Grains lower ahead of USDA reports

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Corn futures closed lower on Thursday. Corn futures tumbled on several different factors today. Prices were under pressure from the rapidly advancing corn harvest, lackluster demand for U.S. corn as well as position squaring ahead of Friday’s stocks report. Traders cautiously moved to the sidelines in anticipation of tomorrow’s report. The average of trade estimates is pegged at 1.113 billion bushels (an eight year low), down from 1.128 billion bushels a year ago. December corn closed down 9 ½ cents.

Soybean futures closed lower on Thursday. Prices closed slightly below unchanged after a day of volatile trading. Nearby contracts were trading slightly higher at midday on firm export demand with USDA announcing exports sales of 110,000 metric tonnes of soybeans to China for delivery during the current market year. USDA also indicated that soybean exports last week reached a six week high of approximately 800,000 tonnes. However, position squaring ahead of tomorrow’s USDA stocks report dragged prices down to close lower. November soybeans closed down 2 ½ cents.

Wheat futures closed moderately lower on Thursday. Wheat futures declined sharply on technical selling and position squaring ahead of USDA’s small grains summary report. Analysts expect the report to show 2012 wheat production at 2.267 billion bushels, down from USDA’s previous estimate of 2.268 billion bushels. Bearish weekly export sales and shipments also weighed on the market. December wheat closed 14 ¼ cents lower at CBOT; 16 ¼ cents lower at KCBT; and 15 ¼ cents lower at MGE.

Live cattle futures closed higher on Thursday. Prices rebounded shortly before closing bell on end of day short covering. At midsession contracts were mixed, supported by bargain buying but pressured weak export sales data and sliding wholesale beef prices. Cash trade uncertainty and weakness in the other commodity markets were limiting factors for today’s upside advancement. October closed 23 cents higher while December closed 43 cents higher.

Lean hog futures closed randomly mixed on Thursday. Front month (October) moved higher for the second consecutive day on cash market strength and short covering. The fundamentals of the market remain supportive and traders are optimistic that cash prices will continue to exhibit strength. The trade is awaiting tomorrow’s quarterly hogs and pigs. Analysts are predicting total hogs in the U.S. to be up 0.7%, the breeding herd down 0.3% and marketings up 0.8%. October closed up 35 cents while December closed down 78 cents.

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