December hog futures gapped lower last Thursday and charted a bearish outside day on Friday, breaking through uptrending support in the process. The February contract, on the other hand, remains in an uptrend and losses have been somewhat limited. Packer demand is expected to strengthen while hog supplies tighten in 2022, and that is providing support for deferred contracts.
Live cattle futures have posted impressive gains this week, with February gapping higher on Monday. Strong wholesale beef prices and plains cash cattle prices have provided support in recent days. The monthly Cattle on Feed report came in as expected, with October placements totaling 102.4% of the 2020 number, and the November 1 feedlot inventory was pegged at 99.8% of 2020.
USDA is now forecasting record rice yields across the country, with the national average yield pegged at 7,756 pounds per acre. Arkansas, California, Missouri, and Mississippi are all forecast to set a new record. Total production is pegged at 193.8 million cwt, up 3.3 million since the previous report. Projected 21/22 all-rice ending stocks were raised 1.8 million cwt to 35 million, which is down 20% from last year. The projected on-farm price is $13 for long grain and $14 for medium grain. January futures have seen sharp gains in recent days, but charted a bearish reversal on Monday after setting a new contract high of $14.70 before turning lower.
The outlook for soybeans for 21/22 is for lower production and exports and higher ending stocks. Soybean production was pegged at 4.42 billion bushels, down 23 million bushels on lower yields, specifically in Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Kansas. The export forecast was also lowered this month to reflect the slower pace of shipments so far this marketing year. The net result of the report was a 20 million bushel increase in the ending stocks estimate—which is now expected to be 340 million bushels. The U.S. season-average price for 21/22 is now pegged at $12.10, down 25 cents from the previous report. Technically, the nearby January contract charted a huge bullish reversal in reaction to the report. The market is still facing trendline resistance, but a close above the trendline could signal a retest of resistance near $13.
The cotton balance sheet was mostly unchanged in the November report. U.S. production was raised to 18.2 million bales, while domestic mill use and exports were unchanged. U.S. ending stocks are pegged at 34 million bales, up 200,000 bales from the previous report. The on-farm average prices was unchanged at 90 cents/pound. That’s a 36% increase from 2020. December cotton is consolidating in a more sideways pattern just below resistance at the contract high (which is also a 10-year high) of $1.2167/lb.
There were few changes for corn in the monthly reports. A slight decrease in projected carryover supplies to 1.49 billion bushels due to improved corn-for-ethanol projections was the only change. The expected on-farm price was unchanged from last month at $5.45/bushel. December is in position to challenge resistance at $5.86. A close above that level would suggest an upside objective of $5.94 ¼. Support begins at $5.47 ¾.