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AgriCharts Market Commentary
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Corn futures are trading steady to slightly lower this morning after a fractionally higher close on Monday. According to USDA, the national crop is now 31% harvested, vs. the 5yr average of 53% for this date. The slow pace has alleviated potential storage issues in some areas, allowing use to clear out some space. The USDA crop condition rating was UNCH from last week with the Brugler500 Index at 389. Weekly export inspections were 717,605 MT, which was smaller than both a week ago and a year ago; however the YTD total is more than 150% of what it was a year ago.
Soybeans are currently trading 3 to 4 cents higher after losing 7 cents or more yesterday. Rain showers in some key Brazilian growing areas brought some pressure, along with better US conditions. In the weekly crop progress report, USDA estimates that the crop is now 53% harvested vs. the 5yr average of 66% for this date. IL is only 37% complete vs 66% average, while IN is 31% complete vs. 62% average. The crop condition rating on the Brugler500 index was unchanged from last week. Weekly export inspections were a strong 1,991,537 MT; that is 18% larger than the same week a year ago. Total year to date export inspections are 123% of a year ago. The peak for weekly shipments is usually in October or November.
Wheat futures are trading a couple cents higher this morning. Current YTD wheat export inspections are down about 1/3 from last year. The US winter wheat crop is now estimated to be about 76% planted; close to the 5 yr average of 77%. Typically 50% of the crop has emerged by this date, and this year it is 6 points ahead of normal at 56% emerged. KC basis premiums were firmer for the lower end of the protein scale but 7 to 10 cents weaker at 13% and up.
Cattle futures are currently steady to 50 cents lower after posting a new all time high for the front month contract yesterday. Cash cattle trade for top quality steers last week averaged $167.08 and the futures market is trying to keep up with the cash. Dressed prices averaged $259.19. Wholesale beef prices were mixed on Monday, with USDA showing average prices for Choice beef 24 cents higher, and Select boxes 14 cents lower. Estimated Monday slaughter was about the same as last Monday, but 10K head smaller than a year ago. USDA last night had the national pasture and range condition rating slightly lower than last week, but still in much better shape than a year ago.
Hog futures are trading 27 to 57 cents higher this morning after further weakness on Monday. The CME Index was down 89 cents at $108.21. The USDA average pork carcass cutout value came in sharply lower, down $4.55 from Friday afternoon at $106.46. Most of the loss can be attributed to the Ham cut, off $17.24/cwt on the day, but bellies contributed to the lower average with a $4.87/cwt loss. The average carcass base price for the Western Corn Belt was 84 cents lower, with the ECB price down 87 cents, and the IA/MN area off 86 cents. Estimated Monday slaughter was 429 K head, 2K head larger than last Monday, and 3K head smaller than a year earlier.
Cotton futures are currently trading 10 to 16 points lower after lower closes on Monday. December was down 71 points and broke some technical support. The summer contracts eked out gains of a few points. Crude oil came back to close higher on the day, with the dollar weaker. USDA said in its weekly crop progress report that 29% of the crop is harvested, when the 5yr average is 31%. As of Sunday, 86% of the crop has bolls opening, compared to the 5yr average of 90%. Overall the condition rating of the entire US cotton crop was slightly lower than it was last week.