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Corn futures closed the session with losses in most contracts about 7 cents on the day. Fall 2016 contracts were down a nickel. Some pressure is coming from ideas of a better crop, but lots of lower quality wheat is available for livestock feed, and it keeps getting cheaper. The EIA report this morning showed ethanol production was down about 8,000 barrels per day from the previous week to 965,000 for the week ending July 24. That was the slowest weekly production rate reported since the week ending May 15. Stocks were unchanged at 19.6 million barrels, 5.3% larger than a year ago. Published trade guesses for the weekly export sales report on Thursday morning are for between 500,000 and 800,000 MT.
Soybean futures settled mixed on Wednesday afternoon with November down 1 1/2 cents and August up 8 1/4 cents. August bean meal futures were $4.80/ton higher. Tomorrow is first notice day for August futures deliveries. Much of the trade will be watching the weekly export sales report on Thursday morning. Industry estimates ahead of the report are for combined old and new crop sales to be anywhere between 370,000 MT and 1.25 MMT. Soybean meal bookings are expected to be somewhere between 50,000 and 220,000 MT. Month end asset allocation adjustments will play more of a role the next couple days. The Argentine Agricultural Ministry reported that a record 18.5 MMT of soybeans was crushed in Argentine plants from January through June. Soy oil production reached 3.6 MT, and meal was 13.9 MT. South Korea tendered for 60 TM of US/S. America soy meal for November delivery.
Wheat futures finished trading with most contracts showing double digit losses, and marking new lows for the move. HRW futures hit their lowest price for a front month since early May. The spring wheat tour is underway, and Minnesota and the Dakotas are reporting some of the best yields in 21 years. The Wheat Quality Council had a first average yield for 166 HRS fields at 51.1 bpa, up from the 2014 figures of 48.3 bpa, and the five year average of 43.4 bpa. The official tour estimate is expected to be out on Thursday. USDA will publish its weekly export sales report in the morning, with published trade expectations between 350,000 MT and 620,000 MT.
Live cattle futures posted losses from 10 to 32.5 cents, after higher trade earlier in the session, but feeder cattle held for gains of 22.5 to 47.5 cents with assistance from lower corn prices. A few cash cattle trades in Texas and Kansas reported prices of $145-$147. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for 7/28 is $214.89, 6 cents higher. The USDA reported higher boxed beef prices in the afternoon report. Choice boxes were up 47 cents to $232.62, while select boxes averaged $229.07, up 20 cents from Tuesday. Estimated week to date slaughter as of Wednesday was 320K head, about 7K lighter than a week ago.
Lean hog futures settled the session with gains from about 35 cents to as much as $1.025. The CME Lean Hog Index for the 7/27 average was at $78.36, off 19 cents. The USDA reported the average pork carcass cutout price 24 cents lower in its afternoon report, down to $85.97. Bellies increased by $2.25 on average today. Ham cutouts were down $3.35 on average. Estimated WTD slaughter is 1.262 million head, 35K larger than it was a week ago at the same point. Cash hog base prices are higher on average this afternoon, up 59 cents in the WCB, and 44 cents in IA/MN. The ECB did not report any prices due to confidentiality rules.
Cotton futures closed mostly 49 to 71 points lower, falling back after higher Tuesday trade Cotton prices are finding pressure from concerns about the Chinese stock market. China is the largest world importer of cotton, and already holds very large cotton stocks. The USD was more than 350 points higher, and August crude oil futures settled 89 cents higher. The Cotlook A Index is off 70 points to 70.75, and the Forward A Index is down 75 points to 73.00. ICE reported that there are 118,005 certified bales in stock, with 8 new certs and 2,063 decertified bales.