Corn futures are called 1 to 2 cents higher. Overnight trade at 6:45 am CT was 1/2 to 1 1/2 cents higher. Bullish supply/demand fundamentals are expected to support prices this morning along with spillover support from wheat. Strong demand in corn for ethanol use has helped push USDA’s projected stocks-to-use ratio to the lowest level since 1995/96.The nearby March contract pushed to a new high last week. However, gains are expected to be limited by strength in the dollar index overnight.
Soybean futures are called steady to 3 cents higher. Overnight trade at 6:45 am CT was steady to 1/2 of a cent higher in old-crop and 2 3/4 cents higher in the new-crop November contract. Short-covering from the losses on Friday and projections for tight ending stocks of soybeans was providing support in overnight trade. The competition for acreage this spring will be a supportive factor as well. However, gains are being limited by the strength in the dollar index overnight and improved production prospects in South America. Rain has benefitted the crop in Argentina and conditions in Brazil have been mostly favorable this growing season.
Wheat futures are called 12 to 15 cents higher. Overnight trade at 6:45 am CT was 11 1/2 to 12 cents higher at the CBOT, 13 1/4 to 13 1/2 cents higher at the KCBT and 16 3/4 to 17 1/4 cents higher at the MGE. Concern about the winter wheat crop and improved export demand are supporting the wheat market. The warm up in the Plains and Midwest is melting snowcover, leaving the crop vulnerable to a cold snap. Export demand appears to be improving as USDA announced U.S. export sales to Tunisia and Iraq this morning. Further gains are being limited by strength in the dollar.
Cattle futures are called lower on the open. The limited cash market sales last week will likely leave showlists larger this week. Declining beef prices and larger showlists could push cash prices lower. Choice beef prices were down $1.34 on Friday. Strength in the dollar index overnight is a bearish factor for the beef export market.
Lean hog futures are expected to open lower. Sharp losses in cash market prices on Friday and the 64 cent drop in pork cutouts are expected to weigh on the market. National average cash prices were down $3 on Friday. The premium of April futures to cash could also weigh on the market as the spot February contract expires today.
Cotton futures are trading mixed this morning. Old-crop contracts are mostly higher on speculative buying as the market continues to push to new record highs. Prices are making a run at the $2 per pound level. However, profit-taking is limiting some gains and is weighing on the new-crop December contract. At 6:40 am CT, March cotton was 83 points higher at 190.80 cents and December was 100 points lower at 128.00 cents.