AgriVisor Morning Marketwatch

Thursday, February 23, 2017
   ***Good Morning***

***** Grains are mixed/lower to start the day; soybeans 4-5 lower, corn fractionally lower, with wheat fractionally higher. *****

   # Acreage is in focus today with the USDA announcing their expectations at the Outlook Forum.  “Outside markets” don’t seem to have much direction this morning in the wake of the release of the Fed minutes. 
   # The USDA forecast corn plantings at 90 mln. and soybeans at 88 mln. in 2017, corn a little less than expected, with soybeans close to expectations.  That drops corn acres about 4 mln. from last year, with soybean plantings up about 4.5 mln. Wheat plantings were projected to be 46 mln. acres, down just over 4 from last year. That implies less spring wheat acreage.  Acreage on the 8 major crops is expected to drop 3.6 mln. acres to 249.8 mln.  They don’t offer any insight into acreage of smaller crops, not total plantings of all crops.
   # The IGC expects total world wheat plantings to fall slightly this year because of the poor profitability.  Subsidy incentives is expected to keep acreage from falling much.  Wheat output is expected to fall 2% to 735 mmt., mostly on yields retreating from the record high levels. They raised their forecast for the current year’s global grain output by 8 mmt. to 2.102 bln., the first time 2.10 has been eclipsed.  Higher feedgrain output in S. America mostly drove the increase. 
   # New data shows that Chinese corn imports were higher in January than a year ago, but the level is still insignificant.  Sorghum imports were up from December, but still well under last year. 
   # The trade is still talking about S. American weather from a positive perspective.  Generally, forecasters see light showers with some localized heavy amounts in both Arg. and Brazil, but no generally heavy rains.  But, the showers in Brazil could impede planting of 2nd crop corn, a feature that’s become an increasing worry. 
   # In the U.S., the S. Plains have become an increasing focus, especially with wheat starting to break dormancy.  Some of the forecasts are pointing toward a more inclement March after the mild Feb, so the situation may have made wheat a little more vulnerable depending on whether snow precedes any cold. 
   # The Dollar was mostly steady overnight in the wake of the Fed. Reserve minutes.  But an unexpected increase in jobless claims this morning quickly pulled it lower.  

***** Cattle should start the day steady/firm; lean hogs slightly lower. *****  

   # Wholesale beef is higher with choice at $194.53. Cash cattle prices were $3-$5 higher on the electronic exchange yesterday, but activity in the interior was light with wide bid/offer spreads. Activity should pick up with a cattle on feed coming tomorrow.
   # Wholesale pork was sharply lower at $80.24. Cash hog prices will be lower today with packer margins getting pinched with the lower wholesale.