Corn: Corn futures were stuck inside of a narrow 2-cent range as traders positioned for USDA reports on Friday. March corn finished down ¾ cent at $3.80 while December corn was down ½ cent at $4.03. Stronger soybean futures offset the benefits of rain across much of the South American corn belt and forecasts for more next week. Traders are looking for smaller U.S. production and U.S. and world inventories in a flurry of USDA updates on Friday.
Soybeans: Soybean futures prices closed up 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cents in the nearby contracts today. Meal futures were down 50 to 60 cents, and soybean oil futures prices hit a seven-month high today and closed around 50 points higher on the day. The USDA today confirmed private exporter sales of 523,000 MT of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in 2018-19 and 63,000 MT for delivery in the 2019-20 season. So far this week, USDA has announced nearly 3.8 MMT in bean sales to China.
Wheat: Winter wheat futures prices closed up 3 to down 2 cents in more choppy trading action today. Spring wheat futures closed 1 ¾ to 2 ¾ cents lower. Slack demand for U.S. wheat on the world markets remains a bearish element for the wheat futures markets. Russia exported 44.0 MMT of wheat, up 10.8 MMT (32.5%) from the previous year, based on official customs data, reminding of the U.S.’s struggle for export business.
Cotton: Cotton futures finished with gains of 18 to 26 points, which was in the middle of today’s range. Cotton firmed for a second session on speculation that progress on U.S./China trade talks, including confirmed large Chinese soybean purchases pledged last week, will produce a deal by the March 1 deadlines.
Hogs: February lean hogs today closed down 50 cents at $55.925. April and June contracts closed down 70 and 37 1/2 cents, respectively. Prices closed nearer their session lows today. Hog traders continue to be concerned about larger slaughter levels. Kills the first two days of this week were up 2.9% from a year ago. While pork supplies are exceeding demand, this element is now fully factored into current futures prices.
Cattle: Cattle and feeder cattle futures end lower and near midrange. April cattle were down 47.5 cents to $1.2715 while March feeder cattle closed at $1.433, down 52.5 cents. Cattle traders remain tentative with the large downside reversal left on the charts from last Thursday suggesting the rally is ready for at least an extended pause. The wholesale beef market was mixed at midday, with Choice rising 62 cents and Select sinking a dime.