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Corn futures are currently fractionally lower in the front months today. May CBT futures posted a new low for 2017. YTD export shipments are 64.57% larger than the same time last year. Total commitments are 51.4% ahead of this point a year ago. Also, they are 83% of the USDA projection for total exports; vs. 66% last year at this point and the five-year average of 79%. US FOB prices were $2.60/MT below Brazil and $2.92/MT below Argentina last night, with the US quote the lowest since December to get competitive. Brazil ethanol production for the first half of March is down 28% from the same time in 2016, according to the UNICA.
Soybean futures are trading mostly 14 1/2 to 14 3/4 cents lower on Friday, amid reports of rainfall in parts of Brazil. May 17 has fallen to its lowest price since mid-October. Soymeal futures are down $3.50 and soy oil 79 points lower. Weekly shipments were at 575,937 MT, down 32.1% from last week but 1.7% larger than the same week last year. Total soybean commits are now 98% of the US estimated 16/17 export total. That is 12% higher than the same time last year and 5% ahead of the five-year average. Soy meal export shipments were 335,595 MT for 16/17, down 4% from the previous week, but 37.9% larger than a year ago. Soy oil shipments were 30,560 MT, 22.4 above last week’s exports. Argentine FOB export prices for soybeans are currently more than $10/MT below US FOB Gulf. The US PNW is competitive due to cheaper freight, but has seen some logistical issues.
Wheat futures are mixed as of midday. CHI is 3 1/2 cents higher in the front months, with KC up a penny. MPLS is down 2 1/4 cents as some back months are in the green. Taiwan purchased 98,200 MT of US milling wheat on Friday. Coceral estimates EU 2017 soft wheat production at 144.8 MMT, which would be up 7% from the previous year. French winter wheat conditions are estimated at 90% good/excellent, down 2% from last week. Accumulated total exports of 19,784,746 MT surpassed last year’s total exports for the year of 19,440,094 MT. Wheat total commitments are 93% of projected exports, behind both last years and the five-year average of 97%.
Live cattle futures are steady to 67.5 cents higher. Feeder cattle futures are trading 25 to 45 cents higher on most contracts. The CME feeder cattle index was at $131.58 for 3/22, a daily gain of $1.56. Wholesale beef prices in the morning report were both lower, as choice boxes were down 19 cents and select lost 21 cents. DTN is reporting bids of $126 live in NE and KS, with dressed bids of $210 in NE. The USDA is showing sales of $134.50 live and $215 dressed in NE, while KS had sales of $126. Estimated FI cattle slaughter WTD is 463,000 head, up 6,000 from last week and 29,000 head more than the same time last year. The Cattle on Feed report this afternoon is expected by traders to show March 1 COF at 100.1% of last year. Placed cattle in February are projected at 98.8% of last February, while marketed cattle are estimated at 3.5% larger.
Lean hog futures are showing losses of $1.925 to $2.45 in the nearby months on Friday. The CME Lean Hog Index for 3/22 was down 12 cents to $71.29. USDA’s average pork carcass value in the morning report was $79.06, up $1.57. Only the loin was slightly lower. National cash hog base prices were 56 cents lower with the weighted average at $64.47. WTD estimated FI slaughter for hogs was 1,767,000 head on Thursday, 8,000 more than last week and 92,000 head above the same week in 2016. The highest pork producing company in Mexico is planning to double their number of sows over the next four year, according to a Reuters report. After they are done expanding, their pork production will be around 140,000 MT per year.
Cotton futures are 33 points higher in the May 17 contract, while deferred contracts are lower. The US dollar index is currently 106 points lower at 99.654. The Trump administration has signed a permit allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. The new USDA average world price (AWP) is 68.26 through next Thursday. There is of course no LDP. On the Seam, cash sales rose to 16,340 bales, with prices increasing to 79.85 cents/lb. Weekly shipments were at 379,730 RB, 12.37% higher than last year and 76.72% ahead of this time a year ago. Total commits are at 97% of what the USDA projects for total exports, 12% above last year at this time and 12% ahead of the five-year average. The Cotlook A index is 50 points higher to 86.85 for March 23.