Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures closed 1/4 to 1 1/2 cents lower. End of week profit taking was the main activity. Nearby March was up 11 cents per bushel for the week. Total commitments for corn exports are now just 8% behind last year, gaining 2.5% since last week. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange put Argentine corn crop conditions at 5.5% good with 76.4% rated as poor/very poor. They left their production estimate at 37 MMT for the 17/18 crop. A Bloomberg survey found that trade average guess was 36.5 MMT. The average expectation for Brazil was 91.6 MMT vs. the February USDA figure of 95 MMT. Brazil’s Trade Ministry reported that 1.25 MMT of corn was exported during February. That was less than half of January’s total but well above the same month last year.

Mar 18 Corn closed at $3.77 1/4, down 1 1/2 cents,

May 18 Corn closed at $3.85 1/4, down 1 cent,

Jul 18 Corn closed at $3.92 1/2, down 1 cent

Sep 18 Corn closed at $3.97 3/4, down 1 cent

Soybean futures settled 1 lower to 3 higher on Friday. Nearby Soymeal futures were down $3.80/ton, with nearby soy oil down 6 points. The USDA reported private export sales of 121,000 MT of soybeans to unknown and 198,000 MT to China for 17/18 delivery this morning. They also reported 20,000 MT of soy oil sold to unknown through their daily reporting system. Export commitments as of Feb 22 for soybeans were 12.5% lower than the same time last year. BAGE trimmed their expected Argentine soybean production number 3 MMT to 44 MMT. The average trade guess is still 48.5 MMT in a Bloomberg survey. USDA was at 54 MMT for Argentina in February. They will update on March 8. Brazil was 113.9 MMT in the same survey. Brazil exported 2.864 MMT of soybeans during February according to their country’s Trade Ministry. That was 83.12% larger than January, but down from last year by 18.9%.

Mar 18 Soybeans closed at $10.60 3/4, up 3 1/4 cents,

May 18 Soybeans closed at $10.71, up 3 cents,

Jul 18 Soybeans closed at $10.79 1/4, up 2 3/4 cents,

Aug 18 Soybeans closed at $10.76 1/2, up 2 3/4 cents,

Mar 18 Soybean Meal closed at $390.20, down $3.80,

Mar 18 Soybean Oil closed at $32.06, down $0.06

Wheat futures posted double digit losses in MPLS and Chicago futures today and just barely avoided them in KC HRW with its 8 3/4 to 9 3/4 cent losses. Profit taking ahead of the weekend was the main driver. Even after the sell off, KC March was up 53 cents per bushel for the week (11.3%) on declining crop condition ratings and a mostly dry forecast for the first half of March in the most afflicted areas. Wheat export shipments totaled 330,694 MT last week, falling 20.9% from the previous week total and 35.53% behind the same week last year. Commitments for all wheat exports are now 12.4% lower than this time in 2017. They are 84% of the USDA projection, vs. 93% last year and the average of 92%. France’s soft wheat crop was rated at 83% gd/ex by the French AgriMer on Friday, down from 85% last week.

Mar 18 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.92, down 13 1/2 cents,

Mar 18 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.22, down 9 cents,

Mar 18 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.06 1/2, down 13 1/2 cents

Live cattle futures were down anywhere from 7 cents to $1.15 on Friday, with the front two contracts in triple digit territory. Feeder cattle futures were off $.80 to $1.47. The CME feeder cattle index was down $1.30 cents on March 1 at $146.03. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Friday morning. Choice boxes were up 22 cents at $222.52, with Select boxes $0.96 lower at $214.64. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter was 608,000 head, up 6.3% from last week and up 3.8% from the same week in 2017. Total commitments for beef exports are now 19.3% larger than the same time a year ago. Cash cattle trade was mostly $126 on Friday, with $203-205 reported in the north.

Apr 18 Cattle closed at $122.175, down $1.150,

Jun 18 Cattle closed at $114.400, down $1.100,

Aug 18 Cattle closed at $112.100, down $0.875,

Mar 18 Feeder Cattle closed at $143.675, down $1.375

Apr 18 Feeder Cattle closed at $145.275, down $1.475

May 18 Feeder Cattle closed at $146.525, down $1.475

Lean hog futures settled mixed, with nearby April up 60 cents. The CME Lean Hog Index on February 28 was $68.36, down 21 cents from the previous day. Pork export commitments are 6.6% larger than a year ago through February 22. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was 73 cents higher at $78.11 in the Friday afternoon report, with loins adding the value. Bellies were down more than 9% for the week. The national base hog weighted average price was down 5 cents at $62.29. The USDA estimated weekly FI hog slaughter at 2.417 million head. That is up 28,000 head from the previous week and 101,000 head more than the same time last year.

Apr 18 Hogs closed at $67.575, up $0.600,

May 18 Hogs closed at $74.650, up $0.100

Jun 18 Hogs closed at $79.750, down $0.325

Cotton futures clawed their way another 15 to 28 points higher on Friday. Exports of upland cotton were down 16.44% from last week at 278,682 RB, which was 12.69% lower than last year. Total upland export commitments through 2/22 were 19.4% larger than last year, slipping some from the previous week. They are now 98% of the USDA export projection, above the average of 84% and last year’s 98%. The Adjusted World Price or AWP was updated to 73.09 cents/lb on Thursday, up 340 points from the previous week. The Cotlook A index was up 70 points from the previous day on March 1 at 92.40 cents/lb.

Mar 18 Cotton closed at 82.720, up 15 points

May 18 Cotton closed at 82.090, up 28 points

Jul 18 Cotton closed at 82.350, up 24 points

Market Commentary provided by:

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