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Corn futures closed 5 to 7 cents lower, extending losses from Tuesday. Generally favorable growing weather and a rising US dollar both worked against corn prices today. The NWS forecasts call for another round of moisture, with warmer temps next week to help get the crops growing more aggressively. Growing degree day accumulations since May 1 are well behind normal in the WCB. The weekly EIA ethanol report is delayed one day due to the Memorial Day holiday, to Thursday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report is expected to be delayed until Friday.
Soybean futures closed steady to 4 1/2 cents higher, with nearby July the firmest. The meal/oil spread revered Tuesday action, with nearby meal up $6.20/ton and soy oil down 41 points. July beans hit $9.205 on Tuesday; the lowest price for a front month contract since October 13. The next export sales report will be issued on Friday morning this week (rather than tomorrow) due to the holiday-shortened week. September soybean futures on the Dalian Exchange were 8 cents higher on the session, settling at the US Dollar equivalent of $19.41; a 38 cent discount to the January contract.
Wheat futures were down by double digits in the KC HRW contract, with smaller losses in CHI and MPLS today. USDA reported that condition ratings were mostly UNCH for winter wheat. CO, OK and OR ratings declined from last week, but KS, ID and Michigan showed some improvement. The concerns over dryness in Russian production areas eased somewhat with recent precipitation in some areas. The Russian export tariff for new crop is proposed to be only 1 ruble/MT as long as the exchange rate remains below 60 RU/USD. A weaker ruble would result in a larger tariff in order to avoid a repeat of wheat ‘giveaways’ in dollar or third party currency terms.
Live cattle futures settled 35 to 87 cents higher today. Feeders were up $.82 to $1.82, witht eh front four contracts showing triple digit gains. The CME feeder cattle Index was up 10 cents at $222.11. Wholesale beef prices were higher today on moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxes were indicated 4 cents higher, with Select up 68 cents per hundred pounds. Estimated week to date FI slaughter is 234,000 head vs. 245,000 for the same period a year ago.
Lean hog futures were 27 cents lower to 60 cents higher on the day. The CME Lean Hog Index was down 21 cents to $82.91. The national daily pork carcass cutout value was computed at $87.28 by USDA, up 61 cents from Tuesday. The rib primal was the strongest component. The negotiated carcass base prices for the Western Corn Belt (WCB) were $1.10 higher on average in the afternoon report. The IA/MN area was up $.77. The ECB was not quoted due to limited receipts. Estimated week to date hog slaughter is 864,000 head, compared to 839,000 for the same period a year ago.
Cotton futures settled 3 to 26 points lower, dragged down by the surging US dollar and its impact on export potential. The USD gave back early gains after getting into chart resistance, but was higher for much of the session. The Cotlook A Index is at 71.25, down -0.60. Texas cotton planting continues to lag the average pace, due to very wet conditions. The State Climatologist reports that May precip is a record 7.54 inches, eclipsing the previous record of 6.66 inches with several days remaining in the month. Some areas have seen over 20 inches. The NWS 6-10 day forecast has a much drier period in early June for that area, with below normal temps for the beginning of June.