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Corn futures settled steady to 3 1/4 lower, with September taking another step toward full carry vs. the December. The spread widened to 8 cents. Prices are still mired in the trading range begun in July. Weekly corn export inspections were 873,195 MT, or just under 34.4 million bushels. There were zero deliveries vs. September futures, with only 7 contracts worth of grain registered. The oldest long has been waiting since 3/3/14. This afternoon, USDA reported that 53% of the crop has reached dent stage, still lagging the 59% average but ahead of 39% last year. They show 8% of the crop mature vs. the average of 16% for this date. The crop condition rating saw the % good/ex up 1 point, and the Brugler500 Index up 2 at 387. That matches 1992 but still lags the 402 from 1994 for this week.
Soybean futures posted double digit gains on talk of potential yield reductions due to SDS, but faded in the last 15 minutes of trading. The delivery squeeze situation continues to unwind for the September beans and bean meal. A number of private estimates are expected to come out between now and Friday, with the USDA report on September 11. Weekly export inspections 37,381 MT, significantly lower than last week. Year to date export inspections are 21.5% bigger than they were a year ago, with 3 days left to report. After the close, USDA indicated that 5% of the crop is to the leaf drop stage, vs. the 5 year average of 7%. Condition ratings are now record high for this date, with the Brugler500 rising 4 points to 383.
Wheat futures closed 6 to 11 cents lower, with KC HRW pressured by heavy deliveries against September futures. Those were considered surprising because of projections for tight HRW ending stocks this year. The weekly Export Inspections report published this morning showed 773,041 MT shipped vs. 578,942 last week. There were 546 deliveries vs. September KC futures over the weekend, with Dreyfus stopping 364 of them. Egypt is taking advantage of the lower world prices today to hold a tender for wheat for Oct 1-10 shipment. Results are expected tomorrow. US wheat has not been offered by US exporters in recent Egyptian tenders due to freight costs pricing it out of the market. This afternoon, USDA showed spring wheat harvesting falling further behind at 38% done vs. the 65% average pace. Conditions slipped as you might expect with this much rain storm activity. USDA shows 63% of the acres in good/ex condition vs. 66% last week.
Cattle futures closed $1 to $1.45 higher today. Feeders were also higher by triple digits. Wholesale beef prices were reported higher this morning but faded in the pm report. Choice boxes were down19 cents, and select boxes were off by 56 cents. Last week, cash cattle trade was stronger at $155-156 and northern carcass trades were reported between $243 and 245. Estimated week to date slaughter at 121,000 head is down 9,000 from the same Labor Day Tuesday a yeara ago. Pasture conditions were UNCH from last week, with 48% good/excellent.
Hog futures posted triple digit gains in the front three contracts, and were up $.25 to $1.75 overall. The national average pork carcass cutout price firmed in the afternoon, with USDA 72 cents higher than on Friday. Bellies were seasonally lower, but the Picnic and ham primal cutouts were higher. Cash hogs were firmer, with the national base price up 60 cents at $91.63 ($68.97 live). The IA/MN market was 72 cents higher, with the WCB average $1.59 higher. No ECB quote was provided by USDA. Week to date FI hog slaughter at 423,000 head is down 12,000 from year ago, 2.7%.
Cotton futures settled 126 to 173 points lower. The US dollar index was again sharply higher. Crude oil was sharply lower, presumably putting pressure on synthetic fiber prices. USDA shows the AWP for August 29 through September 4 at 54.71, vs. the national average loan rate of 52.00. Certified stocks are down to 70,987. USDA shows 31% of the crop has bolls open, ahead of the 27% average pace and the 15% at this time last year. Condition is 50% good or excellent, down 1% from last week, but 5% above year ago.