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Corn futures closed fractionally lower in most contracts on Friday, adding up to losses of 3.77% on the week. The Commitment of Traders report showed spec funds adding 13,392 contracts to their net short position in corn futures and options as of last Tuesday. Their net short position of 171,809 contracts is the largest reported position since September 27. Drier weather is in the short term forecast for most of the Corn Belt, with the 6-10 day forecast showing a potential for wetter conditions. Stats Canada corn planting intentions for 2017/18 are projected at 3.751 million acres, a 12.8% increase over 16/17 acreage. China offered 8,890 MT of corn reserves on Friday, as it all went unsold. They are expected to offer larger discounts and larger quantities beginning in May.
Soybean futures settled 3 3/4 to 5 3/4 cents higher on Friday. Soymeal was up $1.70 in the front month, but lost 2.49% since last Friday. May 17 Soy oil was 2 points higher, with gains of 75 points over the week. Managed money was shown to continue their short positioning as of Tuesday. They added 16,095 contracts to their net short position in soybean futures and options contracts. The USDA announced a private export sale of 146,000 MT of old crop soybeans to unknown destinations this morning through their daily reporting system. The Stats Canada report released this morning showed the country’s canola producers intending to plant 22.39 million acres, higher than most expected and 9.92% larger than last year. The report also showed intended Canadian soybean acreage increasing 27.47% yr/yr to a still small 6.96 million acres. Traders had been looking for only 6 million.
Wheat futures were mixed on Friday, with the front months in CHI and MPLS lower. KC posted 22 3/4 cent losses (5.3%) since last Friday, with CHI losing 5.76%. MPLS meanwhile, only lost 3 3/4 cents. In the CFTC COT report, spec funds added another 7,667 contracts to their net short position in Chicago Wheat Futures and options. Planalytics, a satellite imaging company, estimates 2017 winter wheat yield at 49.8 bu/ac, a 0.8 bu/ac increase over their previous forecast. This morning’s Stats Canada report places all wheat acreage for the upcoming marketing year at 23.18 million acres, which would be down just slightly from last year. It also estimated larger than year ago spring wheat intentions at 16.66 million acres. The USDA ag attache in estimates Australian wheat production to drop to 24 MMT in 17/18, down from 35 MMT in 16/17.
Live cattle futures were higher in most contracts on Friday, with August the only month lower, down 2.5 cents. They finished the week $4.425 higher in the April contract. Feeder Cattle futures were mixed on the day with April up 65 cents and May 50 cent lower. The CME feeder cattle index was at $138.05 on 4/20, up 40 from the previous day. Wholesale beef prices were higher in the afternoon report. Choice boxes averaged $217.16, up $1.44, with Select gaining 32 cents with an average price of $203.89. The COT report had managed money continuing to add to their net long position in live cattle futures and options, by another 8,161 contracts. Cash cattle trade is fairly light today, with the USDA reporting sales of $132 in the South and $133.50 in NE. Estimated FI cattle slaughter through Saturday is at 595,000 head. That is up 5,000 from last week and 10,000 head from the same week last year. The COF report showed April cattle on feed 0.47% higher than April 2016, at 10.904 million head. March placements were 11.1% above the previous March, with marketings 9.56% ahead of March 2016.
Lean hog futures ended the week that saw a 7.72% loss in the May contracts, 22.5 to 60 cents lower in most contracts The CME Lean Hog Index for 4/19 was down another 30 cents to $61.59. The USDA pork carcass value was up 88 cents in the afternoon FOB Plant report, with an average of $75.47. The picnic and rib were the only cuts reported lower. National cash hog base prices averaged 47 cents lower in the afternoon report, with a weighted average of $53.41 and a range reported from $50.00-$54.50. The WCB region was 31 cents lower, with IA/MN a penny higher. FI hog slaughter through Saturday is estimated at 2,287,000 head, about 64,000 ahead of last week, and 54,000 higher than the same week in 2016. The Cold Storage report will be released Monday at 2:00 p.m. CDT.
Cotton futures finished mixed on Friday, with May the only month lower, losing 108 points. On the week, May saw a gain of 4.46%. The US dollar was 45 points higher on the day. In the weekly COT report, managed money added 3,102 contracts to their net long position in cotton futures and options contracts. Their net long position stood at a reported 83,370 contracts. The new USDA average world price (AWP) is 68.97 cents/lb, up 2.26 cents from last week. Cash sales on the Seam rose to 6,669 bales, with prices gaining 4.22 cents/lb to 79.54 cents/lb. The Cotlook A index was unchanged from the previous day at 87.80 cents/lb.