Corn futures are steady to lower at midday. After mixed overnight trade, corn was expected to open a few cents higher on strong export sales totaling 137 million bushels, the highest weekly total since 1991. The large sales figure was widely anticipated, though, based last week’s daily sales announcements to China. Prices opened the day session steady to lower and selling pressure has continued led by new-crop as the trade focuses on the favorable start to 2012 season. July corn is 1 ½ cents lower at $6.10. The December contract is 6 ½ cents lower at $5.24 ½.
Soybean futures are trading mixed at midsession. Soybeans have seen early volatility with contracts trading on both sides of unchanged. On the negative side, there have been more global economic worries that have weighed on commodities in general with crude oil losing over $2 per barrel. On the positive side, USDA announced larger-than-expected weekly soybean export sales totaling over 1.7 million tonnes. In addition, USDA announced an overnight sale of 232,000 tonnes of new-crop to China. The July contract is down 2 cents at $14.83, but the November contract is up 2 cents at $13.70 1/4.
Wheat futures are trading higher at midday. Prices closed sharply lower yesterday but have bounced back due to short covering. Wheat export sales were down this week at 26.1 million bushels which is slightly less than the previous week. Additionally, more favorable weather is expected for the US Midwest and Plain states this week. Day two reports from the winter wheat crop tour estimated all wheat to be at least two to four weeks ahead of normal, which will limit upside price moves. CBOT July is 4 1/4 cents higher at $6.18 3/4; KCBT July is 4 1/2 cents higher at $6.36, and MGE July is 1 cents higher at $7.52
Cattle futures are trading higher at midday. There has not been much movement in cattle cash sales with the exception of approximately 4,000 cattle traded in Nebraska at $1.88 - $1.91/lb (dressed). Cattle slaughter is expected to be around 126,000 head today, up from last week’s 120,000 head, but down from last year’s 130,688 head. Beef cutout prices remain relatively stable, with choice up and select experiencing a slight decline on Wednesday. June cattle futures are 83 cents higher at $113.70 and August is 46 cents higher at $116.22.
Lean hog futures are mixed at midday. Nearby futures are mostly higher but some of the deferreds are lower. The market is getting a little boost from a 69 cent increase in the cutout value on Wednesday and the fact that the market is very oversold. If we can get some signs that cash market fundamentals are really improving, we could see a pretty substantial short-covering rally. But that will take more than a one day improvement in pork prices. The June contract is up 62 cents at $85.07; July is 58 cents higher at $85.87.