Corn futures turned decisively firm Tuesday. Prices jumped nearly two percent at close, approaching session highs. Technical buying certainly sent prices higher. Strong cash bids triggered additional buying interests in the futures market. However, sluggish export demand continued to add pressure to the market, thus curbing the gains. Stabilizing factors are harvest nearing completion at 94% in yesterday’s crop progress report from NASS, up from 89% the week before. December corn futures advanced 6.75 cent to close at $3.7425/bushel Tuesday, while May was up 6.50 cents to $3.9575.
Soybean futures acted similar to their corn counterparts and shot sharply higher Tuesday. Led by the front-month contract, the market registered impressive gains on the order of 15 cents or more. Rally in soymeal values carried a positive impact to soybean prices. Strong demand from China provided additional support. USDA stated that US soybean harvest was 97% complete as of Sunday, in line with the average pace. January soybean futures jumped 17.25 cents to $10.51/bushel late Tuesday, while December meal surged $15.70 to $390.6/ton. December soyoil added 0.22 cents to 33.42 cents/pound.
Wheat futures also rose along with other grains Tuesday. KC wheat were leading the gains, powered by the concerns about potential winterkill. US winter wheat crop condition fell 2 points from last week to 58% of good to excellent. Additional support today was from overnight news out of Russia that Russian authorities report condition ratings well under long-time averages. December CBOT wheat boosted 9.25 cents to $5.515/bushel Tuesday, while December KC wheat moved 13.00 cents higher to $6.18/bushel, whereas December MWE wheat gained 11.75 cents to $5.92.
Feeder cattle plunged Tuesday, but live cattle futures closed with a divergence of higher nearby contracts and lower deferred contracts. Plant closures during the holiday could reduce the supplies to the groceries, which provided support to beef prices. On the other hand, cash cattle remain firm, however, with a record $174 paid just last week. High retail prices and the turkey holiday may lead to less demand for beef. January feeder cattle futures fell 1.75 cents to 231.60 cents/pound, and March feeders lost 1.375 to 230.075.
Futures were mixed with mostly lower. Nearby contracts proved vulnerable with slaughter rates finally starting to pick up to levels in line with expectations. Timing for a pick-up in slaughter is bad news for any market bulls because it comes at a time when seasonal demand sags over the Thanksgiving holiday and the normal strength seen in ham prices as the most popular alternative to turkey isn’t occurring this year. December hog futures fell 0.125 cents to 91.20 cents/pound Tuesday, and April hogs lost 0.75 to 91.8.