AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Friday, March 18, 2016
***** Corn futures down 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cent; soybeans fractionally mixed on the day; Chicago wheat up fractionally.  ***** 

   # Friday’s session was similar to Thursday’s in that early strength faded into the close.  But for talk about acres and some light chatter on weather, fresh news for the grains remains limited.         
   # A reversal lower for crude oil helped to weigh on the broad commodity space.  WTI futures faced fresh selling interest after the nearby contract moved above $40 this year. 
   # The weekly update from the CFTC showed funds covering 26,000 shorts while adding about 12,000 new longs during the last reporting week.  A net-short of nearly 200,000 contracts remains.  At the same time, funds turned net-long on soybeans, by 24,000 contracts.     
   # Traders took note of new acres estimates from Informa.  The analysts project 2016 corn acres at 89.5 million and soybean acres near 84 million.  Informa’s numbers are lower than most analysts’ for corn and higher for soybeans.   
   # Farmer selling picked up as corn futures approached $3.70 and soybeans $9.00.  Chart traders were also active in selling near these technically-important levels.
   # Boats continue to line up in Brazil with wait times of more than a month at some ports.  Still, attractive grain prices continue to earn the country plenty of trade business.    
   # The two-week forecast leans wet for much of the country.  Highest chances for precipitation exist for the Southern Plains and Delta states.  Wheat fields in the Plains need the moisture; farmers planting row crops in the South do not.  
   # The dollar index recovered a small portion of the large losses incurred earlier the week.  The Brazilian real was higher on the day to cap off a volatile week for the currency.  Political strife continues in that country.             

***** Live cattle finish $1.32 to $1.60 lower as feeders drop $2.97 to $3.85; hogs settle fractionally higher. *****

   # Cattle futures were lower as wholesale prices fell back.  The cash trade was largely undeveloped as of midday.  Cattle on Feed numbers came in near the high side of expectations.  Total on-feed as of March 1st was 10.77 million head or 100.8 percent of the year-ago tally.  Placements were up to 110.3 percent with marketings near 105 percent.             
   # Hog futures advanced on technical support along with the fundamental bullishness of higher wholesale prices.  Traders look for next week’s Cold Storage report to give further guidance on the supply and demand balance.