Crop forecasts are again depressing grain and soy prices. The weekly USDA Crop Progress report boosted the corn crop rating 1% to 74% good-to-excellent, which is the second highest late-August reading since 1994. The prospect of huge fall yields, as well as industry forecasts to that effect, clearly undercut CBOT futures. December corn futures closed 11.75 cents lower at $3.52 Wednesday, while May lost 11.0 to $3.7375.
Rising soybean readings also dragged soy prices lower. The USDA Crop Progress report raised the rating for the U.S. bean crop 2% to 72% good to excellent, which is quite rare in August. The bearish CBOT response was hardly surprising, especially after a private firm boosted its harvest forecast to 4.0 billion bushels. November soybean futures fell 12.00 cents to $10.20/bushel Wednesday afternoon, while October soyoil sagged 0.19 cents to 31.76 cents/pound, and October soymeal dove $8.4 to $363.8/ton.
Outside developments weighed on the wheat markets. Although the Crop Progress report indicated continued deterioration of the spring wheat crop and a laggardly harvest, wheat futures declined in concert with corn and beans. That probably reflected news that China has greatly increased its wheat stocks this year, as well as talk of Russia-Ukraine cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. December CBOT wheat plunged 19.25 cents to $5.3575/bushel as Wednesday’s pit session ended, while December KC wheat dropped 15.75 cents to $6.1675/bushel, and December MWE wheat tumbled 12.5 to $6.1025.
Cash optimism seemed to power gains in cattle futures. Cattle futures reacted well Tuesday to last week’s late cash strength. Beef prices proved surprisingly strong at noon, which apparently spurred fresh bullishness about late summer-fall cash prospects. October live cattle futures soared 3.00 cents to 155.42 cents/pound at their Wednesday settlement, while December futures leapt 2.47 to 158.00. Meanwhile, October feeder futures spiked 2.95 cents to 221.77 cents/pound and January feeders jumped 2.73 to 215.32.
Hog futures diverged sharply Wednesday. Hog futures seemed set to build upon Tuesday’s 2014 futures surge. However, midday Wednesday action looked more like a continuation of Tuesday afternoon weakness. Ultimately, short-term optimism boosted the October future, whereas the deferred contracts posted diverse losses. October hogs ended Wednesday’s CME session 1.22 cents higher at 101.10 cents/pound, while December slumped 0.30 to 93.10.