Stewart-Peterson Market Commentary

Closing Commentary - March 23, 2018

Top Farmer Opening Calls 3-23-18

CORN: Corn futures are down 4 cents to 3.72 (May). Dec corn is down 3-1/4 cents to 3.94-3/4. Pressure stems from traders’ collective belief that trade wars are bearish for commodities. So far, China has come up with $3 bil worth of retaliation to the tariff on $60 bil of Chinese goods. Meanwhile, wet conditions forecast for the U.S. Delta, combined with a cold start to this spring in the Midwest could slow early corn planting and provide some underlying support, as well as ongoing demand strength. Weekly Export Sales, delayed one day due to weather, came in at 1.47 mil tons (57.8 mil bu) for 2017-18 crop; 14,500 tons for 2018-19. In other tender activity S. Korean feed groups bought 68,000 tons of optional-origin corn.

SOYBEANS: Soybean futures are lower with May beans off 9-1/2 cents to 10.20-1/4 and Nov down 6-1/2 to 10.20-1/4 as Chinese buyers of soybeans, the United States' biggest agricultural export to the country, quietly draw up contingency plans to ensure supplies of critical raw materials in the event of a trade war. So far, soybeans were not on the ‘hit list’ of commodities earmarked for retaliation. Delayed Weekly Export Sales showed 759,100 tons (28 mil bu) for 2018-19; 140,000 tons for 2018-19. In other tender activity S. Korean feed groups bought 60,000 tons of optional-origin soymeal.

WHEAT: Wheat futures are lower, but range-bound in this week’s lower price areas. May CBOT wheat is down 5-1/2 cents to 4.50-1/4. May KC is down 3 cents to 4.68. Weekly Export Sales were within trade estimates at 265,200 tons (9.7 mil bu) for 2017-18; 163,400 tons for 2018-19.

CATTLE: Cattle futures are lower ahead of today’s Cattle on Feed report. Apr live cattle discount to cash opened firm, but quickly fell 1.150 lower to 106.950, a new low for the move. Jun cattle are down 1.100 to 105.325 after a steady start. Apr feeders are down .500 to 137.525. This week’s Cold Storage report indicated beef supplies down 8% from a month ago and a year ago. However, that data and a technically oversold market failed to trump bearishly construed trade war talk.

HOGS: Hog futures are lower, after a negative cold storage report, and more importantly, pork topping the list of U.S. Ag commodities to be targeted by the Chinese in retaliation for trade tariffs imposed by the U.S. Apr hogs, already in a free-fall, are making new lows at 60.025, down 1.200. Jun hogs are down 1.625 to 73.850.

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