AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures closed 1 to 3 cents lower on the day. The July 14 contract traded as high as $5.07 before reversing to the downside on a “buy the rumor, sell the fact” reaction to the strong export sales. USDA weekly export sales through April 17 were on the high end of estimates at 1,001,800 MT (including 382,900 MT for 14/15). Total commitments as a % of total exports are now at 97% compared to 91% last year and the 5 year average of 86%. The Rosario Grain exchange estimated Argentina corn production at 23 MMT, which was up from their previous estimate of 22.7 MMT.
Soybean futures closed 6 to 10 cents higher on the day. The Aug14 contract was the strongest. May options expire on Friday and some positioning around potential options “pin” prices was noted. According to a Reuters article released overnight, three Marubeni grain division employees were detained in China for smuggling/tax evasion charges. Trade ideas for USDA weekly export sales were 50,000-750,000 MT. USDA put the actual figure at only 119,000 MT (including 118,200 MT for 14/15). Total commitments as a % of total exports are now at 104% compared to 100% last year and the 5 year average of 96%. Stats Canada reported intended canola plantings were 19.8 million acres, down from 19.9 million a year ago. Traders were expecting something a million acres higher, but suspect that actual plantings will be larger if the weather cooperates.
Wheat futures closed 13 to 15cents higher on the day. The May 14 KCBT contract displayed the most strength and closed at $7.61. The Drought Monitor confirmed deteriorating conditions in western KS. Morocco was said to have purchased 30,000 MT of wheat from Poland. Moroccan wheat production may be as small as 3.7 MMT this year vs. 7 MMT last year. StatsCan planting intentions were reported at 24.8 ma. Estimates were expected around 24.4 ma compared to 26.4 ma last year. Pre-report estimates for the USDA Export Sales report were 325,000 to 900,000 MT. USDA put the actual figures at 610,800 MT (including 271,700 MT for 14/15). Total commitments as a % of total exports are now at 97% compared to 100% last year and the 5 year average of 101%.
Cattle futures settled $0.32 to $0.75 higher on the day. Feeders settled $0.97 to $1.60 higher. Estimated week to date slaughter was reported at 452,000 head compared to 458,000 head last week. Wholesale beef prices were higher again today with Choice boxes up $1.16 at $233.80 while select boxes were up $1.40 at $222.07. USDA reported weekly beef export sales through April 17 were 18,000 MT. Historically high prices have not made a significant dent in export sales. The monthly Cattle on Feed report will be released on Friday. April 1 inventory is expected to be 100.4% of year ago. Placements are seen at 101%. The CME Feeder Cattle Index was up $0.22 at $177.35.
Lean Hogs settled $0.05 to $1.07 lower on the day. Estimated week to date slaughter was reported at 1,522,000 head compared to 1,621,000 head last week. The CME Lean Hog Index is down another $0.79 at $117.69, which pressured front month futures. The futures market continues to be extremely choppy. The pork carcass cutout value was down 71 cents in the pm report, at $116.70. Carcass based hog prices from the IA/MN area averaged $.68 lower today. The WCB area average was down 29 cents. The ECB prices are sharply lower, down $4.33. Live prices were going the opposite way, with the WCB up $1.45 and the ECB up $1.20. USDA this morning reported much larger weekly pork export sales of 15,100 MT for last week.
Cotton futures closed 10 points lower to 49 points higher. Cash trading was inactive yesterday. China cotton futures on the Zhengzhou exchange for July delivery closed flat. USDA put weekly export sales for Cotton at 152,000 RB, including 140,500 RB of upland and 11,500.RB of pima. China was the largest buyer. US export commitments are now at 94% of projected total shipments, compared to 96% last year at this time and the 5 year average of 99%. ICE Certified stocks were reported @ 296,322 bales, with 2,637 new certs, 892 decerts and 15,894 bales awaiting review. The Cotlook A Index is down 0.30 at 93.70.