Soybeans lead grain markets lower

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Corn futures are 5 cents lower with selling pressure in the grains led by soybeans. Futures are moving toward a test of the early week low at $7.10. While the cash market has a firm tone, futures continue to be pressured by fund selling. Weekly export sales for corn are expected to come in at 8-10 million bushels. This is still a lackluster pace for exports, but U.S. corn demand is expected to get a boost as importers are facing shipping delays and limited availability from South America.

Soybean prices are trading 15 to 22 cents lower this morning. Reports that China may have cancelled 600,000 tonnes of previous purchases from the U.S. due to poor crush margins have sent futures to new lows for the move. The January contract fell to nearly a five month low with January trading below the $14 mark. Generally favorable weather in South America is also weighing on prices.

Wheat prices are 2-4 cents lower in early trade. Dollar strength and weakness in the other grains is pressuring the wheat market. Threatening weather in the U.S. and other areas is supportive along with prospects for stronger exports as competition eases a bit. Weekly wheat export sales are expected to come in at 10-15 million bushels.

Live cattle futures are steady to 32 points lower this morning. Cash trade has yet to unfold, but expectations are for prices to be steady to $1 lower from last week at $125-$126. Processors demand for cattle is constrained by the shortened holiday slaughter next week. Lower equities and the fiscal cliff threat are negative for beef demand. Beef prices were lower on Thursday with choice down 29 cents to 192.93. The monthly Cattle on Feed report is expected to show a 12%-13% decline in placements during October with cattle on feed down 4%-6% from a year ago.

Lean hog futures are mixed in early trading on Friday. The pork cutout was down 27 cents on Thursday to $81.30. The cutout is down over $5 so far this week with hams and bellies leading the decline each down about $10 per cwt. Iowa/Minnesota hogs weighted average price was down $1.50 to $74.38. Lower pork prices are weighing on futures.

Cotton futures are trading steady to mixed. After moving up sharply this week, futures are consolidating gains. Speculation of possible sales to China remains the key bullish factor for prices. The trade will be monitoring the weekly export sales report for confirmation of Chinese buying.

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