Stewart-Peterson Market Commentary

Closing Commentary - February 22, 2018

Top Farmer Midday Update 2-22-18

CORN: Corn futures are fractionally higher in very light volume, with managed money net short an estimated 8,000 corn contracts. May corn is up 1/2 cent to 3.74-1/2, mid-range of Wednesday’s 4-1/4 cent trading range. Dec is up 3/4 cent to 3.97-1/4, also trading an ‘inside day’. Today marks day-1 of the USDA Annual Outlook Forum where analysts discuss 2018 acreage and ending stocks forecasts. The average trade guess pegs acreage at 89.902 mil acres versus last year’s final count of 90.167 mil. That extrapolates out to a 14.222 mil bu crop and 2.129 bil bu ending stocks figure versus 2.352 bil for last year’s production. Weekly ethanol stats continue to lean supportive for corn; 111.12 mil bu of corn was used in last week’s ethanol production, exceeding the 103.257 mil bu per week target set by the USDA. Weekly export sales are delayed until tomorrow. There was an export sale reported by USDA this morning of 130,000 tons of corn going to an unknown destination for 2017-18 marketing year crop. Crude is now up 81 cents; the dollar down 16 points. The Dow futures are up 280 points.

SOYBEANS:Soybean futures are firm with May beans up 2-1/4 cents to 10.36-1/2, and Nov is up a penny to 10.29. Managed money was seen net long 73,000 contracts of soybeans; net long 92,000 lots of soymeal; and net short 10,000 lots of soyoil coming into today’s trade. USDA Ag Forum projections for this year’s bean crop is expected to show an uptick in acreage from 90.142 mil acres in 2017 to 90.588 mil for 2018. Production is expected to top 4.36 mil bu versus USDA’s final 2017 figure of 4.392 mil, resulting in an ending stocks average estimate of 564 mil bu versus 530 mil for 2017. Private exporters reported to the USDA export sales of 110,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations, this morning. Of the total, half is for 2017-18, half for 2018-19.

WHEAT: Wheat futures are firm while consolidating after the recent rally followed by a modest downward correction. May CBOT wheat is up 4 cents to 4.63-1/2; May KC wheat is up 2 to 4.83-3/4. The average trade estimates for the USDA Ag Forum analysis show 46.08 mil acres of wheat for 2018 versus USDA’s final 2017 figure of 46.012 mil. Production is pegged at 1.823 bil bu versus 1.741 bil last year; and ending stocks look to shrink to 937 mil bu versus 1.009 bil bu.

CATTLE: Cattle futures are lower, but still within Wednesday’s wide trading ranges. Feb fat cattle are down .850 to 128.800, premium to this week’s cash market activity, so far; Apr cattle are down .900 to 125.325 after major backtracking on Tuesday. Tomorrow’s Cattle on Feed report is expected to see little-to-no deviation from last year’s Placements. Mar feeders are down .550 to 146.100.

HOGS:Hog futures are firm. Apr hogs are up .300 to 70.200 while trading range-bound after probing lower to start the week as 200-day moving average resistance holds up near 71.350. The next busiest hog contract, Jun, is up .575 to 81.875. Cash hogs, meanwhile look to maintain a defensive posture today.




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