AgriCharts Market Commentary

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Corn futures are trading to cent higher this morning. They closed Thursday with most contracts fractionally in the red, after spending much of the morning fractionally higher. The daily range was microscopic! Thursday morning’s USDA Export Sales report showed export shipments for that week totaled 690,824 MT, a jump of 16.6% from last week but still 49.44% lower than last year. Mexico was the primary destination, bringing in 273,900 MT. Total export commitments for corn are lagging last year by 24.74%, slipping a little from the previous week. At 23.766 MMT, they are 49% of the current USDA projection vs. the average of 53% for this week and last year’s 60%. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimates that 45.3% of the Argentine corn crop had been planted as of Thursday, up 4.9% from last week.


Soybean futures are currently 4 cents per bushel higher after seeing losses of 8 to 11 3/4 cents in most contracts on Thursday. December meal was down $3.90/ton, expiring at $321.20, as nearby bean oil expired 9 points lower. The US dollar index is a little weaker this morning. Shipments of soybeans fell 37.5% from last week to 1.261 MMT, down 29.9% from the same week in 2016. From that total 768,400 MT went to China. Soybean export commitments gained a little, but are still 12.3% lower than a year ago. With the newly updated USDA export projection at 2.225 bbu, commitments are 62% of that total. That is compared to 78% last year, and the average of 79%. Soy meal exports totaled 266,094 MT, with soy oil coming in at 11,989 MT. Analysts are expecting today’s NOPA report to show 163.191 mbu of soybeans crushed by NOPA members in November. BAGE places the planting progress in Argentina at 63.5% complete, an increase of 10.3% from last week.


Wheat futures are fractionally higher in the Chicago and KC contracts this morning, and 3 cents higher in MPLS spring wheat. They settled Thursday with most contracts 1-5 cents higher, as nearby Dec expired today. The USDA showed shipments of all wheat totaled 300,811 MT, down 24.11% from last week and 18.71% lower than a year ago. Wheat export commitments are 9.2% lower than this time last year. They have reached 69% of the new 975 million bushel WASDE forecast, vs. 75% last year and the average of 74% for this date. Japan purchased 147,696 MT of wheat from Australia, Canada, and the US in their regular weekly tender, with 95,366 MT from the US. The Argentine wheat harvest is 58.3% complete according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange.


Live cattle futures finished the day with most contracts steady to 77.5 cents higher. Feeder cattle futures were 30 to 82.5 cents in the green on Thursday. The CME feeder cattle index on December 13 was up 67 cents to $154.31. Wholesale boxed beef values were lower on Thursday afternoon. Choice was down $1.44 at $201.04, with select $1.33 lower at $183.69. Estimated week to date FI cattle slaughter was 475,000 head through Thursday, 2,000 head fewer than the previous week but 15,000 head larger than the same week last year. US beef export commitments are now 10.1% ahead of last year. There were cash bids of $116 in NE on Thursday but no confirmed trades.

Lean Hogs

Lean hog futures were mixed on the day, with the front months 77.5 to 82.5 cents higher as back months were steady to lower. December expired up 7.5 cents at $64.025. The CME Lean Hog Index for 12/12 was down 11 cents to $64.86. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was up 80 cents at $77.31 in the Thursday afternoon report. The ham and belly were lower, with the rib up $6.89 and the butt $4.53 higher. The national base hog price was 38 cents lower at $56.61 this afternoon. The USDA week to date FI hog slaughter was 1,866,000 head WTD through Thursday. That was up 12,000 head from the previous week and 102,000 head more than the same week last year. The USDA reported 24,131 MT of pork exports last week, 1.1% larger than the same week last year. US pork export commitments YTD are 6.8% larger than this time last year.


Cotton futures are trading 34 to 82 points higher. They posted triple digit gains in most nearby contracts yesterday, with back months 14 to 41 points higher. The USDA weekly Export Sales report showed 259,661 RB in old crop upland cotton sales, a jump of 39.17% over the previous week. There were also 35,992 RB in new crop upland sales. Export shipments of upland fell 32.5% from last week at 166,568 RB, which was 23.72% lower than a year ago. Total export commitments of all upland cotton are now 33.3% larger than this time last year, slipping a bit from last week. As a percent of the USDA projection, they are 73% booked, with the average pace at 62% and last year at 55%. The USDA Adjusted World Price (AWP) was updated to 65.95 cents/lb, 92 points higher than the previous week.

Market Commentary provided by:

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