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Corn futures are trading about four cents higher at midday. The Pro Farmer tour showed lower yield potential for IA and MN than some had expected. The Tour computed an Iowa average yield of 178.75 bushels per acre. The Minnesota tour estimate was 170.76 bpa. The only recent year which was lower for Minnesota was the 2012 drought. Heavy rains and high winds also damaged some corn overnight. Chinese corn prices for September futures on the Dalian exchange closed at the US equivalent of $10.62, about 76 cents higher than they were on July 1. The ban on US corn imports due to MIR162 keeps demand strong for their local supplies, especially with excessive dryness in some of the Chinese corn growing regions this year
Soybeans are currently trading 3 to 24 cents higher with September up nearly a quarter-dollar as the short squeeze in old crop beans and meal continues. Sept meal is $17.70 higher on the day. Flash flood warnings are in effect today for IL, IN and OH. USDA reported another 120,000 MT of export sales for 2014/15 to China this morning. The January15 soybean futures contract on the Dalian exchange closed at the US equivalent of $19.90, up about 26 cents on the session. It was as high as $20.58 as recently as August 14. Cash bean bids in Central Illinois were reported as much as 320 cents over the November contract on Thursday.
Wheat futures are trading 11 to 14 cents higher. Heavy rains and high winds in the upper Midwest have also damaged some standing spring wheat. Gulf bids for CIF SRW wheat slipped four cents for September through January in the midday report, but the August bid was unchanged at 47 cents over Sept futures. According to Strategie Grain, 41% of the EU wheat crop is thought to be feed quality, up from 29% last year. USDA reported net weekly export sales last week totaled 209,200 MT; the smallest weekly figure of this marketing year (which began on June 1). Total export commitments YTD are 43% of the newly increased USDA forecast for 2014/15 exports. The 5 year average for this date would be 41%.
Cattle futures are currently trading higher on the day. October cattle are sharply higher, and August feeders are up about 70 cents. Wholesale prices were slightly lower in the AM report with choice off 26 cents and select boxes averaging 75 cents lower than yesterday. Cash cattle trade overall has been limited on light demand. Not enough sales have been reported to determine a market trend with prices for top rated steers ranging from $151 to $156, and top rated dressed steers changing hands between $240 and $242. Both sides of the trade are showing caution as they anticipate the release of the Cattle on Feed report after the market closes this afternoon. The average pre-report trade estimate for cattle on feed as of August 1 is 97.21% of year ago on August 1, with July placements expected to be down 9.5% from last year, and marketings down 9% as well. USDA will also issue a Cold Storage report showing the beef inventory in coolers as of July 31.
Hog futures are trading lower in the front months with the differed contracts firming up as far out as July 2015. The pork carcass cutout was up 58 cents from the Thursday PM report. Bellies found a bid, and are up $17.04/cwt on the day, helping the carcass shake off losses in the Loin and Ham cuts of $3.89 and $3.71 respectively. Week to date slaughter at 1.616 million head is indeed ahead of last week, which was 1.597 million. However, it still lags year ago by 95,000 head. The monthly USDA Cold Storage report this afternoon will show warehouse stocks as of July 31. The CME lean hog index moved $2.06 lower for the 8/19-8/20 average, and is at $107.19.
Cotton futures are trading mixed at midday, with October again showing independent strength and up 75 points, now showing a 136 point premium to December futures. The US dollar index is firmer, up around 192 points today, after a pull back on Thursday. Crude oil is lower on the session. Cert stocks are at 83,309 bales, with 3,241 decerts. USDA reported US export sales last week totaled 155,600 RB of upland cotton and 2,600 RB of pima cotton. That sounds slow, but US export commitments year to date at 48% are stronger than the 5 year average pace of 40% of the full year forecast. The Cotlook A index was last reported at 74.90.