AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Thursday, March 17, 2016
***** Good Afternoon *****

   # Driver of the day was the dollar’s bid drop.  The currency weakened against its major pairings after the Federal Reserve announced that the federal funds rate would not be changed and that there would not likely be as many rate hikes in 2016 than originally planned.  Most commodities found support but energies and metals were the biggest beneficiaries.     
   # The weekly export sales report featured corn sales that were better than expected at 48.3 million bushels.  Soybean sales were 22.9 for the old-crop year and 8.6 for 2016/17.  Wheat sales for 2015/16 were poor again at 7.8 million bushels.      
   # The monthly NOPA crush report had the February tally coming in better than expected at 146.2 million bushels. Analysts – including those employed by the USDA – have flagged competition from Argentina for weaker U.S. meal demand; however, rising demand for soyoil is picking up slack after El Nino has helped curb edible oil production in Asia.
   # Fund traders were very active buyers of U.S. soyoil futures today, leading the curve higher by more than two percent.  The May contract was able to notch in a fresh six-month high.        
   # The National Weather Service made a fresh update to their 90-day outlook.  Temperatures are expected to lean warm for the upper half of the Midwest.  NWS ascribes equal chances for above- and below-normal precipitation for the Midwest with the forecast wetter for the Southern Plains and Delta. 
   # The wetter forecast for the Plains leans somewhat negative for wheat after worries about dry conditions for the winter crop have buoyed prices recently.  Still, a cold snap this weekend is being watched as a threat.
   # Weighing heavily on wheat was this morning’s export sales report.  This week’s Egyptian tender showed offers coming in from the same few players out of Europe and the Black Sea with U.S. supplies still far from competitive.
   # The major U.S. stock indexes have now recovered all or more of what had been lost at the start of 2016.  Improved energy prices are key to recent strength.  Technology and bank shares continue to show some struggle.             

***** Live cattle down $0.35 to $0.42 in late-session trading; feeders off $0.67 to $1.07; hogs fractionally mixed. *****

   # Cattle futures traded both sides of unchanged before ending weaker.  Traders are waiting to see how the cash market develops.  Estimates for the Cattle on Feed report are circulating.  The total on-feed number is expected at 100.5 percent of a year ago.  Placements should come in around 108 percent with Marketings just under 105 percent.           
   # Hog futures were choppy for most of the session as selling on wholesale weakness offset some of the technical buying.  The April contract maintains support from its 20-day moving average.