Agriculture Market Summary
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TDA Daily Market Summary, 2/19/2014

Posted 10 years 128 days ago by



·         Feeder cattle auctions steady to $4 higher; futures higher.

·         Fed cattle cash trade inactive; futures higher; beef prices higher.

·         Cotton higher.

·         Grains and soybeans higher.

·         Crude oil and natural gas higher.

·         Stock markets mostly higher.


Texas feeder cattle auctions reported prices steady to $4 higher, with receipts returning to more-normal levels following a couple weeks of weather-related disruptions. Market fundamentals remain bullish with tight supplies, good demand, high fed cattle prices and low grain prices continuing to support feeder prices. The fed cattle cash trade remained inactive yesterday with asking prices in the $144-$145 range, but no word yet on packer bids. The TCFA daily volume and price summary shows 57,400 head in formula trades this week, up from 56,900 last week. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher again yesterday. Estimated daily cattle slaughter through Tuesday is higher than a week ago, but still well behind last year’s levels. Both fed cattle and feeder cattle futures were solidly higher.

Cotton cash prices and futures were higher mostly due to speculative activity, with one source noting that the price rally “has muted (textile) mill demand.” In its weekly cotton update, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service said that in its East Texas-Oklahoma region, growers were preparing for planting which is set to begin within the next few weeks in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and Coastal Bend. The report said that farmers “continued to hope for abundant rainfall to improve subsoil moisture before planting.” In West Texas, more gins completed operations for the season.

Wheat prices were higher amid ongoing concerns about winter freeze damage, transportation issues in Canada and active export trade. Weekly export inspections were down from the previous week, but cumulative inspections for the marketing year total nearly 23 million metric tons, 29% higher than during the same period a year ago.

Corn and grain sorghum prices were higher after export inspections came in near pre-report expectations. Corn inspections were less than half the previous week total, but cumulative inspections for the marketing year are nearly double a year ago. Wire service reports noted that “While exports to China have remained elusive in recent weeks, other countries like Colombia, Mexico, Japan and Korea have continued to import large quantities of U.S. corn.” Strong ethanol demand and higher ethanol futures prices were also supportive.

Stock markets closed mostly higher yesterday, with only the blue chip Dow-Jones Industrial Average posting a modest decline. The New York Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell much more than expected for February, but analysts pinned much of the blame on the weather. Coca-Cola posted quarterly earnings that matched expectations on lower than expected sales. The National Association of Home Builders market index for February fell much more than expected to its lowest reading in nine months, “amid severe weather, worker shortages and limited availability of land.”

USDA NASS will issue a preliminary 2012 Census of Agriculture report tomorrow afternoon, Feb. 20. According to an agency press release, “The data will include number of farms, land in farms (acreage), market value of agricultural products sold including government payments, and demographics at the state and national levels and for Puerto Rico. USDA will release the full Census results, including data to the county level, later in the spring.”

The DTN fertilizer survey showed higher prices in February. “All but one of the major fertilizers had higher prices compared to a month earlier. Leading the way higher once again is urea. The nitrogen fertilizer was 9% higher compared to the previous month and now has an average price of $509 per ton.”

From the weekly recap,
           For the week ending Feb. 15, 2014, Texas feeder cattle auctions reported prices mostly steady to $10 higher per hundredweight (cwt), with the market generally stronger later in the week. A number of locations reported smaller than usual receipts as inclement weather limited cattle movement. Texas direct feeder cattle prices were mostly steady. Fed cattle cash prices were $1 higher in spite of lower wholesale beef values. Prices across the cattle sector remain at historically high levels as tight supplies and strong demand continue to support the market. Beef export sales for the week totaled 16,600 metric tons (MT), more than double the previous week and 38 percent higher than the prior four-week average. Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were the leading buyers. Shipments of 11,900 MT were down three percent from a week earlier and two percent from the average.

Cotton cash prices ended the week unchanged, and futures prices were modestly higher. The USDA supply and demand report on Monday left U.S. projected ending stocks unchanged, but reduced the expected world carryover. Strong export demand from countries other than China also was supportive. Export sales were down 33 percent from the previous week and 65 percent from the four-week average as the Lunar New Year holiday slowed business with China. However, commitments for the marketing year have now reached 88 percent of the expected total, compared to 82 percent at this time last year. Turkey, Bangladesh and Mexico were the leading cotton buyers. Export shipments of 336,600 bales were down six percent from last week’s marketing year high, but 21 percent higher than the four-week average and well above the weekly total needed to meet USDA projections for the marketing year. China, Turkey, Vietnam and Mexico were the top destinations.

Corn and grain sorghum prices were unchanged to modestly higher due to strong export data and lower than expected U.S. and world projected ending stocks. However, ample world supplies limited the gains. Weekly corn export sales were on the high end of expectations at 1.3 million MT, down 25 percent from the previous week, but up one percent from the prior four-week average. Exports of 952,500 MT were up 28 percent from a week earlier and 18 percent from the average. The top destinations were Mexico, Japan and South Korea.

Wheat prices were higher due to ongoing concerns about possible winter freeze damage on the U.S. Plains and in the Black Sea region. Wheat export sales for the week totaled 597,000 MT, down seven percent from the previous week, but up 12 percent from the prior four-week average. Shipments of 403,700 MT were up 10 percent from a week earlier, but down eight percent from the average. Mexico, Japan and Venezuela were the top destinations.

Pine saw logs for the November-December period up two percent from the last period, but down 19 percent from a year ago. Pine pulpwood prices increased three percent from the last period and five percent from a year ago.

Areas of East Texas received one-half inch or more of precipitation during the week, but little or no moisture was recorded elsewhere in the state.  Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor (click here for the Texas map or here for the U.S. map and summary) showed further deterioration in conditions in Texas, with the area of the state rated as abnormally dry or in drought up 3 points to 88%. The areas rated in moderate, severe and extreme drought increased and the percentage in exceptional drought remained unchanged. The drought-free area in East Texas was smaller, though conditions did show some improvement in the far northeast corner of the state. Nationally, 55% of the contiguous states were reported in some degree of abnormal dryness or drought, down 1 point from a week ago.