AgriCharts Market Commentary

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Corn

Corn futures are trading to 1 cent higher this morning. They closed the Friday session with most contracts as much as a penny lower. Open interest continues to rise, up 10,800 contracts on Friday. The Friday afternoon Commitment of Traders report showed spec funds adding to their net short position by 36,673 contracts in the week ending December 12. They were net short 197,192 contracts of futures and options on that date. Private Informa analysts raised their projection for the 17/18 US corn yield to 176.6 bpa, compared to the USDA estimate of 175.4 bpa. They also lowered their 2018 corn planted acreage estimate to 89.675 million acres, down 1.74 million acres from their November number.

Soybeans

Soybean futures are mostly 2 to 2 cents higher this morning. They settled Friday with fractional losses in the front months. Preliminary open interest was up 2,567 contracts on Friday. January soy meal was down $1/ton, as nearby Jan bean oil 2 points lower. Friday’s NOPA report indicated its members had crushed 163.546 mbu of soybeans during November. That was ahead of most expectations and 1.74% larger than November 2016. Soybean oil stocks were reported at 1.326 billion pounds at the end of November, larger than most estimates and 8.35% above the end of October. US soybean planted acreage for 2018 is expected to hit 91.387 million acres, according to Informa analysts. That is 1.76 million acres larger than their previous estimate.

Wheat

Wheat futures are currently 3 to 4 cents higher in all three markets after closing mixed on Friday. MPLS was the strongest, with gains of 2 1/4 to 3 3/4 cents. Most CBT contracts were fractionally on either side of UNCH, with KC contracts steady to 2 cents lower. Informa updated their 2018 winter wheat acreage number to 31.093 million acres. That was 830,000 acres lower than their previous estimate. The CFTC report on Friday afternoon showed the big spec funds adding back to their net short Chicago SRW positions by 38,871 contracts in the week ending 12/12. They were net short 157,652 contracts at that time.

Cattle

Live cattle futures finished the Friday session $1.075 to $2.625 higher in the front months on higher cash cattle trade. Feeder cattle futures were up 80 cents to $1.50 in most contracts. The CME feeder cattle index on December 14 was up 9 cents to $154.40. Wholesale boxed beef values were mixed on Friday afternoon. Choice was up 83 cents at $201.87, with select 44 cents lower at $183.25. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter was 630,000 head, 6,000 head fewer than the previous week but 24,000 head larger than the same week last year. Cash trade picked up late Friday afternoon with sales of $119-120.50, up $2 from the previous week. Spec traders were shown reducing their CFTC net long cattle position by 17,262 contracts during the week ending December 12. That net position was still net long 99,748 contracts.

Lean Hogs

Lean hog futures ended the day with 15 to 90 cent gains. The CME Lean Hog Index for 12/13 was down 22 cents to $64.64. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up 26 cents at $77.57 in the Friday afternoon report. The national base hog price was 13 cents lower at $56.47 Friday afternoon. The USDA weekly FI hog slaughter is estimated at 2,578,000 head WTD through Saturday. That is up 41,000 head from the previous week and 76,000 head more than the same week last year. The spec funds reduced their lean hog net long by 7,007 contracts in the week ending December 12, leaving it at 61,327 contracts.

Cotton

Cotton futures are starting the week 7 to 21 points lower after they saw gains of 24 to 77 points on Friday. Nearby March was up a stout 3% last week. The Commitment of Traders report showed the spec traders adding another 7,101 contracts to their net long position in the week ending December 12, taking it up to 89,510 contracts. The USDA Adjusted World Price (AWP) was updated to 65.95 cents/lb, 92 points higher than the previous week. The Cotlook A index was 125 points higher from the day prior on December 14 to 84.70 cents/lb. Online cash sales on the Seam jumped to 32,373 bales, with prices averaging 70.24 cents/lb, up 130 points from the previous day.


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