Grain markets were mixed overnight with soybeans advancing 4 cents a bushel, while corn and wheat slumped about a penny going into the morning break.
On Friday, Egypt announced the results of its latest wheat purchase, with Russia, Ukraine and France splitting the business on a 230,000 MT deal. The US continues to remain at lofty price levels that are uncompetitive in world trade. Also on Friday after the close, USDA reported the latest cattle on feed estimates. As of September 1, all cattle on feed were at 103.0 percent versus a trade estimate of 103.4 percent, but the big surprise was August placements of 95 percent versus trade expectations of 100.2 percent. Cattle movement into U.S. feedlots last month dropped 5.0 percent from August 2014 to their lowest level since the government started tracking the data in 1996. The wider-than-expected shortfall in placement was attributed to lower slaughter cattle prices and feedlots that delayed buying pricey calves, or feeder cattle, that eroded their margins for nine straight months.
In South America, a port labor strike is threatening to slow corn exports out of Brazil. A strike by Brazilian federal agricultural agents responsible for approving certificates required for shipments could affect Brazil's corn exports, the director of the cereal exporters association Anec Sergio Mendes said on Friday. Mendes said the strike that started on Thursday was "the worst thing that could happen" to grain exports, though it is too soon to quantify the effects. The Federal Agricultural Agents' Union (Anffa) estimated that 70 percent of its workers nationally were adhering to the strike. But at the main Port of Santos, 100 percent of the agents were on strike. Also on Friday, Safras projected an increase in Brazil’s corn and bean crop in the coming season. They peg Brazil’s 2015/16 bean crop at 100.5 MMT vs 99.8 in July, and corn at 88.6 MMT vs 86.2 in 2014/15.
US weather is expected to be near ideal for harvest in the US as dry weather and minimal threats of frost should lead to good progress for harvest. Last week USDA reported 5 percent of the US corn crop was harvested and today after the close trader’s will get new estimates from USDA’s Crop Progress Report.
In financials, U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher in the night session after Wall Street closed lower last week as the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates unchanged stoked fears of slowing global economic growth. Mini S&P 500 futures (ESZ5) were up 10 points at a 0.5 percent gain this morning. Investors will be looking for more clarity on the Fed's decision with a number of central bank officials slated to speak this week, culminating in Chair Janet Yellen speaking on Thursday. Chinese markets closed higher with the Shanghai Composite index up 1.9 percent and the CSI300 rising 1.75 percent. China's vice finance minister, Shi Yaobin, said the recent market volatility was a short-term issue and that the country could maintain a healthy economic growth rate going forward. U.S. data scheduled to be released on Monday includes existing home sales for August, which are expected to have dropped 1.3 percent last month after rising to an eight-year high in the previous month. The numbers are expected at 10 a.m. ET.
In Oil, nearby crude prices (GXLX5 / QMX5) were up over a $1 a barrel in night trade as Asian markets were stronger overnight. But, oversupply fears still linger. Oil stockpiles held by Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, climbed to a record, Bloomberg News reported. It said the country's commercial petroleum stockpiles advanced to 320 million barrels, the highest since at least 2002, citing data on Sunday on the website of the Riyadh-based Joint Organizations Data Initiative.