Weekly Roberts Report

US - Agricultural US Commodity Market Report by Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.
calendar icon 11 March 2009
clock icon 5 minute read

LEAN HOGS on the CME closed down on Monday. The APR’09LH contract closed at $62.425/cwt; down $0.075/cwt but $2.15/cwt higher than a week ago. The JUNE’09LH contract lost $0.525/cwt to $73.200/cwt but $1.725/cwt over week before last. Unwinding of bear spreads, selling on the premium to deferreds, and profit taking pressured prices. Funds continued to roll April positions into June. The market expected a better day on better-than-expected demand for pork and expectations for tighter hog supplies but speculators thought the profits were too good to pass up. USDA lowered the pork cutout $0.09/cwt to $55.26/cwt on Friday. The latest CME Lean Hog Index was placed at $58.44/cwt, up $1.08/cwt. Packer margins fell further into the red as cash hogs remained steady. According to HedgersEdge.com the average pork plant margin for Monday was lowered $17.50/head from this time last week to a negative $17.95/head based on the average buy of $45.71/cwt vs. the average breakeven of $39.02/cwt. Sell hogs when ready on packer needs early in the week as buying is expected to back off by Thursday or Friday. It would be a good consideration to put off buying feed needs for a couple of weeks if possible.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed up somewhat on Monday. MAR’09 corn futures closed at $3.572/bu; up 4.5 ¢ /bu and 13.+ ¢ /bu over last Monday. The JULY’09 contract closed at $3.752/bu; up 4.5 ¢ /bu and 15.+ ¢ /bu higher than a week ago. DEC’09 corn futures finished at $3.960/bu; up 9.25 ¢ /bu and 15.+ ¢ /bu above last Monday’s close. Higher crude oil prices, the new USDA Secretary’s pronouncement that increasing the ethanol blend rate in US gasoline to 12-13 per cent from 10 per cent could be done, better-than-expected exports, a Dow-Jones that mostly held its own during the day, and wet weather slowing field prep in the corn belt were supportive. The market is holding its collective breath. Some positioning ahead of Wednesday’s World Agriculture Supply Demand Estimate (WASDE) report was noted. The industry expects USDA to show 08/09 ending stocks up 10 mi bu at 1.8 bi bu on decreased demand and increased production potential. USDA placed corn-inspected-for-export at 40.6 mi bu vs. expectations for between 25.0-30.0 mi bu. Funds bought over 2,000 contracts reducing net bear positions by 6,800 lots for the week ended 3 March. Cash corn bids were steady amid quiet producer interest as they take a “wait-and-see“ attitude for a little higher price. It might be a good idea to get the ’08 crop out of the bin, clean it out ready for the ’09 crop, and price up to 45 per cent of the 2009 crop if you haven’t done so already.

SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) were mixed on Monday. MAR’09 soybean futures closed at $8.810/bu; up 2.0 ¢ /bu and 32.75 ¢ /bu over last week. The JULY’09 contract was off 3.0 ¢ /bu at $8.630/bu. The NOV’09 contract closed at $8.174/bu; up 2.5 ¢ /bu and 24.5 ¢ /bu over last Monday. Profit taking on nearby’s and mixed feelings over uncertain economic and fundamental outlooks pressured some prices, according to several floor sources. Prices were supported by shortcovering and stronger crude-oil prices. Slow farmer selling held cash prices steady. Trade expectations for the USDA WASDE for ending stocks were lowered to 200 mi bu. We’ll see early Wednesday. USDA placed soybeans-inspected-for-export at 27.2 mi bu vs. expectations for between 23.0-26.0 mi bu. Funds sold around 1,000 contracts. Large speculators increased net short soybeans by about 8,200 lots. If you didn’t get your old crop beans sold last week you’ve got a second chance. It is still a good idea to get up to 25 per cent of the ’09 crop priced now.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) closed down on Monday. The MAR’09 contract closed at $5.130/bu; off 3.25 ¢ /bu but 63.5 ¢ /bu higher than a week ago. JULY’09 wheat futures finished down 3.5 ¢ /bu at $5.352/bu but 17.5 ¢ /bu higher than last Monday. Profit taking, a stronger US dollar, and export worries pressured prices. USDA placed wheat-inspected-for-export at 14.7 mi bu vs. expectations for between 12.0-16.0 mi bu. This was 3.5 mi bu higher than last week but 236.1 mi bu behind last year’s pace. Funds sold right at 1,000 contracts increasing net bear positions by 7,100 lots. If you held sales on last week’s advice it would be a good idea to get up to 25 per cent of the ’09 crop sold at this time.

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