Midday: Grain prices turning mixed

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Corn futures are 2-3 cents lower at midsession. Futures are consolidating after the recent sharp decline. Fund selling pressure has eased, but could return with funds still heavily net long corn futures. Price charts still have a negative bias. Even so, cash movement is slow. The Gulf basis is up 6-10 cents for Nov/Dec. U.S. corn exports are expected to improve as competitor supplies are exhausted. Weekly ethanol production was down only fractionally from the previous week at 824k barrels per day. December corn futures are trading 2 1/2 cents lower at $7.23 1/4.

The soybean market is mixed with a lower bias in mid morning trading. January futures have traded lower by a few cents to up to a dime. Nearby contracts are under selling pressure from views that supplies are fully adequate to cover near-term demand in light of the recent upward revision of the soybean production forecast. But contracts for later in 2013 have been steady to sometimes higher, probably from bear-market spread trading. Soybean oil is moderately higher benefitting from news of another large sale reported at 32,000 tonnes to an unidentified buyer. Meal prices were mimicking beans, trading a little lower.

Wheat prices have not been able to hold on to early gains and are now mixed in midsession trade. Uncertainty over Ukraine’s ability to export wheat continues. They now say they will halt shipments on Dec. 1, two weeks beyond the Nov. 15 on-again/off-again deadline they have teased the market with for months. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has removed Ukraine from its list of suppliers for 2013 in protest. But the move should not materially change the U.S. export outlook. At midsession, CBOT December is ½ cent higher at $8.49 ¼; KCBT December 1 ¾ lower at $9.04 ½; MGE December unchanged at $9.33 ¼.

Live cattle futures are slightly higher at midmorning. No cash bids have been reported. Processors remain on the sidelines. Beef prices edged lower on Tuesday. Cattle futures are held in check from the stock market which continues to work lower. The fiscal cliff looms. No sign yet that beef demand from the East Coast is ramping up. The monthly Cattle on Feed report will be out on Friday. The report is expected to show a sharp decline in placements during October with cattle on feed down 4%-6% from a year ago. December CME cattle futures are 5 cents higher at 125.47.

Lean hog futures are steady to 12 cents higher. Futures bounced back from early losses. Cash hogs are steady to lower on Thursday. Steady trade so far in IA/MN with weakness once again in the east with hogs 50 cents to $1 lower. Pork prices remain under pressure. The cutout was down 2.55 on Wednesday to $81.57. December CME lean hogs are unchanged at $80.10.

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