AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Monday, December 14, 2015
***** Corn futures up 3 3/4 cents in the most-active March contract; soybeans gain 2 to 3 1/2; Chicago wheat higher by 3. *****

   # Grains trade quietly mixed overnight.  Corn futures are a touch firmer within a 2 cent range as beans are fractionally weaker with highs and lows about 6 cents apart.    
   # There is thought that short positions are being squared ahead of the year’s end.  Bearish fund traders may also be looking to take profit ahead of a likely-volatile Wednesday, when the Fed will announce its decision on interest rates.        
   # Corn shipments were up slightly on the week at 22 million bushels.  Inspection were also 22 million bushels this week a year ago, but cumulative sales are only 75 percent of last year’s pace.  Soybean sales were lower on the week at 49 million bushels.  
   # Grains shrugged off confirmation that Argentine export taxes will be cut as originally anticipated.  Corn and wheat taxes of 20 and 23 percent will be eliminated while soy taxes drop from 35 to 30 percent.  Grains found some support on Monday as buyers suggest a potential Argentine peso devaluation won’t happen right away.     
   # It was a strong close for corn futures, but the March contract could not best Friday’s high. Technical resistance from the 50-day moving average hovers just overhead at $3.81 1/2.
   # Fund traders covered some grain shorts during the last reporting week.  The large speculators bought back more than two-thirds of their bearish soybean bet and were left standing with a 11,000 contract net-short.  Managed money is net-short 65,000 corn contracts and 71,000 Chicago wheat.    
   # The dollar was quiet on Monday.  Index futures trade about 3 percent off highs notched in two weeks ago.  Volatile currencies are likely to be a feature of the rest of this week as traders make bets on the outcome of Wednesday’s Fed meeting.    

***** Live cattle drop $1.85 to $2.05 as feeders give up $3.62 to $4.22; hogs down $0.27 to $0.45. *****
   # Lower wholesale prices pressured cattle futures to start the week.  Choice cutout fell $3.72 and dropped below $200 per hundredweight.  Retail demand is not developing with much strength so far in December. 
   # Hogs moved lower as traders took profits and allowed to board to make a technical correction.  High slaughter numbers are still a bearish fundamental influence, but expectations are for the pace to start decelerating.