Grain, Soybean Futures Mixed Ahead Of WASDE Report

Grain and soybean futures prices are mixed in overnight trading ahead of the noon ET release of the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.  \r\n   The report is expected to show lower ending stocks for corn, soybeans and wheat, but subsequent USDA estimates are expected to show good planting intentions and the prospect for higher stocks next year.\r\n   The USDA also is expected to raise soybean export forecasts based on the pace of actual export sales, which have exceeded expectations.\r\n   China came back from its Lunar New Year holiday with less interest in US beans and more interest in Brazilian beans, which are much cheaper.\r\n   But the soy complex got a boost overnight as Malaysian palm oil prices rose.  The Malaysian Palm Oil Board said overnight that exports were down about 10%, which was less of a decline than traders had expected.  Production is declining seasonally, too, which added support to a separate, private, report showing a recovery in exports since the official data collection ended.\r\n   Corn also cold glean support from word that another corn sale was make to an unknown destination overnight, but many analysts expect rallies in corn and soybeans to be capped by increased farmer selling going forward.\r\n   In the short term, corn has been supported by struggling South American logistics, which has triggered noticeable short covering in futures.  At the same time, the latest market support has produced significant farmer selling of corn and soybeans.  \r\n   After the WASDE report, the market may concentrate on prospects for rising stocks with this year’s planting and harvest.\r\n   Meanwhile, continuing bitter cold blankets the Plains and Midwest, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Drought Monitor is showing increased dryness in the western Corn Belt.  This may help spring planting by avoiding last year’s wet conditions, but also may be a harbinger of summer dryness and heat to balance out the winter’s arctic temperatures.\r\n   And California got rain and snow last week, but much more will be needed to break the drought there.\r\n   Only very light fed cattle trading was reported in the Plains last week at $141 per cwt on a live basis and $225 dressed.  Packer bids generally were reported at $139 live, against asking prices of around $146.\r\n   Most feedlot managers passed such bids and will carry the cattle over into this week, giving them time to recover some of the weight lost to frigid temperatures but stacking cattle up in the feedlots.\r\n   Cargill’s beef plant in Schuyler, Neb., remained closed this weekend while electrical and other repairs are made, MeatingPlace reported.  The company had hoped to reopen the slaughter plant on Saturday for a double shift after fire closed it on Thursday, but repairs were taking longer than estimated at first.\r\n   Today is first notice day for Feb Live Cattle futures, but ADMIS said few deliveries are expected, although it may encourage some repositioning of positions. \r\n   The USDA’s boxed-beef cutout was sharply lower Friday with the choice cutout down $2.74 per cwt at $210.77 and the select cutout down $3.12 at $209.19.  The choice/select spread widened to $1.58, and there were 157 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.\r\n   For the week, the choice cutout fell $12.72 while the select cutout dropped $15.66.  From the late January highs, values are down $28 in choice and $29 in select, according to AgResource.\r\n   The CME Feeder Cattle Cash Index for the seven days ended Thursday is $169.63, down $0.40, while the March futures contract settled Friday at $167.80, up $0.80.\r\n