Corn futures are expected to open steady on Wednesday. Corn futures were mixed overnight with no clear driving force. A modest increase in the value of the dollar was putting some pressure on the market, but the overall favorable supply and demand balance for old crop corn kept prices from falling. The May contract close on Tuesday was the lowest in nearly 3 weeks and the second lowest since late January. Corn planting is far ahead of the normal pace and a good part of the Western Corn Belt received significant rain overnight. New crop corn could come under additional pressure if the favorable growing conditions continue.
Soybean prices are expected to open 6 to 10 cents lower. Market fundamentals are bullish for both old crop and new crop soybeans, but technical signals have turned more bearish. Futures prices are near the low end of their consolidation range and noncommercial traders have sizable net long positions. The weakness in the value of the dollar overnight may also affect soybean futures at the open.
Wheat futures are expected to open mixed on Wednesday. Chicago wheat prices were a little higher overnight while Kansas City and Minneapolis prices were a little lower. In contrast with soybeans, noncommercials hold a lot of net short positions and prices could rally if some news triggers short covering. Spring wheat planting continues to zoom ahead with planting progress at 37 percent complete as of Sunday. The normal pace is 9 percent complete. The condition of the winter wheat crop continues to improve with the share rated good or excellent up 3 points in the last week.
Cattle futures are called steady to 40 cents higher on Wednesday. Beef cutouts soared again on Tuesday for the second straight day providing a dose of optimism to the cattle market. The Cattle on Feed report will be released Friday and it is expected to show a big year-over-year decline in placements. Buyers and sellers are still pretty far apart in the cash market, but we could get a sense of cash price direction on Wednesday. Futures remain below current cash prices.
Hog futures are expected to open 50 cents to $1 lower on Wednesday. Futures prices posted some pretty impressive gains on Tuesday, but another big decline in the pork cutout value is expected to turn the tone of the market negative to start trading on Wednesday. Once again the pork cutout fell to a new low for the year, declining by more than $1 from the uptick recorded on Tuesday, The cash price for hogs is now $3 higher than the cutout and processing margins are awful. Nearby futures prices are far above cash prices, and we would need to see a rally cash prices just to justify where futures prices are now.
Cotton prices are expected to open higher on Wednesday. In overnight trade cotton futures gains ranged from around 60 points in the March 2013 contract to near 150 points in the nearby May contract. China’s decision to widen the trading band for its currency is expected to result in higher U.S. cotton exports to China over the longer term. Some growing areas in the Southeastern U.S. got some much needed rain overnight and into Wednesday morning. The cotton planting pace is ahead of average with 13 percent planted as of Sunday versus the five year average pace of 9 percent.