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Soybeans Plunge, Grain Futures Prices Lower.

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures

Mar. corn closed at $4.27 and 1/2, down 4 and 1/2 cents
Mar. soybeans closed at $12.71, down 14 and 1/2 cents
Mar. soybean meal closed at $423.30, down $5.30
Mar. soybean oil closed at 37.10, down 30 points
Mar. wheat closed at $5.51 and 1/2, down 14 and 1/2 cents
Feb. live cattle closed at $142.07, down 47 cents
Feb. lean hogs closed at $86.52, up $1.25
Mar. crude oil closed at $97.36, down 5 cents
Mar. cotton closed at 85.55, up 120 points
Feb. Class III milk closed at $22.91, down 1 cent
Mar. gold closed at $1,262.20, up $11.60
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 15,738.79, down 189.77 points


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Market News Update

Soybeans were lower on fund and commercial selling, in addition to spillover from the outside markets. Harvest is ongoing in parts of Brazil and early reports have generally good yields with the trade expecting a record crop this year, and there’s reportedly a vessel with Brazilian beans bound for China. The near term supply remains tight and there have been to major recent cancellations, but new Chinese buying is expected to slow down over the next couple of weeks due to their New Year celebrations. Soybean meal and oil were lower on spillover from beans and the dollar, along with the fundamental implications of a record South American crop. USDA’s weekly export sales report is out Thursday at 8:30 AM Eastern/7:30 AM Central. Soybeans are placed at 200,000 to 600,000 tons, meal is seen at 50,000 to 300,000 tons, and oil is pegged at 1,000 to 30,000 tons.

Corn was lower on technical and fund selling, along with spillover from beans, wheat, and the outside markets. The overall supply remains large, keeping most commercial traders on the sideline, and there’s more rain in the forecast late this week for dry areas of Argentina. Still, corn’s right around the cost of production, which continues to limit producer selling. March corn’s currently only at a slight premium to March oats, so keep an eye on that over the next few sessions. Ethanol futures were higher. Weekly U.S. corn exports are expected to be between 450,000 and 1 million tons.

The wheat complex was lower on fund and commercial selling, in addition to spillover from the outsides, especially the higher dollar. There’s some very cold weather around the Eastern Cornbelt and parts of Russia and Ukraine, but those areas also mostly have good snow cover. In any event, the world supply is ample and demand for U.S. wheat is routine. Japan’s got an open tender for 179,300 tons of U.S. and Australian milling wheat. According to DTN, Bangladesh bought 150,000 tons of wheat from India. Weekly U.S. wheat exports are estimated at 300,000 to 625,000 tons.

Cattle country was quiet on Wednesday afternoon with Nebraska the only area with bids on the table at 234.00, $8.00 below the asking prices in the North There has been no indication of bids in the Southern market where feedlot operators are asking 150.00 plus for the cattle on this week’s showlists. It looks like significant trade could wait until Friday. The kill at just 116,000 head is 3,000 less than last week and 5,000 smaller than last year.

Boxed beef cutout values were sharply lower on very light demand and light offerings. Choice boxed beef was down 3.99 at 231.81, select cuts ended 3.24 lower at 230.43.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled 27 points higher to 47 lower and most contracts closed above the day’s lows. Buying interest was partially rekindled by the likely persistence of cash premiums. Boxed beef cutout values were significantly lower at midday. February settled .47 lower at 142.07 but April was up .17 at 140.52.

Feeder cattle finished the session 27 to 85 points higher. Prices firmed from morning lows due to short covering, and lower action in the corn market, plus the premium status of the cash index. January settled .37 higher at 171.80, and March was .85 higher at 169.82.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Philip Livestock Auction at Philip, South Dakota totaled 7208 head on Tuesday. Compared to two weeks ago. Steers weighing less than 550 pounds were steady, 550 to 650 pounds were 3.00 to 6.00 lower, over 650 steady to 3.00 higher. Feeder heifers weighing less than 450 pounds were steady, over 450 pounds 2.00 to 4.00 higher. There was very good demand for many long strings, load lots and packages of feeder cattle. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 678 pounds traded at 183.03 per hundredweight. 681 pound heifers brought 167.94.

Lean hogs settled 15 to 125 points higher. Positive features included bull spreading, and news of some higher cash sales. Carcass value though was significantly lower in the morning report, especially pressured by losses in both the ham and belly primals. February settled 1.25 higher at 86.52, and April was up .22 at 93.80.

The pork carcass value was .22 lower at 89.87 FOB plant in the afternoon report.

There was moderate hog market activity and good demand on Wednesday afternoon. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .27 lower at 80.27 on a carcass basis, the West was down .02 at 80.03, and the Eastern markets were up .26 at 77.73. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed steady to 3.00 higher from 72.00 to 74.00. Terminal hogs closed fully steady from 51.00 to 54.00.

The week’s extreme cold weather has restricted country movement and slaughter so far. That could mean that hog buyers have plenty of inventory to choose from today through the end of the week.

Wednesday’s hog slaughter was estimated at just 374,000 head, 40,000 less than last week and down 44,000 from last year.

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