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Hogs: Afternoon Comments (Friday, March 24, 2017 20:29:34)

Lean hog futures ended sharply lower through the August contract today as futures pulled back from yesterday's strong gains. For the week, April lean hog futures dropped $1.77 1/2. With today's low-range close, followthrough selling is likely Monday. April hogs remain at a discount to the cash market, but traders aren't concerned given expectations the cash market will continue to soften near-term. USDA's Hogs & Pigs Report March 30 will give the market a better clue as to hog supplies for spring and summer. Hog slaughter is running around 1% above year-ago so far this year, but kill tallies have been heavier recently. In fact, market-ready supplies are strong enough packers haven't had to raise cash hog bids to attract needed slaughter supplies. As long as that remains the case, cash hog bids will continue to soften.

Soybeans: Afternoon Comments (Friday, March 24, 2017 20:27:42)

Soybean futures faced heavy pressure to wrap up the week, with prices ending 13 3/4 to 15 1/4 cents lower today. Futures posted heavy weekly losses, with the November contract ending 16 1/2 cents lower. Soybeans extended the price decline this week as massive and rising crop estimates out of South America and expectations for USDA to report huge soybean planting intentions on March 31 caught up to the market. These will remain limiting factors next week, though the nine-day Relative Strength Index is signaling a time or price correction is due. Buying interest in the soybean market will likely remain limited due to the aforementioned big acreage and big crop situations. But on the other hand, slow farmer selling out of Brazil has kept the U.S. shipping a solid amount of soybeans longer than expected. On the flip side, that also means that the Brazilian shipping season will have a long tail.

Corn: Afternoon Comments (Friday, March 24, 2017 20:27:00)

Corn futures ended the day steady to fractionally lower through the May 2018 contract and posted sharp weekly losses. May corn posted a weekly loss of 11 3/4 cents and December corn finished 10 1/2 cents lower for the week. Bears clearly have technical momentum on their side, especially with large speculative traders building their net short position. Focus in the market next week will be on evening positions ahead of USDA's March 31 reports, which will direct price action through spring. Traders expect USDA to reflect producers plan to plant fewer corn acres than last year. March 1 stocks data also has the potential to be market-moving. The results of the March 31 reports will set the market tone for this period, but traders will also be keeping a close eye on the weather -- for the U.S. and South America. More forecasters are talking about the potential for a "stormy" weather pattern setting up across the Corn Belt this spring, which if realized, could make it difficult to get all the intended corn acres planted. But if timely rains continue for Brazil's safrinha corn crop, any planting delays in the U.S. would seem less worrisome.

Wheat: Afternoon Comments (Friday, March 24, 2017 20:28:20)

Winter wheat futures enjoyed slight gains today, while spring wheat came under pressure amid spread trading. SRW wheat finished around 3 cents higher, while HRW wheat ended steady to fractionally higher. HRS wheat posted gains of 4 1/2 to 5 cents. For the week, the SRW wheat market posted losses around a dime in nearby contracts. The first of several storm systems is hitting the Plains today. Attention next week will be on accumulation amounts and how widespread the rains were, as the latest Drought Monitor showed the spread of drought across the region and a drop in the condition ratings for the winter wheat crop. USDA's March 31 Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks Reports at the end of March typically set the price tone heading into spring. Both spring and winter wheat acres are likely to be down from year-ago levels, but hefty quarterly grain stocks should counter that data.

Cotton: Afternoon Comments (Friday, March 24, 2017 20:28:58)

Cotton futures favored the upside to wrap up the week, but the market trimmed losses at the close to end steady to 26 points higher for the day. Cotton futures posted slight losses for the week. Attention next week will be squarely on preparations for and reaction to USDA's Prospective Plantings Report. Cotton planting intentions will be up notably from 2016 -- the question is by how much. Our survey work shows cotton plantings will likely come in around 11.6 million acres. USDA will also release its Quarterly Grain Stocks Report on Friday, which could hold some positive data for cotton as demand for the fiber has been strong. Friday's batch of reports typically sets the tone for price action into spring, and prices have been consolidating in anticipation of this cue. A planted acreage peg closer to 12 million acres could cause the market to tumble, while one more in the 11 million-acre range could have traders renewing the uptrend. USDA's weekly updates on planting progress that begins in early April will also be in focus moving forward. is your source for ag news and information on crop pest identification, commodity and market prices, agricultural news & issues, and access to crop production management tools such as crop yield & planting calculators and herbicide, fungicide, and weed control information.