CORN---------

Corn closed the week 7 cents higher.  Private exporters did announce any export sales. 

In the weekly export inspections report, U.S. corn exports last week were a marketing-year high at 27 million bushels (mb) and rising from the previous week's 19.3 mb. However, corn exports were were still considerably below the roughly 38.4 mb per week average needed through the end of August in order to reach the USDA's 1.85 billion bushel (bb) export projection. The current "needed" pace reflects a 16% stronger export pace from this point forward than last year's 33.1 mb per week. Cumulative exports of 285 mb are down 55% from last year's 630 million at this time. 

U.S. ethanol production slipped to 1.064 million barrels per day (mbpd) (313 million gallons (mg) per week) from 1.072 mbpd (315 mg per week) the week prior, the first pullback in production from the previous week in 12 weeks. This was still 1.7% above last year's same-week production of 1.046 mbpd (308 mg per week). U.S. ethanol stocks last week were steady at 916 mg (21.798 million barrels), virtually unchanged from the previous week's 21.815 million barrels.

Strategy and outlook: The bullish weekly reversal has put to an end the fund selling that drove prices near contract lows. The new trade agreement will limit the downside risk for prices with the markets slowly rallying as fresh demand becomes apparent. 

SOYBEANS------

Soybeans closed the week 21 cents higher. Private exporters announced sale of 126,000 mts of soybeans to China.

In the weekly export inspections report, U.S. soybean exports were 46.3 mb, down from the previous week's 51.5 mb and declining for the third consecutive week. Cumulative exports of 685 mb are up 23% from last year's 557 million, with exports needing to average roughly 28 mb per week through the end of August in order to reach the USDA's 1.775 bb export projection versus last year's 30.2 mb per week average from this point forward. 

The monthly National Oilseed Processors Association crush report totaled 164.9 mb, sharply below the average trade estimate of 172 million, below the entire range of market ideas, down considerably from October's 175.4 million and short of last year's record November NOPA crush of 167.0 mb. NOPA crush for November would imply U.S.-total crush for the month around 175.6 mb, which would be down 1.4% from last year's 178.1 million and put first quarter (Sept-Nov) crush at 525 mb versus last year's 531 million. 

Based on the USDA's 2.105 bb marketing year total crush estimate, Dec-Aug crush would need to total roughly 1.580 bb, a 1.2% increase from last year's 1.561 billion. 

Strategy and outlook: Futures bounced off long term support with strong end user buying supporting values. Prices are likely to probe weekly resistance amid the new trade agreement. The timing of Chinese purchases will prove interesting and indicative of how the balance sheets will be affected.

WHEAT---------

For the week, Chicago wheat closed 9 ¾ cents higher, Kansas City wheat closed 19 ½ cents higher and Minneapolis wheat 11 cents higher. Private exporters did not announce any export sales.

U.S. wheat exports last week were 18.6 mb, up from the previous week's 13.4 mb but below last year's same-week exports of 25.2 mb, while coming in mostly in line with the average "needed" pace of 17.9 mb per week in order to reach the USDA's 975 mb export projection. Wheat exports averaged 20.0 mb per week from this point forward last year. Cumulative export inspections of 499 mb are up 16% from last year's 431 million at this time. 

Informa estimated U.S. 2020 all wheat acres near 44.3 million versus 45.2 in 2019 with U.S. 2020 cotton acres near 12.4 million versus 13.7 in 2019. U.S. 2020 all crop acres near 310.4 million versus 297.8 in 2019 and U.S. 2020 prevent plant acres near 2.6 million versus 17.4 million in 2019. 

Strategy and outlook: Chicago wheat rallied and failed at key weekly resistance at a time when the commercials have become aggressive sellers. This should put an end to the rally that prices have been seeing as the fundamentals do not support the current values. 

LIVE CATTLE--------

Last week, live cattle closed $1.92 lower while feeder cattle closed $2.17 lower. Fed cattle trade in the South was at $120 - $1 higher compared with the week prior. Trade in the North was mostly $121 live and $192 dressed, $2 to $4 higher. 

The weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction reported a total of 878 head listed for sale from two lots in Kansas and one lot each in Texas and Nebraska. Asking prices ranged from $119 to $121 and only one lot of 268 steers sold in Texas at $120. 

The latest USDA steer carcass weights were down five pounds compared to the prior week at 906, making them 10 pounds above last year. Net beef sales of 10,100 metric tons (MT) were reported for 2019. For 2020, net sales of 3,100 MT were reported. 

The monthly Cattle On Feed (COF) report is bearish with on feed supplies at 102.5%, slightly above estimates of 102.0% and larger than last month as well and the largest since 2011. Placements were much larger than expected at 104.9% versus expectations of 101.1% as calves are being pulled off pastures and wheat fields and heading for feedlots. The marketing effort was 3% less than last year and below expectations of 2.2% less. 

Strategy and outlook: The COF report will pressure feeder cattle and summer month live cattle. The market will find support from strong exports.

HOGS------

Lean hogs closed the week $1.32 higher. 

The latest Iowa and Minnesota weekly hog weights came in at 287 pounds versus 288.4 pounds the week prior and 283.4 pounds last year. Net pork sales of 26,800 MT were reported for 2019. For 2020, net sales of 10,400 MT were reported.

Strategy and outlook: Futures should rally off technical support and expectations of large Chinese purchases of U.S. pork products now that Phase 1 of the new trade agreement will become effective in January. 

Brian Hoops is president and senior market analyst of Midwest Market Solutions Inc. The home office is in Springfield, Mo., with branch offices in Thief River Falls, Minn.; Verona, N.D.; Yankton, S.D.; Storm Lake, Iowa; and Springfield, Neb.