Weekly Roberts Report

US - Agricultural US Commodity Market Report by Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.
calendar icon 10 March 2010
clock icon 5 minute read

LEAN HOGS on the CME closed down on Monday with the exception of December 2011 futures and beyond. APR’10LH futures finished at $72.800/cwt; down $0.300/cwt and $0.150/cwt lower than last Monday. The MAY’10LH contract closed down $0.225/cwt at $78.800/cwt but $0.325/cwt higher than last report. Stronger cash markets amid fewer-than-expected swine supplies were supportive. Lower corn prices were also helpful. Overbought conditions could trigger fund profit taking this week. One major factor weighing on prices was the news that Tyson Foods of Logansport, Indiana temporarily suspended processing at its 15,000 head-per-day facility. The plant was damaged by fire on Friday and may not get up and running until late this week or early next week. When the plant starts back up prices should rebound. Spreading in the June/April was also noted putting pressure on the nearbys. On the other hand, news late last week indicated that Russia will soon start buying US pork products again. However, much of that strength was factored into prices last Thursday and Friday according to my floor sources. USDA on Friday put the average pork price at $75.71/cwt; down $0.20/cwt but $2.32/cwt over last report. The latest CME lean hog index was placed at $72.38/lb; up $0.69/lb and $3.26/lb higher than this time last week. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average pork plant margin was lowered $0.65/hd from last report to a positive $0.45/hd. This was based on the average buy of $53.97/cwt vs. the average breakeven price of $54.15/cwt. It might be a good time to price short-term feed needs at this time.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed mixed on Monday with nearbys through July lower and deferreds from that point on even or higher. The MAY’10 contract closed at $3.750; off 4.0¢/bu and 6.75¢/bu lower than last week. DEC’10 corn futures closed up 4.0¢/bu at $4.030/bu but down 3.5¢/bu from last Monday. Exports were somewhat supportive. The USDA World Agriculture Supply Demand Estimate (WASDE) report due out on Wednesday, March 10 is expected to be neutral on the markets as both supply and demand are expected to be lower in a match-case scenario. USDA put corn-inspected-for-export at 34.1 mi bu vs. expectations for 32-36 mi bu. US corn exports are 19.5 mi bu ahead of this time last year but 23.4 mi bu behind where USDA forecast ‘09/’10 corn exports to be by now. Short-covering and a weaker US dollar this Monday provided underlying strength amid weak chart signals. Wet weather was supportive as it is seen slowing spring fieldwork. Cash corn in the US Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states was steady to weaker as farmers moved some corn to market. Funds ended even on the day. It is still a good idea to hold off selling on any more of the 2010 corn crop sales at this time; remaining at 60 per cent sold.

SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed up on Monday. The MAR’10 soybean contract closed at $9.404/bu; up 5.75¢/bu; but 12.0¢/bu lower than last Monday. NOV’10 futures were up 6.0¢/bu at $9.310/bu but 11.5¢/bu lower than last report. Soybeans found support from short-covering in technical trading; good cash demand; and expectations that the US bean crop will be slow to get planted again this year due to the wet winter. Gains were hindered by early reports from South America showing the potential for a record large crop there. Exports were bearish on price as USDA put soybeans-inspected-for-export at 30.9 mi bu vs. expectations for 35-38 mi bu and almost 10 mi bu off the recent weekly pace of around 40 mi bu. Even though soybean exports are 283.3 mi bu ahead of last year’s pace they are still 24 per cent behind USDA’s projections for the year. Cash soybeans in the US Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states were steady to firm. It might be a good idea to hold at 70 per cent sold in 2010 soybeans unless a closing at or near $10.00/bu futures occurs. More selling opportunities may show up if the March 10, USDA WASDE report shows shorter ending stocks as some reports continue to predict.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) finished up on Monday. MAR’10 futures closed at $4.844/bu; up 2.25¢/bu but 8.25¢/bu lower than last report. The JULY’10 wheat contract closed at $5.076/bu; up 2.0¢/bu but 9.0¢/bu lower than last Monday. Exports, a weaker US dollar, technical signs, and higher corn prices were supportive for wheat prices. US wheat exports were 7 per cent higher than other nations this week with USDA putting wheat-inspected-for-export at 20.4 mi bu vs. expectations for 14-18 mi bu. However, US wheat exports still lagged behind this time last year by 151.1 mi bu. Total US wheat exports are 640, 958 mi bu vs. 792,100 mi bu this time last year. In addition, large US and global wheat stocks continue to weigh on prices. Decent wheat-crop weather in the US winter wheat belt is shaping up for a good US winter wheat crop. Analysts are expecting USDA to increase demand in its WASDE report due out at 8:30 a.m. (EST), March 10. Hopefully 60 per cent of the 2010 crop has been covered by this time. It wouldn’t hurt to sell another 5 per cent-10 per cent before the report comes out.

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