AgriCharts Market Commentary

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Corn

Corn futures are trading 1 to 2 cents higher this morning. They were fractionally lower on Friday, while nearby March was 1.52% higher on the week. US Export commitments of corn are now 69% of the full year USDA forecast. Last year at this time was 76% complete, with the average running 70% for this week. Friday’s CFTC Commitment of Traders report showed spec funds in corn futures and options trimming their net short position by 72,310 contracts. Their net position as of Feb 13 was -10.614 contracts, the smallest net short position since mid-August. Brazil’s 17/18 corn production number was updated to 89.463 MMT by analysts with Safras & Mercado on Friday.

Soybeans

Soybean futures are a sharp 13 to 14 cents in the green this morning in the nearby contracts. They were steady to 2 3/4 cents lower on Friday on profit taking ahead of the long weekend. Preliminary open interest shot up 24,703 contracts on Friday, net new selling concentrated in the May. March was up 3.92% last week. Soy meal futures were down 40 cents/ton on Friday after posting life of contract highs, with nearby soy oil 16 points lower. Nearby meal gained 8.58% on the week. Total commitments for US soybean exports are running behind pace at 78% of the USDA projection. The average for this date is 90%, with last year at 78%. Managed money spec traders flipped their net position for the week of 2/13. They added 52,847 contracts to their net long position to 42,869 contracts. AgRural also estimates that the Brazil's soybean crop is 17% harvested vs. 26% last year. The harvest in Mato Grosso was at 45% complete, with Parana only at 5% harvested.

Wheat

Wheat futures are currently 3 to 4 cents higher in the CBT and KC contracts, with MPLS steady to fractionally higher. They ended Friday with KC fractionally mixed, as most CBT and MPLS contracts were 3-4 cents lower. The market was closed on Monday for the President’s Day holiday. Informa expects to see the spring wheat acreage for this year’s crop hit 11.25 million acres, up a little from 2017 acres. Their total acreage number for all wheat is 46.14 million acres, slightly above last year. Typically export commitments are 89% of the USDA export projection by this time, with last year at 91%. This year, however, has only reached 82% of the number. FOB export prices in the Black Sea region have been rising, potentially aiding US competitiveness. The COT report showed spec funds in CBT wheat options and futures lower their net short position by 26,563 contracts to -56,831 contracts as of 2/13.

Cattle

Live cattle futures were higher on Friday by as much as 82 cents. Feeder cattle futures were mixed, with nearby March 10 cents lower. Feb live cattle were up 2.83% for the week, with March feeders 2.41% higher. The CME feeder cattle index was up 45 cents on February 15 at $148.15. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Friday afternoon. Choice boxes were up 84 cents at $209.88, with Select boxes 2 cents lower at $205.12. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter is 596,000 head through Saturday. That is up 5,000 from the previous week and 20,000 head more than the same week last year. Cash trade was $130 across most regions on Friday (up $4), with dressed trade at $205 in the north.

Lean Hogs

Lean hog futures finished Friday with losses of 35 cents to $1.575. The CME Lean Hog Index on February 14 was $73.49, down 52 cents from the previous day. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was 35 cents higher at $77.34 in the Friday PM report. The national base hog weighted average price was down 95 cents at $64.82 Friday afternoon. The USDA estimated week to date FI hog slaughter at 2,384,000 through Saturday. That is down 5,000 head from the previous week but 28,000 head more than the same time last year. Spec fund money managers in lean hog futures and options cut 18,477 contracts off their net long position during the week that ended 2/13. That net position of 20,797 contracts was the smallest net long position since May 9, 2017.

Cotton

Cotton futures are up 52 to 56 points in the front months this morning. They saw steady to 39 point gains in most contracts on Friday, as March was down 1.25% on the week. Upland export commitments are now 22.6% above the same time last year. Thursday’s CFTC Cotton On-Call report showed mills pricing 8,990 contracts for March during the week of Feb 9. The number of unfixed call sales for March as of that date was down to 8,942 contracts, with the total for all months at 140,984 contracts. The Friday COT report showed spec funds lowering their net long position by 12,509 contracts to 69,378 contracts for the week of Feb 13. The USDA Adjusted World Price or AWP was trimmed 30 points from the previous week to 69.15 cents/lb on Thursday. The Cotlook A index was down 50 points from the previous day on February 15 at 86.85 cents/lb.


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