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Corn futures traded steady to fractionally lower on Friday. Since last week, May 17 lost 11 1/4 cents (3.06%) and posted a new low for 2017. In the weekly Commitment of Traders report, as of Tuesday managed money accounts were shown to add 58,089 contracts to their net short position in corn options and futures. This is the largest net short position reported for that group since early January. A Bloomberg survey of analysts has the average estimated corn acreage figure ahead of next Fridays Planting Intentions report at 90.9 million acres. The range was from 89 to 92.5 million acres. Total corn commitments are 83% of the USDA projection for total exports; vs. 66% last year at this point and the five-year average of 79%. Brazil ethanol production for the first half of March is down 28% from the same time in 2016, according to the UNICA.
Soybean futures lost 14 to 15 cents on Friday to net a weekly loss of 24 1/4 cents. May17 beans lost 15 1/4 cents, amid reports of rainfall in parts of Brazil. That contract dropped to its lowest price since mid-October. Soymeal futures were down $2.50 on the day and 3.25% on the week. Soy oil dropped 99 points on Friday. Bloomberg calls for 88.3 million acres for 2017 US soybean acreage in their survey of analysts, with a range of 86.4 to 90.2 million acres. Managed money accounts reduced their net long position by 32,685 contracts in soybean options and futures. Their net long position of 65,669 contracts is the smallest reported since early October 2016. Total soybean export commits are now 98% of the US estimated 16/17 export total. That is 12% higher than the same time last year and 5% ahead of the five-year average.
Wheat futures closed the week with losses in MPLS and gains in CHI. Since last Friday, KC dropped 5.62%, CHI lost 2.64% and MPLS was down 2.41%. All wheat acreage is estimated to be 46.1 million acres, according to the average in Bloomberg’s survey of analysts. Satellite imagery firm, Planalytics, released forecasts for winter wheat yield at 48.2 bu/ac, vs. 55.3 bu/ac last year. In CHI wheat options and futures, managed money accounts increased their net short position 20,376 contracts; while in KC wheat they reduced their net long position by 10,031 contracts. Total commitments for wheat are 93% of projected exports, behind both last years and the five-year average of 97%. Taiwan purchased 98,200 MT of US milling wheat on Friday. Coceral estimates EU 2017 soft wheat production at 144.8 MMT, which would be up 7% from the previous year. French winter wheat conditions are estimated at 90% good/excellent, down 2% from last week.
Live cattle futures finished the week mixed with the front two months higher but were lower in the back months. April posted a 2.33% gain since last Friday. Feeder cattle futures saw mostly losses on Friday, with April the only contract showing green, up 22.5 cents. March futures wer up $2.05 over the week. The CME feeder cattle index was at $132.46 for 3/23, a daily gain of 88 cents. Wholesale beef prices in the afternoon report were both lower, as choice boxes were down 66 cents and select lost 22 cents. There were reports of $126-$130 live in KS and$134.50 live and $210-$215 dressed in NE. DTN reported bids of $126-$129 live in NE and KS, with dressed bids of $210-$215 in NE and IA. Estimated weekly FI cattle slaughter (including Saturday) is 613,000 head, up 25,000 from last week and 75,000 head more than the same time last year. The Cattle on Feed report this afternoon showed COF unchanged from last March and slightly lower than last month. February placements were down 0.94% from last year, and marketed cattle were 3.58% higher than last February.
Lean hog futures posted triple digit losses in most contracts on Friday, April was down 2.57% on the week. The CME Lean Hog Index for 3/22 was down 12 cents to $71.29. USDA’s average pork carcass value in the afternoon report was $78.48, up 99 cents. All cuts ended up higher. National cash hog base prices were 65 cents lower with the weighted average at $64.38. WTD estimated FI slaughter for hogs through Saturday is 2,313,000 head; 22,000 behind last week but 147,000 head above the same week in 2016. The largest pork producing company in Mexico is planning to double their number of sows over the next four year, according to a Reuters report. After they are done expanding, their pork production will be around 140,000 MT per year.
Cotton futures were mostly mixed on Friday, as May17 closed higher, but still posted a 1.14% on the week. The Trump administration has signed a permit allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. The new USDA average world price (AWP) is 68.26 through next Thursday. There is of course no LDP. In the weekly COT report, managed money accounts had no net change in cotton futures and options; both shorts and longs increased by 2,040 contracts. On the Seam, cash sales rose to 16,340 bales, with prices increasing to 79.85 cents/lb. Total commits are at 97% of what the USDA projects for total exports, 12% above last year at this time and 12% ahead of the five-year average. The Cotlook A index is 50 points higher to 86.85 for March 23.