Market Briefs | June 26, 2024

Rice futures are trading in a mostly sideways pattern for the time being. September charted a bearish reversal off a new high last week, signaling a major high had been put in. However, follow-through selling has been somewhat limited. Resistance at that high of $15.83 could prove tough to break, but the market is building support at $15.40. Additional support can be found at $15.30 and $15.20. The prospect for strong exports, due in part to production issues in South America, is supporting the market despite the relatively good condition and large size of the domestic crop. Currently, 83% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, compared to 70% at this time last year. 13% of the crop is headed, mostly in Texas and Louisiana.

December corn prices continue to decline as the forecast for the U.S. Midwest appears less threatening. The December corn contract reached its lowest level since Sept. 21. Bullish news has been scarce, pushing the market towards oversold conditions, although being in this area has not significantly impacted the downward trend so far. U.S. crop ratings dropped by 3% to 69% good/excellent, but the overall ratings are still the highest since 2020. An active trading day is expected on June 26, with the release of two major USDA reports. The trade anticipates the NASS quarterly Grain Stocks report to show about 770 million bushels more than last year. Additionally, the new crop acreage report is expected to indicate 89 to 91.2 million acres of corn planted this spring.

November soybeans hit 2.5-year lows late last week but have since slightly rebounded due to flooding concerns in southeast South Dakota, southern Minnesota, and northwest Iowa, where 4-8 inches of rain fell i72 hours. The current contract low serves as support, with the 100-day moving average. Soybean ratings also dropped by 3% to 67% good/excellent, aligning with expectations. Arkansas’ soybean ratings remain unchanged at 71% good/excellent. The USDA’s Grain Stocks report, expected on Friday, is anticipated to show 962 million bushels of soybeans as of June 1. Other reports are expected to show soybean acreage at 86.9 million acres, consistent with the March report.

Cotton futures set new 20-month lows last week. Old crop July is trading mostly sideways, unable to build any momentum on a bounce. New-crop December, however, is building on support at 70 cents and climbing higher. Strong weekly export sales of 189,000 bales for old crop and 111,800 bales for new crop is providing support. Outside markets are mixed, as a firmer dollar is negative for prices but is being offset by higher crude oil prices, which can support cotton futures. 56% of the crop is in good to excellent condition, but dryness is becoming a concern in parts of the south.

Bearish trends continue for wheat, with most recent trading sessions closing lower. Technical indicators suggest extreme oversold conditions, but recent fundamental news remains bearish. Winter wheat harvest is progressing rapidly, about 7 to 10 days ahead of normal, with few obstacles for combines. U.S. harvest progress has reached 40% completion, aligning with expectations and significantly above the 21% from last year and the 5-year average. Arkansas reports that 83% of the crop has been harvested, compared to 77% at this time last year. The July Chicago wheat contract appears to be holding above its March low of $5.37, which serves as support.

After a period of consolidation, cattle futures have broken out of previous resistance around $185. The market now looks poised to challenge previous resistance above $187. Previous challenges of that resistance, however, have resulted in bearish key reversals. The monthly Cattle on Feed report was overall a bit bearish, but futures are trading at a discount to cash prices, so the impact on the market has been minimal. May placements were 104.3% of a year earlier and above the top end of pre-report trade estimates. The June 1 inventory was 99.9% of a year earlier, also above the average trade guess. May marketings were 100.2% of last year, slightly below expectations.

After a brief respite, hog futures have continued their downward movement. October is trying to confirm a bottom and has charted a bullish reversal after moving to a new low of $73.17. Pork production is expected to be up 4-5% for the remainder of the year, and that will limit the upside potential of the market. However, further sow liquidation is also expected.