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TDA Daily Agricultural Market Summary 3/21/2014

Posted 10 years 98 days ago by

  • Feeder cattle $2 lower to $2 higher; futures lower.
  • Fed cattle cash trade $2 higher; futures lower; beef prices lower.
  • Cotton lower.
  • Grains mostly lower; soybeans higher.
  • Crude oil and natural gas lower.
  • Stock markets higher.


Texas auctions reported feeder cattle prices were $2 lower to $2 higher per cwt, probably the narrowest price range we have seen for a while. Feeder cattle fundamentals remain very strong, with most of the variability due to the types and condition of cattle being sold and specific buyer requirements at that particular sale on that particular day. Feeder cattle futures were lower in spite of lower corn futures. Fed cattle cash sales were up $2 from last week's average to $150 per cwt on about 1,800 of USDA confirmed sales. The TCFA daily volume and price summary showed 3,700 head at the same price. However, wholesale beef values were lower, which pulled down fed cattle futures. Estimated daily cattle slaughter for the week continues to run well above a week ago, but lower than last year. 

Beef export sales totaled 16,300 metric tons (MT), down eight percent from the previous week (a marketing year high), but up 30 percent from the prior four-week average. Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were the leading buyers. Export shipments of 14,600 were a high for the marketing year, up 10 percent from the previous week and 21 percent from the average. Japan, Mexico and Hong Kong were the top destinations.

Cotton cash prices and futures were lower following a mixed exports report. On the down side, cotton export sales for the week totaled 50,800 bales, down 15 percent from the previous week and 36 percent from the prior four-week average. Turkey, China and Vietnam were the leading buyers. On a more positive note, export shipments of 329,000 bales were up 25 percent from a week earlier and seven percent from the average. The primary destinations were China, Turkey and Vietnam. Other news was mostly bullish, but was not enough to turn cotton prices around. Stock markets were higher, domestic demand remains strong and Chinese economic news was positive. 

Corn and grain sorghum prices were lower due to speculative and fund selling and in spite of a mostly-bullish exports report. As with cotton, domestic corn demand remains strong, but large supplies here and abroad continue to pressure the market. Corn export sales were 745,800 MT, up nine percent from the previous week, but down 20 percent from the prior four-week average. Columbia, Japan and South Korea were the leading buyers. Export shipments totaled 927,100 MT, up two percent from both the previous week and the average. The top destinations were Columbia, Japan and Mexico.

Wheat prices were lower because of weak U.S. export data and the lack of export problems from Ukraine.  Much of the recent price increase was based on expectations that Ukrainian exports of wheat and other grains would be hampered by political turmoil in the region. That did not happen, at least not to a large extent, so prices will likely retrace those gains. Weekly export data did not help either. Wheat export sales for the week totaled 401,800 MT, down 16 percent from the previous week and 12 percent from the average. The leading buyers were Nigeria, Jamaica and Ecuador. Exports of 440,000 MT were down three percent from a week earlier and 8 percent from the average. South Korea, Japan and Nigeria were the top destinations. 

Stock markets closed higher on Thursday as stronger economic data offset Wednesday's comments by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Yellen that the central bank might start to raise interest rates soon after it ends its massive bond purchases. The Philadelphia Fed regional manufacturing index came in much higher than expected. The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes fell as expected during February. The Labor Department reported that initial unemployment claims rose last week, but less than expected. Analysts and policy-makers have largely written off the weak February numbers as having resulted from bad winter weather. As a result, the weak, but better than expected readings are all the more encouraging.  

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.