AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Thursday, September 28, 2017
***** Corn futures down 1 1/2 to 2 cents; soybeans off 6; Chicago wheat lower by 5 3/4 to 6 1/2. *****

   # Wheat futures gave back most of Wednesday’s gains and along with weaker soybeans set the tone for a lower corn trade.  Commercials were doing some harvest hedging while the speculators prepared their positions for Friday’s Quarterly Stocks and Small Grains reports.   
   # Hurricane Maria is now Tropical Storm Maria again after it brushed up against North Carolina and turned out to sea.  Puerto Rico is picking up after the hurricane struck its shores late last week.  President Trump today issued a waiver on the Jones Act, which restricted foreign ships from delivering aid to U.S. ports on the island. 
   # Weekly export sales were a mixed bag.  Again strong for soybeans at 2.98 million tons, exports for the oilseed are catching up and fall only 8.6 percent behind the cumulative total from a year ago.  Corn sales were weak at 320,000 tons and total sales fall nearly 37 percent short of last year.  Wheat sales were up on the week and track pretty closely with a year ago. 
   # The weekly export report was followed up by a pair of daily sales announcements, one for 234,000 tons of corn and another for 132,000 tons of soybeans, both deals made with an unknown buyer.
   # The market is abuzz with talk about potential changes to Renewable Fuel Standard policy, the latest rumors suggesting that the Environmental Protection Agency could consider allowing exported ethanol to satisfy credit requirements under the blending mandate.  Some observers suggest that such an adjustment is off the table and only an aspiration of certain refiners.
   # Better U.S. harvest expectations were partially credited for the International Grains Council addition to its 2017/18 global corn production forecast. The figure was raised by 12 million tons over the previous one, to 1.03 billion tons.
   # A lightly-traded session for corn futures formed an inside day for the December contract.  CZ17 settled under its 20-day moving average but ahead of the 10-day.  Friday’s report has the potential to shake up the charts; watch for resistance at $3.62 and support at $3.44 1/4.
   # Outside markets offered little guidance to the grain trade.  The dollar index made a moderate retreat as investors sort out expectations for Trump’s tax cut promises.  The major stock indices inched higher with help from a strong second quarter GDP revision.  Oil futures were lower on profit-taking triggered by technical pushback.           

***** Live cattle futures finish fractionally firmer; feeders up $0.22 to $0.45; hogs up $0.15 to down $1.37. *****

   # Cattle futures traded a relatively quiet day as traders were waiting for the cash market to develop more fully.  October futures at $109 trade about even with last week’s cash benchmark.  Guidance was unclear from the wholesale market with choice beef gaining $1.34 on the day while the select average dropped $0.80.               
   # Strong export sales helped support October hogs but the outlook for rising production put the deferred months on the defensive. December futures also struggle with resistance from their 50-day moving average and from key highs just above $60.