AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Monday, March 20, 2017
***** Corn futures down 3 1/2 to 4 cents; soybeans fractionally changed; Chicago wheat down 6 cents. ***** 
   # Funds were sellers of corn after having turned net-short the grain for the first time in two months.  The money managers are now net-short corn by about 25,000 contracts.  They are short nearly 100,000 wheat but still net-long beans by approximately 100,000 contracts. 
   # Export inspections were impressive all around but failed to do much for the market.  Corn shipments were 52.5 million bushels, soybeans 27 million, and wheat 23.  Record corn and soybean export sales have been supportive to prices, but record outstanding sales leave some worry about traders being able to ship out all committed bushels before the marketing year ends.  
   # USDA announced a sale of 132,000 tons of corn sold to South Korea for delivery in 2106/17.  The daily export reporting system was relatively active last week and the bulls hope that will hold true for this week, too.  
   # Somewhat friendly to the soybean market were forecasts calling for heavy rain totals in Mato Grosso, Brazil this week.  The moisture will make it difficult for farmers to wrap up harvest there and presents a threat to quality.  Still, rains threaten only a small bit of beans not yet harvested and replenish soil moisture for a newly-planted second corn crop. 
   # Rains in the U.S. Mid-South this week will help provide some moisture relief where pockets of extreme drought still exist in the region.  Most of the Southern Plains is also shaded in on the U.S. Drought Monitor to signal dry weather troubles.  The outlook has a wetter bias for most of the country over the next two weeks.    
   # On Thursday the Senate Agriculture Committee will review the merits of Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s nominee for Ag Secretary.  The 70 year-old Perdue is former governor of Georgia.  
   # Traders will soon start positioning themselves for the March 31 Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports.  Predictions from analysts and from various farmer surveys continue to point toward farmers switching 4-5 million acres from corn to soybeans this spring.  
   # WTI crude futures were headed for a lower close in 9 of the previous 10 sessions.  Oil futures were under further pressure as traders price in swelling U.S. inventories.  Non-OPEC producers like the U.S. had increased production dramatically in response to the oil price recovery made last fall.
   # U.S. stock markets were mostly flat as traders found little in the way of fresh news.  There is some angst growing over how the economy will be influenced by potential changes to U.S. trade policy.  

***** Live cattle futures down $0.42 to up $0.20; feeders gain $0.72 to $0.90; hogs flat to $0.40 lower. *****

   # Nearby cattle futures were facing some technical pressure after rallying through the previous three sessions.  Beef prices turned a little weaker today after a recent run to the upside turns away buyers. 
   # Hog futures finished mixed on active spreading that left the April contract weaker relative to the deferred contracts.  The bias for cash hogs is turning back lower as traders price in production gains expected for the first quarter.