AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
***** Corn futures finish fractionally lower; soybeans up 2 1/2 cents; Chicago wheat drops 6 1/4. *****

   # Grains spent most of the session on the losing side of unchanged, but corn futures were able to claw their way back to almost even while soybeans managed to post gains for the day.  Wheat futures faced pressure throughout. 
   # Acreage estimates are starting to circulate ahead of the March 31 Prospective Plantings report.  The annual Allendale survey tallied intentions for 90.431 million corn acres, up from 88 in 2015.  Analysts at Informa will release their projections on Friday. 
   # Winter weather returned to the northern Midwest this week but temperatures should quickly warm up again by Monday.  The Delta states welcome a drier forecast but winter wheat growers in the Plains still could use some moisture.     
   # Ethanol production was up on the week while stocks of the fuel dropped.  Corn grind was 104.9 million bushels, the strongest total in nine weeks.  Just less than 98 million bushels of use per week are needed to meet the current USDA target.  
   # A 100,000 bushel soybean sale flashed across the USDA’s daily reporting system this morning.  The shipment is headed to an unknown destination sometime still for the 2015/16 season. Traders expect soybean business to shift back toward South America now that growers there are in harvest.              
   # Weekly export sales will be reported Thursday morning.  Traders expect to see corn sales down on the week to near 35 million bushels.  New soybean commitments are expected to start leveling off and should come in around 20 million bushels.  The estimate for wheat sales is 12 million bushels.                 
   # Egypt tendered for wheat this week, receiving offers from six traders that featured France as the cheapest source.  Russia, Romania, and Ukraine also offered up some wheat.  U.S. wheat 
   # Crude oil put together an impressive rally after it was announced that OPEC and non-OPEC members were would meet next month to discuss new output targets.
   # The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting ended without an interest rate hike, as expected.  What was not fully anticipated were the group’s median forecasts dropping for the federal funds rate into 2016 and 2017. Dollar index futures turned sharply lower on the news.            

***** Live cattle up $0.20 to $0.82 with feeder futures up $0.47 to $1.45; hogs gain $0.10 to $0.57. *****

   # Live cattle futures started choppy as follow-through buying on fundamental bullishness was matched by profit-taking on the technical merits.         
   # Hog futures finished higher despite recent weakness in the wholesale trade that was reflected by lower bids in the cash market.  Traders expect a bit of a lull in the market as pork demand wanes in between pre-Easter and pre-Memorial Day stocking seasons.