AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
***** Some additional short-covering allowed corn futures to end steady while soybeans and wheat were left to face some light selling pressure.   ***** 
   # It was somewhat of a risk-off day in the commodity space with oil and metals leading the way lower.  OPEC producers can’t agree on an oil production freeze with Iran a notable defector.  Some continued worry about China and other emerging markets put a dent in metal market enthusiasm.     
   # Soybean futures settled lower to end a run of nine straight higher closes.  The front of the curve is still working on resistance from the psychologically-important $9 mark, but futures maintain support from their major moving averages, including the 100-day.  All trades for the May corn contract were made above its 50-day moving average today.  
   # Some winter wheat ratings were reported by the USDA on Monday afternoon.  Conditions for the Kansas crop held unchanged at 56 percent good or excellent.  Conditions improved for both Oklahoma and Texas.   
   # Positioning against pre-report expectations will begin in earnest with Informa’s 2016 acres estimates due out at the end of the week.  Analysts suggest that corn acres could rise at least as much as the 2 million projected by the government during February’s Annual Outlook Forum.           
   # NOPA crush was better than expected at 146.2 million bushels.  The average trade guess was near 140 million.  Still, February soybean crushings were down over the previous month and off about three percent from the year prior.             
   # U.S. soyoil prices held steady despite the NOPA report showing stocks to have built by more than expected.  Lowered expectations for palm production still provide general support to the edible oil market.     
   # U.S. equities were back and forth as traders are uncertain as to what to expect out of this week’s Fed meeting.  Data on retail sales were disappointing with the February reading showing a drop of 0.1 percent.  The January number was also revised lower from +0.2 percent to -0.4 percent.         

***** Live cattle up $0.67 to $1.50 with feeders higher by $1.02 to $2.22; hog futures finish $0.05 lower to $0.35 higher. *****

   # Another round of solid gains for wholesale beef spurred some follow-through buying for cattle futures.  Choice cuts were up $3.45 as of midday with select higher by $4.63.  The futures board reaches into overbought territory with its latest move up.       
   # Wholesale pork is moving in the opposite direction of beef, so there’s been some pressure placed on the front of the futures curve.  The summer contracts hold firm on sustained optimism over the seasonal supply and demand expectations.