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Corn futures closed mostly a nickel lower today, touching five year lows in the front month. This action followed the USDA Grain Stocks report released at 11AM this morning. The report showed 2013/14 US ending stocks were 45 million bushels(mbu) larger than the trade had been expecting. The official NASS figure was 1.236 billion bushels(bbu), while the average pre-report trade guess was 1.191 bbu. That implies a very strong 2.62 bbu of corn use in the fourth quarter. The problem, of course, is that we are staring at a record 2014 crop and any additional supply help from 2013 was not appreciated! As of Sunday, 12% of the NEW crop has been harvested compared to the 5yr avg of 23% for this date.
Soybeans closed mostly 10 to 11 cents lower on the day. Futures made it back to plus territory about 40 minutes after the USDA reports due to end of month short-covering, but fell back to close a few cents above session lows. The rally was sparked by much lower than expected 2013/14 ending stocks, which came in at only 92 mbu even after USDA bumped up the total production estimate from the previous year by 69 mbu. Average pre-report expectations for stocks had been in the 126mbu to 131mbu area. The forecasted record crop coming out of the fields this year allowed the trade to look past the tightest old crop carryover stocks since 1972.
Wheat futures closed 3 to 8 cents lower following the release of updated figures for 2014/15 wheat production, which came out simultaneously with the Quarterly Grain Stocks Report. Pre-report trade estimates for September 1 all wheat production were 2.004 to 2.075 billion bushels, and the USDA put the figure in the middle at 2.035 bbu. Winter wheat pre-report estimates averaged 1.404 bbu, but the USDA came in on the low end of the range at 1.378 bbu. HRW production was larger than trade estimates, and SRW production was smaller. The September 1, 2014 wheat stocks in all positions totaled 1.914 bbu, very close to the average trade estimate of 1.910 bbu. The USDA collectively estimates 43% of the 2015 winter wheat crop has been planted, ahead of the 5yr average by about 7 points. Approximately 14% of the crop has emerged, vs. the 5yr avg of 12%.
Cattle futures closed 50 cents to a dollar lower in Turnaround Tuesday action, but feeders are were able to stay green on the day because of cheaper feed. Boxed beef prices were mixed in the afternoon report, with Choice boxes averaging a penny higher, and Select boxes averaging $0.38 lower. Cash cattle trade so far this week has been quiet, with not enough sales volume to indicate market trend. Estimated week to date slaughter is even with a week ago, but 13K head smaller than the same period a year ago. The CME feeder cattle index was another $0.22 higher at $233.66.
Hog futures ended the day mixed, with October picking up 65 cents, and December losing 32.5 cents. The CME lean hogs index was at $108.30, up $0.66. The pork carcass cutout value averaged $1.29 higher, with lots of strength shown in the bellies today. Estimated week to date slaughter is 37K head smaller than a week ago, and 75K head smaller than a year ago. You can’t eat farrowing intentions, only market ready hogs! Carcass base prices reported today were 47 cents higher in the IA/MN area, 36 cents higher in the WCB, and they were just a penny lower in the ECB.
Cotton futures closed 10 to 62 points lower. The December contract came within 18 points of its recent low, established last Thursday. The US Dollar index was sharply higher today, and crude oil was sharply lower. In the weekly Crop Progress report the overall condition rating improved slightly from last week. The crop is about 3 points behind the 5yr avg of 13% harvested for this week of the year. The AWP for this week has dropped to 50.94, resulting in potential LDP payments. ICE Certified stocks were 18,545 bales. The Cotlook A Index is at 69.95, down 0.50.