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Corn futures are trading steady but fractionally mixed at midday after posting nickel gains on Monday. Dec15 corn reached its highest price since November 9 early this morning, reaching $3.68 3/4; it is currently $3.66 up a penny on the day. The EPA released its long awaited ethanol requirements yesterday, telling refiners to blend 18.11 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2016 (Up from the May 2015 figure of 17.4 bil gal; Congress 2007 target: 22.25 bil gal), as well as 14.5 bil gal of ethanol in 2016 and 14.05 bil gallons in 2015. This was a higher mandate than earlier proposed, though below the original legislation. The CFTC report showed that managed money spec accounts increased their corn net short position by 41,404 contracts to a net short position of 99,808 contracts as of the close last Tuesday.
Soybean futures are currently trading mostly about 6 cents higher following gains of 7 or 8 cents in most contracts on Monday. The Jan16 soybean contract climbed to its highest price in a month this morning, boosted by the idea that most of the 3.61 billion gallons of renewable fuels mandate (after ethanol) for 2016 will come from biodiesel. The monthly USDA soybean crushings report will be published this afternoon. The Commitment of Traders report released yesterday showed managed money soybean accounts slightly increased their net short position (624 contracts for the week). The position as of 11/24 was 52,925 contracts net short. Brazilian planting is now estimated to be 81% completed, up from 71% last week but still lagging year ago.
Wheat futures are trading mixed at midday with MPLS around 3 cents higher and CBT/KC whet mostly off a penny or two. The USDA reported last night that the winter wheat condition improved by 2 points this week, to 55% good to excellent (2014: 58%). The KS and NE crops are rated 48% (+1 point from last week) and 63% (unchanged) G:E respectively. Emergence is right on the five year average pace at 93% complete. The last of the crop emerged in IL and IN last week. Deliveries against Chicago Dec slowed to 1,517 contracts. Dreyfus stopped 379 for the house account. There were 83 deliveries vs. KC December futures, all stopped by an RCG client. ABARES lowered its Australian wheat production estimate to 23.9 MMT from 24.3 MMT in September, citing the dry spring brought on by El Nino.
Live cattle futures are currently more than a buck lower on the session, following triple digit losses on Monday. Feeder futures are also sharply lower at midday, after losing more than $3.00 yesterday on higher feed costs and the weakness in the fats. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for 11/27 was $1.64 higher to $173.80. The Commitment of Traders report last night showed that managed money live cattle accounts increased their net long position by 656 contracts during the week ending 11/24, to 5,622 contracts net long. Feeder accounts changed from a net long position of 22 contracts to a net short position of 866 contracts. Average cash cattle prices were around $1.50 higher last week, as live sales climbed to an average of $124.80 and dressed sales up to $196.30. Cash cattle trade was inactive on Monday. The USDA reports lower wholesale beef prices in its morning report. Choice boxes are 9 cents off and select boxes are down $1.08. Total beef production during October was 2.125 billion pounds, 45.8 million pounds less than October 2014.
Hog futures are trading with solid gains at midday with February the strongest, currently up more than two bucks. The CME Lean Hog Index for 11/27 was 12 cents lower to $55.62. The CFTC report last night showed that managed money hog accounts reduced their net long position by 9,334 contracts during the week ending 11/24. The net long position as of the close a week ago was 11,034 contracts. The Tuesday morning USDA average carcass cutout price is 23 cents higher to $74.13. Loins are $1.42 cheaper, but bellies have increased in average price by $5.41 this morning. The national weighted average cash hog base price is down $2.00 this morning. Official US pork production figures for October totaled 2.169 billion pounds, 60.5 million pounds more than October 2014. FI slaughter yesterday was estimated at 438,000 head, 2,000 head smaller than last week, but 7,000 head larger than the same Monday in 2014.
Cotton futures at midday are trading mixed with thin trade in the December contract currently showing it 126 points lower on the session. March and May are both higher, up 79 and 62 points respectively. The USDA Crop Progress report last night showed that only 80% of the crop harvested as of Sunday night, compared to the five year average of 88%. The TX harvest is 5 points behind schedule at 75% done, and the SC harvest is 25 points back at 64% complete. The Cotlook A Index was 75 points higher to 70.55, the first time over 70.00 since October 22. ICE reported that there were 65,409 certified bales in delivery warehouses on Nov 30, with 1,451 new certs and no decertified bales. There were 21 new delivery notices against December futures, all again stopped by a Macquarie customer. USDA put the AWP for this week at 46.89 and dropped the LDP/MLG to 5.11, down .01 from the 5.12 last week.