Weekly Roberts Report

US - Agricultural US Commodity Market Report by Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.
calendar icon 3 December 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

LEAN HOGS on the CME were lower on Monday. The DEC’09LH contract closed down $0.425/cwt at $58.600/cwt. FEB’10LH futures finished at $66.875/cwt; off $0.450/cwt. Expectations for higher retail prices on seasonal demand were supportive but futures fell on projections for weaker markets going into December. Spreaders sold February and bought December and April squaring positions. USDA on Friday put the average pork price at $61.87/cwt; up $0.26/cwt. The latest CME lean hog index was placed at $55.93/lb; up $0.93/lb. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average pork plant margin was raised $1.45/head from last report to a positive $4.95/head. This was based on the average buy of $42.08/cwt vs. the average breakeven price of $43.91/cwt.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) finished steady to firm on Monday. DEC’09 corn futures finished at $4.026/bu; up 5.5¢/bu. The MAY’10 contract closed at $4.272; up 3.25¢/bu. Higher month-end buying and strength from wheat, and a weaker dollar were supportive. Weak exports, short-hedge covering, and favorable harvest weather kept the lid on prices. USDA reported corn-inspected-for-export at 23.751 mi bu vs. expectations for 29-32 mi bu. Funds were near even at midday and bought almost 6,000 lots near the close. US exports included 270,000 tonnes (10.6 mi bu) of US corn. Cash corn in the US Midwest was steady to firm amid scattered selling. Since the carry from December to July is increasing it might be a good idea to consider storing the unpriced 2010 crop or pricing it for delivery in July.

SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) finished up on Monday. JAN’10 soybean futures closed at $10.604/bu; up 7.5¢/bu. The MAR’10 soybean contract closed at $10.660/bu; up 7.25¢/bu. Strength in wheat, a weaker US dollar, and end-of-month buying by large funds supported profits while exports were disappointing. Floor sources said that soybeans are benefitting from an anticipation of speculative fund buying heading into a new month and that is what is keeping sellers out. USDA reported soybeans-inspected-for-export at 41.268 mi bu vs. expectations for 55-65 mi bu. Funds bought just over 2,000 lots by midday. Cash soybeans were steady to firm amid scattered farmer sales. Since the carry is weak from January to July it would be a good idea to get the rest of the 2009 crop sold and consider selling 20 per cent of the ’10 crop at this time.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) finished mixed Monday with deferreds losers and nearbys gainers. DEC’09 futures closed at $5.674/bu; up 18.75¢/bu. The JULY’10 wheat contract closed at $6.102/bu; up 17.0¢/bu. Month-end buying and a weaker US dollar were supportive. Exports were disappointing with USDA placing wheat-inspected-for-export at 14.674 mi bu vs. expectations for 15-18 mi bu. Prospects for better weather were supportive. Large speculators bought between 4,000 – 5, 000 contracts. It would be an extremely good idea to price up to 20 - 30 per cent of the 2010 wheat crop now if you haven’t done so already.

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