Volatility has picked up across many commodity markets as traders look to manage positions into the end of the quarter.
Corn futures continued to grind higher in today’s trade. At the close the December contract was 5 ¼ cents higher to settle at 488 ¼, the highest closing price since August 28th. As mentioned in previous reports this week, short covering into the end of month and quarter along with into tomorrow’s USDA report could be the catalyst for the strength. A breakout above 490 ¼ would likely continue this trend with the next target being at the psychologically significant $5.00 level.
Soybeans settled 2 ¾ cents lower today to 1300 ½, which was about 13 cents off the low. Over the last two days we’ve seen the market trade in a 30-cent range, only to close the last two sessions right near the middle. We’ve listed 1322-1328 as an important resistance pocket. A continued failure to get back out above here will likely keep the bears in control of the technical landscape which could encourage additional long liquidation from the funds.
On the wheat side, it was continued disappointment. At the close December Chicago wheat futures were ¾ of a cent lower to settle at 578 ¾. KC wheat was under more pressure with the December contract settling 9 ½ cents lower to 685. Minneapolis wheat finished the day 3 ¾ cents lower to 747.
Live cattle were under heavy pressure earlier in the week, along with multiple other commodities with the exception of oil. Today, they gained some ground, tacking on 2.25 to settle at 190.425. End of month and end of quarter are likely catalysts for this week’s volatility, not exclusive to cattle but outside markets which may have spilled into cattle.
Feeder cattle were also able to gain some ground back with the November contract settling 2.87 higher to 257.67.
On the snout side, it was a green day as well. At the close the December contract was 2.75 higher to settle at 75.52. That market has been rangebound, albeit a volatile range over the last week. Here’s a summary of today’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report:
United States Hog Inventory Up Slightly
United States inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2023 was 74.3 million head. This was up slightly from September 1, 2022, and up 2 percent from June 1, 2023.
Breeding inventory, at 6.08 million head, was down 1 percent from last year, and down 1 percent from the previous quarter.
Market hog inventory, at 68.2 million head, was up slightly from last year, and up 2 percent from last quarter.
The June-August 2023 pig crop, at 34.2 million head, was up slightly from 2022. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.95 million head, down 4 percent from 2022. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 48 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 11.61 for the June-August period, compared to 11.13 last year.