U.S. soybean futures fell on Wednesday, pulling back from Tuesday's rise, on forecasts of record exports from Brazil which would generate increased competition with U.S. shipments.
Wheat and corn were little changed in early Wednesday trade, with both experiencing bargain-buying support after recent price falls.
Chicago Board of Trade March soybeans fell 0.3 percent to $8.54-1/4 a bushel by 1054 GMT. March corn was little changed, down 0.07 percent at $3.52-3/4 a bushel and wheat was down 0.05 percent at $4.61 a bushel.
On a continuation chart, the most-active soybean contract on Monday hit $8.53-1/4, the lowest since late November on worries about weakening demand and good crops in South America.
"Soybeans are the main market focus today with attention on the forecasts of huge exports from Brazil coupled with favorable weather which could bring a bumper crop there," said Frank Rijkers, agrifood economist at ABN AMRO Bank. "This means U.S. supplies will be facing intense competition in export markets."
Good crop weather in South America has raised expectations for an excellent harvest in early 2016. Brazil could export a record 57 million tonnes of soybeans in 2016, with new northern ports shipping most of the 4 million tonne increase from last year, cereal exporters association Anec said on Tuesday. Rain in center-west and north Brazil this week should benefit soybean crops before harvesting, meteorologists said on Monday.
Wheat had fallen to $4.56 on Monday, the lowest since June 2010 on the outlook for large global supplies, while corn dropped to a six-month low of $3.50-1/2 a bushel.
"The wheat market is weighing up the impact of bargain-buying following the early-week price falls plus worry about U.S. crops against the outlook for very large worldwide supplies," said Rijkers. "The Black Sea area has large supplies to sell in coming months while the new Argentine government has put the country back in the export market, global supplies look ample," he added. "Corn continues to benefit from bargain-buying following the previous price drop."
The UkrAgroConsult consultancy raised its forecast for Ukraine's 2015/16 wheat exports to 14 million tonnes from 13 million citing a higher harvest and a fall in ending stocks. In the U.S., condition ratings for winter wheat in Illinois declined during December following heavy rains, but more than half the crop was still seen as good to excellent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
U.S. Cattle futures rebounded from prior losses Tuesday. Prices climbed to a new 2 month high as traders added bull bets anticipating a strengthening in demand. Live Cattle closed at the highest price for a front month since November 4, while Feeder Cattle also found nearby support for the front month closing at its highest in 2 months. The latest winter storms in the US plains are making it difficult maintenance wise, reducing cattle offered for slaughter, limiting supply availability. The USDA reported Tuesday, a supplier for Walmart has recalled about 90,000 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with extraneous wood materials. Beef cutouts continue their bullish new year’s trend. Choice cuts are up 2.33 to 220.39 and Select cuts are up 3.95 to 214.96. . Estimated slaughter for the week is estimated at 208,000 head vs 198,000 last week and 216,000 last year. February live cattle increased 0.275 cents to 136.700 cents/pound Tuesday, while April futures dropped 0.075 cents to 137.350. March feeder cattle increased 0.375 cents to 165.05 cents/pound Tuesday, and April feeders gained 0.30 cents to 164.775.
Lean hogs jumped 2.8% on Tuesday as traders initiated bull spreading on expectations of tighter supplies and expectations of retail demand strengthening. Traders are buying Feb Lean Hogs and selling the deferred months. The rally was the largest move in the front month contract since mid-December. Investors are anticipating slaughter reduction and a drop in weights. Winter months make it harder for animals to gain weight. Feed intake is more for maintaining body temperature than weight gain. US Pork Packer Margins for January 5 are down 0.62 from Monday at $35.88. Estimated slaughter for the week is estimated at 871,000 head vs 849,000 last week and 843,000 last year. Country hogs are slightly lower on the day down 0.07 to $48.90. February futures closed 1.55 cents/bound higher at 60.975 cents/pound Tuesday, while April hogs gained 0.50 cents to 65.950 cents/pound.
As one would expect, cotton futures suffered badly in Monday’s bearish stock market environment, since apparel demand is often seen as being very responsive to changing economic conditions. The fact that the economic fears were concentrated upon China probably exaggerated those fears. The fact that the U.S. dollar is also rising can’t be helping the bullish cause either, since greenback gains make U.S. cotton that much more expensive for export buyers. That at least partially explains the overnight cotton slippage. The International Cotton Advisory Committee pushed its forecast for cotton prices slightly higher. The ICAC raised the 2015/16 foretasted cotton price by 1 cent to 71 cents per pound. This prices is measured by Cotlook A index of physical prices. The increase, brings the forecasted price in line with last season’s price. The 71 cent price last season was the lowest season average price since the 2008/09’s price of 61.20 cents per pound. The ICAC also lowered its forecast for world stocks for 2015/16 by 1.44 million tonnes to 20.59 million tonnes. This drop also lowered the stock to use ratio to 84.6%. 2014/15 stocks to ratio was 91.0%. Cotton was the only commodity covered by the Bloomberg Commodity Index to post a positive return of 3.0%. Gains in the US crop were supported by heavy rains. Demand for this year though looks to slow as Chinese imports begin to soften after a shake up in the subsidy program. The ICAC is forecasting that Chinese imports of cotton will fall to 1.2 million tonnes in 2015/16, down 34% from last year. March cotton gained 0.09 cents to 62.70 cents/pound on Tuesday’s close, while May cotton remained unchanged at 63.47 cents/pound.