Afternoon Market Highlights


The grain markets were higher today on a bout of fund short covering across most commodities. The market will shift its focus on the March 29 plantings report and March 1 grains stocks over the next week or two. 

  • A private analyst pegs this year’s US corn and bean acres at 90.4 million and 87.7 million respectively.
  • Energy markets are on the defensive this afternoon with crude oil trading over $58/barrel.
  • The US$ is weaker while the gold and equity markets are stronger ahead of the weekend. 


Corn prices continues to trade higher (on spring planting concerns) in modest volume.  Most months saw a 4-5-cent trading range. Buying interest has appeared at the lows throughout the week. The corn market could continue to garner support should the buying continue on setbacks. 

  • Closes: May at $3.73 ¼, up 3 cents, July at $3.82 ¼, up 2 ¾ cents and December at $3.96, up 2 cents.
  • The managed money estimated net short position from last Tuesday was at 257,900 contracts (futures and options). This compares to 176,800 the week prior.
  • Spreads: K/N 9 ¼ carry, N/U 6 ¾ carry, N/Z 14 ½ carry, Z/H 11 carry, Z/N 19 carry. 


Soybean prices traded higher after the May poked through its 10-Day MA of $9.02 ½. May failed to hold above its 20-Day MA of $9.10 ¼. Prices drew additional support from strength in the meal pit.  Borrowed strength in soymeal provided underlying support to the soybean market. 

  • Closes: May at $9.09 ¼, up 10 ¾ cents, July at $9.23, up 10 ¾ cents, and November at $9.42 ½, up 9 ¾ cents. The products were mixed with meal up nearly 5 bucks and oil down 14 points.
  • The canola market traded higher on renewed buying interest and ideas of being oversold. Prices drew additional support from fund short covering.
  • The managed money estimated net short position for futures and options was at 90,197 contracts of beans and 48,853 contract of canola. 


The wheat market traded higher on funds covering their mega short positions ahead of the weekend. As of this past Tuesday, the funds held a significant short position in Chicago and KC, which could leave the market vulnerable to more short covering next week. 

  • May closes: Mpls at $5.54 ¾, up 2 ¼ cents, Kc at $4.43, up 5 ¼ cents and Chicago at $4.62 ¼, up 9 ½ cents.
  • Russia’s wheat crop was last estimated at 75-78 mmt on favorable weather conditions.
  • As of last Tuesday, the managed money estimated net short position was at 72,100 contracts in Chicago, 49,300 contracts in Kansas City and 8,893 contracts in Mpls. 


    The hog market was strong today, with all hog contracts finishing the day limit up on stronger products and cash, along with ideas of being oversold. News surfaced this morning that the Chinese hog herd was down 16.6% in February compared to February of last year. The decline in the hog herd is credited to African Swine Fever. The cattle market was supported by strong products and firmer cash prices this week. 

  • Feeder closes: April at $146.92, up 2.35, May at $148.45, up 2.07 and August at $153.55, up 1.47.
  • Live closes: April at $129.10, up 1.72, June at $121.92, up 1.65 and August at $117.72, up 1.32.
  • Lean Hog closes: April at $68.80, up 3 bucks, June at $86.52, up 3 bucks and August at $89.75, up 3 bucks.
  • Today’s slaughter is estimated at 100k head for cattle and 439k head for hogs.
  • AM Boxed Beef values on 55 loads: Choice at $227.75, up $0.05; Select at 218.22, down $0.54.
  • Packer Margins were reported at $96.90 per head for beef and $26.95 per head for hogs.
  • AM Pork Product values on 97 loads: carcass cutouts at $68.05 down $0.75, loins at $64.43 down $0.04, ribs at $115.31 up $1.44, hams at $52.74 down $2.55 and bellies at $124.28 up $0.11.