Stewart-Peterson Market Commentary

Closing Commentary - March 20, 2018

Top Farmer Midday Update 3-20-18

CORN: Corn futures have traded two-sided throughout the morning, and were recently firmer with May up a penny to 3.76 after dipping to a new multi-week low of 3.73-1/4. The contract has quickly set back to about the half-way point from last week’s high and the January contract low. Dec is up 1/2 cent to 3.98. Corn prices are trying to stabilize after the sizable technical fall-out on the charts prompted by a bigger-than-expected build up in open interest in row crops. USDA reported an export sale this morning with 110,000 tons of 2017-18 corn sold to Peru. In outside markets, Crude is up 1.50; the dollar is up 45 points.

SOYBEANS:Soybean futures are up 3 to 6 cents after holding new support at Monday’s session lows. May beans are at 10.27-3/4 while trying to get back to the contract’s 40-day moving average at 10.28-3/4. The contract had been trading above its 40-day moving average since February 6 and the breakdown below that zone is a negative trend signal. Nov beans are up 3 to 10.25-3/4. The potential for trade wars tied to tariff talk is in the marketplace. However, South American weather and U.S. bean planting intentions are still market drivers. Argentina’s drought continues to be viewed as serious, but rain forecasts for Friday and Saturday are looking very good for some relief for areas missed by this past weekend’s rain event.

WHEAT: Winter wheat futures are firm with a bit of a ‘turn-around Tuesday’ look in the grain and oilseed complex. Weekly crop ratings for Kansas and Texas saw declines and only minor improvement in Oklahoma (66% poor to very poor versus 72% last week). 35% of the Texas corn crop is planted versus 26% average. May CBOT wheat is up 4-3/4 cents to 4.55-1/2. May KC wheat is up 2 to 4.72-1/4. Yesterday’s down-day likely wiped out a number of traders who threw in the towel on their long wheat positions built up on dry U.S. Plains weather. Today’s activity is much more subdued.

CATTLE: Cattle futures are mixed with a weaker tone in light volume. Apr live cattle are up a nickel to 120.275 and are at a rather deep discount to last week’s cash trade. Jun cattle are down .425 to 109.725. The contract fell to a 7-1/2 month low of 108.900 before trimming losses. Apr feeders are up .225 to 138.425. Until we get some news out of the cash market this week, trade talk is focused on concerns over U.S. agricultural exports at risk from any retaliation over tariffs implemented by the White House.

HOGS:Hog futures are mostly steady after residual selling pressure sent nearby contracts to new lows. Once selling dried up, prices were able to stabilize. However, weaker cash markets again today are helping cap gains at mid-session. Apr hogs are up .100 to 63.250. May is up .025 to 70.650; and Jun is down .225 to 76.600.

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