CBOT corn futures edged higher early Thursday morning to highs for the week various crop tours show mixed results. Weekly exports sales expectations for old-crop corn are 0 to 200,000 tonnes and 350,000 to 600,000 tonnes for new-crop. Timely and well-needed rains have fallen this week across most of the Corn Belt. Weekly ethanol production was unchanged at 965,000 barrels per day, 3% over this time last year. September corn futures gained .75 cents to $3.68/bushel early Thursday, while December climbed 0.75 cents to $3.7925.
The soy complex sank again early Thursday morning as widespread rains help final development of the crop. The nearby soybean contract dropped to 6-year lows as the trade continues to wrestle global economic uncertainty and ideas of a better than expected crop. The new-crop November contract fell to 8.99, a new low for the contract. Old-crop soybean export sales expectations are 0 to 250,000 tonnes and 500,000 to 800,000 tonnes for new-crop. Trade expectations for old-crop meal are 0 to 75,000 tonnes and 25,000 to 150,000 tonnes for new-crop. September soybeans dropped 3.25 cents to $9.0025/bushel early Thursday, while September soyoil fell .28 cents to 27.61 cents/pound and September meal gained $.1 to $324.1/ton.
Wheat futures were mixed Thursday with Chicago wheat up and KC wheat down. Trade expectations for 2015/16 wheat export sales are 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes. U.S spring wheat harvest progress and crop condition ratings this week are above average and adding to the abundant supply outlook. EU wheat has fallen to three-month lows on larger than anticipated French wheat production. September CBOT wheat futures rose 0.5 cents to $4.9675/bushel Wednesday, while Sep KC wheat dropped 1 cent to $4.7325/bushel, and September MWE was advanced 1 cent to $5.0925.
Live cattle traded substantially lower Wednesday falling nearly 1.5% across both nearby and deferred months. This may signal the seasonal shift lower as holiday buying begins to peak and then subside. Cash beef values slipped yesterday afternoon and proved an apt prelude to the steep drop in futures. The USDA Cattle on Feed report will be out this Friday at 2:00 p.m. CDT. October cattle lost 2.32 cents to 145.07 cents/pound as Wednesday’s CME session wound down, while April futures fell 1.55 cents to 146.20. Meanwhile, October feeder cattle futures dropped lower 3.5 cents to 203.87 cents/pound Wednesday, while January feeders lost 3.77 cents to 195.37.
The seasonal shift lower on a holiday buying plateau appears to have outweighed strength in the cash hogs. Despite the lean hog index still being 13 cents higher than the October lean hog futures contract, lean hog futures tumbled today. It remains to be seen if this is a temporary correction or if it suggest the traditional demand shift lower has arrived. The USDA National Daily Direct afternoon hog report show carcass values lower by 43 cents to 75.43. The daily hog slaughter was 425,000 Wednesday, compared to 425,000 a week ago and 405,000 a year ago. October hog futures slid 0.47 cents to 66 cents/pound Wednesday, while February declined 0.42 cents to 67.15.
The cotton market lowered overnight on profit-taking. China, the world’s second largest cotton producer, is expected to produce 5.5 million tonnes of the fiber in the upcoming season, according to Reuters. This is compared to what the China Cotton Association (CCA) previously predicted; a crop of 5.86 million tonnes and 15% lower than the 2014/15 crop of 6.5 million tonnes. In the US, stronger than expected exports and lower than expected production have boosted the ICE futures in recent days despite the mostly neutral-downward movements over that past few months. The USDA reduced the estimate for the 2015/16 crop to 13.08 million bales (480 lb.) from 14.5 million bales, causing the price rally. December cotton futures lost 0.06 cents to 66.47 cents/pound early Thursday morning, while May lost 0.03 cents to 66.06.