GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Grain and soybean futures were mixed on Thursday, closing largely unchanged amid pressure from a stronger dollar.

The greenback popped on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled it could raise interest rates again this year and said it would start shrinking its portfolio of bonds.

Wheat export sales of 307,200 tons and 526,900 tons of corn were within the range of expectations.

Soybean futures for November delivery closed 0.1% higher at $9.70 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. CBOT December corn futures also gained 0.1% to $3.50 1/4 a bushel, while December wheat climbed 0.6% to $4.52 1/2 a bushel

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Rural-Economy Health Gauge Hits Lowest in 2017 -- Market Talk

11:10 ET - A monthly gauge of rural economy health falls to its lowest point for the year, reflecting ongoing trouble in the US Farm Belt. The index, drawn from a survey of farm bankers in 10 states by Creighton University, in September fell to 39.6, the lowest level since December. Creighton says Midwestern lenders remain pessimistic about the farm economy thanks to concerns over low commodity prices, trade and a drought that struck parts of the Farm Belt this year. About 51% of bankers reported restructuring loans to farmers, according to Creighton, while nearly 19% say they've increased collateral requirements. Still, farm-loan defaults rise just 2.1% over the past year and delinquencies 4.1%. One Illinois banker says early harvest results indicate the state's crop will be 15% to 20% smaller than last year. "With this reduction and current low prices our farmers' incomes will be significantly less than 2016," he says. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Mosaic Suffers Production Losses After Irma -- Market Talk

10:28 ET - Fertilizer-maker Mosaic says it will churn out less phosphate thanks to damages suffered during Hurricane Irma. The Minnesota company, which operates mines and other fertilizer facilities in central Florida, said it expects a loss of up to 400K tons of phosphate products in 3Q, including 250K to 350K tons of lower production in September, plus product lost as a result of damages to a fertilizer warehouse. Analysts say one upside for Mosaic could be an uptick in fertilizer prices, which have risen this week amid stunted production and supply uncertainty in the wake of the storm. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Fall on Supply Pressure

Hog futures fell to the lowest close this year on Thursday as meatpackers seized on low cash prices to slaughter swine at a record rate.

Two new pork packing plants that opened in the Midwest in September have increased U.S. pork processing capacity. That has sparked record-high slaughter numbers for this time of year without a corresponding increase in demand, said Craig VanDyke of Top Third Ag Marketing.

Hog futures on Thursday fell to a low for the year. October lean hog contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell 2.3% to 57.325 cents a pound, the lowest close since Dec. 13. December-dated contracts fell 3.6% to 57.8 cents a pound.

CME October live cattle contracts fell 0.8% to $1.101 a pound.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 21, 2017 18:03 ET (22:03 GMT)