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Corn futures ended trading today just a penny or two lower than they did yesterday after the trade saw the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. US ending stocks were projected to be 35 million bushels larger than they were in January. USDA expects more imports and less exports, but also more FSI and ethanol use. Production estimates for Brazil and Argentina were up 2.5 MMT and 1.4 MMT respectively, but world ending stocks were actually slightly lower due to more imports expected for South Africa, Southeast Asia and Mexico. The national average farm price tightened a nickel on each end of the range.
Soybean futures settled fractionally higher after posting a relatively narrow trading range for a crop-report-day; just 7 cents for front month March. USDA forecasted domestic crush to be 10 million bushels (mbu) smaller than it did in January, which took US ending stocks up 10 mbu from last month to 450 mbu in this report; slightly larger than the average pre-report trade guess. The range for the national average farm price stayed the same. Brazilian soybean production was held steady at 100 MMT, but the Argentine production figure was 1.5 MMT larger than a month ago. World ending stocks were up 1.14 MMT from the January report. Chinese imports were unchanged at 80.5 MMT, which would mean smaller year/year totals for each month remaining in the marketing year.
Wheat futures were slightly higher for HRS, and steady to slightly lower for HRW and SRW contracts today. A lower US Dollar Index helped the wheat market hold up fairly well after USDA published an even larger figure for both US and world wheat ending stocks. The world figure was up 6.83 MMT from the January report, but most of it came from a drop in the estimate for Chinese consumption in both last year and this year. The market likely recognizes that the wheat is unlikely to ever leave that country anyway. US wheat ending stocks were up 25 mbu from a month ago due to a cut in projected exports, but the average farm price was unchanged. Japan is tendering for 146,000 MT of optional origin wheat, with results expected Thursday.
Live cattle futures settled lower with Feb cattle adding triple digit losses to the limit down move from Monday, but April and June lost just 20 to 25 cents. Feeders were mixed following limit losses posted Monday, settling from as much as 70 cents lower to 55 cents higher. March feeders closed at $149 even, while the CME Feeder Cattle Index for 2/8 was $159.76. Last week, cash cattle trade reported average live sales for all grades at $134.46, and average dressed sales of $210.29. The USDA reports lower wholesale beef prices this afternoon. Choice boxes were down 78 cents, and select boxes were off $2.98. Week to date FI slaughter was estimated at 218,000 head; about 7K head more than the same week a year ago. Beef and veal exports in December totaled 196.1 million pounds, down 7.6% from December 2014, and 3% smaller than November 2015. The US imported 189.5 million pounds of beef in December, down 1.7% from November, and 35.2% smaller than December 2014. Yearly imports were 14.4% larger than 2014, while exports were nearly 12% smaller.
Hog futures posted losses mostly between 10 and 32.5 cents today. The CME Lean Hog Index for 2/5 was up 32 cents to $64.62. The USDA average carcass cutout in the PM report was up 21 cents/cwt at $77.17. Ribs were up $3.02/cwt in average price today. The national average cash hog base price was 83 cents higher; the IA/MN weighted average price was up 23 cents, and the WCB was up 53 cents. Week to date FI slaughter was estimated at 774,000 head, which is 66,000 head below the same period a year ago. Monthly international trade data this morning showed that 428.6 million pounds of pork was exported in December, up 9.1% from December 2014. US pork imports in December were a 2015-high, although slightly lower on a year over year basis, off 0.6% from December 2014 at 101.9 million pounds. Pork exports in 2015 were up 1.8% from 2014, and pork imports were 10.3% larger.
Cotton futures suffered triple digit losses in most contracts today, but March held on for an intraday loss of 96 points. USDA raised its projection for US ending stocks in its monthly report this morning, revising the figure to 3.60 million bales from 3.10 million bales in January. They lowered expectations for both exports and domestic use. The estimate for world cotton ending stocks crept up 1.22 million bales from a month ago. The Cotlook A Index was 25 points lower to 67.00. ICE reported that there were 27,530 certified bales in warehouses on February 8, with 602 new certs and no decertified bales. The USDA AWP for this week is 46.85, with the LDP/MLG returning to 5.15 cents for the week after being 5.11 cents last week.