AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures have traded on both sides of even money this morning and are 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 higher at midday. Dec16 traded as high as $4.11 and as low as $4.03 3/4 so far on the session. Old crop export sales in the weekly USDA report were 1.382 MMT, and new crop sales were 246,200 MT. The trade was looking for between 1.0 to 1.3 MMT for 2015/16 delivery, and from 250,000 MT to 450,000 MT for 2016/17 delivery. The national average cash price on Wednesday night was $3.69 3/4; the highest price reported by DTN since last July. Missouri and Minnesota are the only states in the main Corn Belt region that are showing any signs of abnormal dryness on the weekly drought monitor map.
Soybean futures are also trading on both sides of the fence this morning with the July contract posting a trading range of 25 cents thus far on the session. July bean meal futures have been as high as $419.80 and as low as $402.40 today. Weekly USDA export sales data released at 7:30 AM CDT was not as bullish as the published trade estimates. The trade was looking for soybean export bookings of 300,000 to 500,000 MT from old and new crop (each), but the combined total was only for 606,800 MT. Bean meal sales were 169,500 MT for 15/16 (+23% vs. 4wk avg), but only 17,600 MT for 16/17. Expectations for meal ran between 50,000 and 150,000 MT for 15/16, and from 50,000 to 125,000 MT for 16/17.
Wheat futures are sharply higher at midday, with most contracts up 6 to 9 cents on the session, as wheat prices try to keep up with recent gains in the other row crops. Strong wheat prices in South America and concerns about adverse effects of wet weather on the US crop are supporting wheat. Weekly data from the USDA showed net-reductions for old crop of 9,900 MT, largely due to switches and cancelations for unknown destinations. New crop bookings were on the low end of expectations at 345,900 MT. The marketing year ends May 31, so old crop cancelations are typical in the final weeks. Japan is seeking 135,049 MT of wheat from the US, Australia, and Canada in a tender that closes today.
Live cattle futures are higher on the day. Feeders are also on the green side of the fence with some contracts up more than a buck early in the session. The CME feeder cattle index for 5/24 was down 32 cents to $148.53. Cash cattle trade saw a few live sales reported between $123 and $124.50 on Wednesday, with dressed sales at $197. There were some <80% choice sales from $190 to $195. Choice boxed beef prices were 51 cents higher in the Thursday morning USDA report. Select boxes were down 98 cents from yesterday. Week to date FI cattle slaughter is running behind last week. Export sales reported this morning for the week ending May 19 were 10,000 MT to the usual buyers.
Lean hog futures are trading higher at midday with the July and August contracts currently more than a dollar higher. The CME Lean Hog Index for 5/24 was 78.87, down 9 cents from the previous average. The USDA average carcass cutout value reported yesterday was the highest since October 26, 2015. It was down a sharp $2.06 in the report issued this morning. Loin and Rib cuts each slipped more than $4/cwt. The national average cash hog base price was down another 87 cents in the Thursday morning report with a weighted average of $73.44. None of the major regional prices were reported due to confidentiality. Through Wednesday, WTD FI hog slaughter was estimated 4,000 head smaller than last week.
Cotton futures are trading sharply higher today with the front three contracts up more than 100 points. Export sales reported this morning for US upland cotton were fairly solid at 128,500 RB for old crop and 119,200 RB for new crop. Pima sales for 15/16 were especially strong at 16,700 RB, and new crop sales were 2,400 RB. ICE reported that there were 94,202 certified bales in warehouses on May 25, with 2,328 new certs and 383 decertified bales. There were 5,559 bales awaiting review. The USDA AWP for the week is 50.42, up from 50.19 last week. That cuts the LDP/MLG to 1.58 from 1.81. We will get new numbers tonight.