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Hogs: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, February 23, 2017 21:54:39)

Lean hog futures posted a low-range close to finish 52 1/2 cents to $1.17 1/2 lower, with the front-month leading losses. Pressure in the hog market was tied to ideas the cash market has topped, with bids softening yesterday and again this morning. On a national basis, USDA reports bids were $1.25 lower this morning as packers worked to improve margins. But futures came off session lows after this morning's pork cutout report showed carcass values improving $2.27 thanks to a surge in belly prices. Traders also recognize April hogs hold an $11 discount to the cash index, which is too wide considering May hogs hold "just" a $5 discount to the index.




Soybeans: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, February 23, 2017 21:56:51)

Soybean futures faced pressure throughout the day trading session. Old-crop futures ended low-range with losses around 10 to 11 cents. New-crop futures posted slightly lighter losses. Funds sold an estimated 12,000 soybean contracts (60 million bu.) today. Soybean futures came under heavy followthrough pressure today, with the move to a new low for the month triggering technical sales. Another lofty crop peg for Brazil from AgroConsult and reports of record-large Brazilian soybean shipments for January and likely February reminded of looming export competition. However, traders still expect USDA to report solid weekly export sales for the U.S. tomorrow. Adding to the negative tone, USDA projected farmers would plant 88.0 million acres to soybeans this spring, up sharply from plantings of around 83.4 million acres in 2016 and a bit stronger than the market anticipated. This reminds the ample global supply situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.


Corn: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, February 23, 2017 21:56:15)

Corn futures closed 5 to 5 3/4 cents lower, which was near their lows of the day. Funds sold a net 13,000 corn contracts (65 million bu.) today. Corn futures moved higher initially on the weaker U.S. dollar index and a friendlier-than-expected projected 2017 planting figure from USDA at its annual outlook forum. But steady erosion in soybean futures weighed on corn, pressing prices lower in late trading. Selling pressure was also prompted by news Argentina's ag ministry boosted it estimate of the country's corn crop to around 40 MMT, which is higher than most estimates in the market. Also reminding of large South American crop prospects, AgroConsult pegged Brazil's corn crop at 93 MMT, up 22 MMT from year-ago, with exports expected to more than double from last year's shipments at 28 MMT.


Wheat: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, February 23, 2017 21:57:25)

SRW wheat futures favored the downside today and settled 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 cents lower. HRW saw choppy trade for much of the session and settled steady to fractionally higher. HRS wheat posted gains of around a penny after favoring the upside for much of the day. Wheat futures faced a choppy day of trade amid mixed fundamental news. USDA's all wheat planting projection came in well below year-ago and a bit lighter than anticipated at its ag outlook forum today. But countering that was a forecast from Argentina's ag ministry for the nation's wheat crop to hit a record 18.3 MMT. Meanwhile, the International Grains Council left its 2016-17 global wheat crop peg unchanged at a hefty 752 MMT, though it upped its grain crop peg due to improved corn crop prospects.

Meanwhile, a return of cold temps on the Plains raises concerns about damage to the recently emerged winter wheat crop. Most expect damage to be minimal, but the situation limited selling interest in the market and bears watching.




Cotton: Afternoon Comments (Thursday, February 23, 2017 21:58:09)

Cotton futures closed 9 to 88 points higher through the March 2018 contract. The March 2017 contract led gains. Cotton futures rose today on bargain buying following this week's selloff. A lower U.S. dollar also contributed to today's gains. Some traders are looking for a strong export tally in tomorrow's weekly export sales report from USDA. Meanwhile, USDA projected all cotton acreage would rise 14.1% to 11.5 million acres this spring, up 1.425 million acres from 2016. That figure is higher than the 11 million acres reported by the National Cotton Council earlier this month.



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