The corn market was quiet with little fresh news in the overnight session after profit-taking ahead of the holidays. Weekly corn export inspections beat estimates at 718,888 tonnes, compared to 400,000-550,000 tonnes. Still, corn exports are well behind last year’s pace. For November, China imported 464,949 tonnes of DDG’s, 30% less than October and up 140% from a year ago. The month-over month decrease was due to weak domestic demand and large stocks. Last week, China moved to slow DDG imports from the US. China’s ethanol imports reached 135,865 tonnes, a record for November, up from just 26 tonnes a year ago. The Supply/Demand report, along with the Crop Production and Grain Stocks reports will be released Jan 12. The Dow lost 123 points Monday. March corn futures were 0.5 cents higher at $3.755 early Tuesday morning, while May gained 0.5 cents at $3.785.
Weather in Brazil continues to be the focus as the soy complex firmed early Tuesday morning. Some crop analysts in Matto Grosso put the crop at 40% poor-to-very poor due to erratic and uneven rains, calling into question if Brazil can achieve the expected record production. Funds were estimated net sellers of 5,000 corn contracts Monday. Argentina farmers have started selling their soybeans as 8 to 10 million tonnes of Argentine beans may be sold within the next three months. US bean basis has weakened as processors see bins begin to open. The strength of Chinese soybean demand during the first quarter will be key in sustaining a rally above $9. Export inspections were in line with estimates at 1.463 million tonnes Monday. January soybeans moved 2.75 cents higher to $8.94 early Tuesday, while Jan soyoil gained 15 points to 30.92 cents per pound and January meal gained $1.80 to $280.80.
Wheat futures were a little higher Tuesday morning after falling Monday, weighed by large global supply and weak exports. Weekly export inspections were higher than expected at 475,375 tonnes, but remain historically low. Even so, Ukraine’s slashed planted area forecast along with India’s weather-driven lower production estimates have been supportive, helping to limit downside action. Monday, funds were estimated net sellers of 3,000 contracts. Technically, March Chicago wheat broke below the 4.83 support level and if the contract maintains the lower range, support can be found at the contract low of 4.66. March CBOT wheat futures gained 2.25 cents to $4.8125 per bushel Tuesday, while Mar KC wheat was 2.75 cents higher to $4.765, and March MWE climbed 1 cent to $5.03.
US Cattle futures pushed higher to their daily trading limit on Monday continuing support from Friday’s close after a bullish Cattle on Feed report as funds unwound their short bets as the market expected a more bearish report. Placements were at a record low of 1.601 million cattle through the end of November, down 11% from last year. USDA is scheduled to release its monthly cold storage data on Tuesday. Analyst expect the report to show frozen beef stocks at 534.6 million pounds, up 5% from October. Cattle slaughter for the week, was estimated at 111,000 head, compared to 110,000 head last week and 114,105 a year ago. February live cattle gained market limit of 4.50 cents to 130.025 cents/pound Monday, while April futures climbed 4.50 cents to 131.675. January feeder cattle advanced 6.425 cents to 154.375 cents/pound Monday, and March feeders lifted 6.575 cents to 155.250.
Lean hog futures fell 0.9% Monday ahead of two key reports this week and on increasing supply weighing on cash. In today’s 2pm CST Cold Storage report, frozen port stocks are expected to total 677.5 million pounds, up 17% from 2014, but down 4% from last month. In Wednesday’s 2pm CST Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, All Hogs as of Dec 1 are estimated at 101.5%, while Kept For Breeding hogs are estimated at 100.8%, and Kept for Market hogs are projected at 101.6%. The higher year-over-year supply suggest continued weakness in the cash and futures markets, until the post-holiday seasonal shift lower in supply and higher demand brings support. Hog slaughter so far this week was estimated at 440,000 million head, vs 445,000 million last week and 440,764 million a year ago. February futures moved 0.53 cents/pound lower at 56.45 cents/pound at the close Monday, while April hogs lost 0.37 to 62.00.