Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures are currently 1/2 to 1 cent lower after seeing gains of 1 to 2 cents on Monday. Preliminary open interest rose 14895 contracts, with December up nearly 10K. The USDA Export Inspections report indicated that 947,642 MT of corn was shipped during the week of 3/1. That was a drop of 28% from the previous week and down 34.65% from the same week in 2017. YTD exports of 18.914 MMT is lagging the same time in 2017 by 30.87%. Shipments will need to pick up to meet the current USDA projection. As of last Tuesday, managed money held a net long position of 59,120 contracts, moving 40,446 contracts to the long side since the previous week.

Soybean futures are trading steady to 2 cents lower this morning in the old crop contracts. They closed the Monday session with most contracts 4 to 6 1/2 cents in the green. Preliminary open interest rose 13,056 contracts on net new buying interest. Nearby Soymeal futures were down 90 cents/ton, with front month soy oil 5 points lower. US exporters shipped 990,113 MT of soybeans for the week that ended 3/1. That was 29.21% above the week prior and 4.47% larger than this time last year. Friday’s CFTC commitment of Traders report showed spec funds holding a net long position of 147,380 contracts as of last Tuesday in soybean futures and options. SAFRAS & Mercado estimates that 43.5% of Brazil’s soybean crop has been sold by producers, compared to 42% for this time last year and the five year average of 50.2%.

Wheat futures are mostly 4 to 8 cents lower this morning. They finished with gains of 8 to 11 1/2 cents in most CBT and KC contracts, erasing Friday losses. MPLS was 16 1/2 cents higher in March on low volume, as most other contracts were up 3-4 cents. In Monday morning’s USDA Export Inspections report, 400,937 MT of all wheat shipments were recorded. That was a jump of 43.07% from last week’s report but was down 31.3% from this time last year. Winter wheat ratings in KS were reported at 13% gd/ex up 1, with the Brugler500 rating down 2 at 249 on higher p/vp ratings. OK saw an improvement of 5 points to 193, as the gd/ex is now at 6%. Ratings in TX were 14 points higher at 213 on a scale of 500, with the gd/ex now at 10%, up 5 from last week. The ABARE in Australia estimates that the 18/19 wheat crop will total 23.7 MMT, 11.8% larger than their depressed total from 17/18. Egypt’s GASC is seeking wheat for mid-April delivery, with results expected later today.

Live cattle futures posted gains of 95 cents to $1.125 in most contracts on Monday. Feeder cattle futures were up $1.15 to $1.60. The CME feeder cattle index was down 59 cents on March 2 at $145.44. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher on Monday afternoon. Choice boxes were up 70 cents at $223.23, with Select boxes $0.20 higher at $214.84. Estimated FI cattle slaughter was 119,000 head on Monday, up 2,000 head from last week and 5,000 head larger than the same week in 2017. The managed money net long position in live cattle futures and options was at 99,777 contracts as of Feb 27, 1,047 contracts larger than the previous week.

Lean hog futures settled the Monday session with gains of 20 cents to $1.225. The CME Lean Hog Index on March was $68.09, down 27 cents from the previous day. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was $1.51 higher at $79.62 in the Monday afternoon report. The loin was down 34 cents, with all other primal higher. The national base hog weighted average price was 27 cents higher at $62.34. The USDA estimated FI hog slaughter on Monday at 456,000 head. That is down 5,000 head from the previous week and 15,000 head more than the same time last year. With the new plants online and producers still expanding hog production, slaughter is now consistently above year ago on a weekly basis, and usually on a daily basis.

Cotton futures are trading 27 to 116 points higher this morning. They ended the day with strong gains in most nearby contracts on Monday. Spec funds in cotton futures and options added 5,531 contracts to their net long position as of last Tuesday Feb 27. That position was at 71,677 contracts on that date. Bulls apparently believe any Chinese response to US steel tariffs will be in soybeans and not in cotton. 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 down 120 points from the previous day on March 2 at 91.20 cents/lb.

Market Commentary provided by:

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