Corn futures were slightly higher early Wednesday ahead of the Grain Stocks report due out at 11:00 a.m. CDT. The average trade estimate for Sep 1 corn stocks is 1.739 billion bushels, compared to 1.232 billion bushels reported last year by the USDA. The corn crop condition rating was steady from last week at 68%, marking the fifth week at that value. The dollar and equity futures were both higher overnight. In global news, the EU lowered their corn crop estimate Wednesday to 58.4 million tonnes from 58.7 million reported last month. December corn futures gained 1.75 cents at $3.9075/bushel Wednesday, while March climbed 1.75 cents to $4.015.
Soybean futures firmed overnight as traders covered their short positions ahead of the USDA report due out this morning. The average trade estimate for Sep 1 grain stocks, to be released at 11:00 a.m. CDT, is .205 billion bushels, compared to .092 billion bushels reported by the USDA for Sep 1, 2014. A lower weekly crop condition rating and a revised lower 2014 soybean production value may bring support. The editor of a well-known newsletter suggested Tuesday that soybean meal prices could drop to $280-$290/ton on increased crush and large world supplies. November soybeans moved higher 2.25 cents to $8.865/bushel Wednesday, while October soyoil lost 0.29 cents higher to 27.17 cents/pound and October meal gained $1.4 to $307.1/ton.
The wheat complex was lower overnight as the macro markets are weighing commodities to start the week. STATS Canada will issue their all-wheat stocks report Thursday with trade estimates falling to 6.5 million tonnes, down 37% from a year ago. The trade awaits the release of export inspections data released mid-morning Monday as well the September WASDE due out a week from this Friday. September CBOT wheat futures lost 3 cents to $4.74/bushel early Monday, while Sep KC wheat fell 1.25 cents to $4.565/bushel, and September MWE dropped 0.5 cents to $4.90.
It was another limit-down day for CME live cattle as wholesale and cash beef prices continue to slide. Beef demand typically picks up in mid-October as shoppers prepare more meals indoors and supermarkets stock up on product to feature in early November. Cattle slaughter started the week out at 222,000 head, compared to 226,000 head last week and 232,000 head this time last year. Nebraska live steers were down another 2 cents to 129.38 cents/pound. October cattle dropped 3 cents lower to 129.17 cent/pound at the close Tuesday, while February cattle closed 3 cents lower to 135.12 cents/pound. October feeder cattle fell limit-down 4.5 cents to 180.82 cents/pound while January feeders dropped 4.5 cents to 171.20 cents/pound.
CME lean hogs rallied Tuesday on stronger wholesale prices and an uptick in retail buying. Monday afternoon’s wholesale pork price was 85.14 cents/pound, 1.20 cents higher than Friday, with all categories posting gains with the exception of picnic shoulders. Supermarkets continue to buy as they finalize purchases for the month of October: National Pork Month. Some packers raised cash bids on spotty supplies while others were close to having needs booked. October hog futures gained 1.92 cents at 73.32 cents/pound Tuesday, while December hogs gained 1.17 to 67.05.
Cotton futures began the week higher Monday despite Chinese stocks closing lower, perhaps on month-end positioning. The tighter than expected balance sheet for cotton and the drop in the condition rating have given cotton bulls something to talk about as of late but world market problems are now the driver. While the global scene for cotton is largely still plagued by oversupply, the recent bullish data appears to be giving way to world economic and currency struggles, particularly related to Chinese demand fears. December cotton futures lost .13 cents to 63.13 cents/pound Friday, while Mar rose 0.17 cents to 62.85.