Weekly Roberts Report

US - The APR’11LH contract closed at $80.550/cwt; up $0.075/cwt and $0.50/cwt over a week ag, writes Mike Roberts, Commodity Marketing Agent, Virginia Tech.
calendar icon 22 December 2010
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The Roberts report will not be published the next two weeks. It will resume on 10 January 2011. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

LEAN HOGS on the CME finished mixed on Monday with deferreds beginning with December 2011 and beyond slipping lower. The FEB’11LH contract closed up $0.125/cwt at $76.075/cwt but $0.025/cwt lower than this time last week. The APR’11LH contract closed at $80.550/cwt; up $0.075/cwt and $0.50/cwt over a week ago. AUG’11LH futures closed at $88.775/cwt; even with last Friday’s close. Hog futures rose after breaking through negative territory. Gains in electronic trading and live cattle momentum catalyzed buying in the pits. USDA put the average cash pork price at $78.47/cwt; down $0.85/cwt and $0.03/cwt under last report. The CME lean hog index was placed at 69.12¢/lb; up 0.17¢/lb and 0.48¢/lb over last week at this time. According to HedgersEdge.com, the average packer margin was raised $1.00/hd to a positive $17.55/hd based on the average buy of $49.82/cwt vs. the average breakeven of $56.19/cwt.

CORN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) finished up on Monday. The MAR’11 contract closed at $5.994; up 3.0¢/bu and 11.0¢/bu higher than last report. The DEC’11 contract closed at $5.426; up 1.25¢/bu and 2.75¢/bu over last Monday. Technical buying, hot weather in Argentina during key pollination time, global supply concerns, and a weak dollar during trading were supportive. Exports and strengthening dollar near the close held prices in check. Light volume was not supportive. Corn/wheat inter-market spreads corrected with corn gaining on wheat prices. Argentina is the world’s second-largest corn producer and a good crop is needed there to replenish global supply on the tail end of a not-up-to-scratch US corn crop. Corn acres will face competition from wheat and soybeans this year and traders are now saying that they don’t know if farmers will plant enough acres to replenish US supply. USDA put corn-inspected-for-export at 27.01 mi bu vs. expectations for 30-35 mi bu. China’s November import figures for US corn were less than half of October’s level. November corn imports for China were placed at 78,616 tonnes (4.7 mi bu) while Chinese imports of US corn for October were 251,934 tonnes (9.9 mi bu). Cash corn was steady-to-weak in the US Midwest amid slow farmer selling. Funds bought over 4,000 lots amid light volume. Since $6.00 corn is expected to be a major price-point for profit takers it would be a good idea to consider pricing another 10 per cent of the 2011 crop taking you to 70 per cent priced.

SOYBEAN futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) finished up on Monday. JAN’11 futures closed at $13.152/bu, up 16.5¢/bu and 12.75¢/bu over last report. The MAR’11 contract closed at $13.270/bu; up 16.5¢/bu and 15.0¢/bu higher than a week ago. NOV’11 soybean futures closed up 12.75¢/bu at $12.424/bu and 20.0¢/bu over last Monday’s close. Exports and concerns over the Argentinean soybean crop in the Buenos Aires province were supportive while good growing weather in Brazil offset some price optimism. Volume was vigorous at nearly 200,000 contracts. Late Monday USDA revised the soybeans-inspected-for-export report to 44.615 mi bu vs. expectations for 32-38 mi bu. Cash soybeans were steady-to-weaker in the US Midwest amid diffident farmer selling. Funds bought over 8,000 contracts. Soybeans prices are competing with high corn and cotton prices for acres. It would be a good idea to hold at 60 per cent of the 2011 crop priced.

WHEAT futures in Chicago (CBOT) finished up on Monday. The MAR’11 wheat contract closed at $7.694/bu; up 12.75¢/bu. JULY’11 futures finished up 13.25¢/bu at $8.076/bu but 7.0¢/bu lower than a week ago. Quality concerns over the Australian wheat crop, talk of Russia extending its grain export ban, and good export demand for US wheat were supportive. Most Ukrainian 2011 winter grains are in good condition. USDA put wheat-inspected-for export at 23.026 mi bu vs. expectations for 18-24 mi bu. The wheat/corn inter-market spread corrected, reversing a two-week trend with corn making gains against wheat. According to floor sources a “weather premium” for a dry US Plains was factored into trading today. Since 75 per cent of the 2011 crop is priced good opportunities to speculate with the rest (like now) will keep cropping (no pun intended) up.

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