Grains mixed at midday

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Corn futures are about steady at midsession. Futures have traded both sides of unchanged so far with strength in wheat providing support while uncertain demand for corn holds gains in check. Weekly ethanol production slowed from the previous week to 803k barrels per day, down from 811k the previous week to the lowest level in six weeks. However, ethanol stocks fell slightly. More unwanted rain is forecast for Argentina over the next several days as producers wait to complete planting. December corn futures are 1 1/2 cents higher at $7.61 1/2. March is 2 cents higher at $7.66.

The nearby soybean market was trading about unchanged at mid morning, but mounting a rally from early morning weakness. Soybean prices were sharply higher over the past three trading session with gains attributed to worries about South American planting weather and renewed talk of Chinese buying interest. With many global commodity markets experiencing hard price setbacks today, profit taking emerged to pressure beans. However, USDA announced that China bought 290,000 tonnes overnight, and that news reignited buying interest. January soybeans were steady at $14.49 1/4. New-crop remained under selling pressure with November 2013 down 11 cents at $12.99 3/4.

Wheat futures came back from early losses following yesterday’s sharp gains and are higher once again in midday trade. Prices soared on Tuesday as rumors that Brazil was buying U.S. hard red winter wheat swept through the market. Today there are reports that U.S. wheat is not yet competitive with Argentine wheat from Brazil’s perspective, but that Brazilian needs are high enough that as Argentine supplies become more pricey and with possible quality issues to boot due to excessively wet weather during harvest, they will indeed be sourcing wheat from the U.S. and Canada, perhaps up to 2 million metric tons. Coupled with the very poor condition of the U.S. winter wheat crop, the fundamentals may indeed be turning bullish again for wheat. At midsession, CBOT December is up 5 ¾ at $8.78 ¾; KCBT December is up 5 ½ at $9.21 ¼; and MGE December is up 5 ¾ at $9.43.

Live cattle futures are steady to mixed. Futures have been choppy so far as the market continues in a consolidation mode, burning off the overbought conditions. No further cash trade has evolved after light trade in Texas on Monday at $128, steady with the previous week. Beef prices were mixed on Tuesday. Lacking other definitive news, concern about beef demand is a limiting factor. December CME cattle futures are 2 cents higher at $128.40. February cattle are 2 cents higher at $132.35.

Lean hog futures are higher at midday on Wednesday. Futures traders are responding to improvements in the cash market. Cash hog prices rose by more than $2 per cwt on Tuesday and the pork cutout values also increased. Early report show continued gains in cash hog bids on Wednesday. The strong cash hog prices suggest very strong retail demand for pork, especially hams ahead of the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The December contract is up a little more than $1 at midday at $83.45. June is 65 cents higher at $100.85.


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