The grain and oilseed markets advanced broadly higher Thursday, seeming to be fueled primarily by concerns about excessive moisture and regained confidence in Chinese demand after their market rebound. Export sales for old crop corn came in at 535,200 tonnes, compare to estimates of 400,000-600,000. This is down 10% from last week and 3% from the prior 4-week average. New crop sales came in at 149,000 tonnes, compared to estimates of 200,000-350,000. Weekly ethanol figures were strong at 987,000 barrels per day, 6% higher than last year. September corn futures climbed 4.25 cents to $4.2825/bushel lateThursday, while December added 4.75 cents to $4.39.
Soybeans production and yield concerns propelled futures higher Thursday as weather and planting worries persist. In preparation for tomorrow’s WASDE report, funds are likely prepositioning as pre-report estimates suggest lower forthcoming yields and production. Average analysts estimates for yields are 45.1 bu/ac, compared to the USDA’s June figure of 46 bu/ac; the production estimate is 3.794 billion bushels, down from 3.850. Soybean export sales for old crop were 41,400 tonnes, compared estimates of -40,000-200,000. New crop sales were 201,100 tonnes, compared to estimates of 100,000-300,000 . August soybeans climbed 29.5 cents to $10.2625/bushel at the close Thursday while August soyoil advanced 0.68 cents to 32.37 cents/pound and July meal gained $13.20 at $364/ton.
After falling yesterday in response to export competitiveness worries, wheat futures were mixed Thursday. Advances in wheat appeared to be restrained, in contrast to corn and beans, likely due to bearish stocks data and lingering export weakness. Export sales for 2015/16 wheat were 345,900 tonnes, compared to the 300,000-500,000 estimate. Export shipments were 268,800 tonnes, down 26% from the previous week. Moisture concerns are also plaguing parts of Ukraine and may cause and may mean a lower 2015 wheat forecast. September CBOT wheat futures gained 0.5 cents to $5.78/bushel at the end of trading Thursday, while Sep KC wheat lost 4.25 cents to $5.7875/bushel, and September MWE advanced was unchanged at $6.19.
Downward pressure remained on the livestock complex Thursday as traders keep low demand and increased feed costs on their radar. Cash beef continues to slide lower in what might be considered a not-too-unusual decline for this time of year. Funds and larger commercial interests may be liquidating some longs ahead of Friday’s WASDE. Nearby cattle futures have largely stayed below the 40-day moving average since the run up to the June 30 Stock report. Prior to the week of June 25, they had not sunk below the average since early March. August cattle dropped 0.17 cents to 148.47 cents/pound Thursday, while December futures lost 0.5 cents to 153.85. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures lowered 0.7 cents to 211.75 cents/pound, and November feeders fell 0.97 to 207.55.
Despite strength in the lean hog index, lean hog future declined today. Large gains in the grain markets today may also have producers attempting to realign their outlook for costs, particularly if weather concern materialize into a more significant bull run in corn and soybeans. Although August futures have rallied in the past week, today’s losses look to be part of a bigger trend line lower that began mid-May and may be tied in part to follow-through trading on the prospects of larger second-half supplies. August hog futures lost 2.65 cents to 73.27 cents/pound Thursday, while December slid 2.82 cents to 59.97.