DTN Closing Grain Comments

Row Crops Sag Lower on Quiet Day

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

General Comments:

Corn was down 1 3/4 cents in the December contract and down 1 3/4 cents in the July. Soybeans were down 4 1/4 cents in the January contract and down 3 1/2 cents in the July. Wheat closed up 1 1/2 cents in the December Chicago contract, down 3/4 cent in the December Kansas City, and up 5 1/2 cents in the December Minneapolis contract.

The December U.S. dollar index is up 0.13 at 93.86. December gold is down $0.20 at $1,277.40 while December silver is up 8 cents and December copper is down $0.0010. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 219 at 23,490. January crude oil is down $0.06 at $55.46. January heating oil is down $0.0071 while January RBOB gasoline is down $0.0163 and January natural gas is down $0.028.


December corn closed down 1 3/4 cents at $3.36 1/2 on low volume Thursday, still pressured by plentiful corn supplies at harvest time and this season's slow export pace. Thursday's weather was pleasant for remaining harvest across most of the Corn Belt where fields are dry enough. The eastern Corn Belt is expecting more rain the next two days, but should then get a break of dry weather next week. Obviously, traders are showing no concern about the last two billion bushels of corn as prices are stuck near their lowest spot levels in eleven years. Thursday's weekly report of export sales reminded us that the export pace painfully slow as last week's export sales and shipments of corn totaled 37.4 and 16.4 million bushels respectively. Total corn shipments are now down 41% in 2017-18 from a year ago as Brazil continues to undercut the U.S. Gulf price by 9 cents a bushel. The one bright spot in Ag these days that has some benefit for corn is this year's higher pace of beef exports, up 14% as of Nov. 9 from a year ago. With December corn near its lowest price in 2017, the trend obviously remains down, but with prices cheap and commercials net long, downside potential should be limited. DTN's National Corn Index closed at $3.00 Wednesday, priced 38 cents below the December contract and near its lowest price since Aug. 30. In outside markets, the December U.S. dollar index is trading up 0.13 after the Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production increased .9% in October, more than expected, reported RTTNews.com.


January soybeans closed down 4 1/4 cents at $9.72, maintaining this week's bearish tone while little is happening to motivate buyers. Here in the U.S., the final laps of harvest will be happening where fields aren't too wet and where they are, drier weather is expected next week. Central Brazil has received beneficial rains the past seven days and a broad coverage of rain is expected in the week ahead while Argentina is expected to be drier. The world is counting on Brazil to come up with another big crop in 2018 to keep supplies flowing, but after a dry start to the season, there is still plenty of uncertainty about how the next crop will fare. That two-sided potential is keeping traders nervous, but so far, China does not seem bothered as U.S. exports are down from a year ago. Early Thursday, USDA said last week's export sales and shipments of soybeans totaled 40.6 and 82.9 million bushels respectively, bearish amounts that have total soybean shipments down 11% in 2017-18 from a year ago. Technically, the trend in January soybeans turned lower Tuesday, but prices reflect early season uncertainty and have yet to follow through lower. DTN's National Soybean Index closed at $8.98 Wednesday, priced 78 cents below the January contract and near the lowest price in over a month.


December Chicago wheat closed up 1 1/2 cents at $4.21 1/2 Thursday, as light commercial buying appeared to keep this month's prices supported in their narrow, sideways range. If you are familiar with these closing comments, you can probably guess the rest of what I will say as winter wheat prices have been plagued by plentiful supplies for several months now and that is not likely to change through winter unless something unusual happens. It is worth noting that Thursday's U.S. Drought Monitor showed increased dryness in the southern Plains, but at this early stage, that is more of a potential concern than an actual crop threat. For now, winter wheat prices continue to trend roughly sideways with active commercial support continuing to show up at the lower end of the range. DTN's National SRW index closed at $3.86 Wednesday, priced 34 cents below the December contract and still holding above its August low. DTN's National HRW index closed at $3.63, still holding stubbornly above its August low.

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

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Todd Hultman