Ag Market Commentary

Corn futures are fractionally higher this morning. Thursday was the calm before the storm, as most contracts settled within 1/4 cent of UNCH. Old crop corn export sales totaled 437,745 MT for the week of Jan 4. That was an improvement over the previous week but still lags the first week in 2017 by 27.44%. Shipments of 889,815 MT were 28.24% larger than the same time last year. Thursday’s CONAB report showed expected 17/18 Brazilian production at 92.3 MMT, up 0.1 MMT from December’s estimate. Celeres is projecting first crop production at 27.7 MMT. The Rosario Grain Exchange now expects Argentina’s corn crop to be 39.9 MMT, down 1.6 MMT from their previous projection. The range of trade estimates for December 1 Corn Stocks was 2.26-2.55 billion bushels in a Bloomberg survey. The USDA report will be out at 11 AM CST.



Soybean futures are currently steady to 3/4 cent higher after ending the Thursday session with most contracts 2 to 6 1/4 cents lower. Meal futures were down $3.30/ton, with nearby soy oil 32 points lower. The weekly Export Sales report showed 17/18 sales of soybeans at 607,381 MT for the week ending 1/4, with 9,000 MT for new crop. That is 74.1% larger than this time last year. Export shipments tallied 1.546 MMT, an 8% jump over last year. Total soy meal sales were at 226,905 MT. Brazil’s CONAB raised their 17/18 soybean crop projection 1.2 MMT to 110.4 MMT, with a couple other South American firms now expecting 114-114.1 MMT. Argentina’s crop is seen at 52 MMT by the Rosario Grain Exchange down 2.5 MMT from their previous estimate. The range of estimates for this morning’s Grain Stocks report was 440-595 million bushels with only two firms thinking it might be smaller than last month’s 445 million.



Wheat futures are steady to 1 cent higher this morning. They finished Thursday’s trade with most contracts lower, as MPLS was the weakest. KC HRW contracts were held to fractional losses yesterday, with the Drought Monitor showing dryness expanding across the Southern Plains. The USDA indicated all wheat old crop export sales of just 71,463 MT for the week ending Jan 4. That is another MY low, and just 18.36% of the total for the same week last year. Shipments of wheat picked up 26.37% from last week and 67.33% from a year ago at 288,242 MT. Japan purchased 91,087 MT of US and Canadian wheat in their weekly MOA tender, with 56,981 MT US origin. Traders are expecting Dec 1 wheat stocks to be close to last month’s 960 level, with higher ideas tied to USDA either cutting feed use or exports.



Live cattle futures ended Thursday with most contracts a nickel to 22.5 cents higher. Feeder cattle futures were mixed with the front months 12.5 to 85 cents in the red and back months higher. The CME feeder cattle index on January 10 was $148.81, down $2.78 from the previous day. Wholesale boxed beef values were lower on Thursday afternoon. Choice boxes averaged 99 cents lower at $209.07, with Select boxes down 28 cents per cwt at $202.95. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter was 472,000 head through Thursday. That is 7,000 head more than the same week last year. The USDA reported weekly Beef export sales of 14,705 MT for the week ending Jan 4. There were 38,249 MT carried over from 2017 unshipped sales into 2018.



Lean hog futures saw sharp losses in most contracts on Thursday, with the front months $1.55 to $1.95 lower. The CME Lean Hog Index was up 72 cents on January 8 at $66.37. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was down 41 cents at $79.04 in the Thursday afternoon report. The national base hog weighted average price was down 9 cents to $69.42. The USDA week to date FI hog slaughter was estimated at 1,815,000 head through Thursday. That is up 95,000 head from the same week last year. The USDA reported pork export sales of 12,600 MT for the first week of 2018. There were also 84,700 MT in unshipped sales from 2017 rolled to 2018.



Cotton futures are 110 to 144 points higher again this morning. They posted limit gains in the nearby March and May contracts yesterday, as most other front months saw triple digit gains. The US dollar helped, losing 419 points on the day. Expanded limits will be in effect today, just in time for the USDA reports! The USDA Adjusted World Price (AWP) was increased 35 points to 71.21 cents/lb on Thursday. The CFTC showed an unpriced on call position of 156,382 lots (16.289 million 480-lb bales), with 115,489 lots (12.03 million bales) for the 17/18 crop. Old crop cotton export sales were 16.35% above last year for this week and a jump of 41.55% from last year. Exports of upland cotton tallied 281,647 RB, a climb of 35.1% from last week and up 33.77% over this time in 2017. The Cotlook A Index for January 10 was 25 points higher than the previous day at 89.05 cents/lb.






Market Commentary provided by:

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