After the Bell: December 30, 2021

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Corn: March corn futures fell for the second day in the past three, dropping 9 1/2 cents to settle at $5.96, the contract’s lowest closing price since $5.91 on Dec. 20. Corn futures extended a slide from 6 1/2-month highs posted earlier this week driven by year-end profit-taking and signs the market may be establishing a near-term top. Large speculators built big net long positions in the market earlier this month and appear to be booking profits. USDA reported net U.S. corn sales totaling 1.247 MMT for the week ended Dec. 23, up 27% from the previous week but down 2% from the average for the previous week. The sales surpassed trade expectations ranging from 500,000 MT to 1.1 MMT.

Soybeans: March soybeans fell 30 1/4 cents to $13.38 1/2, the lowest closing price since $13.35 on Dec. 22. March soymeal fell $4.50 to $403.70 per ton. March soyoil fell 83 points to 56.08 cents per pound. Soybean futures faced heavy selling after timely and much-needed rains fell on parts of southern Brazil and Argentina. While the rains didn’t reach all dry areas, there’s a better chance for needed precipitation over the next two weeks, which will provide relief from recent heat and moisture stress. USDA reported weekly soybean sales at a disappointing 524,000 MT, a marketing-year low.

Wheat: March SRW wheat fell 8 cents to $7.79 3/4. March HRW wheat fell 11 3/4 cents to $8.12 3/4. March spring wheat fell 17 1/2 cents $9.91 1/2, the contract's lowest settlement since Oct. 22. Wheat was pressured by spillover from corn and soybean markets, which triggered fund-based selling. Export sales were disappointing. Net weekly U.S. wheat sales totaled 199,500 MT, down 53% from the previous week and down 43% from the four-week average. Sales were expected to range from 200,000 to 500,000 MT. The weak figures further illustrated how U.S. wheat remains uncompetitively priced in global markets.

Cotton: March cotton futures jumped 135 points to 114.34 cents per pound, the contract’s highest closing price since 115.78 cents on Nov. 24. Cotton futures extended yesterday’s gains and posted a five-week high despite mixed results in USDA’s weekly export data. Net U.S. cotton sales reached 192,200 running bales (RB) for the week ended Dec. 23, down 21% and down 40% from the previous week and the average for the previous four week, respectively. By contrast, export shipments during the week climbed to 162,200 bales, up 24% from the previous week and up 40% from the four-week average.

Cattle: February live cattle fell 75 cents to $139.975, down from the four-week high of $141.425 reached yesterday. December live cattle, which expires tomorrow, fell 35 cents to $139.05, after ending yesterday at $139.40, the highest settlement for a nearby contract since March 2016. Live cattle futures fell under mild corrective pressure following yesterday’s gains. Despite reports of firmer cash prices, buyer interest is limited ahead of year-end. Cash cattle traded $2 to $3 higher yesterday compared with last week in the northern market, though trade in the southern market remained quiet. Choice cutout values fell 45 cents today to $265.26, down from a three-week high the previous day. Select values rose $1.14 to $258.23. Movement totaled 102 loads.

Hogs: February lean hogs fell $1.125 cents to $82.70, down from $83.225 at the end of last week. Yesterday’s drop in loin values seemed to trigger futures selling today, stirring concern over consumer demand. But pork cutout values jumped $7.06 today to an average of $91.35, the highest daily reading in a week and led by a gain of over $18 in primal loins. Movement totaled nearly 364 loads. Tomorrow’s lean hog index is expected to fall 45 cents to $71.75, which followed two straight days of gains.


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