AgriCharts Market Commentary

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Corn

Corn futures are trading 1 cent per bushel higher this morning after ending the Friday session with 4 3/4 to 5 1/2 cent losses. Front month May was down 2.52% last week. Friday’s CFTC Commitment of Traders report indicated spec funds in corn futures and options trimming their net long position by 36,643 contracts. Their net position was at 138,244 contracts as of Tuesday. China sold another 2.886 MMT of corn from 2014 on Friday, which was 72.75% of the total offered. The country’s Ag Ministry also estimated that the 2018 corn crop would rise slightly from the previous year to 218 MMT. Brazil’s first season corn crop harvest was estimated at 77% complete by AgRural on Friday afternoon. Some second crop corn has been missed by the rains and is being stressed.

Soybeans

Soybean futures are fractionally higher this morning after giving back overnight gains. They ended Friday with losses of 7 to 8 3/4 cents, as nearby May was 2.42% lower on the week. Board crush margins expanded. Soy meal was up 80 cents/ton, with front month soy oil down 11 points. Managed money in soybean futures and options added another 16,751 contracts to their net long position in the week ending 4/17. The position was at 192,968 contracts on that date. China’s soybean production is estimated to rise 1.9% in 2018 to 15.2 MMT on larger acreage according to their Ag Ministry. AgRural estimates that the Brazil soybean harvest is 91% complete, compared to the average of 90%.

Wheat

Wheat futures are currently fractionally higher in the Chicago SRW contract, but 3 to 4 cents higher in KC HRW following lighter than projected rainfall in the Southern Plains over the weekend. MPLS futures are down 2 cents. Most contracts were 12 to 14 cents lower on Friday. Nearby CBT lost 1.96% on the week, with KC down 2.62% and MPLS 2.76% lower. Rainfall amounts were disappointing for the Southern Plains over the weekend, with a number of locations in the 0.2-0.4” category. Some locally heavier amounts were seen, but the front has now moved off to the Southeast. Much heavier activity is seen there due to higher levels of moisture in the atmosphere. The large spec funds in Chicago wheat futures and option held a net short position of 50,138 contracts as of Tuesday, 4,734 less bearish than the week prior. In KC wheat futures and options, they were shown to have a net long position of 35,925 contracts on 4/17.

Cattle

Live cattle futures finished Friday trade with most contracts 50 to 72.5 cents higher. April was up $1.55 on the day, gaining 2.4% on the week. Feeder cattle futures were steady to 90 cent in the green. April was down 1.5% this week. The CME feeder cattle index was down 58 on April 19 at $136.56. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher on Friday afternoon. Choice boxes were up 64 cents at $211.98, with Select boxes $1.65 higher at $200.13. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter was 624,000 head. That would be 19,000 more than the previous week and up 23,000 head from the same week in 2017. Cash traded at $121 in TX and $122 in KS on Thursday, with sales of $122-124 live and $193-195 dressed in the North on Friday. The Cattle on Feed report showed April 1 on feed numbers 7.42% larger than last year at 11.729 million head. That was the largest monthly figure since 2012. Placements in March were 9.26% lower than last year at 1.921 mil head, with March marketings at 3.87% below a year ago at 1.84 mil head.

Lean Hogs

Lean hog futures were mostly 20 to 67.5 cents lower on Friday. The CME Lean Hog Index was up 92 cents from the previous day to $55.97. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was down 51 cents at $67.91 Friday afternoon. The national base hog weighted average price was 14 cents higher at $57.65 in the afternoon report. The USDA estimated weekly FI hog slaughter of 2.436 million head. That is up 64,000 head from last week and well above the same week in 2017. Spec traders in lean hog futures and options flipped their CFTC net position by 2,253 contracts last week, back to a net long position of 758 contracts on Tuesday night.

Cotton

Cotton futures are trading mostly 25 to 68 higher this morning, ignoring the thinly traded October. They posted 101 to 250 point gains in most nearby contracts on Friday, as May was up 2.47% from Friday to Friday. The mills are still exposed with their large unpriced on call positions. The large money managers in cotton futures and options added another 3,835 contracts to their net long position as of Tuesday, to a net position of 80,111 contracts. The Cotlook A index was down 50 points from the previous day at 91.70 cents/lb. The USDA Adjusted World Price (AWP) was updated to 72.16 cents/lb, 16 points lower than the previous week.


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