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Corn, Soybean Prices End Week Higher.

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures Prices.

Mar. corn closed at $4.27 and 1/2, up 1 and 1/4 cents
Jan. soybeans closed at $13.31 and 1/2, up 12 and 3/4 cents
Jan. soybean meal closed at $445.70, up $4.70
Jan. soybean oil closed at 39.02, up 15 points
Mar. wheat closed at $6.09, up 3 cents
Dec. live cattle closed at $133.85, up $1.15
Feb. lean hogs closed at $85.65, up 35 cents
Feb. crude oil closed at $100.32, up 77 cents
Mar. cotton closed at 84.12, up 123 points
Jan. Class III milk closed at $19.48, down 12 cents
Dec. gold closed at $1,216.10, up $2.00
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,478.41, down 1.4 points

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Soybeans closed higher Friday. DTN cites buying late in the session, the result of USDA’s bullish export sales figures for soybeans. That may have been even more bullish, except for a general distrust of USDA’s estimates, and of China’s commitment to their purchases. And while South American weather forecasts have affected U.S. commodity markets, Alastair Stewart, DTN’s South America correspondent, wrote Thursday that Brazil’s soybean crops are “looking generally excellent,” supporting a bearish outlook for 2014.

Corn closed slightly higher Friday, boosted by USDA’s bullish export sales report. USDA said the U.S. last week sold 58.2 million bushels for export this marketing year, plus another 20 million bushels for the next marketing year. Those totals, combined with large shipments, helped offset concerns about China rejecting shipments of U.S. corn and DDGs because of the presence of the unapproved genetic trait MIR 162. In addition, last week’s ethanol production fell from 928,000 barrels a day to 926,000 barrels a day. That’s still up significantly from 834,000 daily barrels a year ago. Bullish for corn is the solid export demand at current prices. On the other hand, supplies are at their highest level in five years. Argentina’s corn crop is struggling through their hot and dry weather this week. Traders are waiting to see if forecasted rains materialize.

Chicago wheat closed higher Friday, saved by late-session buying. DTN points out that Australia’s harvest is said to be doing well and the U.S. winter wheat crop is off to a good start, so buyers aren’t motivated. On the bull side, wheat prices are getting so low that exports are doing fairly well. According to the USDA, last week’s export sales for wheat totaled 24.1 million bushels, 21.9 million bushels of which were for 2013-2014, more than what’s needed to stay ahead of USDA’s annual export estimate.

USDA Mandatory reported an active cattle trade in the Southern Plains on Friday on very good demand. Compared to last week, live sales in the Texas Panhandle were 3.00 to 4.00 higher at 133.00 to 134.00 with trade in Kansas 2.00 to 3.00 higher at 132.00 to 133.00. Trading in Nebraska was active on very good demand. Live sales were 4.00 to 6.00 higher at 135.00 to 136.00. Dressed sales ranged from 211.00 to 214.00, with the majority 4.00 to 5.00 higher at 212.00 to 213.00. Trading was moderate in Iowa with dressed sales 4.00 to 5.00 higher at 212.00 to 213.00. USDA estimated the weekly cattle slaughter at 429,000 head, 184,000 less than last week, and down 48,000 from last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were steady on the choice and higher on select on light to moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .06 at 196.99, and select was .84 higher at 191.30.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange closed unchanged to 115 points higher. Futures contracts displayed triple digit gains due to the impressive spending spree in feedlot country. February and April threatened to close at their highest levels since mid-October. December settled 1.15 higher at 133.85, and February was up .80 at 134.95.

Feeder cattle contracts ended 22 to 87 higher but off the day’s highs. Feeder futures enjoyed late week buying interest. The gains were related to spillover buying from the live pit and a general lack of selling interest. January settled .40 higher at 167.00, and March was up .60 at 167.80.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Lexington, Nebraska Livestock Auction on Friday totaled 1600 head. Compared to last week steers and heifers were steady to 2.00 higher on comparable weights. Feeder steers, medium and large 1 averaging 851 pounds brought 169.73 per hundredweight. 835 pound heifers traded at an average of 156.71.

Lean hogs settled mostly 10 to 40 points higher as traders waited to check fundamental assumptions with the December hogs and pigs report released after the close of trade. Besides pre-report short covering, it was probably a good bet the lean futures were also supported in part by bullish vibrations coming from the cattle pits. February settled .35 higher at 85.65, and April was up .32 at 90.97.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .15 higher at 76.28 on a carcass basis, the West was up .06 at 76.15 and the East was down .51 at 76.40. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady from 71.00 to 74.00. Terminal hogs were fully steady from 49.00 to 55.00 live.

The pork carcass value was down 3.48 at 82.85 FOB plant.

Even if weekly hog kill falls off to the 2.2 million head level by late January, 100,000-150,000 less than the first half of December, current board premiums would probably not be satisfied unless pork demand very suddenly begins to roar. 

The weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 1,843,000, 510,000 head less than last week, but 79,000 more than last year.


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