Grain futures are concerned with load-out capacity of the Gulf.
Corn and soybean moved higher in the evening session while wheat values were stagnant. Selling pressure renewed early this morning as reports came in on Gulf export capacity. CHS is reporting minimal structural damage, but that the restoration of power could take weeks. As a result, CHS will divert its nearby export obligations to the PNW if possible. Cargill looks to have suffered the most structural damage, which will take considerable time to repair. Damage assessments are awaited from ADM and ZGC. Bunge has indicated that its export facility could be back up in a matter of days. September is one of the slowest export months of the year, but the harvest is ahead, and the need for loadout volume is high. Traders will be watching for additional capacity assessments throughout the day. It is anticipated by Wednesday that everyone should have a good idea where US Gulf loadout capacity stands.
US crop condition ratings were steady for corn/soybeans while sorghum ratings declined amid the hot/dry Plain's weather conditions. The US corn crop was rated 60%, with soybeans at 56% GD/EX. The soybean conditions are 4% and corn 2% in the GD/EX category, from where crops were rated on August 1st when NASS conducted their August crop assessment. The fall in conditions argues for a drop in the NASS yield assessment in the September USDA crop report. Additionally, 59% of the US corn crop is dented, with 9% of the soybeans dropping leaves, arguing that recent rains have not been a big boost to yield prospects.
In yesterday's grain selloff, total Chicago wheat open interest was down 4,664 contracts, corn was off 17,798, with soybeans off 4,998 contracts. Combined CBT corn, soybean and wheat open interest is now at its lowest point since mid-2017, four years ago. The grain markets will focus on US export capabilities following Ida and the coming US harvest. Because of world grain shortfalls, end-user buying will have interest in procuring supplies into price weakness. It'll be the upcoming USDA reports that will help to find longer-term price trends.
Rain is falling this morning across S Iowa, with the next chance of rain occurring Friday and on the weekend. Rainfall totals are estimated in a range of .25-1.00″ with locally heavier. A second system is evident for the middle of next week while Central US temperatures average near to above normal. Any real heat will be centered on the Central & Southern Plains. The remains of Ida will continue to push to the north and east, producing heavy rainfall of 1-3.00″ from Tennessee into Maine. The storm will exit the US Thursday with a high-pressure Ridge rebuilding across the west. This Western US Ridge will dominate the Central US weather pattern, which looks to keep the Central and Southern Plains warm and dry. Storm systems will continue to push thru the Midwest/Delta with rain chances every 4-5 days. Another tropical storm (Kate) looks to form in the South Central Atlantic, but this system takes a more northerly track and will not impact land. However, the EU model does suggest a western turn for Kate into SE Canada or the far NE US in 11-12 days. This is too far out for any confidence in Kate's exact path.
Cattle futures started the week with a lower trade and feeder cattle finding interest in the weaker corn. Cattle feeders are looking to hold the line this week, but the beef market is forging a top, and packers will be looking to buys show lists $1-2 lower this week. Boxed beef values were lower on Monday. The choice cutout broke $2.56, and the select value fell $2.97. The choice/select spread remains historically high at a $30.23 choice premium, a record for late August. Strong demand has driven both cutout values to historic levels. But the percentage of fed cattle slaughter making the choice grade has been below a year ago. That the choice percentage tends to decline into December, which could keep the spread historically strong.