Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures closed the Thursday session with most contracts 3 to 6 1/2 cents higher. The USDA reported a private sale of 110,000 MT to Japan for 17/18 delivery this morning. The weekly Export Sales report showed old crop sales continuing their robust pattern at 1.857 MMT for the week of 3/1, well above last year and up 8.15% wk/wk. In the USDA’s monthly supply and demand report, US ending stocks were trimmed 225 mbu by the USDA to 2.127 bbu thanks to a jump in crush (+50mbu) and exports (+175). Production in Brazil was cut by just 0.5 to 94.5 MMT (CONAB @ 87.28 MMT), with Argentina dropping 3 MMT to 36 MMT (Buenos Aires Grain Exchange @ 34 MMT). With the reduction in production and US ending stocks, the world ending stock projection was cut by 3.92 to 199.17 MMT.

Mar 18 Corn closed at $3.85 3/4, up 6 1/2 cents,

May 18 Corn closed at $3.93 1/2, up 6 1/4 cents,

Jul 18 Corn closed at $4.00 1/2, up 6 cents

Sep 18 Corn closed at $4.05, up 5 1/4 cents

Soybean futures saw slight losses in the front months on Thursday, with most new crop contracts steady to 1 1/2 cents higher. Nearby Soymeal futures were up 40 cents/ton, with front month soy oil down 26 cents. This morning’s USDA Export Sales report showed old crop soy sales blowing past expectation during the week of March 1 at 2.51 MMT. That was well above last year and nearly 3 times as large as last week. Soy Meal sales were reported at 200,614 MT, with sales of soy oil at 34,042 MT. The USDA added 25 mbu to the US ending stocks number to 555 mbu, with higher crush use but a larger cut in exports. Argentine production was slashed by 7 MMT to 47 MMT (BAGE @ 42 MMT), below most expectations. Brazil’s production number was increased 1 MMT to 113 MMT by the USDA. CONAB had a similar idea as they put 17/18 production at 113 MMT. World ending stocks are now seen at 94.4 MMT by the USDA, a drop of 3.74 MMT from February.

Mar 18 Soybeans closed at $10.53 3/4, down 1 1/4 cents,

May 18 Soybeans closed at $10.64, down 1 1/4 cents,

Jul 18 Soybeans closed at $10.73, down 1 cent,

Sep 18 Soybeans closed at $10.57 1/4, up 1 1/2 cents,

Mar 18 Soybean Meal closed at $380.60, up $0.40,

Mar 18 Soybean Oil closed at $31.67, down $0.26

Wheat futures were 1 to 5 cents in the green in most CBT and MPLS contracts today. KC was fractionally to a penny lower in most contracts. The USDA put wheat old crop export sales for the week of 3/1 at 391,476 MT, within the range of expectations. That was well above last week and similar to the same week last year. New crop sales were shown at 36,898 MT. US ending stocks for 17/18 wheat were tallied at 1.034 mbu by the USDA this morning. That 25 mbu addition was due to a reduction in exports. World ending stocks were pegged at 268.89 MMT, a 2.79 MMT jump from the February report. The US and India were the main culprits.

Mar 18 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.94 3/4, up 1 3/4 cents,

Mar 18 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.19 3/4, down 1 1/4 cents,

Mar 18 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.21 3/4, up 1 3/4 cents

Live cattle futures finished the Thursday session with most contracts down 65 cents to $1.55. Feeder cattle futures were 2.025 to $2.425 lower. The CME feeder cattle index was down 24 cents on March 7 at $144.72. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher on Thursday afternoon. Choice boxes were up 31 cents at $223.88, with Select boxes up $1.58 at $216.78. Estimated FI cattle slaughter was 467,000 head through Thursday, 2,000 head fewer than last week but 9,000 head larger than the same week in 2017. Cash cattle sales of $126 were reported today across most regions, with a few late sales of $127. Beef export sales for the week of 3/1 totaled 19,657 MT. Export data from January was released by Census, showing a record for beef exports at 243.674 million pounds. That was 15.3% larger than last year but down 6.6% from December, which is seasonal. Quarterly beef production was lowered 90 million pounds for the first quarter, with the second quarter up 50 million pounds.

Apr 18 Cattle closed at $121.775, down $1.200,

Jun 18 Cattle closed at $113.275, down $1.550,

Aug 18 Cattle closed at $111.250, down $1.200,

Mar 18 Feeder Cattle closed at $141.750, down $2.025

Apr 18 Feeder Cattle closed at $143.000, down $2.375

May 18 Feeder Cattle closed at $144.450, down $2.425

Lean hog futures ended Thursday with most contracts lower, although nearby April was 27.5 cents higher. The CME Lean Hog Index on March 6 was up 14 cents from the previous day to $67.66. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was $1.72 lower at $72.99 in the Thursday afternoon report. The belly led the way down by $5.88, with the ham primal $2.09 lower. The national base hog weighted average price was 37 cents lower at $62.41. The USDA estimated week to date FI hog slaughter at 1,818,000 head through Thursday. That is down 16,000 head from the previous week but 50,000 head more than the same time last year. Pork export sales during the week ending 3/1 were tallied at 19,859 MT. During January, pork export shipments totaled 486.448 million pounds, according to census data converted by the USDA. That was down 5.4% from December, but 6.2% larger than last January. First quarter pork production was revised down 80 million pounds in the WASDE report to 6.59 billion pounds.

Apr 18 Hogs closed at $68.075, up $0.275,

May 18 Hogs closed at $72.350, down $0.250

Jun 18 Hogs closed at $78.250, down $0.350

Cotton futures were sharply higher in the front months on Thursday. The Export Sales report showed 383,926 RB in old crop sales for the week that ended 3/1. That was 30% larger than the previous week and 54.23% above last year. New crop sales were a MY high of 252,120 RB. Weekly export shipments were a MY high of 524,187 RB. The USDA updated their US supply and demand table this morning showing a reduction of 500,000 bales in ending stocks to 5.5 million bales. That came from a slight cut in production and an increase in exports. The March Cotton Ginning’s report showed that 910,350 RB were ginned since the past report. That brought the total for the year to 19.599 million RB. The Cotlook A index dropped 270 points lower from the previous day on March 7 at 91.90 cents/lb. The Adjusted World Price (AWP) was updated to 74,13 cents/lb, down 104 points from last week.

May 18 Cotton closed at 85.120, up 226 points,

Jul 18 Cotton closed at 84.550, up 200 points

Oct 18 Cotton closed at 79.780, up 93 points

Market Commentary provided by:

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