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Corn futures settled mostly 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cents lower on the session, with most contracts logging new life of contract lows. The sell off continued despite yield estimates from private firms coming in below the USDA’s August figure. Pro Farmer projects 14.728 billion bushels of production with a 170.2 bpa national average yield. Crop condition ratings in the weekly update from NASS were steady with the previous week. As of Sunday, about 92% of the crop had reached the dough stage, vs. the five year average of 87% for this week. Weekly export inspections were 1.422 MMT, which was up 11.15% from vs. the previous week and about 42.2% larger than the same week last year. Managed money accounts showed a smaller net short position than the previous week after they were shown adding both long and short positions during the week ending last Tuesday; reporting 177,950 longs and 331,892 shorts.
Soybean futures settled with losses of 7 1/2 cents for September, but only 3 cents for the Nov16 and Jan17 contracts. Inspections for export in the weekly USDA report were 921,137 MT, about 2.6% smaller than last week, but almost 5 times as much as the same week last year. Private exporters reported to the USDA an export sale of 393,000 MT of soybeans to unknown destinations this morning. The Pro Farmer soybean yield estimate is 49.3 bpa and a 4.093 billion bushel crop. They have had a tendency to be below the USDA final production number (10 out of 14 years by one count). Weekly crop condition ratings from NASS had the national crop improving one point from last week on our Brugler500 Index. Approximately 94% of the crop is setting pods, a couple points ahead of the 5yr average for this week.
Wheat futures slid lower again today with the CHI and KC contracts posting double digit losses, and MGE contracts losing a few more cents on the session. NASS says the US Spring wheat crop is 81% harvested, vs. the five year average of 62% for this week of the year. Weekly USDA export inspections were 511,965 MT, down about 4.6% week/week, and 18.3% lower than the same week a year ago. The US Dollar Index is up more than 100 points for the Monday session, following a nearly 800 point surge on Friday. Wheat planting in Cordoba province of Argentina wrapped up last week, according to La Nacion, delayed by almost a month by wet weather. Producers were compensating for the wet and late conditions with additional anti-fungal treatments and more widespread insecticide use.
Live cattle futures finished the day mixed with August 40 cents higher, but October and December each down more than a dollar on the session. Feeders were showing triple digit losses earlier in the session, but rallied back to finish Monday trade mostly between 60 and 77.5 cents lower. Wholesale beef prices reported Monday were more than a dollar lower, with choice averaging $198.42 and select at $192.34. Cash cattle trade was light on Friday. The last fully reported market was on Wednesday with live sales from $114.50 to $115.50, and dressed sales from $181 to $182. The net position in cattle futures and options for managed money accounts shrank by 1,120 contracts during the week ending 8/23. They were shown adding both longs and shorts, but more shorts. NASS showed national pasture and range conditions improved slightly from last week in its Monday afternoon report.
Lean hog futures were mixed on the day with October a nickel higher, and December futures down 30 cents. The CME Lean Hog index for 8/25 was $66.90, up down 14 cents. The USDA weighted average pork carcass value reported on Monday afternoon was 75 cents higher with a weighted average of $77.14. Only the picnic cutout had an average price below where it was on Friday. The national cash hog base price reported by USDA for Monday afternoon was $59.97, down 71 cents. Monday estimated FI slaughter was 11,000 head smaller than a week ago and 6,000 head smaller than the same day in 2015. The weekly Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC showed managed money accounts adding a net 3,500 contracts to their net long position during the week ending August 23.
Cotton futures slipped another 108 points in the December contract during the Monday session. Perceptions of a stronger US Dollar Index going forward added pressure to the Ag Commodities sector. NASS issued its weekly crop progress update after the close on Monday. The national crop is 1% ahead of normal in terms of setting bolls, and is on par with the five year average as far as bolls opening. National condition ratings improved slightly overall from last week. The amount of Weekly data from the CFTC published on Friday afternoon showed managed money accounts had reduced their net long position in cotton by about 22% between 8/9 and 8/23. USDA put the new average world price (AWP) at 58.81, down from 60.23 last week. There is, of course, no LDP at that price level. ICE has certified stocks at 47,613 RB. The Cotlook A Index is at 77.30 for 8/26.