Corn futures are expected to feel the brunt of slow harvest pressure today. That said, farmers are patiently waiting for this year’s late crop to dry down, and a cooler and, in some places, wetter forecast this week may test that initiative. Dec corn was off 1-3/4 cents to 3.85 last night. Managed Money was short 76,000 corn contracts as of last Tuesday, according the Commitment of Traders report on Friday, and on Friday that figure was estimated at 66,000 contracts.The impact of the winter storm that struck the western Corn Belt last weekend remains uncertain. Estimates of crop loss range from 150 to 450 million bushels, but weak demand is a counter balance to a potential cut in corn supply, thus we’re likely to see a technically challenged market as the end of the month approaches. Dec corn is back below its 10-day and 200-day moving averages with the 40-day at 3.82-1/4 serving as near-term support. We’ll get Weekly Export Inspections this morning and Harvest Progress updates after the close today.
Bean futures were up 2-1/2 cents overnight in a mild technical bounce after finishing lower on Friday after a choppy week of trading. Harvest continues to push along, but it does look like there will be rain delays in the southern region of the corn belt mid-week. The long-term trend in beans remains positive, but Friday’s break lower out of their short-term neutral trading range points to a weaker pattern with Nov now trading below its 20-day moving average for the first time since Sept 11. We’ll need to see more positive news regarding a talked-about trade deal with China involving $50 bil worth of purchases of U.S. Ag products to keep prices from slipping further. As of Friday, Managed Money is estimated to be long 66,000 bean contracts and net short 25,000 meal contracts.
Wheat futures were down a nickel in Chicago, 2 to 3 cents in KC and a penny in MPLS overnight despite a firm close in winter wheat on Friday. Wheat contracts at all three exchanges have seen a pullback from their near-term peaks this month and need a dose of fresh bullish news to keep from slipping further.
Cattle futures are called mixed to higher on follow through with good cash price activity as well as new nearby highs established on most futures contracts. Last week’s gains in cash cattle were $2 to $3/cwt and cattle owners will be pricing off the Dec contract rather than Oct. The monthly Cattle on Feed report held few surprises and is expected to have little impact on futures prices.
Hog futures are called mixed and cash off $1.00/cwt today. Prices were bruised hard last week but stabilized on Friday. The board is now underneath the index by about 50 cents.