Morning Corn: Overnight, the corn market was mostly firm, finishing a couple cents higher by the AM break. Volumes were about average. Corn is trying to stabilize after enduring one of the most trying weeks in recent memory, culminating in a 50 cent decline.....

Morning Corn:  

Overnight, the corn market was mostly firm, finishing a couple cents higher by the AM break. Volumes were about average. Corn is trying to stabilize after enduring one of the most trying weeks in recent memory, culminating in a 50 cent decline high-to-low. The USDA hath spoken, and the market listened! Next week is "crop tour week", and it will be interesting to see if boots on the ground can change the narrative somewhat? A "Digital" (whatever that is) Yield Tour sponsored by DTN and Progressive Farmer found yields in IL, IN, and OH, that were significantly (12-15%) below the USDA estimates offered up Monday. Day 1 and Day 2 did find yields that were close to USDA estimates in points further West. Weather influences lean mixed; far from perfect, but some near-term rains in dry S IL and "garden spot" WI will give the bear something to crow about. The Eastern Belt, Iowa, and parts of MN, could use a good drink? On the world scene, the big stat point is China's Ag Ministry fessing up to losing nearly one-third of the country's hog herd to African Swine Fever. Scary to think they are probably understating this? French corn ratings were unchanged wk/wk at 60% Good-Excellent, down from 80%+ early season due to a couple hot/dry stretches. South Korea is poking around for corn; business still likely to go to Brazil, though we are certainly getting warmer. Sept options expire next Friday.

The corn market finally managed to snap its post-report losing streak Thursday, albeit rather unimpressively, finishing a penny or two higher up-front. A more robust overnight rally attempt did not pan out early, but the bear had a window to potentially run some stops mid-day with a break below the prior day's low, and could not make it stick. Managed Money traders were viewed small net buyers on the day and are believed to hold their first net short position in corn since May. The CFTC will opine on this tomorrow afternoon, and will include trade through the USDA report. Weekly export sales continue on their "new normal" trajectory; old crop sales were a paltry 56,100 metric tons, while new crop was a slightly more respectable 307,600. We were looking for something just under 500k combined, so close enough! China rolled an old crop cargo to new crop? Just over three weeks remain in the 18/19 marketing year, and total sold + shipped is barely on track to hit 50 mmt, assuming we ship everything sold. We need over 53 mmt to meet USDA sales forecasts. 4.38 mmt of new crop corn is on the export rolls, which is well behind last year, but is very close to levels seen two years ago, so not horrible. In the "here and now", U.S. corn has made strides this week to improve export competitiveness, but has not quite made it a slam dunk just yet, in our opinion. Falling South American currencies are not helping.

KJ