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Corn futures ended the session fractionally lower, but the March contract poked out a 3 cent gain for the week. The USDA 10 year baseline forecast released on Thursday anticipates 88 million acres will be planted to corn in 2015; Informa released its estimate for 88 million planted acres today. In the weekly Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC, managed money accounts added 5,976 contracts to their net long position during the week ending Tuesday December 16. Their net position is now net long 236,170 contracts.
Soybean futures rallied from their intraday lows, but still closed mostly 4 or 5 cents lower on the day. January soybeans lost more than 16 cents on the week. Front month bean meal futures were down nearly 1% from last Friday. Bean oil was higher on the day, but still off 1.21% for the week. The USDA weekly Export Sales report was larger than expected again this week. Cumulative export commitments (shipped + unshipped) now total 86% of the full year WASDE estimate vs. the 5 year average of 79%. The USDA baseline forecast calls for a small decline in 2015 soybean plantings, to 84.0 million acres. The Informa estimate that came out today at 88.8 million acres was much higher than USDA, and up slightly from their previous estimate. Managed money accounts decreased their net-long position in soybeans by -7,390 contracts in the weekly Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC showing official positions as of the closing bell on Tuesday afternoon.
Wheat futures were sharply lower on the day, but all three major classes posted solid gains on the week. In the front month, CBT wheat gained 4.25%, KC picked up 5.01%, and MPLS added 4.43% for the week. The choppy trade this week stems from the uncertainty regarding the fallout surrounding the Russian sanctions and the recent collapse of the Ruble. US weekly export sales were OK at 479,500 MT this week and 71% of the annual forecast is now booked. The USDA baseline acreage forecast for the next 10 years, released on Thursday, calls for all wheat acreage to be slightly lower in 2015, and decline further into the 2016 crop year. Informa expects 2015 Winter wheat acreage to be 42.3 million, which would be down slightly from 2014. The weekly Commitment of Traders report from the CFTC showed managed money accounts had tripled their net-long position in CBT wheat compared to a week earlier, adding a net 10,642 contracts during the week ending Tuesday, December 16. They lightened up on their net long in KC wheat by -2,528 contracts to bring their net long position down to 20,439 contracts.
Cattle futures were sharply higher on the day, with most contracts settling with triple digit gains mostly between $1.45 and $2.57. Feeders were also rallying today with most contracts closing at least $3 higher, and the October 2015 contract posted a $4.475 gain today. January feeders were down 2.42% for the week. Wholesale beef prices were lower in the PM report with Choice boxes coming in with a weighted average $3.38 lower than yesterday, and Select boxes down 44 cents. For the week they lost 2.6% and 1.8% respectively. Cash cattle trade was light this week, especially in the >80% choice category. Some sales were reported from $157 to $160 in clean up trade. Weekly estimated slaughter including Saturday is 552,000 head, 17K head smaller than last week and 65K head smaller than the same week a year ago. The Cattle on Feed report this afternoon showed cattle on feed December 1 were 101.42% of a year ago. November placements were at 96%, and November marketings were 88.9% of what they were a year earlier.
Hog futures settled mixed, the front month February contract peeking back into the green for a gain of 2 1/2 cents for the day, and ending the week with a loss of 1.62%. Losses in the deferred contracts today were limited to 60 cents. The pork carcass cutout value was down 55 cents from yesterday. The CME Lean Hog Index was down 80 cents at $85.15 for the 12/16-17 average. Weekly hog slaughter was estimated at 2.298 million head including Saturday. That is 44K head more than last week and 67K head less than the same week a year ago. The carcass based cash hogs in the WCB were $1.49 higher, and the weighted average for the IA/MN area was up $1.37, but the ECB average came in $1.18 lower on the day. CFTC showed managed money accounts reduced their net long position in lean hogs (during the week that ended last Tuesday) by -5,673 in the weekly Commitment of Traders report.
Cotton futures were mixed on the day from 4 points lower to 7 points higher. The US Dollar index was more than 350 points higher today, and crude oil ended the day $2.41 higher. Cotton cert stocks dropped to 54,796 bales, with no new certs and 1,056 decerts issued on December 18. The US cotton average world price (AWP) rose to 47.66 for the week of Dec 19-25, reducing the LDP to 4.34 cents. The Cotlook A Index is at 69.35, up 0.10 from the previous day. The weekly Commitment of Traders report showed managed money accounts reducing their net short by 2,589 contracts, bringing their net short position in cotton to -1,162 contracts as of the Tuesday close.