AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures traded steady to fractionally higher today. Estimates for the USDA weekly Export Sales report are running 900,000-1,200,000 MT for old crop corn. New crop is projected to be in the range of 100,000-300,000 MT. US FOB export prices are competitive with South American origins after this price break. The weekly EIA report had daily ethanol production up 10,000 barrels per day (bpd) from last week @ 1.054 million bpd. That is the highest daily production since the first week in February. Weekly ethanol stocks rose 662,000 barrels to 23.257 million barrels. The USDA Grain Stocks and Planting Intentions reports will be released on Friday, with a Reuters poll putting the expected stocks number at 8.53 billion bushels. The USDA survey has overestimated planting acreage 9 times since 2000, when comparing to the actual final acre number. It has been too low the other 8 years.
Soybean futures finished the day 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 cents lower on most contracts. Soymeal futures rose 50 cents and soy oil was down 26 points. The Reuters poll of analysts have estimated on the low side of the USDA Planting Intention numbers 4 times in the last 12 years, by an average of 2.2%. On the other hand, they have guessed high 8 times, averaging 1.98% above the USDA projection. The Weekly Export sales report will be released at 7:30 tomorrow morning. Analysts are expecting 350,000-550,000 MT in old crop soybean sales with 100,000-300,000 MT in new crop sales. Soy meal sales are estimated at 100,000-300,000 MT and 0-100,000 MT respectively and Oil is estimated at 0-30,000 MT for 2016/17. Since 2000, the USDA March Planting intentions report has been higher than the actual plantings 10 years, with 7 of those years being lower than the final planted acreage figure.
Wheat futures ended Wednesday mixed with KC marginally lower. Both CHI and MPLS were higher, as they were up 1-2 cents and 5-8 1/4 cents respectively. The trade is estimating old crop wheat export sales at 250,000-450,000 MT. New crop is projected to be in the area of 50,000-200,000 MT. Algeria purchased 200,000 MT of Durum wheat on Tuesday for late May delivery, with US or Canadian origination expected. Iraq tendered for 50,000 MT of Australian, Canadian, or US wheat, closing April 2.
Live cattle futures were a quarter to 57.5 cents higher on Wednesday. Feeder cattle futures posted triple digit gains in all but the March 17 contract, which goes off the board tomorrow. The CME feeder cattle index was at $133.36 for 3/28, up a dime from the previous day and within 6 cents of the Board. Wholesale beef prices were lower in the afternoon report, as choice boxes were down $2.65, to $216.92, and select boxes were $2.76 lower, at $210.26. On the Fed Cattle Exchange auction this morning 1,898 of the 3,963 head offered were sold at a weighted average price of $131.17, down $2.18 from last week. In NE 6 of the 15 lots were sold with prices ranging from $131-$133. In KS, OK, and TX, prices were from $126 to $129.75, with 7 of the 12 lots selling. DTN reported bids of $210 dressed in IA and NE. Estimated FI cattle slaughter through Wednesday was 345,000 head 3,000 fewer than last week, but 24,000 head more than the same week in 2016. Abiec, a Brazilian beef exporter, left their beef export projections for 2017 at 1.5 MMT, unchanged from previously, despite recent interruptions in exports.
Lean hog futures closed higher in the three nearby contracts, with the back months lower. The CME Lean Hog Index for 3/27 was down 46 cents to $69.78. USDA’s average pork carcass value in the afternoon report was $76.22, $1.39 lower. All cuts except the belly were reported lower. National cash hog base prices were 54 cents lower with the weighted average at $62.77. The WCB and IA/MN regions were both 55 cents lower. WTD estimated FI slaughter for hogs was 1,328,000 head, 2,000 more than the previous week and 160,000 head above the same week a year ago. A Reuters survey of trade ideas for the Hogs & Pigs report shows ideas for March 1 All Hogs 3.9% higher, with kept for breeding 1.8% higher, and kept for marketing 4% higher.
Cotton futures settled 65 to 81 points lower in most contracts on Wednesday, on a stronger dollar and reports of rain across cotton areas of TX. The dollar was 231 points higher. The USDA average world price (AWP) is 68.26 through Thursday. On the Seam, cash sales were up to 2,280 bales, with prices dropping to 71.07 cents/lb. The Cotlook A index for March 28 was back down 35 points to 86.85. ICE deliverable stocks were up to 327,251 bales , an change of 1,030 bales. A few analysts are expecting 250,000-300,000 RB for upland cotton in tomorrow’s USDA weekly export sales report.