Corn futures ended lower. Renewed concern over the EU debt situation weighed on prices. The dollar was higher and commodities generally were under pressure. Corn cash price strength has eased a little. News late in the day that China purchased nearly 20 million bushels of U.S. corn for mostly 2012/13 delivery failed to stem the decline in prices. USDA will update old-crop supply and demand estimates and release their first estimates for 2012/13 on Thursday morning. USDA is expected to cut 2011/12 ending stocks by about 50 million bushels to 750 million, but ending stocks for 2012/13 are likely to up nearly 1 billion bushels from this year. July corn settled 15 ¾ cents lower at $6.07 ¼. The December contract was 11 ¼ cents lower at $5.16 ¾.
Soybean futures closed lower on Wednesday. The market traded lower despite expectations for an increase in stocks in USDA’s report. The trade is looking for a decrease to 221 million bushels for 2011/12, down from 250 million in the April report. Carryout for 2012/13 is expected to be even lower at 170 million bushels. Export sales are also expected to be favorable for soybeans, yet futures remained lower today amid European Union uncertainties. July futures were down 8 cents to close at $14.30 1/4 and November futures were down 7 cents to close at 13.33 1/2.
Wheat futures settled solidly lower Wednesday. Pre-report positioned weighed on prices as traders were selling ahead of USDA’s monthly supply/demand report. Average of analyst’s new-crop forecasts peg production at 2.2 billion bushels, up from 2.0 billion in 2011. This increase in production can be attributed to a robust hard red winter wheat crop, which could have record-high yields after good rains and production well ahead of normal. The larger crop is expected to boost stocks to an estimated 805 million bushels for 2012/13, up from 781 million estimated for 2011/12. CBOT July was 15 cents lower at $6.00; KCBT July was 17 cents lower at $6.19; and MGE July was 2 1/4 cents lower at $7.30 1/4.
Cattle futures closed higher on Wednesday. Cattle futures rebounded as traders regained confidence in beef demand. Initial cash cattle bids started at $117 in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, while asking prices were closer to $122 to $123. Prices will likely be steady to higher in anticipation of an increase in slaughter amid improving packer margins. June cattle futures settled 83 cents lower at $116.60. August was 48 cents higher at $118.93.
Lean hog futures closed mostly higher on Wednesday. Prices started the day lower but finished with modest gains. The increases were due in large part to short-covering since most of the market fundamentals were negative. However, an uptick in the pork cutout on Tuesday was enough to convince some traders to close out their short positions. The June contract gained 55 cents, closing at $84.85. July ended up 68 cents at $85.25.