Agriculture Market Summary
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TDA Daily Agriculture Market Summary 3/14/14

Posted 10 years 77 days ago by

  • Feeder cattle mostly steady to $5 higher, few $2 lower; futures mostly higher.
  • Fed cattle cash trade unchanged; futures mixed; beef prices near unchanged.
  • Cotton lower.
  • Grains unchanged to lower; soybeans higher.
  • Crude oil higher; natural gas lower.
  • Stock markets lower.


Texas auctions reported feeder cattle prices mostly steady to $5 higher, though one location was steady to $2 lower. Market fundamentals are still very supportive, but as noted previously, fluctuations and occasional lower prices are inevitable. Everybody can’t set record highs every day. Fed cattle cash prices were unchanged from last week’s average at $148 per cwt on only 700 head, according to the TCFA daily volume and price summary. Wholesale boxed beef values were near unchanged, with Choice offerings slightly lower and Select-grade cuts slightly higher. Estimated cattle slaughter for the week-to-date totaled 446,000 head, up from the same period a week ago, but lower than last year. Fed cattle futures were mixed, 25 cents lower to 20 cents higher per cwt. The stagnant beef values pressured prices, but high hog futures limited losses. Beef export sales of 17,700 metric tons (MT) were a marketing year high, up 60 percent from the previous week and 44 percent from the prior four-week average. Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were the leading buyers. Shipments also set a marketing year high at 13,200 MT, up 16 percent from a week ago and 13 percent from the average. Top destinations were Japan, Hong Kong and Mexico.

Cotton cash prices and futures were lower, mostly due to steeply lower equity markets and mixed export data. (See stock market comments below. For many analysts, stock markets and other economic indicators are a proxy for cotton demand, reasoning that strong financial conditions lead to more disposable income with which to purchase textiles, and vice versa.) Cotton export data were mixed. Current week sales and shipments were lower than a week ago, but still higher than the weekly averages needed to meet USDA projections for the marketing year and both are also progressing ahead of last year’s pace. Upland cotton export sales totaled 60,000 bales, down 62 percent from a week ago and 36 percent from the prior four-week average. Thailand, Mexico and China were the leading buyers. Shipments totaled 264,200 bales, down 27 percent from the previous week and 19 percent from the average. The primary destinations were Turkey, China and Vietnam.

Wheat prices were 9-11 cents lower yesterday mostly due to speculative profit-taking on the underlying futures contract. The situation in Ukraine and concerns about dry conditions on the U.S. Plains remained supportive. Export data were called neutral and reportedly had little impact on prices yesterday. Wheat export sales of 476,900 MT were down 14 percent from a week ago and two percent from the prior four-week average. Nigeria, Taiwan and Indonesia were the leading buyers. Export shipments of 455,700 MT were down 28 percent from the previous week and two percent from the average. Top destinations were Mexico, Indonesia and Japan.

Corn and grain sorghum prices were unchanged to lower, also due to speculative profit-taking (and lower wheat prices). Export data were considered neutral to supportive, but large world corn supplies kept overall market fundamentals bearish and limited gains. Higher soybean prices likely limited losses. Corn export sales totaled 683,000 MT, down 55 percent from the previous week and 37 percent from the prior four-week average. China, South Korea and Taiwan were the leading buyers. Shipments of 907,400 MT were down 20 percent from a week ago and two percent from the average. Japan, Taiwan and Mexico were the top destinations.

Stock markets posted steep losses yesterday with the Dow lower by 231 points as concerns about China’s economy outweighed mostly-positive U.S. economic data. Reports said that Chinese industrial output during January-February  rose by a lower than expected 8.9%. That added to a recent string of disappointing data, leading to “concerns about whether the pace of growth in the world’s second biggest economy will sharply slow down.” On the domestic front, the Labor Department reported that new unemployment claims declined last week, compared to expectations for an increase. The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose more than expected during February. The Labor Department also said that both import and export prices rose more than expected during February.

Disclaimer: The information compiled in the Daily Market Summary is obtained from a variety of sources, including those available on the Internet, that are believed to be reliable and accurate, but are in no way guaranteed. This information is intended to provide only a summary of market trends and a daily snapshot of agricultural markets and economic indicators. It should not be relied upon as a sole source of market information. Commentary is the author’s alone and does not in any way convey official TDA policies.