MARKET SUMMARY 5-19-2022
Hot and dry conditions have shown their impact on potential Kansas winter wheat yields as the Kansas wheat tour has completed its rounds. The annual Wheat Quality Council tour found Kansas wheat yield potential at 39.7 bu/acre. At this level, this year’s winter wheat yield is the lowest since 2018 and well below the five-year average of 47.4 bu/acre. Kansa is the largest production state of the winter wheat crop, and the USDA estimated the Kansas yield at 39 bu/acre, and its national HRW harvest estimate reflects the smallest crop since 1963. Overall, the USDA tabbed the U.S. winter wheat yield at 47.9 bushels/acre on the May Crop Production report. The total hard red winter wheat crop is estimated at 590 million bushels, down 21% from last year. The crop size may need further tightening given the forecasted numbers from the tour. The question remaining is the number of acres to be harvested. Given the difficult conditions, the probability of seeing acre abandonment or harvested for other products grows, which will limit more potential bushels from a tight wheat supply pile.
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CORN HIGHLIGHTS: Corn futures finished mixed with July gaining 1-3/4 to end the session at 7.83-1/4 and December lost 4-1/4 to close at 7.36. Both contracts finished a dime or more higher than the daily low. Support came from double digit gains in soybeans and gains of 10.00 or more in soymeal. Wheat acted as an anchor, losing 20 to 30 cents. Planting progress continues to move along well in areas and rain showers are also creating delays. Bottom line, not ideal. Export sales at 17.1 mb were neutral to slightly negative, bringing the year-to-date total to 2.362 bb or 94.48% of expected annual sales of 2.5 bb.
Typically, at this time of year, it is tough to talk friendly for corn prices as weather, planting progress, and maturity of the South American crop tend to be negative toward price. Yet, dry conditions in Brazil and now talk of potential frost damaging corn during maturity, continued planting concerns in the US, and a realistic expectation that corn yield, as a nation will be challenged are all supportive. Ukraine remains a mess. Our bias is supportive, but cautiously so.
SOYBEAN HIGHLIGHTS: Soybean futures closed higher today despite a continued sell-off in the stock market, support from soybean meal, and good weekly export numbers. July soybeans gained 27-3/4 cents, closing at 16.90-1/2, and Nov gained 15 cents at 15.14-1/2.
Despite buyers being spooked after yesterday’s sell-off in nearly all commodities and the stock market, they were back today to bring soybeans higher. The fundamentals have remained bullish, so it is no surprise that there was a correction today after yesterday’s low prices. July meal closed up 11.30 at 425.30, which provided support to soybeans as well. Soybean oil has continued to fall, fueled by outside selling from crude oil weakness and India’s decision to end the short-term ban on palm oil exports. This has reduced the crush premium for July to fall to 2.53 a bushel, and while still profitable, is well below the margin of 3.44 seen at the end of April. Weekly export numbers were solid at 752,700 (27.7 mb) mt for 21/22, which is higher than last week and up 65% from the prior 4-week average. Net sales of 149,500 mt were reported for 22/23, which were also up from last week and 45% up from the previous 4-week average. The increases were primarily for China, switched from unknown destinations. Traders have said that Chinese buyers have inquired about US soybean shipments in August, when prices are competitive in the global market, another bullish sign.
WHEAT HIGHLIGHTS: Wheat futures closed sharply lower, as selling pressure followed through from yesterday. July Chi lost 30-1/4 cents, closing at 12.00-1/2 and Dec down 24-1/4 at 12.10. July KC lost 29-1/4 cents, closing at 12.95-1/4 and Dec down 26 at 13.02.
Wheat futures were lower across the board today, despite still supportive fundamentals. The lower stock market again today may have put the wheat market under pressure, but interestingly, the US dollar is also sharply lower. In general, these two tend to have an inverse relationship, so one might have expected more of rally today in wheat. Export sales data did not help the situation with the USDA reporting an increase of 0.3 mb of wheat export sales for 21/22 and an increase of 12.0 mb for 22/23. There was also talk of higher Russian crop estimates, which may have weighed on the market. Ultimately though, there situation appears to be overall bullish for wheat. The HRW wheat tour estimates total Kansas production at 261 mb compared to the 271 mb USDA estimate. That is down from last year’s 364 mb. In the northern Plains, low temperatures are expected to further delay spring wheat planting. Though the Ukraine war is old news at this point, it still provides a bullish backdrop with three crops at risk. Last year’s is unable to be exported, this year’s is not likely to be completely harvested, and next year’s will likely not be fully planted.
CATTLE HIGHLIGHTS: Live cattle futures saw mixed trade on Thursday, as prices were looking for direction and squaring up positions before Friday’s Cattle on Feed report. News was overly quiet, as cash trade was mostly done for the week and the market was developing a wait-and-see mentality for the report. June cattle finished unchanged to 131.500 and August live cattle were .325 higher to 132.025. Feeders stayed under pressure with the August feeders slipping .600 to165.200.
Cattle futures consolidated at the bottom of Wednesday’s trading range, as prices seemed to be in pause mode for the May Cattle on Feed Report. Analyst expectations for the report are showing total cattle on feed at 101.5% of last year, placements at 96.5% of last year, and marketings at 97.9% of last year. The USDA Cattle on Feed report will likely keep the market choppy for the day on Friday. Equity markets were quieter on Thursday, but the lack of direction keeps the trend under pressure. The concerns regarding the economy and the consumer have kept the pressure in the cattle market as a possible recession play. Cash trade was quiet and essentially done for the week. This trade saw southern deals were being established at $138, down $2 from last week’s levels. Northern dress trade was at $226-$227, $2-3 lower than last week. At midday, retail beef prices were mixed with choice gaining 1.00 to 261.47 and select was .05 lower to 245.97. Load count was light at 43 midday loads. USDA released weekly exports sales on Thursday morning and posted new net sales of 23,300 mt for 2022. This was down 18% from the previous week, but up 35% from the prior 4-week average. Top buyers of U.S. beef were Japan, South Korea, and China. Feeders saw modest losses, as selling pressure maintained. The premium of front month contracts to the Feeder Cash Index is still concerning, with August trading at nearly a $12 premium to the index. Feeder Cash Index was 1.59 lower to 153.46. The cattle market still looks concerning for further downside pressure. The macro picture and concern in the economy keep selling in the market in general. The market is oversold, but needs some news to change the direction of the money flow.
LEAN HOG HIGHLIGHTS: Hog futures finished mixed on Thursday, as front-end contract saw some profit taking as the premium of the futures to the cash market limited upside trade. June hogs finished .800 lower to 105.300, August hogs fell 1.550 to 106.975. The strength in the market was from slight gains on 2023 futures positions.
After four days higher in a row, June hogs consolidated at the top of this week’s gains, held in check by the 20-day moving average. Additional money flow may have the hog market looking to recover back to a possible test of the 100-day moving average at $110.00, with short-term resistance at the $107.000 level. Retail prices have trended higher this week on good product movement, helping support prices. Midday carcass values were 1.00 higher to 104.61. Movement was lighter at 99loads. The CME Pork Cutout Index has turned higher and reflecting the recent strength. On Thursday, the index gained .70 to 101.36. USDA released weekly export sales on Thursday morning and recorded new sales of 24,100 mt for 2022. This was down 8% from the previous week, but up 2% from the prior 4-week average. Mexico, South Korea, and Colombia were the top buyers of U.S. pork last week. The support in the market has also been from an improved direct cash hog trade. Midday cash market was higher in morning trade, gaining 1.74 to 110.23 and a 5-day average at 106.52. CME Lean Hog Index was 0.18 higher at 100.08 on the day. The hog market is seeing some buying strength, being supported by a firmer retail market this week and and improving direct cash tone. Price strength was reflected across the entire hog complex today, and the market is looking like it has turned the corner higher, despite the pause in those gains on Thursday.
DAIRY HIGHLIGHTS: The markets saw follow-through to the topside after yesterday afternoon’s milk production report as the second month Class III contract jumped to $24.80, up 23 cents on the day. This came on a day when the block/barrel average fell 2.25 cents to $2.39/lb after hitting a new 2022 high yesterday, with barrels falling a nickel. As mentioned before, the reports on cheese demand both domestically and for export remain bullish which has kept buyers in place. The reversal higher on the milk charts this week is notable, but it is safe to assume many of these contracts will likely find some resistance on a retest of the $25.00 mark.
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