After early gains, grain prices turn lower

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Corn futures are 2-3 cents lower at midsession. Export basis levels firmed with the sharp decline in futures prices on Monday. While corn export demand has been soft, U.S. and South American price levels are narrowing making the U.S. more competitive. Thin supplies along U.S. export channels have helped underpin the cash market. However, weekly export inspections came in at only 9.5 million bushels, about 5 million below expectations. Meanwhile, planting delays persist in Argentina due to wet weather. December corn futures are trading 2 3/4 cents lower at $7.15 1/4.

Earlier gains have evaporated and the soybean market was back to trading lower by mid morning. The January futures was trading just under $14 per bushel, marking its lowest price since late June. Soybean prices have been on a steep descent ever since Friday morning when USDA increased its forecast for the soybean crop by 111 million bushels, the largest October to November revision on record. With January futures off 96 cents over two trading sessions, there was reason to suspect foreign buyers might step in with one or more large purchases. Bulls were disappointed when there was no announcement at 9 AM EST.

Wheat prices have extended opening losses in mid-session trade. CBOT December is down double digits again. Crop conditions in Argentina are improving while the harvest is advancing normally in southern Australia and South Africa. Concern over U.S. hard red wheat conditions may subside if this afternoon’s holiday-delayed weekly crop condition report shows any improvement for winter wheat; particularly in Plains states with the weekend rain. Winter crops are dormant or becoming dormant in Canada, the northern U.S. Plains much of Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and northern China, putting concerns there “on hold” for now. At mid-session, CBOT December is down10 ½ cents at $8.47 ¼; KCBT December down 5 ¼ cents at $8.85 ¼; MGE December down 3 ¾ at $9.29 ½.

Live cattle futures are trading mixed at midmorning. Cattle slaughter on Monday was estimated at 113,000 head, down 5,000 from last week and 10,000 from a year ago. Current expectations are for cash prices to trade steady to lower as packer need to source fewer cattle to meet next week’s holiday shortened slaughter schedule. Beef prices were higher on Monday with choice beef up $1.43 at $193.30. Select was $.15 higher at $173.71. Beef exports during September were down 17% from a year ago at 194.5 million pounds. December cattle are 10 cents higher at 125.45.

Lean hog futures are moving higher today. Cash trade is steady in the west and $.50 to $1 lower in the east. Packer buying interest is light ahead of next week’s shortened slaughter week. In futures trade, the Goldman roll will wrap up today as their funds roll long positions from the December contract to February and April. The upward momentum in futures continues. December rallied to a 4 month high while February and the deferred contracts posted new contract highs. Pork shipments in September were about steady with a year ago at 147 million pounds. December hogs are 90 cents higher at $81.22

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