DTN Closing Grain Comments

Grains Sag Lower on Another Quiet Day

Todd Hultman
By  Todd Hultman , DTN Grains Analyst
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(DTN illustration by Nick Scalise)

General Comments:

Corn was down 3 1/4 cents in the December contract and down 3 1/2 cents in the July. Soybeans were down 3/4 cent in the November contract and up 1/4 cent in the July. Wheat closed down 2 cents in the December Chicago contract, down 3 cents in the December Kansas City, and up 1 1/2 cents in the December Minneapolis contract.

The December U.S. dollar index is down 0.26 at 92.84. December gold is down $3.40 at $1,290.40 while December silver is down 6 cents and December copper is up $0.0350. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 18 at 22,849. November crude oil is up $0.37 at $51.29. November heating oil is up $0.0162 while November RBOB gasoline is up $0.0166 and November natural gas is up $0.011.


December corn closed down 3 1/4 cents Wednesday, holding its sideways range ahead of Thursday's WASDE report, but also within 2 cents of the August low of $3.44 1/4 as harvest makes progress. Late Tuesday, USDA said 82% of corn crops were mature and 22% of corn was harvested, down from its five-year average of 37% harvested for this time of year. If there is good news for harvest, it is that conditions are expected to stay mostly warm and dry the next 10 days across the Corn Belt. Thursday's WASDE report should show a slightly smaller estimate of U.S. ending corn stocks for 2017-18 and while analysts expect USDA's production estimate to stay near 14.2 billion bushels, there is room for surprise after this spring's variable weather. Earlier Wednesday, USDA said Mexico bought 5.9 million bushels (150,000 metric tons) of U.S. corn for 2017-18. Technically, the trend in December corn remains down, but this is also the time of year when seasonal lows are typically made. Fundamentally, it remains tough to make a case for higher corn prices while the U.S. ending corn stocks estimate is over 2 bb. DTN's National Corn Index closed at $3.05 Tuesday, priced 44 cents below the December contract and has held roughly even for over a month. In outside markets, the December U.S. dollar index is down 0.26 and other commodities are mixed with December gold down $3.40 and November crude oil up 34 cents.


November soybeans ended down 3/4 cent Wednesday, accompanied by a small, $1.30 loss in December soybean meal. Late Tuesday, USDA said 36% of soybeans were harvested as of Sunday and good progress should be made this week, except for interruption from a band of moderate to heavy showers from northern Missouri to Michigan and Ontario. Thursday's WASDE report is expected to show a slight increase in production, but USDA's estimate of U.S. ending soybean stocks are expected to drop from 475 mb to 453 mb, thanks to lower than expected inventory on Sept. 1. At 8 a.m. CDT, USDA reported China bought 9.7 mb (264,000 mt) of U.S. soybeans and 4.85 mb (132,000 mt) were sold to unknown, both for 2017-18. The export pace for soybeans has been good in 2017 and should continue as FOB prices at the Gulf are 21 cents below prices at Brazil's ports. Technically, the trend remains up in November soybeans, but prices have held steady the past month, finding it difficult to trade higher while a record soybean harvest is expected this fall. DTN's National Soybean Index closed at $8.88 Tuesday, priced 78 cents below the November contract and holding a sideways range for over a month.


December Chicago wheat closed down 2 cents Wednesday with prices probing for support near their lowest levels in 2017. Thursday's WASDE report is expected to show a slight increase in USDA's estimate of U.S. ending wheat stocks, but shouldn't have much price impact this late in the season. Late Tuesday, USDA said 48% of the next winter wheat crop was planted and 25% was emerged, both behind their normal paces. In Kansas, only 27% of the expected crop has been planted, down from the five-year average of 59% for this time of year. We don't normally see wheat sales from USDA, but earlier Wednesday, USDA said Mexico bought 3.8 mb (104,202 mt) of hard red winter wheat for 2017-18. Every sale helps, but many more are needed with USDA expected to estimate U.S. ending wheat stocks at 946 million bushels on Thursday. Technically, the trend in Chicago wheat is sideways, thanks to commercial support in the low $4s. Fundamentally, it is difficult to expect chances for significantly higher prices until we get closer to next season. DTN's National SRW index closed at $3.96 Tuesday, priced 39 cents below the December contract and down from its highest price in six weeks. DTN's National HRW index closed at $3.55, also down from its highest price in six weeks.

Todd Hultman can be reached at todd.hultman@dtn.com

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Todd Hultman