Agriculture Market Summary
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TDA Daily Agriculture Market Summary 3/19/14

Posted 10 years 99 days ago by

  • Feeder cattle mostly steady to $9 higher, few $4 lower; futures lower.
  • Fed cattle cash trade inactive; futures higher; beef prices higher (Choice record).
  • Cotton higher.
  • Grains and soybeans mostly higher, except rice futures lower.
  • Crude oil higher; natural gas lower.
  • Stock markets higher.


Texas auctions reported feeder cattle prices were mostly steady to $9 higher per cwt, but one location was steady to $4 lower on offerings weighing 850 lbs. or more. Feeder cattle futures were lower in response to higher corn futures. The fed cattle cash trade was quiet yesterday across all major U.S. cattle feeding regions. In Texas, reports had feedlots asking $151-152, but no word yet on packer bids. Wholesale boxed beef values were higher again yesterday, with Choice-grade offerings hitting a new record-high $244 per cwt. Estimated cattle slaughter so far this week is running well ahead of last week, but behind a year ago. Fed cattle futures were higher in response to the higher beef prices and higher hog futures.

Other areas of the livestock, dairy and poultry sector are enjoying exceptionally-high prices, too. Milk and dairy product futures have hit record-highs over the past few days. Hog and pork prices continue to press higher, with lean hog futures seemingly setting fresh record highs on a daily basis. Broiler prices have not set any records recently, but are well above their seasonal lows and higher than they were at this time last year. On the down side, the latter two sectors are heavily dependent on soybean meal in feed rations and those prices have remained stubbornly high, too.

Cotton cash prices and futures were higher as tight domestic supplies continue to support the market. There has been little fresh fundamental news recently and many traders are waiting for the USDA planting intentions report due out on March 31.

Wheat was higher mostly due to concerns about the dry conditions and high winds on the U.S. Southern Plains. Much of the area is very dry and dust storms have caused problems from Texas into Colorado. As a result, wheat condition ratings from USDA were lower this week across the entire region. Egypt reportedly bought 175,000 metric tons of wheat this week, split almost evenly between the U.S., Russia and Romania.

Corn and grain sorghum prices were higher primarily because of spill-over support from wheat and soybeans. Planting is underway in Texas, but progress has been slower than normal due to the dry conditions; 15% of the expected acreage has been planted, compared to 40% by this time last year and 31% on average.

Stock markets were higher yesterday on easing concerns about Ukraine, while domestic economic news was mixed. Traders expected any sanctions against Russia for annexing Crimea to be light and Russian president Putin said he has no plans to go after a bigger piece of Ukraine. On the home front, the Commerce Department reported that new housing starts during February declined by 0.2%. However, building permits increased more than expected. The Labor Department said that consumer prices rose by 0.1% during February, as expected. Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel, also met expectations at +0.1%.

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.