Grains move higher, livestock are mixed

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Corn futures are 3-5 cents higher at midsession. Futures moved to a two week high in early trading with gains inspired by technical buying and in sympathy with higher soybean values. Optimism over stronger U.S. corn export demand is helping boost prices although weekly export inspections came in near expectations at 15.9 million bushels. Also, reports that Ukraine may curb corn exports next spring added to the positive sentiment for corn exports. December corn futures are 3 1/4 cents higher at $7.48 3/4.

The soybean market was moderately higher at mid morning but backing off from earlier gains by several cents. USDA reported weekly soybeans inspections at 45.5 million bushels. Those were about 15 million bushels less than trade expectations. Earlier support was provided by news that the U.S. had sold another 20,000 tonnes of soybean oil into export. This was the third consecutive day of soyoil export sales announcements. Bearish news is that weather conditions for most of the Brazilian soybean belt are favorable. January soybeans traded up 6 1/4 cents at $14.25. November 2013 was up 8 3/4 cents at $12.93 1/2.

The wheat market was moderately higher in midmorning trading. Chicago March wheat was trading 4 cents higher at $865 1/2. March Kansas City was notching a gain of 7 1/4 at $9.02 3/4. The Minneapolis March contract was trading up 3 1/4 cents at $9.28 1/4. The wheat market has been advancing in recent trading sessions due to concerns about the status of the hard red winter wheat crop in the Plains states. USDA is set to release its last fall report on the weekly condition report later this afternoon. Traders expect 33% good to excellent, down one point from last week and the lowest ever for the date.

Live cattle futures are 30 to 50 cents lower at midmorning. After moving sharply higher last week to a two month high, futures are a little lower this morning. Futures are overbought and due for some consolidation. Cash cattle prices were higher last week and feedlots are expected to ask for still higher prices this week. Trade volume was light in the cash market last week, leaving packers short on inventory as the week begins. Cattle weights are staying well above year ago levels. December CME cattle futures are 32 cents lower at $128.62. February cattle are 37 cents lower at $132.35.

Hog futures are modestly higher at midday. Trade volume is still light but most contracts are holding gains of 15 to 25 cents at midday on Monday. Cash hog prices were down on Friday and early morning bids are mixed on Monday. Cash prices down near $74 remain far below the December futures which are above $80. Hog slaughter often is near the peak slaughter levels the week after Thanksgiving so it will be interesting to see how well prices hold up. The December contract is up 18 cents at $82.65 near midday Monday and February is 13 cents higher.

December cotton futures are correcting higher after Friday’s sell-off despite last week’s strong export sales figures. Delivery notices against December futures were light which was also seen as a positive factor. At midsession, March cotton is up 126 points at 72.69.

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