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Corn futures closed 4 1/4 cents lower on the week in the March17 contract. Most contracts finished the Friday session 1 1/2 cents lower. The CFTC commitment of traders report showed managed money adding 6,856 contracts to their net long position in corn futures and options during the week ending last Tuesday. The weekly USDA Export Sales report showed old crop corn sales through 2/16 at 743,059 MT and new crop sales at 264,549 MT, both slightly behind last week and somewhat below pre-report trade expectations. Weekly export shipments were still strong, however, at 1,205,278 MT. That figure is down 3.7% from last week, but 38% larger than the same week last year. In the Grain Outlook report released at the USDA Forum this morning, the 2017/18 national average yield is projected at 170.7 bpa, while ending stocks are pegged lower at 2,215 million bushels.
Soybean futures finished Friday 1 3/4 to 2 cents higher, after dropping 19 cents/bushel(1.84%) on the week. March 17 soy meal futures were 50 cents higher on Friday and March 17 bean oil was up 7 points. March meal lost $8.30 since last Friday, and March oil lost 50 points. Managed money decreased their net long position in soybean futures and options by a net 16,361 contracts during the week ending last Tuesday. The USDA balance sheet projections released this morning uses a 48.0 bpa national average yield and 2017/18 ending stocks were projected at 420 million bushels. Actual WASDE estimates for new crop will not be issued until May. Old crop export sales came in at only 413,507 MT this week with another 28,707 MT booked for new crop; both fell short of published trade expectations. Total net sales were only 40.3% of the previous week’s sales. Weekly soy meal bookings through 2/16 were 223,004 MT; 84% larger than last week. Bean oil sales were 28.7% above the prior week at 12,745 MT. All Chinese soybean imports for January 2017 were 7.655 MMT, 35.3% larger than January 2016.
Wheat futures were mixed on Friday. CHI was the weakest down 6 3/4 cents, followed by KC, down 4 cents. MPLS was the strongest, up 3/4 of a cent in the March 17 contract. CHI had the largest drop on the week, losing nearly a dime while KC and MPLS lost just 2 1/2 cents and 1 1/2 cents (respectively). The weekly COT report showed CBT wheat futures and options spec accounts decreasing their net short position by 12,662 contracts week/week. Weekly data from the Export Sales report showed old crop sales at 451,326 MT and new crop bookings of 256,500 MT. That put total net sales for the week up 20.2% vs. last week, and 45.6% above the same week a year ago. Weekly exports also saw a boost, up 61.7% wk/wk at 629,023 MT. In the USDA supply and demand table released this morning, the projected national average all wheat yield would be down 5.5 bpa year/year to 47.1 bpa for the 2017/18 marketing year. US ending stocks are projected to decrease to 905 million bushels year/year, causing the stocks/use ratio to be a projected 41.3% by the end of the MY.
Live cattle futures ended Friday mixed, as the Feb-April spread grew to $8.80. Since last Friday, the Feb 17 contract gained 4.94%, or $5.825, while April 17 was up only 2.5 cents. Feeder futures posted losses of $3+ in the nearby contracts, erasing any gains on the week for March 17 as it is now 1.91% lower than last Friday. The CME feeder cattle index was at $127.20 for 2/23, down 21 cents. Wholesale beef prices were higher in the Friday afternoon report with choice boxes up $2.77 and select boxes averaging $2.65 higher. Beef export sales were reported at 10,394 MT, down 22% on the week. The USDA released the Cattle on Feed report this afternoon, with COF 0.68% above last February. Placements in January were 11.35% higher than a year ago with a higher number than expected for 600 and 700 pounders. Marketed cattle were 10.20% more than last January. CFTC showed managed money accounts with a week/week reduction in their net long position in cattle futures and options for the third report in a row. As of Tuesday 2/21 it was 96,920 contracts net long vs. the 110,074 reported for 1/31.
Lean hog futures turned around on Friday to finish $1.45 higher in April 17, which netted a 3.89% loss over the week. The CME Lean Hog Index for 2/22 was at $77.73, up 9 cents vs. 2/21. Weekly data from the CFTC COT report show managed money adding 1,079 contracts to their net long position in hog futures and options from a week earlier. The USDA’s average pork carcass value was $81.91, up $1.65. The average belly primal price was $6.57 higher after seeing steep losses since Monday, and tightening stocks in the Cold Storage report yesterday. National cash hog base prices averaged $68.56, down $2.17 with all prices reported between $63 and $70. Export sales for pork were increased by 12% over last week, to 20,795 MT, with increases of 9,400 MT for Mexico.
Cotton futures settled 40 to 58 points higher for the old crop contracts, with new crop contracts only slightly higher. The March 17 contracts gained 2.64% during the week, up 1.94 cents/lb. Managed money accounts had collectively reduced their net long position in cotton futures and options by 5,182 contracts during the week ending Tuesday after a new record large net long position was reported a week earlier. The USDA average world price will be 65.58 through next Thursday, a week/week decline but still well above LDP levels. Weekly old crop export sales for cotton were strong this week, as they came in at 367,158 MT. That is a 65.22% increase wk/wk and nearly 2.3 times last year’s sales for the same week. The Cotlook A index for Feb 23 is 84.10, losing the 15 points it gained on the 22nd. In the Cotton Outlook released this morning, the USDA projected 2017/18 cotton world production to be at 108 million bales, with consumption at 114 million bales.