AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures are trading down by 5-6 cents after gains of 4 cents or more on Friday, as the trade was apparently unimpressed by the friendly news coming out of USDA this morning: The grain inspection report for the week ended Feb. 26 reported 1.280 MMT, up from under 907K metric tons the prior week and 1.057 MMT last year at this time. About 861K metric tons were inspected at the Gulf, 251K in the PNW and 116K at interior locations. Sorghum exports also are holding up well, at almost 205K, down 24% from the prior week, but two and a half times the amount last year.
Soybean futures are currently trading sharply lower, coming off of their six week high posted on Friday as weekly export inspections of 635K are down close to 35% from the prior week and the same week for the prior year; getting into the seasonal drop off. YTD inspections slipped to 113.6% of last year for this date. China was the top destination by far, with nearly 231K inspected on the Mississippi and another 198K in the PNW.
Wheat futures are trading lower by about 8 cents in Chicago and Kansas City, while Minneapolis is holding losses to 1 cent at midday. Hard red spring, hard red winter, and soft white winter wheat export inspections all came in between 129K and 130K metric tons for the week ended Feb. 26, while SRW was under 62K. The total, at 450K, was down 15% from the prior week and 26% from last year as US shippers continue to struggle with world competition. The PNW led in inspections, at almost 229K metric tons, while the Gulf total was nearly 158K; smaller amounts were inspected on the east coast and at interior locations. There were no deliveries against March CBT futures overnight, with the oldest long dated June 10. There were 77 put out vs. KC March, mostly from RJO to JPM clients. The indicated crop insurance guarantee for spring wheat is $5.85/bu., 10% below the $6.51 that applied last year.
Live cattle and feeder futures are firmly higher, with gains of better than $1/cwt. At midday, based mainly on continued light marketings and firming wholesale prices. Cash sales were slim last week and continue that way to start this week. Feeder sales in some areas also have been very light: Oklahoma City had too few to report a price trend; heifers as a percent of total is down in several markets, reported from only 22% to 34%. Last week live cattle futures gained $3.45 and feeders, $2.73. The Choice boxed beef average price is $248.37, up 79 cents but Select slipped a dime to $245.47 this morning.
Lean hog futures are trading higher by 20-35 cents. The Thursday CME Lean Hog index, at $64.49, was up $1.11. Cash hog base prices are not reported this morning due to confidentiality. The pork carcass cutout is up 7 cents at $70.58, led by bellies, which are up $3.50, but somewhat offset by a $2.18 drop in hams. In the weekly COT report from the CFTC, PMPC group net position of futures and options had become about 4% less-short during the week ended February 24.
Cotton futures are trading mostly higher at midday, recovering some of the losses posted Friday. As cotton prices have been strengthening, managed money added more than a net 13,500 contracts, taking their net long position to nearly 47,000, the highest since last May, though index funds reduced their net long positions modestly to 53,506. The AWP for the week of Feb. 27-March 5 is 49.48 cents and the loan deficiency payment is 2.52 cents, the lowest LDP since the end of October. California growers got bad news Friday when they were notified that federal water will not be available for the second year in a row.