CORN------------

Corn closed the week 2 ¼ cents lower.  Private exporters announced sales totaling 429,000 metric tons (mts) to an unknown destination. 

In the weekly crop progress report, U.S. corn harvest is now 76% complete versus 77% expected, 66% last week, 89% last year and 92% average. North Dakota is only 23% harvested with South Dakota 53% done and Michigan only 39% complete. 

U.S. corn export inspections last week were actually a marketing-year high at 25.1 million bushels (mb) and up from the prior week's 22.9 mb. However, corn exports for the week were still below last year's same-week shipments of 33.3 mb and were well below the roughly 36.8 mb per week average we estimate is needed over the remainder of 2019-20 in order to reach the USDA's 1.85 billion bushel (bb) export projection. Cumulative exports are at just 196 mb, a massive 58% below last year's 472 mb at this time and the second lowest for mid-November of the last 40 years. 

In the weekly Energy Information Administration report, U.S. ethanol production ticked higher to 1.033 million barrels per day (mbpd) (304 million gallons per week) from 1.03 mbpd the week prior. 

U.S. ethanol stocks declined again last week, the fifth decline in the last seven weeks, to 862 million gallons (20.514 million barrels) from 881 million gallons (20.985 million barrels) the week prior and were 10% below last year’s same-week stocks of 957 million gallons. Current ethanol stocks are the lowest since the first week of January 2017 - nearly three years.

Strategy and outlook: Stocks look to remain large with the poor demand pace. Commercial buying has lifted the index to a bullish position. The buy signal is likely premature as it is not a timing indicator.

 

SOYBEANS--------

Soybeans closed the week 22 ¼ cents lower. Private exporters did not announce any private sales.

In the weekly crop progress report, U.S. soybean harvest is 91% complete versus 91% expected, 85% last week, 91% last year and 95% average. Missouri is 83% done with North Dakota 84% complete, Wisconsin 77% and Michigan 76% done. 

U.S. soybean exports, for the week were strong at 56.3 mb and up from the previous week's 49.5 mb. This week's exports were the second highest of the first 11 weeks of 2019-20 so far. Soybean shipments will need to average roughly 31 mb per week throughout the remainder of the marketing year in order to reach the USDA's 1.775 bb export projection, which would be exactly the same as last year's average weekly exports from this point forward.

Strategy and outlook: The COT report remains bearish for the soybean complex with aggressive commercial selling offsetting the strong fund buying. 

 

WHEAT---------

For the week, Chicago wheat closed 11 ¾ cents higher; Kansas City wheat closed 11 ¼ cents higher and Minneapolis wheat 12 cents lower. Private exporters did not announce any sales.

In the weekly crop progress and conditions report, U.S. winter wheat conditions came in at 52% good or excellent versus 53% expected, down 2% from 54% last week and 4% behind 56% last year. Texas is only 30% good or excellent, Missouri 42%, Kansas 47% and Oklahoma only 46% good or excellent. 

U.S. winter wheat planting is 95% complete versus 95% expected, 92% last week, 92% last year and 95% average. 

U.S. wheat exports last week were 16.5 mb and were right in line with the average weekly "needed" export pace of 16.5 mb per week based on the USDA's 950 million bushel export projection. Cumulative exports of 438 mb are still up 21% from last year's slow-starting 361 million at this time. Wheat exports from this point forward last year averaged 19.6 mb per week.

Strategy and outlook: The huge world supplies of wheat mandates producers to sell out inventory and use options to manage risks on sharp rally attempts.

 

LIVE CATTLE----------

Last week, live cattle closed $1.02 lower while feeder cattle closed $5.05 lower. 

Fed cattle traded in the North at mostly $116 live but ranged from $115 to $117.50 - steady to $1 higher compared to the prior week, while dressed trade was $2 higher at $184. Cash trade in the South was at $116 - $1 higher compared to the prior week. ]

The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction sold 1,229 head out of 1,398 listed for sale in six of eight lots. Kansas lots sold 336 head at $115.75 to $116, Nebraska sold 893 head at $115 to $115.50, while one lot from Texas sold at $114.50 but was PO'd. 

The latest USDA steer carcass weights were up five pounds compared to the prior week at 908, making them four pounds above last year. 

Last week net sales of 18,000 metric tons (MT) reported for 2019 were down 29% from the previous week, but up 11% from the prior four-week average. 

The on-feed figures were in line with expectations and slightly above last year and at an eight-year high. The placement figure was a nine-year high and certainly bearish, although it was slightly less than the trade had expected. Marketings were slightly below expectations. 

Strategy and outlook: The weekly reversal for feeder cattle is bearish and seasonal weakness into Christmas time is expected.

 

HOGS---------

Lean hogs closed the week $3.12 lower. 

Iowa/Minnesota weekly hog weights came in at 287.7 pounds versus 287.9 pounds the week prior and 283.4 pounds last year.  

Net pork sales of 54,400 MT reported for 2019 were up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior four-week average. 

In the monthly cold storage report; total red meat supplies in freezers were up 1% from the previous month but down 1% from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were down 1% from the previous month and down 10% from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 3% from the previous month and up 8% from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 13% from last month and up 72% from last year.

Strategy and outlook: Producers should have moved all risk to the cash markets. 

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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.