AgriVisor Afternoon Marketwatch

Monday, December 19, 2016
***** Corn closed mostly 3 lower; soybeans 13-15 lower; and Chicago wheat 3-4 lower. *****  

   The big story of the day was the weekend rains in Argentina.  Even though they were forecast, they lived up to expectations.  New forecasts also included shower chances for midweek, and again for next weekend.  
   # Wheat prices countered the weakness in the other grains for a while because of the record cold over the weekend in the Great Plains.  There was snow cover down into parts of Kansas, but the damage from cold is difficult to assess until it starts to break dormancy.  Near term forecasts indicate the worst of the cold is behind for now.
   Export inspections were about as expected, but didn’t provide any fuel to trigger buying or selling.  The numbers were: 63.6 mln. bu. of soybeans, 30.3 mln. corn, and 17.6 mln. wheat.
   There were 2 sales reported on USDA’s daily system, 264,000 tons of soybeans to China and 128,000 tons of corn to Japan.
   The trade is watching funds relatively closely, especially through what is typically a lower volume environment.  They are still long about 120,000 contracts of soybeans, but short a little over 70,000 contracts of corn and a little over 90,000 contracts of Chi. wheat. 
   Egypt is said to have put out a tender to buy wheat overnight, with results to come in the morning.  Price and volume are still important even though none will come to the U.S. 
   The Dollar rebounded slightly after Fed Chairman Yellen’s speech today.  She reiterated her confidence in the jobs market, keeping the Fed on track to raise rates in 2017.  Forex traders are looking to the outcome of tonight’s policy meeting at the Bank of Japan.  Crude oil and equity markets were both relatively quiet, with limited change.
***** Fed cattle mostly closed $0.42-$0.57 higher; lean hogs $1.40 higher to $0.60 lower; feeder cattle $0.97-$0.22 higher.  ***** 

   Wholesale beef was higher again, with choice closing at $195.39.  The cash cattle trade was thin, but expected to remain near steady when they trade later in the week.  Holiday curtailments are expected to become a drag on prices later in the week.
   Wholesale pork prices were slightly higher with the #2 cutout at $78.59.  Cash hog prices were near steady, but could feel a downward drag from the coming slaughter curtailments and Friday’s USDA hog report.