AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures closed 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 cents higher in most contracts on Thursday. In this morning’s Export Sales report, old crop corn sales hit 987,934 MT, above expectations. This week’s sales were 30.62% larger than the previous week, but 54.26% behind last year’s 2,159,890 MT for the same week. There were only 11,111 MT announced for new crop sales. The USDA reported 1,374,312 MT of corn shipped during the same week, 26.1% above the year before. The International Grains Council (ICG) raised their estimate for world corn production to 1.026 billion MT, 2 MMT higher than their previous projection. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BAGE) showed only a 3.2% increase in the country’s corn harvest over the last week to 25.8% complete
Soybean futures were steady to fractionally higher on Thursday, with some back months 1/4 cent lower. May 17 soy meal was up 90 cents, with soy oil down 21 cents in the front month. Old crop bookings for the week of April 20 were 808,055 MT, outperforming traders’ expectations. They came in well above last week and ahead of the same week last year. New crop sales were a slow 72,317 MT. Soy meal sales were announced at 111,960 MT, 17.1% lower than last week and 46.6% behind the same week last year. Shipments for soy meal were 31.3% lower than last year at 170,576 MT. There was a net reduction of 1,978 MT for soy oil export sales from a partial cancelation by the Dominican Republic. Weekly shipments were back on track at 32,639 MT. World soybean production estimates by the IGC were raised 3 MMT to 348 MMT. There are reports that Brazilian exports could reach 10.9 MMT for April, which would be a record. Argentine soybean harvest is now 32.3% complete according to the BAGE, up from 16.3 last week.
Wheat futures closed the day higher on most contracts, with reported frost on Wednesday night. KC was the strongest, 8-8 1/2 cents higher in the front months. Overnight lows reached the upper 20’s in northern KS and down to the low 20’s in northern NE and the Dakotas. Old crop wheat export sales were reported at a marketing year low at 61,674 MT, 85.1% lower than last week and 82.5% behind the same time last year. There were 305,420 MT in new crop sales, ahead of most expectations. Exports for wheat during the week ending April 20 were 39.3% ahead of last week at 612,655, but were down 17.3% wk/wk. MT In their monthly report, the IGC increased their world wheat production estimates to 736 MMT from 735 MMT the month previous.
Live cattle futures traded sharply higher on Thursday, as April was $3.575 higher with most back months limit up. There is no limit in the delivery month. Feeder Cattle futures were limit higher in most contracts, with April up $1 at $140.85 with its last trading day today and a need to match tomorrow’s index. There will be expanded limits tomorrow, $4.50 for live cattle and $6.75 for feeders. The CME feeder cattle index was at $139.86 on 4/26, up 22 cents from the previous day. Wholesale beef prices were mixed in the afternoon report. Choice boxes averaged $219.15, down 3 cents, with select gaining 96 cents with an average price of $207.02. The UDSA reported cash sales of $135-$138 in TX, with $136-$138 in KS. Live sales in NE were $135-$140, with dressed sales running $215-$219. Estimated FI cattle slaughter was 464,000 head through Thursday, up 9,000 from a week ago and 16,000 head from the same Thursday in 2016. Beef export sales for the week of April 20 were 21,222 MT, 8% larger than last week and 75.5% ahead of this time last year. Exports were unchanged from last week and 22.9% above the same week a year ago.
Lean hog futures finished the day $1.30 to $2.275 higher in the nearby months. The CME Lean Hog Index for 4/25 was down another 23 cents to $59.93.The USDA pork carcass value was up 18 cents in the afternoon FOB Plant report, with an average of $73.65. The butt and Rib cuts were reported lower. National cash hog base prices averaged $1.01 higher in the afternoon report, with a weighted average of $55.48 and a range reported from $50.00-$58.00. Week to date FI hog slaughter was estimated at 1,765,000 head WTD through Wednesday, 137,000 ahead of last week and 77,000 head larger than the same week in 2016. Export sales for pork were at 22,962 MT, just 63.5% of last week and down 62.3% from a year ago. Shipments rose 17.2% over the week, at 20,458 MT but were down 7.6% yr/yr.
Cotton futures posted losses of 26 to 143 points in most contracts on Thursday. The US Dollar was 91 points higher on the session. The new AWP (average world price) effective tomorrow through next Friday is 69.85 cents/lb, up 88 points from the previous week. This morning’s US upland cotton export sales were lower again at 115,486 RB. This would be down 48.96% week to week, but was up 137.17% yr/yr. Export shipments fell 15.69% from the previous week, but were still 23.79% larger than last year at 302,374 MT. The Cotlook A index for April 26 was 50 cents higher at 88.80 cents/lb.