Corn futures firmed early Thursday morning for the third straight day while both the grain and oilseed markets are higher ahead of the exports sales data due out at 7:30 this morning. Estimates for corn export sales are 450,000-650,000 tonnes. The CME revised corn daily price limits, effective Nov 2, to 25 cents from 30 cents. Gulf corn basis has firmed as logistics problems occur along the Mississippi. The next benchmark supply/demand report will be released on Tue Nov 10. December the corn futures moved 1.5 cents higher to $3.8225/bushel early Thursday  morning, while March moved 1.75 cents higher to $3.92. 

The soy complex firmed overnight after rallying 1% higher Wednesday on demand optimism and continued validation that the Chinese export  picture is still intact. Soyoil export data drove this optimism with news of Chinese purchases. Expectations for today’s export data are: 1.2-1.8 million tonnes for soybeans, 150,000-300,000 tonnes for meal, and 10,000-60,000 tonnes for soyoil. This Sunday, Oct 25, Argentina will vote for a new president. Farmers have withheld soybeans from the world market choosing to store rather than to sell via a corrupt exchange rate established by the ruling party. That party is leading in the polls as many fear change. November soybeans moved 3.75 cents higher to $9.09/bushel early Thursday, while December soyoil gained 0.21 cents to 29.39 cents/pound and December meal climbed $1.7 to $312.20/ton.

The wheat complex rose moderately Wednesday after reaching 4-week lows early in the week on forecast rains improving the outlook for the U.S. winter wheat crop. Wheat futures now look to break through the next resistance level of $4.97, the 50-day moving average, but large world supplies and poor U.S. exports could limit the upside. Kazakhstan estimates their grain harvest as of Oct 19 at 19.6 million tonnes, compared to 17.16 million last year, 75% of which was wheat. Lingering dryness in the Black Sea wheat growing region is still an area of concern that will be watched.  Rains are expected to help the wheat crop in the U.S. Southern Plains but it remains to be seen if the rains will be sufficient. December CBOT wheat futures were 3.5 cents higher at $4.9475/bushel Wednesday, while Dec KC wheat advanced 3.75 cents to $4.805, and December MWE moved 2.75 cents higher to $5.09. 

Live cattle futures traded mostly higher Wednesday as boxed beef prices continue to rise. Choice was up 1.82 to 215.38 and select up 2.63 to 210.36 with seasonal demand picking up but some analysts feel futures may be overbought on this quick turnaround from the relentless losses the last few months. Cattle slaughter was 337,000 head, compared to 336,000 head last week and 343,000 head this time last year. December cattle lost .05 cents to 143.15 cent/pound Wednesday, while February cattle lifted .15 cents to 144.30 cents/pound. November feeder cattle moved .77 cents lower to 191.42 cents/pound, while January feeders gained 0.52 cents to 184.77 cents/pound.  

CME lean hogs pulled back Wednesday after a 3.5% surge yesterday on late October packer demand despite the recent shift lower. Hog futures started downward late last week in what appears to be the early stages of seasonal demand weakness, largely expected by the trade. The Dec contract is still perched above the major moving averages, suggesting pressure ahead; hogs may find support at the 20-day moving average of 66.26. Hog slaughter so far this week was at 1.218 million head, compared to 1.256 million last week and 1.278 million this time last year. Cash hogs were 1.14 lower to 68.66. The lean hog index fell by .32% to 74.35 as cash hogs slide, narrowing the cash/futures spread. December hog futures lost 0.52 cents to 7.02 cents/pound Wednesday, while April hogs fell 0.05 to 71.72.  

ICE Cotton futures gained ground Wednesday led by demand optimism in the oilseed complex. Cotton weekly harvest progress came in at 31% versus 22% last week and the 32% five-year average. Lower crop condition ratings from recent SE rains, lower than expected exports, and a lower U.S. production estimate have been bullish for the crop that, globally, still faces a bearish supply outlook. News of the increased Chinese demand in the soy complex this week and last has helped the rise in cotton as demand fears regarding the largest cotton consumer in the world subsided. December cotton futures gained 0.43 cents to 64.23 cents/pound Wednesday, while May cotton edged 0.31 cents higher to 64.42.