After the Bell | October 21, 2021

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Corn: December corn dropped 7 cents to $5.32 1/4 a bushel, still up from $5.25 3/4 at the end of last week. Corn futures were pressured by heavy selling in the soy complex, part of a broader selloff across the commodity sector. Tomorrow’s session could be key to near-term price direction, especially if futures finish near weekly lows or highs. But without some sort of a catalyst from outside markets, corn appears likely to remain in the choppy, sideways pattern for the time being. USDA’s weekly export data for corn was strong, with net U.S. sales for the week ending Oct. 14 at nearly 1.3 MMT and exports of over 1 MMT. USDA also announced a daily corn sale to Mexico. Total 2021-22 corn export commitments (exports, plus outstanding sales) are running 2% ahead of year-ago, though shipments to date are 17% under last year. USDA forecasts 2021-22 corn exports will fall 9.2% from last year to 2.5 billion bushels. 

Soybeans: November soybeans fell 21 1/2 cents to $12.24 a bushel and January soybeans fell 21 1/2 cents to $12.33 1/2. December soybean meal fell $4.40 at $324.00 per ton. December soyoil fell 212 points to 62.58 cents per pound after hitting a 2 1/2-month high earlier. The soy complex fell as shorter-term futures took profits following gains earlier this week. Weaker crude oil futures and a firmer U.S. dollar index also weighed on the grain and oilseed markets. Some harvest-related commercial hedge pressure was also likely pressuring soybean prices. USDA reported net weekly U.S. soybean sales at 2.878 MMT, surpassing expectations for 1.5 MMT to 2.5 MMT. Many of these sales were already known due to recent daily USDA sales announcements. China was a lead buyer at 1.884 MMT for the latest reporting week, including 526,000 MT switched from previously reported unknown destinations.

Wheat: December SRW futures fell 8 cents to $7.41 1/4, after earlier rising to $7.52 1/2, the highest intraday price since Oct. 7. December HRW fell 12 cents to $7.47 3/4, after rising to $7.62 1/2, the highest intraday price since $7.64 1/4 on Oct. 4. December spring wheat fell 4 1/2 cents to $9.85 1/4. Earlier, nearby spring wheat hit a nine-year high at $9.96 3/4. Wheat futures extended overnight losses in a corrective pullback from gains earlier this week and were also pressured by weakness in other commodities, including grain and crude oil. USDA’s weekly export sales came in at the low end of trade expectations, adding to the negative tone. Net U.S. wheat sales for the week ended Oct. 14 totaled 362,400 MT, down 36% from the previous week and down 6% from the prior four-week average. Trade expectations ranged from 250,000 to 650,000 MT. Total export commitments (exports + outstanding sales) so far in 2021-22 lag last year’s levels at this time by 20%.

Cotton: December cotton futures plunged 459 points, or over 4.0%, to $1.0614, the lowest closing price since Oct. 13 and down from 107.33 cents at the end of last week. Cotton futures sank as weakness in crude oil, grains and other commodity markets, along with U.S. dollar strength, overshadowed strong export sales. USDA reported net weekly U.S. cotton export sales for the week ended Oct. 14 of 391,800 running bales (RB), up “noticeably” from the previous week and up 20% from the average for the previous four weeks.  Top buyers included China, at 272,800 RB, Turkey, at 76,900 RB and Vietnam at 15,800 RB. Exports for the week of Oct. 14 totaled 117,400 RB, up 23% from the previous week but down 16% from the four-week average. 

Cattle: December cattle fell 97.5 cents to $129.55 per hundredweight, down from $130.975 at the end of last week. November feeder cattle fell 27.5 cents to $159.075. Cattle futures were pressured by a broad commodity market selloff that included grains and crude oil, but declines were limited by firmer cash markets and signs of stabilization in wholesale beef. Choice cutout values rose 63 cents today to an average of $280.66, up from a 2 1/2-month low last week. On cash markets, live steers in five top feedlot regions averaged $124.32 today, up from last week’s average of $123.84. USDA reported net U.S. beef sales totaling 7,800 MT for the week ended Oct. 14, a marketing-year low and down 51% from the previous four-week average. Japan and China were prominent buyers. U.S. meatpackers slaughtered an estimated 482,000 head of cattle so far this week, up 0.4% from the same period last week and up 0.6% from the same period a year earlier.

Tomorrow’s USDA Cattle on Feed Report tomorrow is expected to show feedlot placements in September rose an estimated 1.4% from the same month a year earlier, based on a Reuters survey of analysts. Such an increase would mark the second consecutive month placements rose year-over-year, after declining most of the first half of 2021. The number of cattle on feed as of Oct. 1 is expected to be down 0.6% from a year earlier.

Hogs: December lean hog futures fell $2.825 to $73.20 today, the lowest closing price since $72.25 on Sept. 15. The contract is down 6.5% so far this week. Hog futures extended a technically-driven sell-off to close at the lowest level in over five weeks. Weak cash fundamentals continued to hang over the market. Pork cutout values rose $1.41 today to an average of $98.28, up from a 7 1/2-month low yesterday. Movement totaled nearly 292 loads. Carcasses on national direct markets fell $1.50 to $65.43. The latest CME lean hog index fell 74 cents to $85.89, the lowest since early March. Meatpackers slaughtered an estimated 1.907 million head of hogs so far this week, up 0.2% from the same period last week but down 2.1% from the same period a year ago, USDA reported. Also today, USDA today reported net weekly U.S. pork sales of 20,900 MT, down 38% from the previous week and down 36% from the four-week average.


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