***** Corn futures finish fractionally higher; soybeans down 3/4 to up 3; Chicago wheat up 3. *****
# Profit-taking was the theme on Friday, the last trading day of the month. Nearby corn futures gained 3 cents for the week, 39 for the month. Soybeans gained $1.10 in April. Chicago wheat gained a nickel on the month.
# After a stellar export sales report on Thursday, a 100,640 metric ton corn sale was announced this morning. The shipment is supposed to head to Japan before the 2015/16 marketing year is up.
# A competitive offer structure and South American harvest/logistics delays have importers turning to the U.S. for corn. As opposed to ideas of cuts to USDA export target maintained by analysts just a few weeks ago, the consensus view is that there is strong potential for an addition to the current 1.65 billion bushel forecast.
# Despite a few disruptions caused by wet weather, traders expect U.S. corn planting progress to be up to 46 percent. The soybean crop could be up to 10 percent planted. Both crops are being put into the ground quicker than usual.
# Dry spots in the Southern Plains are shrinking after recent rains have fallen across the region. Some moderate drought conditions were still recorded in eastern Kansas at the beginning of the week. Monday’s Crop Progress report should show improved winter wheat condition ratings.
# Crop loss in Argentina has been much talked-about this week, but less noted have been the quality issues that will plague much of the soybean crop that can be harvested. Wet conditions that threaten quality should also make for a drawn out harvest.
# The idea following the Prospective Plantings report was that the ensuing change the soy/corn price structure would lead to some corn-to-soy acres switching. But, the fast start to planting season in the Midwest and perceived revenue advantages for corn casts doubt on the scenario.
# U.S. stocks started with pressure from weaker Asian and European markets and continued lower on profit-taking triggered by disappointing U.S. economic data. The dollar index was down to nine-month lows as global central bank policies diverge from expectations.
***** Live cattle finish higher by $0.12 to $0.75 as feeders also finish fractionally firmer; hog futures gain $0.52 to $0.92. *****
# Cattle futures retreated from session highs to finish fractionally firmer on the day. Early gains were had as an expiring April contract led the curve higher to converge with the cash market. But, the cash market hadn’t fully developed by midday and traders weren’t certain the $124 traded earlier in the week would stand.
# Hog futures benefitted from technical buying this week. The fundamentals are also encouraging a favorable attitude shift. Production looks to be coming down at a time when demand is starting to pick up in both the domestic and export markets.
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