AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures drifted about 2 cents lower today. USDA weekly export inspections through April 16 totaled 1.068 MMT, up 24% from the previous week but still about 22 million bushels smaller than the same week in 2014. Traders were looking for USDA to report anywhere from 9% to 14% of the US corn crop planted in the Crop Progress report tonight. The low end was correct, with 9% planted compared with a 13% average, with the delays quite widespread from the South to the Midwest. Sorghum planting also was slightly behind average, at 19% versus 22%.
Soybeans gained 6-9 cents today, boosted by ideas that Brazilian truckers will not get what they are seeking when the Wednesday deadline arrives, thus resulting in a resumption of highway blockades. A Sunday move by China to stimulate the economy by reducing bank reserve requirements was also seen as potentially stimulating import demand in the long run. Weekly US soybean export inspections slowed to only 147,939 MT from 450,365 MT the previous week. Cumulative shipments since Sept. 1 are still 161 million bushels larger than year ago for the same period.
Wheat futures finished the day with increases of 3-6 cents. Weekly USDA export inspections totaled a solid 564,502 MT, above both last week and the same week last year. Egypt bought 300,000 MT of wheat on Saturday for June delivery, but none was US origin. Weekend rains in NE and KS totaled as much as 2.5 inches. Sixteen percent of wheat has headed, 1 point above average. The weekly USDA condition ratings surprised the trade by not changing at all, at 42% good/excellent and 9% poor/very poor, while the trade was looking for improvement. The Brugle500 sub-indices show some improvement in SRW and a decline in the HRW states.
Live cattle futures showed pronounced weakness for the second session in a row and ended more than $2 in the red—more than $3 in the case of June, which already was at a big discount to the cash market. Cash cattle trade last week was mostly $160-162 in the south and $260 on a dressed basis in Nebraska and Iowa; most of the deals were inked on Friday with a few on Thursday. Those prices were $2 or more below the previous week. Some carried over market-ready cattle are expected to surface this week. The Choice boxed beef average price rose $1.35 to $259.14 today, and Select was up $1.23 to $252.20. The CME feeder cattle index is $217.66, down $1.81 from the prior day.
Lean hog futures opened higher then dropped, ending down 25-75 cents. The CME Lean Hog Index for April 16 is up another 75 cents at $63.73. At just under $70.28, May futures are waiting for cash to catch up. The Iowa/Minnesota cash market today averaged $62.64, up 66 cents; Western Corn Belt rose 49 cents to $62.37 and no price was reported for the Eastern Corn Belt. The pork carcass cutout lost 13 cents, taking it to $67.86, dragged lower by a $4.15 drop in bellies and $4.18 in picnics that more than offset gains in butts, ribs loins and hams.
Cotton closed down as much as a quarter-cent as a rising dollar and higher stock market are pulling money away from commodities. Certified stocks for April 16 are 66,447 bales with 1,939 new certs. Friday is first notice day for May cotton futures deliveries. USDA dropped the AWP for the week ending April 23 to 50.31, boosting the LDP/MLG for this week to 1.69 cents from 0.91 cents last week. The Cotlook A Index is down 40 points at 71.15. US cotton planting is 8% completed per USDA, compared with a five year average of 11% for this date.