After the Bell: Corn, Soy Drop as Crop Ratings Rise and Forecasts Appear Less Threatening

Posted on 07/16/2019 3:04 PM

Corn: Corn futures settled midrange with losses of 4 1/2 to 5 3/4 cents through the May 2020 contract. Corn futures faced active followthrough selling today after Monday’s losses. Fundamental pressure came from the unexpected uptick in crop condition ratings Monday afternoon and weather. Rains fell on some areas of the western Corn Belt today, with coverage levels higher than what was expected. Remnants from Hurricane Barry also produced rains across the Delta and into the southern and eastern Corn Belt. Forecasts signal a period of hot, dry conditions will be seen once the rains move out of the central United States. As a result, weather could become supportive again. It’s not uncommon to see wild price swings during weather markets.  

Soybeans: Soybean futures prices closed around 14 cents lower today, with meal down just over $3.00 and bean oil off 29 points in the September contract. All markets finished nearer their daily lows. Weather forecasters have somewhat tempered their hot and dry forecasts for the Corn Belt in the coming days, and that combined with better-than-expected USDA weekly crop ratings helped to sink the soybean market today. The hot/dry forecast for this weekend remains but the high temps will be slightly lower, and the duration will be slightly shorter. Also, spotty rains will benefit those regions hit with them. There is also a chance for better precipitation in parts of the Corn Belt early next week. Still, late July and August Corn Belt weather will be far from ideal for poorly established and underdeveloped crops in the Midwest. However, the environment may not be quite as bad as many feared just last week.

 Wheat: Winter wheat futures ended fractionally to just over 3 cents down today and near mid-range. Spring wheat closed about 2 ½ cents lower. As expected, USDA on Monday afternoon maintained its 78% “good” to “excellent” rating for the U.S. spring wheat crop. This is just a point below a year-ago at this time. More rains will aid both U.S. Northern Plains and the Canadian Prairies.Winter wheat harvest advanced to 57% complete the week ending July 14, which was a 10-point gain from last week and five percentage points lighter than the market anticipated. But a high-pressure ridge should keep the Plains dry this week, helping harvest to make solid strides this week.  

Cotton: Cotton futures ended lower and near session lows, with the bear spread working. December cotton fell 86 points to close at 63.09 cents.  Prices fell on improving U.S. crop conditions and more rain in the forecasts. USDA said cotton rated in “good” to “excellent” rose 2 percentage points to 56% of the crop in the top 15 producing states, up from 41% last year. About 15% was rated “poor” to “very poor” this week, down from 19% last week. Rain from the remnants of Hurricane Barry may provide some beneficial moisture to drier areas across the Southeast this week after the storm did not drop excessive rains across parts of the Delta. President Donald Trump, speaking at a Cabinet meeting at the White House, said China was supposed to be buying U.S. farm products and his administration was watching to see if Beijing would do so. The cotton market needs a boost in Chinese buying to stabilize after recent steep losses tied to improving crop conditions.  

Hogs:  Mixed to higher finish today with nearby August futures reducing its premium to cash markets. The back end of the markets moved higher on speculation Chinese demand will improve. August closed $1.05 lower at 79.05, still more than $8 above the CME Lean Hog Index. October rose $1.40 to $75.30. Cash hog prices inched higher and wholesale pork was higher Monday, positive signs. Hog futures closed mixed Monday with bear spreading a feature which continued Tuesday. Fresh pork cutout values rose $1.86, led by strength in bellies, ribs, picnics and loins. Sales were moderately active. Slaughter rebounded to 475,000 head, suggesting supplies remain adequate to burdensome in the near term.  In China, average spot pig prices are up 37.6% for the year. This makes U.S. pork more affordable and increases the potential for exports of US pork to China.  

Cattle: Live cattle futures settled 27 ½ to 52 ½ cents lower after favoring the downside for the bulk of the session. But the market’s uptrend remains in effect. Feeder cattle softened 45 to 72 ½ cents on the day. Traders are uncertain whether feedlots will be able to build on last week’s cash gains, which opened the door for some profit-taking today. Front-end supplies remain tight, with average steer weights running well under the five-year average. In addition, the spread between the grades of beef is wide. Both Choice and Select boxed beef values strengthened this morning, but movement was light Today marked a rare day where the feeder cattle market traded in the same direction as corn futures.  

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