Corn futures were lower to start the new month after firming late last week on strong weekly export sales. Trade estimates for this afternoon’s crop progress report is that corn harvest will be reported near complete at 85%-90%. Corn export inspection data will be released at 10 am CST this morning. One week from Tuesday, the USDA will release the November 10 Supply/Demand report (WASDE) with some trade estimates being released as early as today. Equity futures pointed to a higher open, while the dollar, gold, and crude were all lower. December corn futures moved 1.75 cents lower to $3.805/bushel early Monday morning, while March lost 1.75 to $3.8975.
Soybean futures firmed Friday after largely ignoring the improved pace of soybean export sales reported Thursday. Follow-though trading on the persuasion by the trade, albeit not whole-hearted, that China’s appetite for soybeans will rescue U.S. exports is helping offset improving growing conditions South America and ideas of a flood of global supply if/when the Argentine government to be elected on Nov 22 should eliminate the current 35% export tax on soybeans. Funds were net sellers of 4,000 contracts Thursday. November soybeans gained 5 cents to $8.8375/bushel Friday, while December soyoil climbed 0.32 cents to 28.20 cents/pound and December meal moved $2.8 higher to $304.40.
Wheat futures led the charge again Friday on world weather as December Chicago wheat broke above the resistance level of $5.17, setting sights on the 200-day moving average of $5.2475. The Buenos Aires Grains exchange estimates the 2015/16 wheat harvest from Argentina at 9.5 million tonnes, down from 11.75 million tonnes. The pendulum in Australia has swung the other way as concerns over dryness affecting the wheat crop has turned to the threat of heavy rains. Wheat sets the largest weekly rise in four months. December CBOT wheat futures gained 7 cents to $5.22/bushel Friday, while Dec KC wheat gained 6.75 cents to $4.9375, and December MWE moved 5.5 cents higher to $5.255.
Live cattle pulled back again Friday, retreating a bit from a strong recovery in prices over that past several weeks that has almost been as remarkable as the historic free-fall in prices that occurred in September. Record-heavy cattle don’t appear to be fully worked through quite yet, as once believed, pressuring futures. Cash beef decelerated with choice falling 1.73 to 219.20 and select up .33 to 211.88 after falling yesterday. Cattle slaughter for the week was at 539,000 head, compared to 548,000 last week and 539,000 a year ago. December live cattle futures fell 1.10 cents to 141.72 cents/pound Friday, while February futures declined .97 cents to 143.42. November feeder cattle slid 1.17 cents to 190.90 and January futures moved 1.55 lower to 183.20.
The BLT season ended quite definitively Thursday with the 10% plunge in wholesale pork belly prices, pressuring nearby hog contracts lower Friday. This marked the lowest belly prices in three months. The precipitous slide in hogs since mid-October feels reminiscent of the fall in live cattle in early September. Increasingly, the pork market is faced with larger supplies just as demand takes as turn lower, yet the wild-card demand for seasonal hams may help limit the declines. Cash hogs fell 1.11 lower to 63.09. Hog slaughter for the week was a 2.117 million, compared to 2.083 million last week and 2.121 million last year. December hog futures fell 0.65 cents to 59.20 cents/pound Friday, while April hogs gained 0.12 to 67.42.
Cotton futures lifted Friday despite disappointing weekly export sales, helped by a weaker dollar. The USDA stated last week’s cotton export sales at 76,100 running (480 pound) bales, which represented respective declines of 22% and 38% from the week-ago total and the four-week average. On Monday, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) launches the new World Cotton contract that many hope will fix price distortions and act as a mechanism to better facilitate the supply and demand issues world cotton faces. December cotton futures gained 1 cents to 63.32 cents/pound Friday, while May cotton climbed 0.74 cents to 63.60.