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Corn futures traded 3 to 4 cents higher on Turnaround Tuesday, after losing around 2 cents on Monday. The (delayed) weekly USDA Crop Progress report showed the 18-state corn condition was steady with last week, pegged at a 375 on the Brugler500 Index (2014: 375). The crop is 94% mature as of Sunday night, three points ahead of the five year average. Harvest was just one point behind schedule, at 42% complete. That matched trade estimates. The USDA Export Inspections report this morning showed that 573,298 MT of corn was inspected for export during the week ending October 8, an increase of 22% from the previous week, but only 61% of year ago. The French Ag Ministry reduced its French corn production estimate by 0.4 MMT to 13.1 MMT. South Korea tendered for 207,000 MT of corn for March/April delivery.
Soybean futures settled significantly higher on Tuesday afternoon, with prices gaining 20 to 27 cents. Nov15 beans were the strongest, surpassing $9.00 for the first time since Sept 30, and closing their highest price since Aug 17. In its Crop Progress report tonight, the USDA reported that the soybean condition was unchanged from last week, marking a score of 366 on the Brugler500 Index (2014: 386). Soybeans dropping leaves is now at 92% complete, up 1% from the average. Harvest is considerably ahead of schedule, at 62% finished vs. the 5 year average of 54%. USDA reported 1.832 MMT worth of soybeans was inspected during the week ending 10/8. Weekly inspections were up 58% from the week before, and YTD inspections are 12% larger than they were in 2014 at this time despite slow sales to China. The USDA reported under the daily reporting system that another 240,000 MT of US soybeans were sold to China for 15/16 delivery. China imported 7.26 MMT of soybeans during September, compared to 7.7 MMT in August and only 5.0 MMT in September 2014.
Wheat futures closed the Turnaround Tuesday trade 12 to 14 cents higher in CHI and KC, and around 8 cents higher in MPLS. The USDA Crop Progress report shows 64% of the intended crop is planted, down 2 points from the 5 year average, and down one point from the average trade guess. The crop is 33% emerged, down 3 points from average. The weekly Export Inspections report showed only 290,717 MT of wheat. This was a reduction of 48% from the week before. YTD inspections are 17% smaller, as US wheat prices are overpriced in comparison to other global exporters and specifically to the Black Sea region. According to Reuters, soil moisture levels in wheat growing areas in the Ukraine are 20% below the 20 year average, after being 11% below the average in Sept. 2014.
Live cattle futures were mostly 20 to 40 cents lower today, however October15 was 50 cents higher. Feeders closed 7 cents lower to 33 cents higher, following triple digit gains in Nov15 and Jan16 on Monday. USDA reports tonight that 43% of the national pastures are in good to excellent condition, down one point from last week. The CME Feeder Cattle Index for 10/12 was $1.52 higher to $185.52 but still well below futures. Cash cattle trade was inactive on Tuesday, after a few live sales of $123 were reported on Monday. Average cash cattle prices were $124 live and $195.50 dressed last week. USDA reported considerably higher wholesale beef prices in its afternoon report. Choice boxes were up $3.16 to $208.46, and select boxes were up $4.22 to $203.34, the first time over $200 since October 2. Estimated FI slaughter through Tuesday is 224,000 head, 4,000 head more than last week, but 2,000 head fewer in comparison to a year ago.
Hog futures finished Tuesday a dime to $1.07 higher, with Dec15 hogs the strongest (closing at its highest price since June 3). The CME Lean Hog Index for 10/9 was 7 cents lower to $74.77. The USDA afternoon report showed the average carcass cutout price was $88.92, down 55 cents from Monday. Loins were the sole cutout with higher average prices today (+$0.47 to $88.08), after being the only cutout with a lower average price on Monday. Pork butts were down $1.73 to $79.86 today. Cash hog base prices were 97 cents higher in the WCB on Tuesday, and up 99 cents in the IA/MN region. National average prices increased by $1.45. WTD estimated slaughter is 829,000 head, 39,000 head less than last week, and down 25,000 head from the same time frame in 2014.
Cotton futures settled at least 149 points higher on Tuesday afternoon. Benchmark Dec15 cotton gained 217 points, recording its highest close since Aug 24. The USDA reports a slightly weakened cotton condition this week, at 47% good to excellent (-1 point from last week). Cotton reaching the boll-opening stage is now at 89%, up 5 points from the 5 year average. Cotton harvest was 22% complete as of Sunday night. It is usually a quarter of the way complete at this time. Cotton ginnings through the first four USDA reporting periods total 619,900 480-pound bales, down 46% from last year at this time, and 64.2% lower than the fifteen year average. The Cotlook A Index was unchanged at 68.40. There were 43,224 certified bales in delivery warehouses on 10/12, with no new certified bales, and no decertified bales. The AWP for this week is45.22, with the MLG/LDP at 6.78 through October 15.