Afternoon MarketWatch: Corn finishes firmer after trading both sides of unchanged

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
***** Corn futures close 1/4 to 2 cents higher; soybeans up 2 3/4 to 4 1/2; Chicago wheat drops 6 1/2 to 8. ***** 

   # Trading volume is low to start the week for corn and soybeans, making for a couple of quiet sessions.  Row crop harvest is all but wrapped up, winter crop plantings are close to finished, and market participants are slowly shifting focus from supply to demand.   
   # The supply side remains center focus for wheat, as burdensome old-crop inventories couple with improving conditions for the newly-planted U.S. winter crop.  
   # A sluggish corn export program has been a bearish storyline for the grains.  Year-to-date sales are 30 percent under the 2014 pace.  The USDA projects total sales for the marketing year to drop by just 3.5 percent.  
   # Brazil continues to be a major export competitor after having enjoyed a bumper second crop corn harvest.  Traders do question whether the country’s internal logistics can handle the current level of demand through the ports.  A weak real has aided the Brazilians, but the currency has stabilized in recent weeks.     
   # Weather is still on the dry side for much of Mato Grosso, Brazil, but conditions are favorable for summer crops throughout the rest of the country.  So far, so good for conditions in Argentina.  Untimely rains in Australia have hurt wheat quality, but recharge soils for the new crops.  In the Northern Hemisphere, weather is good in Europe and improving in Russia/Ukraine. 
   # Dry weather in the Black Sea region is likely to mean less wheat acreage this winter and bigger corn area next spring.  An agency released estimates that call for corn acreage in Ukraine to rise by 11 percent this year.
   # U.S. stocks struggled to sustain all of Monday’s gains as traders worry about the strong dollar’s threat to corporate profitability.  The dollar is at multi-month highs against major currencies like the euro and yen.  Gold made new lows on the day.  

***** Live cattle rebound by $0.22 to $1.85 as feeders gain $0.92 to $1.75; hog futures climb $1.77 to $2.45.  ***** 

   # Hog futures bounced from the new contract lows established on Monday.  Traders were taking profits on shorts and allowing to board to recover from oversold territory.  Midday cutout values were another $2 lower on the carcass average.     
   # The expanded trading limits have proven effective in letting the market wash out frustrated longs lately.  Wholesale prices are holding up so far this week and, with the current structure of bids and offers, suggest we may see steady/firmer cash trade develop later in the week.