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Weekly Roberts Report

by 5m Editor
15 April 2009, at 8:28am

US - Agricultural US Commodity Market Report by Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.

LEAN HOGS on the CME closed down on technical selling Monday with the exception of April futures. The APR’09LH contract closed at $58.175/cwt; up $0.175/cwt but $1.550/cwt lower than this time last week. The JUNE’09LH contract was off $0.175/cwt at $74.100/cwt but $1.350/cwt higher than last Monday. Good packer demand was not enough to offset losses on a shrinking DOW and crude oil losses. There is hope that cash hogs will trade $1-$2/cwt higher on Tuesday and news that packers will need hogs unless they continue to reduce production levels this week. Several plants shut down on Monday for the Easter holiday and some of those may remain closed for one more day, according to several pit sources. On Monday, USDA placed slaughter at 290,000 head vs. 415,000 head last week and 433,000 head a year ago. USDA also placed the Pork Carcass Cutout at $59.99/cwt; up $0.51/cwt. The CME Lean Hog Index was off $0.230/cwt to $57.16/cwt and down $0.02/cwt from this time last week. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average pork plant margin was raised $9.45/head as that margin rose to a positive $2.60/head. This was based on the average buy of $41.16/cwt vs. the average breakeven price of $42.14/cwt. It is a good idea to price feed needs now and hold hogs to heavier weights if possible.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed down on Monday. MAY’09 corn futures closed at $3.874/bu; off 2.75¢/bu and 18.0¢/bu lower than last week. The JULY’09 contract closed at $3.972/bu; down 2.5¢/bu and 18.5¢/bu lower than last Monday. DEC’09 corn futures finished at $4.192/bu; off 2.5¢/bu and 17.5¢/bu under last report. Corn futures closed near session highs. A weak DOW and lower crude oil prices weighed on prices. The market rebounded on wet-weather fears delaying planting. Late Monday USDA put corn seedings at 2 per cent vs. a 5-year average of 6 per cent for this time of year. Exports were neutral-to-slightly bearish with USDA placing corn-inspected-for-export at 31.4 mi bu vs. expectations for between 33.0-37.0 mi bu. Funds increased net-bull positions by 4,233 contracts to 293,981 lots while large speculators also grew net bullish positions to 96,099 contracts; up 1,680 lots. Cash corn bids were steady amid slow farmer selling of old crop supplies in the US cornbelt. Cash bids in the US Mid-Atlantic States were steady as well with opening bids ranging from $3.98-$4.08/bu for old crop and $3.94-$4.09/bu for new. Hopefully some of the ’09 crop has been sold. Feed purchasers should consider pricing some feed needs at this time.

SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) were up on Monday. MAY’09 soybean futures closed at $10.214/bu; up 14.5¢/bu and 22.0¢/bu over this time last week. The JULY’09 contract finished up 13.75¢/bu at $10.156/bu and 22.25¢/bu over last Monday. The NOV’09 contract closed at $9.272/bu; up 5.25¢/bu and 15.75¢/bu higher than last report. The Chinese are seen as supporting the global soy market at this time while exports from Argentinean farmers are being held hostage to local politics. China normally buys from Argentina this time of year but are now buying Brazilian and US soybeans because of farmer and government turmoil. Bullish fundamentals are supportive as USDA’s report last week showed a shrinking supply of US soybeans due to increased exports for this time of year. USDA placed soybeans-inspected-for-export at 20.481 mi by vs. expectations for between 17.0- 21.0 mi bu. Right at 10.4 mi bu of that was headed for China. Funds bought over 3,200 contracts increasing net-bull positions to 111,171 lots while large speculators increased net-bull positions by 15,209 lots to 47,776 net long contracts. Cash soybeans in the US Midwest were steady while those in the US Mid-Atlantic States were also steady ranging from $9.92-$10.42/bu. It is a really good idea to sell 45 per cent of the ’09 crop now. Soybean users might want to consider locking in some needs at this time as prices are expected to go higher.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) closed up on Monday. The MAY’09 contract closed at $5.232/bu; up 1.25¢/bu but 32.5¢/bu lower than this time last week. JULY’09 wheat futures finished up 1.25¢/bu at $5.346/bu but 34.5¢/bu lower than a week ago. The markets traded both sides in chart-based activity and sell or buy stops. Farmers in the global economy supplied wheat on short stocks and now wheat prices are declining. Spring wet weather has been good for winter wheat crops as the CME Group reports that even though wet weather has slowed maturation of soft red winter wheat ample moisture shows promise of boosting yield potential. Exports were somewhat supportive with USDA placing wheat-inspected-forexport at 20.7 mi bu vs. expectations for between 16.0-20.0 mi bu. It has been reported that US wheat had made up 15 per cent of Iranian imports for the ‘08/’09 year. Funds bought about 1,000 contracts as large speculators increased net-bull positions in wheat futures and options. It was a very good idea last week to have 25 per cent of the 2009 crop sold. It is a good idea to hold off pricing any more for now.