Agrivisor Afternoon Marketwatch

Thursday, February 18, 2016
***** Corn futures slipped 2 cents; soybeans were 2-3 lower; Chicago wheat ended 5-6 lower. ***** 

   # There wasn’t a great deal of grain specific news Thursday, leaving the markets to continue following the whims of the crude oil market.       
   # Crude oil was stronger into the early part of the day session on talk that Iraq as well as Iran might freeze output.  But the lack of clarity from either, and the 2.1 mln. barrel build in crude stocks instead of a draw-down, pulled crude prices off their early highs.  Still, the recent performance has mitigated talk about sharply lower levels.
   # There wasn’t even much range in the Dollar, adding to the lack of direction in the grain markets.  A Fed Reserve official did indicate the possibility of them using a negative rate policy was all but zero.  Even other U.S. analysts don’t expect the Fed to “go down that path.”
   # This week’s ethanol output was slightly higher on the week, but stocks grew as well, tempering the small positives from it.  
   # Grain export sales are out tomorrow.  The trade is looking for corn sales to be 600,000- 1 mmt, soybeans 400-700,000 tons, soymeal 100-250,000 tons, and wheat 200-400,000 tons.    
   # Weather remains a part of the mix.  The warm up in the S. Plains is worrying to wheat producers.  Arg. and Brazilian weather generally remains good, even for Brazilian harvest.  And the warmth and lack of snow cover in the Black Sea region leave those crops vulnerable to a late winter cold wave.
   # USDA released their long range baseline numbers today, but they are little different than the ones the CBO released in December.  The trade is looking forward to the numbers they will release at next week’s Outlook Forum, acres of the 8 major crops on Thursday, with s/d on Friday. 

***** Live cattle ended $0.87 higher to unch; feeders were $0.70 to $0.17 lower; hog futures ended $0.82 to $0.05 lower. ***** 

   # Wholesale markets for both meats are mostly drifting sideways.  Both markets are looking ahead to potential post-Easter business during the spring cookout season.  Beef prices have slipped relative to pork improving its competitive position.  But buying for either for post-Easter shouldn’t begin for another week         
   # The cash cattle trade remains quiet, with feedlots and packers waiting on tomorrow’s COF report.  Analysts expect the on-feed number to be just under last year.  Cash hog prices lost some ground with the week’s runs and slippage in wholesale pork prices possibly tempering the size of the Sat. slaughter.