Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures are currently 1 to 1 cents lower after retreating 2 to 3 cents on Friday. Last week, nearby May corn was down 2 1/4 cents. The CFTC report on Friday afternoon showed the managed money spec funds adding 34,700 contracts to their net long position in the week ending 4/10/18. China sold another 2.627 MMT of corn (from 2014) from state reserves on Friday, totaling 85.01% of the offered amount. There was also 301,850 MT of 2013 corn sold. The Argentine Ag Ministry estimates that the country’s corn harvest is 31% complete, compared to the average of 25% for this date. AgRural placed Brazil’s first crop harvest at 72% complete, lagging the average pace of 75%.

Soybean futures are mostly 2 to 3 cents higher this morning. They closed the Friday session with 4 to 6 3/4 cent losses on pre-weekend profit taking. Nearby May was up 1.68% last week. Soy meal was down 60 cents/ton, with front month soy oil down 15 points. Analysts are expecting that today’s NOPA report will show 168.3 mbu of soybeans crushed by its members during March. That would be nearly 10% larger than last year, as soy oil stocks are estimated at 1.971 billion pounds. Chinese soybean imports totaled 5.66 MMT in March according to customs data, up 4.5% from February but down 10% from last year. First quarter imports were only about 2/10th of a percent above year ago. Argentina’s soybean harvest is estimated at 28% complete, ahead of the average according to the country’s Ag ministry. Brazil’s soybean harvest is estimated at 87% complete, slightly ahead of the average pace.

Wheat futures are trading 4 to 5 cents lower this morning in the CHI and MPLS contracts. KC HRW futures are 10 to 10 1/2 cents lower. They ended Friday with 6 to 9 cent losses in the CBT and MPLS contracts, while KC was down 11 3/4 cents. Nearby KC lost 2.17% on the week, with MPLS up 1.61% and CBT 1/4 cent higher. Parts of HRW country caught some moisture this weekend from a storm that brought blizzard conditions to the Northern Plains. The managed money spec funds cut back their net short position in Chicago wheat by 18,546 contracts in the week ending 4/10, leaving them at -54,872 ahead of the late week sell off. Taiwan is seeking 92,975 MT of wheat from the US, with the tender to close on April 18. Russia’s IKAR consulting firm increased their export estimate for Russia to 39.5 MMT.

Live cattle futures were mixed on Friday, with nearby April 80 cents higher as it rose 3.85% on the week. Feeder cattle futures were 15 to 70 cents higher, with April 2.99% higher since last Friday. The CME feeder cattle index was up 66 cents on April 12 at $136.42. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Friday afternoon. Choice boxes were 13 cents higher at $212.61, with Select boxes down 76 cents at $199.91. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter was 605,000 head.. That is 10,000 below the previous week but up 16,000 head from the same week in 2017. Cash trade picked up after Friday’s futures close with sales of $120-121 reported, with some confirmed @ $122. Managed money trimmed their cattle net long position to only 27,255 contracts as of Tuesday, down 9,395 from the previous week.

Lean hog futures finished the day with most contracts steady to 40 cents higher, as April expired at $53.825. New nearby May was 8.1% higher on the week. The CME Lean Hog Index was down 5 cents from the previous day on April 11 to $52.97. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up 27 cents at $66.33 Friday afternoon, with the picnic and belly the only cuts reported lower. The national base hog weighted average price was 59 cents higher at $50.06. The USDA estimated FI hog slaughter at 2.385 million head through Saturday. That is up 50,000 head from last week and 158,000 from the same point last year.

Cotton futures are trading 7 higher to 39 lower this morning, with only nearby May in the black. They also saw mixed trade Friday, as May and thin October were lower. Mills reduced their May on call sales position by 7,212 contracts in the week that ended 4/6, bringing the total for May down to 15,947 contracts. The USDA Adjusted World Price (AWP) was updated to 74.32 cents/lb, up 2.32 cents from the previous week. The Cotlook A index was up 25 points from the previous day at 93.05 cents/lb. CFTC data shows the spec fund longs added 210 contracts to their net long position in the week ending April 10, taking it to 76,276 contracts of futures and options.

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