Agrivisor Afternoon Marketwatch

Thursday, March 03, 2016
***** Corn was mostly fractionally changed; soybeans were 2-3 higher; with Chicago wheat mostly 9-11 higher. ***** 

   # More than anything, the stability/strength in the crude oil market, and slightly positive bias in commodity indices seems to be moderating the negative atmosphere that has surrounded commodity prices the last number of months.  Wheat was the bigger beneficiary of the shift in attitude, but trading funds have their heaviest short positions in wheat.  Funds were thought to be the bigger buyers of wheat Thursday. 
   # Wheat got some attention regarding weather.  Vegetative Index maps shows the crop rapidly breaking dormancy in the Southern Plains.  And next week is expected to be warm from the Rockies to the east.  Some are talking about the need for a shower in that area, but the 6-10 day outlook alludes to a chance of seeing some moisture.  But, the 8-14 day outlook calls for dryness in the Plains again.  Some traders worry about a drying trend, while some worry about the crop coming out of dormancy too quick leaving it vulnerable to an unexpected cold wave.
   # The warm, dry forecasts for much of the Midwest will have some traders talking about active field work for spring planting.  But some might express concern that the early warmth could lead to a summer drought, impacting row crop production.  Take your choice.
   # Corn export sales, 1.1 mmt., were as good as advertised.  Soybean sales, 442,200 tons, were at the upper end of expectations. China appeared to have booked 3 more cargoes out of the U.S. Wheat sales, 410,600 tons, were good enough to keep sales on track to reach the USDA target.           
   # The slightly stronger energy markets are translating into strength in energy stocks, helping guide stock indices higher.  The stronger durable goods orders in January are helping lay the groundwork for a stronger economy.  Traders are waiting on tomorrow’s new unemployment numbers. But currency traders were dismayed by data for our service economy and unemployment applications.  Economists are also waiting to see if China lowers their growth target to 6.5-7.0% at their National People’s Congress this week.  
   # The Dollar lost ground against emerging market currencies, notably the Brazilian Real, the Argentine Peso, the Russian Ruble, and the Ukrainian Hryvnia.

***** Live cattle settled $0.85 lower to $0.12 higher; feeder cattle ended mostly $0.70 to $0.12 lower; lean hogs ended $0.30 higher to $0.25 higher. *****  

   # Meats in general lack direction with both markets seemingly balanced between supply and demand for the short term.  Wholesale beef is showing some slippage, but volume is good.  In a limited trade, cash cattle prices are steady.  
   # Pork prices are showing some slippage, with seasonal factors the bigger feature keeping wholesale prices on the defensive.  Modest packer margins and more than adequate market ready supplies undermined packer interest in holding cash bids up.