AgriVisor Morning MarketWatch

Thursday, March 01, 2018
 ***** Corn futures fractionally weaker at the break; soybeans steady to 4 cents higher; Chicago wheat off 1/2 to 1 1/4. *****

   # Export sales were strong for corn and soybeans this week at 1.75 million tons for corn, 858,000 tons for soybeans.  The wheat numbers were poor this go around at only 191,000 tons.
   # Chicago soy futures were initially trading lower with some spillover pressure coming from weaker Asian palm oil markets.  Higher soybean prices on China’s Dalian Exchange have been largely ignored.  The export sales report helped lift futures from their overnight lows.     
   # Open interest for corn was up a strong 26,000 contracts yesterday in a representation of fresh buying activity.  New longs were jumping into the soybean market, but open interest rose by only 5,000 contracts on the session.  It is a bullish signal when price, volume, and open interest rise together.    
   # A shift drier for the U.S. forecast helped to boost wheat prices on Wednesday.  The 6-10 day outlook has precipitation running below normal for the Plains while totals should be about average for the Midwest.  Temperatures are biased cooler in both the 6-10 and 8-14 day forecasts. 
   # The next clear chance for rain in Argentina comes Sunday, but totals and coverage are expected to stay small.  Analysts are moving closer to 30 million tons on their estimates for the Argie corn crop, that comparing with a 41 mt crop last year.  The soybean harvest is seen in the low 40’s, meaning USDA has a large reduction to make from its current estimate of 54 mt.  
   # On March 8th comes the next supply and demand report.  South American crop troubles have some thinking we should see another addition to the corn export goal.  U.S. soybean exports may have room to come down further as Brazil still has a large crop to take to market, but crush activity and meal exports may rise in reflection of the expected Argentine bean shortfall.
   # This month will include the key duo of quarterly Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports on March 29th.  

***** Live cattle down $0.52 to $0.95 on Wednesday; feeders off $1.70 to $2.20; hogs lower by $1.35 to $2.72. *****

   # Cattle traders look to the boxed beef market for guidance as better development for the cash trade is being waited on.  $126 live is the benchmark established by cash deals negotiated earlier this week.   
   # Hog futures stay defensive as pork prices drop.  Belly prices are starting to give in as stocks rebuild.  Hams are turning seasonally firm to help lend some small support.  April hogs gapped lower on Wednesday to leave $69.50 in place as resistance.  The contract is now set up for a test of the one-year high at $65.05.