Afternoon Market Highlights


Subdued trade in the grain markets in modest volume ahead of the weekend and next week’s shorter trade with the Christmas Day holiday mid-week. Phase One is expected to be signed sometime in January. No real confirmation of what China will buy, how much they will buy and how often they will buy. Chinese officials did say they would buy big lots of US goods. 

  • The Cattle on Feed Report showed cattle on feed Dec 1 at 102% on par with trade estimate, November placements at 105%, above trade estimate of 101% and November marketings at 97%, slightly below trade estimate at 97.8%.
  • The USDA’s Hogs and Pigs report is scheduled for Monday at 2 PM CT with expectations for an increase in the hog herd. Average trade estimates: All Hogs Dec 1 at 102.9% (102.0-103.5), hogs kept for breeding at 101.6% (100.5-102.8) and hogs kept for market at 103.0% (102.1-103.6).
  • The energy markets are mostly weaker with crude oil down 86 cents at $60.32/barrel.
  • The US$ is stronger, the gold market is weaker and the CD$ is weaker.
  • Wall Street is trading higher with the DJIA up 92 at 28469, S&P up 12 at 3231 and the NASDAQ up 27 at 8913.     


Corn prices were up slightly in thin trade ahead of the weekend and next week’s holiday week. Year-end, month-end positioning was noted. The market seriously lack and fresh supportive news.  Managed money position as of December 17: short 95k contracts (record short 322k). 

  • Closes: March at $3.87 ¾, up 1 ¼ cent, July at $3.99 ½, up ¾ cent, September at $3.99 ½, up 1 cent and December at $4.01 ¾, up 1 ¼ cent.
  • Gulf premiums were 2 cents weaker for January.
  • Spreads: H/K 6 carry, H/N 11 ½ carry. 


The soybean market traded higher on position squaring ahead of the weekend and next week’s shortened trade week. Optimism over the $40-$50 billion purchase package by the Chinese over the next couple of years feels like it may have run its course.  Gains were limited from better than expected rainfall in dry areas of Argentina this week, with more beneficial rains forecast for next week.  Managed money position as of December 17: short 79 k beans (record short 169k), short 31k meal (record short 54k) and long 103k soyoil (record long at 127k). 

  • Closes: March at $9.38 ¼, up 2 cents, July at $9.62 ½, up ½ cent, August at $9.66 ¾, up ¼ cent and November at $9.66 ¼, unchanged.
  • Gulf premiums were mostly steady for January.
  • The Nov 20 beans fell short of earlier week highs, failing to push beyond $9.68 ¾. Some of the Compass Contracts (Premium Pricing Contracts) are looking a bit more favorable for Nov 20, with the rally in the board price.
  • Spreads: F/H 10 ¾ carry, F/N 34 ½ carry. 


The wheat market traded lower in consolidating type trade after the big rally earlier in the week.  Prices drew additional pressure from increased farmer sales. Weekly export sales were decent with HRW seeing a huge increase this week and spring wheat close to the same as last week.  Managed money position as of December 17th: short 21k in Mpls (record short is at 23k), short 9k in KC (record short is at 58k) and long 25k in Chicago, (record long is at 81k). 

  • March closes: Mpls at $5.36 ¾, down 4 ½ cent, KC at $4.62 ½, up 2 cents and Chicago at $5.42 ½, down 3 cents.
  • EU wheat prices were mostly steady ahead of next week’s holiday, as the port strikes in France are being assessed.
  • Japan bought 29k tonnes of US spring wheat in this week’s food tender.
  • Taiwan bought a jag of wheat.
  • Spreads: Mpls H/K 8 ½ carry, Kansas city H/K 8 carry, Chicago H/K at 3 ½ cent carry.