Top Farmer Midday Update 01-03-18

CORN: Corn futures are fractionally lower with Mar down 3/4 cent to 3.52-1/2 within a 2-1/2 cent trading range for the day. The contract’s 40-day moving average seems to be a fulcrum for today with little fresh news to inspire the trade. Until the January USDA report is released next week, we still look at near term topics for the market being U.S. demand and South American weather. Yesterday’s exports were behind a year ago and behind current USDA projections. The latest energy stocks data showed corn use for the month for ethanol up from a year ago. In outside markets, crude is in a solid up-trend with new highs posted today on gains of $1.00/bbl. The dollar is flat/firm.

SOYBEANS:Soybean futures have traded two-sided with a positive tilt so far today. Jan beans are up 2-1/4 cents to 9.57-1/4, supported by gains in bean oil contracts as world vegoil prices maintain their rebound with Malaysian palm oil up strong overnight, and a jump in the Brazilian real to start the year. Talk of lower South American bean acreage vs USDA projections is also noted. The monthly soybean crush was on the light side of trade estimates and behind a month ago even with strong crushing margins, and South American forecasts remain the same with Brazil in good shape but, light to no rains are seen for Argentina and more is needed. For now, funds are still short beans, long in meal, and near net even in soyoil.

WHEAT:Winter wheat futures are flat to as much as 5 cents higher depending on the exchange. Mar CBOT wheat contracts are up 1-3/4 cents to 4.35-1/4, and Mar KC wheat is up 5 to 4.39-3/4, underpinned by potentially harmful U.S. weather in the form of frigid temperatures affecting unprotected winter wheat regions. Crop ratings revealed notable declines in the ‘good-to-excellent’ categories occurring in OK and the leading producer KS. Ample Global supplies remain a formidable fundamental barrier for the market, however, recent gains are putting the contract lows from mid-December further in the rear-view mirror while putting nearby contracts in striking distance of their respective 100-day moving averages for the first time since plummeting through those technical indicators last August.

CATTLE:Cattle futures have quietly traded around Tuesday’s sharply higher settlement prices. Today’s Fed Cattle Exchange yielded little action with 388 head going unsold. This week’s boxed beef strength, though is viewed as supportive along with sub-zero temperatures hampering feedlot activity and weight gains. Nearby Feb live cattle have slipped the most today, down .675 to 122.675. April cattle are even at 124.100, and March feeders are down .450 to 146.425.

HOGS:Hog futures are narrowly mixed with Feb hogs down .150 to 70.575, April up .175 to 75.025 and May hogs down .450 to 79.350. The Aug hog contract did forge a new contract high of 83.875 on a modest .175 gain. Cash bids are expected to maintain strength today with bids steady to $1.00/cwt higher.

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