Short covering overnight greets the last trading day before Christmas.

Today is the last trading session before the Christmas holiday. Grains are closed Sunday night/Monday and Monday evening. Trading will restart at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 26. Look for thin volume with a lack of participation today. Have a safe and wonderful Merry Christmas holiday with you and yours.

Today’s grain trade is firmer as short covering arrives ahead of the three-day weekend while the US dollar drifts further to 101.00 and gold jumps $23 overnight to 2074. Highlighting the reality that our currency will inspire new investment from index funds after the start of the new tax year in the commodity markets. Soybeans failed to push below 13.00 and held despite rains developing across Brazil, which have been highly advertised.

Rainfall will linger now in northern Brazil into the weekend, but the widespread soaking rains have not yet been verified. Radar maps that were active on Thursday have 24-hour rainfall in northern Brazil in a range of .30-.55” while large parts of southern Mato Grosso and Goias remain dry. The debate over Brazilian soybean output and how much rain is needed to train trend yield will rage on well into the new year.

March French milling wheat is down 1.50/MT, right near contract lows. Russia’s wheat export tax will be trimmed by 5% between December 27 and January 10, keeping Russian origin the world’s low-cost supply. Meanwhile, the German statistics agency projects a 7% year-over-year decline in winter wheat seedings.

The South American weather models through December 31 call for light/steady rainfall in northern Brazil into the weekend and less rainfall in the 6-10 day window. Return of heavier showers arrives in the long-term models again for January one-six. The 16-30 day guidance features a return of warm/dry weather again. But then again, models beyond six days are almost a coin toss.

Live and feeder cattle futures tumbled on Thursday, giving up the bulk of Wednesday’s sharp gains, with a steady trade start anticipated this morning. Yesterday, December live cattle closed higher on better cash prices ahead of next week’s expiration. Cash markets were quiet on Thursday following Wednesday's sales. However, the Packers are not done buying for the week. Bids were quoted at $170 live and at $270 on a dressed basis for the North.

Cattle on Feed Report at 2 pm CT, average estimates: On Feed 102.2% of last year, Placements 96.2%, and Marketings 93.3%.

Quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report at 2 pm CT, average estimates: All Hogs 99.5%, Kept for Breeding 98.8%, and Kept for Market 99.5%.