Weekly Roberts Report

US - Agricultural US Commodity Market Report by Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.
calendar icon 24 March 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

LEAN HOGS on the CME finished mixed on Monday. APR’10LH futures finished at $71.300/cwt; down $0.250/cwt. The MAY’10LH contract closed down $0.050/cwt at $79.850/cwt. Late profit taking turned some contracts lower amid supportive fund buying. In other words, the market was mixed today. On Friday USDA put the average pork price at $73.82/cwt; up $1.14/cwt and only $0.01/cwt lower than last report. News that China would again allow US pork products into that country had little effect on prices. Floor sources said traders are waiting on poultry trade resumption with Russia to take some of the protein off the US supply thereby helping pork prices here at home. The CME lean hog index was placed at $72.01/lb, off $0.49/lb and $2.94/lb lower than last week at this time. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average pork plant margin was raised $4.75/hd from last report to a positive $4.20/hd. This was based on the average buy of $51.18/cwt vs. the average breakeven price of $52.75/cwt.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) were off on Monday. The MAY’10 contract closed at $3.706; off 3.75¢/bu. DEC’10 corn futures closed off 4.25¢/bu at $3.992/bu. Weather seen as slowing the US spring planting and exports were supportive with USDA putting corn-inspected-for-export at 41.606 mi bu vs. expectations for 35-40 mi bu. In addition, spring corn harvest continues at the North Pole J. Thanks to Jim Ramm, a reader in Indiana, for passing along a photo of a cold, wet corn harvest near Spring, North Dakota (Red River Valley). That’s ice-water splashing up and snow still on the ground. South American corn contributing to plentiful global feed stocks and fund selling pressured on prices. Cash corn bids were steady amid no-to-slow farmer selling (Not everyone still had corn to harvest). Funds sold over 3,000 contracts cutting net long positions by 28,600 to 8,944 lots. Some sales opportunities might crop up (no pun intended) this week as technical traders contribute to market volatility.

SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) gained on Monday. The MAY’10 soybean contract closed at $9.684/bu; up 6.75¢/bu. NOV’10 futures finished even with Friday’s close at $9.456/bu up 3.75¢/bu. Short covering amid expanding fund positions contributed to market support. Funds bought over 4,000 contracts while large speculators expanded net short positions by 5,000 lots to 32,386 contracts. Exports were steady to firm influencers on price with USDA putting soybeans-inspected-for-export at 32.131 mi bu vs. expectations for 27-31 mi bu. According to several floor sources the market did not seem too concerned with the looming record-large South American soybean crop. Cash soybeans were steady amid slow farmer selling. It might be a good idea to price some of the 2010 crop if you are not already at 70 per cent sold in 2010 soybeans.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) were up on Monday. MAY’10 futures closed at $4.864/bu; up 2.75¢/bu. The JULY’10 wheat contract closed at $4.990/bu; up 2.5¢/bu. Short covering, exports, and outside markets were supportive. USDA put wheat-inspected-for-export at 18.846 mi bu vs. expectations for 11-14 mi bu. Large global stocks and rigorous export competition continue to be unsupportive. Funds bought right at 2,000 lots while large speculators increased net-bear positions 7,100 lots to 65,923 contracts. Cold, wet weather also provided some support as it slows spring planting. Here’s another chance to get to 70 per cent sold in the 2010 crop.

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