Stewart-Peterson Market Commentary

Closing Commentary - February 20, 2018

Top Farmer Midday Update 2-20-18

CORN: Corn futures are up 1 to 2 cents, lagging the steep rise in beans and bean meal contracts. May corn peaked at 3.78, the highest point for the contract since September 29, as prices benefit from short-covering and soaring bean trade. Today’s Weekly Export Inspections netted 938,099 tons (37 mil bu) vs 846,108 tons the previous week. The USDA will hold its Ag Conference Forum this Thursday & Friday where 2018-19 production forecasts will come to light. For now, dry weather in Argentina has some industry analysts trimming the corn yield there. Managed money was net 44,000 corn contracts coming into today’s trade. Crude is up 15 cents, the dollar up 52 points; and, the Dow futures off 162 points.

SOYBEANS:Soybean futures are holding double-digit gains in the old crop contracts at mid-session. May beans are up 13 cents to 10.45-1/2, led by new highs in soymeal contracts. Argentine weather is getting most of the trade’s attention today even though they did receive scattered rains over the weekend. Follow-through rains look limited and the two operative trade words of ‘pattern change’ or ‘soaker’ don’t appear to be operative. Nov beans are up 5 to 10.27 after eclipsing the July high on gains of 7-3/4 cents to a new high of 10.29-3/4 overnight. Weekly Export Inspections came in at 960,066 tons (35.3 mil bu) vs 1,338,875 tons the previous week. We estimate managed money is estimated net long 31,000 bean contracts; net long 104,000 lots of soymeal, and net short 34,000 lots of soyoil.

WHEAT: Wheat futures have faltered this morning, unable to maintain early firmness in the winter wheat contracts. May CBOT wheat is down 6 cents to 4.65-1/2, a fresh one-week low with managed money still net short SRW wheat. May KC wheat is down 5-1/2 cents to 4.88. Weekly Export Inspections came in at 422,298 tons (15.5 mil bu) vs 499,825 tons the previous week. MPLS Sep wheat remains range-bound, unchanged at 6.31.

CATTLE: Cattle futures are narrowly mixed after scoring new highs for the move in the nearby fat cattle contracts underpinned by higher box beef trade on Monday. Feb cattle, up .150 to 130.250, are about par with last Friday’s higher cash market activity at $130/cwt. Apr cattle are up .075 to 127.725; and Mar feeders are up .875 to 150.600, supported by the cash feeder cattle index.

HOGS:Hog futures are sharply higher in corrective moves from last week’s poor performance. Apr hogs are up 1.075 to 69.225 after respecting the contract’s new support floor established in Friday’s lower trade that saw the contract dip to a multi-month low of 68.025. Lower cash market bids are expected today, but futures had become technically oversold and due for a bounce. May hogs are up to 1.025 to 75.950.

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