AgriVisor Morning MarketWatch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
***** Corn futures up 2 to 3 1/2 cents; soybeans higher by 6 to 9; Chicago wheat gains 4 to 4 3/4. ***** 

   # Turnaround Tuesday for the grains so far.  Traders try the other direction after a down Monday, but there remains little news to excite the buyer. Overnight volume is light.
   # A turnaround for grain futures price on China’s Dalian exchange and for Malaysian palm oil prices helps to support the U.S. soy complex overnight.    
   # Open interest in the corn market is dropping precipitously after climbing considerably into last week.  OI was down another 64,000 contracts on yesterday’s selloff.  
   # Today is First Notice Day for March grain futures.  Soybean deliveries totaled 500; no corn contracts put out.  Spreading into the delivery period and end-of-month positioning will help define today’s trade.
   # El Nino is on the table for this season with the closely-watched group of meteorologists in Australia calling it a 50 percent chance that the phenomenon develops in 2017.  El Nino has been historically associated with better rainfall averages in North America. 
   # The recent slide for futures turns the farmer back into a reluctant seller of old-crop corn.  USDA’s Central Illinois basis average is reported at 17 1/2 cents under March futures.  Interior Iowa is listed at 40 under.
   # May corn futures work to re-establish support from their 50-day moving average.  Yesterday’s low at $3.67 1/4 provides minor support with swing lows to watch at $3.63 and $3.59.
   # Stock futures point to a slightly weaker open for the major indices.  There remains some optimism over tax cuts promised by President Trump, but there is also some worry about interest rates being raised by the Fed as soon as March.     

   # Beef prices are heading into March with surprising strength.  Packer margins are strong enough and offerings light enough that near-term tightness for the supply and demand balances is turning futures market sentiment back positive.  
   # Firm wholesale pork prices, underpinned by belly strength, catch hog futures after looking ready to tumble further.  The latest Cold Storage report confirmed pork stocks remain a touch tighter than had been expected a few months ago, and talk of the big drawdown for belly inventories has put the situation in focus.