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Corn futures ended the session in positive territory. Traders were looking for a drop in the USDA crop condition ratings this afternoon, but the Brugler500 Index was unchanged for the second week in a row; sitting pretty at 387. As of Sunday, the national crop was 82% dented, and 27% mature vs. the 5yr averages of 85% and 39% respectively. In the first week reporting harvest progress, USDA shows 4% harvested vs. the 5yr average of 9% for this week. Corn export inspections this morning were down sharply from last week at 741,230 MT (1.197 MMT last week). They were still above year ago, however, and the YTD shipments are 746 thousand MT (29 million bushels) ahead of the first 11 days of the 2013 marketing year. Also this morning, private exporters reported to the USDA export sales of 120,000 MT to Mexico during the 2015/16 marketing year.
Soybean futures closed around a nickel higher on the day. There was some frost damage in the upper Midwest over the weekend, and traders were looking for lower USDA crop condition ratings this afternoon. The weekly report showed 24% of the crop is dropping leaves, when the five year average is 32%. The Brugler500 Index crop condition rating is unchanged from last week, at 384. The NOPA crush report showed August at 110.6 million bushels, off 1 million from the average trade guess. Soy oil stocks were also smaller than expected at 1.214 billion pounds and that has helped firm the BO market. Weekly USDA Export Inspections for last week were 255,020 MT, up from 173,732 MT the week before and more than triple the same week in 2013. YTD inspections are already at 333,608 MT vs. 130,969 MT last year.
Wheat futures ended the day mostly lower on all three exchanges. CHI wheat contracts had the most support, closing with less than 2 cent losses in most contracts. USDA weekly export inspections through 9/11 were 545,621 MT, up about 13 thousand from the previous week. Shipments YTD are down 33% from last year. USDA is projecting a 24% drop for the year as a whole. The weekly crop progress report from the USDA showed the Spring wheat harvest progress getting closer to the 5yr average. The winter wheat crop is 12% planted, slightly ahead of the five year average for this date. The Saudis bought 610,000 MT of optional origin hard wheat for end of year delivery.
Cattle futures closed mixed on the day with both October and February higher, but the December contract was lower. Feeders ended the session slightly lower. Cash cattle trade was down $2-3 late last week after hitting record levels, with volume at $160-162 in the south and $248-250 in the north. Wholesale beef prices were lower on the day with Choice boxes averaging 91 cents higher while Select 600-900 pound carcasses were $1.26 lower. Estimated Monday slaughter was 115K head on par with last Monday, and 4K head short of the same day a year ago.
Hog futures closed mixed with October and February higher, but the December contract was lower. The CME Index is up another $1.14 at $101.34. The pork carcass cutout average price was reported 96 cents lower today at $106.57. Carcass based cash hog prices in the WCB were 58 cents higher, and they were reported 76 cents higher in the IA/MN marketing area. Prices from the ECB were not reported today. Estimated Monday slaughter was 404K head, up 4K head from last Monday, but off 28K head from a year ago.
Cotton futures ended the session sharply lower, with the October contract losing 243 points since Friday. The US dollar index was stronger, and crude oil was higher. The market continues to trade off between record large global stocks and the smaller USDA production and US ending stocks estimates from last Thursday. The weekly crop condition ratings were slightly lower than the previous week. NASS reported 51% of the crop with bolls opening vs. the 5yr average of 49%. Harvest progress is at 6% vs. the 5yr average of 7% for this date. ICE Certified stocks are down to 50,669 bales as we approach the October contract delivery period. Another 2,387 bales were decertified on Friday. The Cotlook A Index was up 30 points this morning at 76.15.