/bushel while May was 1.75 lower to $4.4475.
Soybean complex was rather mixed in Tuesday morning. Prospects for a bumper South American soybean crop were leading pressure as Brazil is seen a record soybean production for 2013/14. Lower values of Asian palm oil added additional pressure on soybean futures prices. January soybeans gained 0.75 cents to $13.4425/bushel in early Tuesday trading, while January soyoil increased 0.26 cents to 40.48cents/pound, and January soymeal slid $0.2 to $438.5/ton.
The wheat markets moved generally lower in overnight trading. Sizable numbers of traders on both sides of the market were almost surely squaring positions ahead of the USDA reports later this morning. We expect much more of the same prior to their 11:00 AM CDT release. March CBOT wheat futures skidded 3.75 cent to $6.4675/bushel, while March KCBT wheat futures edged down 4 cent to $6.92, and March MWE futures slipped 2.5 to $6.7425.
Cattle futures are mixed. Beef prices were higher on Monday which is supportive. But higher steer weights suggest a slight backlog in market-ready cattle although the longer term expectation for reduced supplies over the 60-90 days remains intact. USDA will update beef production and price forecasts in the monthly WASDE update later today. February cattle futures are .05 cents lower to 133.00 with April .025 cents higher at 134.05. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle are .075 cents lower at 165.075 cents/pound, and March feeders are .05 higher at 165.45.
Hogs futures were lower on Tuesday early morning, although the hog market got a big boost from last Friday’s development due to the smaller weekly slaughter number compared to the figure a year ago. February hog futures dropped 0.15 cents at 89.70 cents/pound, while June moved dwn 0.075 to 92.975.
Cotton futures continued sliding in overnight trading. The USDA stopped its weekly crop progress report at the end of November, there being little progress left to be made with most of the crops out of the field. At the point, traders are holding their breath for today’s WASDE report, and can’t wait to see how much the USDA cuts China’s crop and what happens to the carryover. March cotton futures declined 0.03 cents to 80.33 cents/pound, while July cotton descended 0.01 cents to 80.68.