After the Bell: Quiet End To Lower Week for Corn, Soybean Prices

Posted on Fri, 07/31/2020 - 14:15

Corn: December corn futures gained 1/4 cent Friday to close at $3.27 and for the week lost 8 cents. Corn market bulls went out with a whimper on Friday as December futures prices hit a four-week low. Very disappointing for price action next week and in the coming weeks was strong export demand for U.S. corn this week that could not ignite a fire under the bulls. Thursday’s record daily corn sale to China (nearly 2 MMT) pushed the known total to 5.7 MMT. This is an anomalously high tally for any country to have on the books at this point in the season, especially China. Traders instead are focusing on very good U.S. corn crop conditions heading into August, with no threatening weather forecast for the Corn Belt over the next two weeks. Timely rains and a break from the heat led to an unexpected three-point jump in the amount of U.S. corn that USDA rated “good” to “excellent” in Monday’s update.  

Soybeans:  November soybean futures closed up 4 1/4 cents Friday to end at $8.92 1/2 and for the week lost 6 3/4 cents. December soybean meal futures on Friday fell 70 cents to $297.30 and for the week fell $1.30. December soybean oil futures on Friday rose 60 points to 30.76 cents and closed at a technically bullish weekly and monthly high close. For the week, December bean oil rose 39 points. Soybean futures this week fell into the middle of a choppy trading range seen over the past month, suggesting more sideways and choppy action in the near term. More export demand news is needed to push soybean futures prices higher. USDA did not announce any new large soybean sales in its daily reporting service Friday morning but it did announce 222,000 MT of soybean meal were sold to the Philippines. Limiting the upside in soybeans next week and probably a bit beyond is non-threatening Corn Belt weather forecasts into mid-August.

Wheat: Futures ended mostly higher, paring weekly declines. December SRW rose 2 3/4 cents to $5.38 3/4 and December HRW gained 2 1/2 cents to $4.53. SRW futures were down 6 1/2 cents and HRW fell 7 cents this week.  The wheat markets have been choppy the past two weeks with large moves in both directions and little fresh news. Demand has perked up and world prices are moving higher but total world supplies will remain burdensome without additional and unexpected large cuts in production. European wheat ended the month nearly flat, with a lack of fresh news to justify a clear move in any direction. Much like the U.S. markets, European traders are waiting for some news to justify a move and there are not many on the horizon unless Chinese buying proves to be much larger than currently expected.  Clearly, the weakness of the dollar against the Euro will improve U.S. competitiveness but the Russian ruble fell to nearly a three-month low against the dollar today

Cotton:  December cotton fell 52 points to close at 62.66 cents on Friday. For the week, the contract gained 256 points and prices climbed 178 points for the month. Cotton’s weekly rebound from the recent steep drop was supported by nervousness about the eventual path of Tropical Storm Isaias, expected to become a hurricane today on the way to Florida’s east coast, following heavy crop damage last weekend in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley.  Damage reports were just coming in from the Coastal Bend and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Some growers in the lower valley lost all their cotton crops. A promising Coastal Bend crop sustained smaller yield and quality losses. The focus next week will be on U.S./Chinese relations and the weekly crop update on Monday.

Hogs: Futures were mostly higher Friday, paring weekly declines. October hogs rose $1.30 to $49.625 and down from last week’s settlement at $50.15. December hogs gained 60 cents on Friday to $50.375 but down $1.55 for the week. October gained in July, but December was lower for the month.  Cash hog trade was little changed Friday after a strong rally this week. The CME lean hog price rose to $53.56 today, up from $50.23 a week ago the highest since June 3. The Index bottomed in June when it normally peaks and may stage a counter-seasonal rally if export demand continues to improve.  Packers were aggressive earlier in the week and able to find the needed processing space for the ample supply of hogs.  Pork cutout values rose $1 at midday but were still down about $3 this week on weakness in hams. Cash looks mixed next week and dependent on improving pork values to sustain this week’s rally.

Cattle: October live cattle futures closed the session up $1.125 at $107.875 and for the week gained $2.775. October feeder futures rose $2.125 at $146.65 and for the week gained $3.85. Both October live and feeder cattle futures markets hit nearly five-month highs today and closed at technically bullish weekly and monthly high closes.It was a very good week for the cattle futures market bulls and look for some follow-through technical buying early next week to advance price uptrends in place on the daily charts. This was the sixth weekly gain in the past seven weeks.  Firming cash prices this week have signaled a seasonal low is forming. Friday’s noon beef report showed Choice boxed beef values climbed $1.58 and Select grade fell 44 cents, with movement light at 55 loads. All of the above suggest next week will be a positive one for the cattle market bulls.