The grain markets traded higher on technicals and weather worries in Argentina and the US. The last trade day for March futures is Wednesday. The March futures will expire at noon. The NOPA soybean crush for February is scheduled for Thursday around 11 AM CDT. The next USDA report is scheduled for March 29th (2018 Prospective Plantings and March 1 Grain Stocks). Energy markets are lower, The US$, CD$, DJIA and S&P are all trading lower this afternoon.
The corn market opened higher on improving demand for US corn, and strength in the soybean and wheat markets. Crop worries in SA from drought-like conditions in Argentina provided underlying support. Prices were pressured midday on improving chances for beneficial moisture in the US Southern Plains area. May closed at $3.91 ¾, up 1 cent, July closed at $3.99 ¾, up 1 ¼ cents and December closed at $4.09 ¾, up 2 cents.
- Gulf premiums are steady to 2 cents weaker nearby and 1-cent weaker for April.Domestic markets are unchanged.
- USDA announced the sale of 210,000 tonnes of optional origin corn to South Korea for 2017-18.
- Spreads; K/N 8 cents carry (widest has been 8 ¾ at the end of December), N/U 4 ¾ carry (widest has been 8 cents back in early January).
- Dec corn climbed to a high of $4.11 ½ today, with a contract high of $4.29 ½. Not a bad place to get some sale on the books.
The soy complex traded higher on crop worries in South America. Dryness continues for Argentina with early harvest to begin next week sometime. May beans closed at $10.48 ¾, up 7 ¾ cents, July closed at $10.59 ½, up 8 ½ cents and November closed at $10.44, up 8 cents.
- Gulf premiums are 2-5 cents weaker for nearby and a penny weaker for April. Domestic bids are mostly unchanged. The Brazilian bean basis is 2 cents firmer.
- There are chances for rains in Argentina this weekend, although many thoughts are that it will not be enough to save the bulk of the Argentine bean crop.
- Spreads; K/N 11 cents carry, N/Q 1 carry, N/U 9 ¾ inverse, Q/X 16 ½ cent inverse, X/F 3 carry. The widest the K/N has been before today was 10 ¾ carry. Consider having orders in to roll short May hedges at 10 ¾ to 11 ½ carry. The H/K got out to 12 cents at its widest point.
The wheat market traded higher on renewed crop worries, with declining conditions in the state of Kansas. Prices turned lower midday on improving chances for rain across the winter wheat areas and technical selling. May closes; Mpls $6.25 ½, up 1 cent, KC $5.20 ¼, down 2 and Chicago $4.86 ½, down 4 ¼.
- The US remains uncompetitive in the world wheat market, despite a weaker US$.
- Japan is in this week for their routine food tender, but they are not in the market for US spring wheat this time around.
- Spreads; Mpls K/N continued to narrow, closing at a 6 ¼ - cent carry, Kansas City K/N 16 ¾ carry, Chicago K/N widened out an 18-cent carry.
The hog market traded higher on stronger wholesale prices and pork bellies. The hog market had traded lower last week and was viewed as being oversold and due for a bounce. April closed at $67.25, up $0.050, June closed at $77.47, up $0.425 and December closed at $62.72, up $0.175.
- Hog slaughter estimated at 462,000 head.
- Packer margins estimated at $22.75 per head. This compares to $27.75 a week ago.
- Pork Carcass Cutout values were last at $74.42, up $1.61.
- The two-day Lean Hog Index was last reported at 67.05, down 0.47.
The livestock market was lower on long liquidation and technical selling. Cash markets are not expected to trade in volume until later in the week. The hog market traded higher on ideas of being oversold and stronger belly prices. The last trading day for March feeder cattle futures and options is March 29th.
The live cattle market traded lower on weakness in the feeder cattle market. Nebraska saw a few cattle traded at $1.26 cwt, which was unchanged from last week. April live cattle closed at $121.90, up $0.350, August closed at $110.775, down $0.125, and October closed at $113.70, down $0.350. March feeder cattle closed at $141.55, down $0.625, August closed at $148.05, down $1.025, and November closed at $149.25, down $0.825.
- Cattle slaughter is estimated at 119,000 head.
- Packer margins estimated at $57.40 per head. This compares to $47.25 a week ago.
- The Feeder cattle index was last reported at 143.17, down 0.17.
- The AM boxed beef values came in at $224.01 for Choice and $217.30 for Selects on 60 loads.
- The spread between Choice and Selects stands at 6.71.