Agriculture Market Summary
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TDA Daily Agriculture Market Summary 3/1714

Posted 10 years 74 days ago by

  • Feeder cattle steady to $3 higher; futures higher.
  • Fed cattle cash trade unchanged; futures higher; beef prices lower.
  • Cotton higher.
  • Wheat higher; corn, grain sorghum rice, lower; soybeans lower.
  • Crude oil and natural gas higher.
  • Stock markets modestly lower.


Texas auctions reported feeder cattle prices steady to $3 higher as market fundamentals remain decidedly bullish. Corn prices have drifted higher over the past several weeks, which could damper enthusiasm somewhat, but feeder supplies remain very tight and the market remains very competitive. The fed cattle cash trade held unchanged from a week ago at $148 per cwt, in spite of higher beef prices for the week. Analysts have pointed out that the cash transactions reported by USDA make up a small, and declining, percentage of the total cattle sold. Of the 69,500 head reported last week on the TCFA daily volume and price summary, only 6,700 head – less than 10% -- were negotiated cash sales. The remainder were formula trades of various types. When those are included, the actual prices received by cattle feeders are generally $1-$2 higher per cwt. Wholesale boxed beef values declined modestly on Friday. Estimated cattle slaughter for the week came in higher than a week earlier, but lower than a year ago, with cumulative slaughter for the year down about 7.5%.  Live cattle futures were higher.

Cotton cash prices and futures were higher on Friday, mostly due to dry conditions on the Texas High Plains. Precipitation totals remain well below normal for the region. Light showers were in the weekend forecast for much of the area, but high winds were expected to quickly dry-out any moisture that fell, with blowing dust back in the forecast for yesterday.

Corn and grain sorghum cash prices were higher on Friday, while the expiring March futures contract was lower. Most elevators had already shifted to a May basis and that corn futures contract was a penny higher per bushel. The Ukraine crisis continues to support prices since fewer exports from the region could mean more business for U.S. exporters.

Wheat prices were also higher, also because of the turmoil in Ukraine. Dry conditions on the U.S. Southern Plains were also supportive, but ample world supplies will likely continue to limit price gains.

Stock markets were lower on Friday and lower for the week amid ongoing concerns about the turmoil in Ukraine and questions about the strength of the U.S. economy. Investors are concerned that escalation of the Ukraine crisis might trigger sanctions that could impact trade with Russia and its allies, and slow down the European economy. (The vote in Crimea yesterday to secede from Ukraine and join Russia won’t help matters, either.) Weaker U.S. economic data were also troubling, though most of the weakness is still being attributed to the severe weather during January-February. A consumer sentiment index came in at its lowest level since November and the Labor Department reported that the Producer Price Index fell by 0.1% during February, compared to expectations for a 0.2% increase.

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.