Monday, August 31, 2015 AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Monday, August 31, 2015
***** Grains regain strength into the close after trading lower for most of the session: corn finishes fractionally mixed; soybeans up 1 1/2 to 4 1/4 cents; Chicago wheat 2 3/4 lower to 1 1/4 higher. *****

   Weekend rains cover large swath of the Western Corn Belt: A few inches fell on late Friday and early Saturday, but coverage in the East was limited.  Dry weather for eastern Illinois and states like Indiana and Ohio will be monitored closely in the coming weeks.  
   Crop progress report scheduled for this afternoon:  The condition ratings are expected to fall by one point for both corn and soybeans.  Last week's report had the corn crop at 69 percent good or excellent with the beans at 63 percent.  Spring wheat harvest should be all but wrapped up. 
   Fund traders cut their soybean position back to net even: The latest Commitments of Traders report shows managed money having sold 18,000 contracts in the previous reporting week.  Funds held steady on a corn bet that is bullish by 74,0000 contracts.  The speculative crowd is not likely to become too enthusiastic about the ags until some of the worry about China's economy subsides.   
   Corn futures still consolidating on the charts: Prices have not yet tested the upper or lower bound of the range opened on report day.  Soybeans remain pressured in a technical downtrend but trade with some room above the November contract's $8.55 low.  September Chicago wheat made new contract lows on Friday and is facing some follow-through selling to start the week.  
   A lower close for Chinese stocks puts global markets on the defensive: Investors fear that a falling Chinese equity market is signaling economic weakness.  In the U.S., Dow futures are off more than 100 points overnight.  Traders digested a Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) reading this morning that, at 54.4, was down  from the July number and a touch lower than expectations.  Market participants will continue to sift through data for clues on what the Fed will do with interest rates next month.   

***** Hog futures finish higher by $0.975 to $1.65; cattle futures end moderately weaker on the day.  *****

   Cattle futures jumped higher to end last week with solid gains.  The cash market is holding up well against a bearish supply-side outlook and negative seasonal demand expectations.
   Hogs rallied early last week but the run up was swift enough that it had traders wanting to take quick profits.  The buying campaign was resumed on Monday as the bulls were able to work with positive technical momentum.