Weekly Roberts Report

US - Agricultural US Commodity Market Report by Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.
calendar icon 17 March 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

LEAN HOGS on the CME closed down on Monday. APR’10LH futures finished at $71.800/cwt; down $0.850/cwt and $1.000/cwt lower than last Monday. The MAY’10LH contract closed down $0.375/cwt at $77.575/cwt and $1.225/cwt lower than last report. Profit taking and weak fundamentals pressured prices. Spreading out of the nearby April into June and July also put pressure on April futures. The premium of most months to the CME lean hog index supported selling. The latest CME lean hog index was placed at $74.95/lb; down $.0.05/lb but $2.57/lb over last week at this time. USDA put the average pork price at $73.83/cwt; off $0.28/cwt and $1.88/cwt lower than last report. Exports were depressing as Russia is yet to reopen its border to US poultry or hogs. The Russian negotiator was quoted as saying, “We made ‘stunning’ progress today but need to work harder to close the deal” … whatever that means. Packers had ample supplies for the week and weren’t too excited about bidding up cash hogs on Monday. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average pork plant margin was lowered $0.90/hd from last report to a negative $0.55/hd. This was based on the average buy of $52.95/cwt vs. the average breakeven price of $52.76/cwt. It is a good idea to price some feed at this time.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) closed down on Monday. The MAY’10 contract closed at $3.632; off 1.0¢/bu and 11.75¢/bu lower than last week. DEC’10 corn futures closed off 0.75¢/bu at $3.930/bu and 1.0¢/bu down from last Monday. While weather concerns that could delay spring planting were somewhat supportive a stronger dollar and ample corn supplies inhibited prices. Exports remained neutral with USDA posting 36.5 mi bu of corn-inspected-for-export vs. expectations for 33-36 mi bu. South Korea bought 275,000 tonnes (10.8/ mi bu) of US corn. Cash corn was steady-to-firm amid reasonable farmer selling. 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) were mixed on Monday with nearbys down and contracts after September turning a corner. The MAY’10 soybean contract closed at $9.300/bu; up 4.5¢/bu. NOV’10 futures finished even with Friday’s close at $9.14.0/bu but 17.0¢/bu lower than last report. Shipping problems from Brazilian ports were supportive. In addition, a strike is rumored for the port of Rosario, a major exporting port from Argentina. The stronger dollar kept gains in check. Exports were a disappointing 31.5 mi bu vs. expectations for 34-37 mi bu and China cancelling orders last week for 192,400 tonnes (7.1 mi bu) didn’t help. China’s tightening credit market to curb inflation was negative for prices and exports. Weather in South America helped US soybean prices as rains continue to slow soybean harvest in both Brazil and Argentina. Cash soybeans were steady amid steady farmer selling. The world supply outlook remains large and the notion that U.S domestic supply is shrinking is price friendly. However, the overall fundamental theme remains bearish for soybeans on the back of a projected record South American harvest. It is a good idea to hold at 70 per cent sold in 2010 soybeans.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) took a hit on Monday. MAy’10 futures closed at $4.792/bu; down 6.0¢/bu. The JULY’10 wheat contract closed at $4.920/bu; off 6.0¢/bu and 15.75¢/bu lower than last Monday. As with corn and wheat, a strong dollar kept the pressure on prices amid thinking that importing countries can get cheaper wheat elsewhere. Iraq put out a tender for 100,000 tonnes (3.7 mi bu) of wheat and Algeria is seeking to buy milling wheat. USDA on Monday put wheat-inspected-for-export at 9.2 mi bu vs. expectations for 17-20 mi bu. Good growing weather in the US wheat belt also put pressure on prices. Cash wheat bids were steady to weak amid ample supplies and subduede overseas demand. Hopefully another 5 per cent-10 per cent of the 2010 crop was sold on last week’s advice.

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