AgriCharts Market Commentary

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Corn futures are trading 1 cent higher at the moment. They were weak into the close on Thursday, down 3 to 4 1/4 cents lower in the front months. Traders were taking money off the table ahead of the extended weekend. The weekly Export Sales report indicated shipments during the week of 5/17 totaled 1.469 MMT, a slight drop from the previous week. Actual exports are slowly catching up to the USDA export projection, now at 63% vs. the normal pace of 67%. Export commitments for corn jumped out to a 1.3% lead over this time last year. They are typically 94% of the USDA export number, with this year at 95% complete. AgroConsult analysts trimmed their second corn crop estimate for Brazil by 3.2 MMT to 57 MMT.


Soybean futures are mostly 4 to 5 cents higher this morning. They ended Thursday steady to 3 1/2 cents lower on profit taking in front of the Memorial Day holiday. Soymeal was down $3.40/ton, with front month soy oil a point higher. Thursday morning’s Export Sales report exports in the week of 5/17 well above last year totaling 903,873 MT, with 133,200 MT to China. Shipments of soybeans have some catching up to do before August 31, at only 81% of the USDA projection vs. the average of 91% for this date Total commitments are now 98% of that projection, with the typical pace at 99%. Brazilian truckers ended their strike with a government promise to subsidize diesel fuel. Argentina’s Ag Ministry now sees their country’s soybean crop at 36.6 MMT, down 1 from their previous estimate. The government has neither confirmed nor denied that it is halting the monthly reduction in soybean export tariffs in order to shore up the budget.


Wheat futures are 4 to 7 cents higher across the three markets this morning. The winter wheat contracts were steady to 4 cents lower yesterday. MPLS spring wheat was down 6 to 7 1/4 cents. Actual exports in the week of 5/17 were tallied at 362,161 MT, just half of the same time last year. With just 2 reporting weeks left in the 17/18 MY exports are just 88% of the USDA projection, with the average pace at 95%. If you add in the unshipped sales, just 96% of the export estimate is complete vs. the average of 105%. That suggests the USDA may lower the 17/18 export number on June 12. Russia’s SovEcon trimmed their 18/19 wheat production estimate by 1.2 MMT to 77 MMT.


Live cattle futures were down 35 cents to $1.05 on the day. Feeder cattle futures were mostly lower, with May expiring higher at $136.40. The CME feeder cattle index was up $1.01 on May 23 at $134.44. Wholesale boxed beef values were lower on Thursday afternoon. Choice boxes were down $1.08 at $229.00, with Select boxes 11 cents lower at $204.93. Week to date FI cattle slaughter was estimated at 479,000 head through Thursday. That is 5,000 head larger than last week. Analysts are expecting to see May 1 cattle on feed at 11.535 million head, 4.9% larger than last year. The report is scheduled for this morning at 11 AM CDT. Actual exports totaled 16,137 MT, 18.72% larger than last year. Total commitments of beef exports are 15.1% larger than the same time last year. Cash trade was fairly quiet on Thursday, with a few light reports of $114-115 sales.

Lean Hogs

Lean hog futures were one of the bright spots in the commodity complex on Thursday, with most contracts steady to 55 cents higher. The CME Lean Hog Index was up 34 cents from the previous day to $69.03 on May 22. The USDA pork carcass cutout value was down 70 cents at $74.11 on Thursday afternoon. The rib was the main cause, down $20.50 in one day. The national base hog weighted average price was a penny lower at $64.78 in the afternoon. The USDA estimated weekly FI hog slaughter at 1.833 million head through Thursday. That is up 7,000 head from last week and 63,000 above the same week in 2017. Shipments of pork were tallied at 25,064 MT in the week of 5/17, 14.6% above the same week in 2017. Pork export commitments are not 4.2% larger than last year at this time.


Cotton futures are 19 to 64 points higher this morning, expanding the upside breakout. They posted strong gains of 50 to 150 points in most contracts on Thursday. Upland cotton exports were stout last week at 402,955 RB. That was 21% larger than the same week in 2017. Upland cotton export commitments are now 18.8% ahead of last year and 112% of the full year export estimate. Most years commitments would be 99% of WASDE figure by now. China sold another 30,000 MT of cotton offered at an auction of state reserves on Thursday. This could be helpful for the US export market, as they look to bring in bales of higher quality cotton to blend with their lower quality. The Cotlook A index was down 100 points from the previous day to 94.90 cents/lb on May 23. The AWP was updated to 76.33 cents/lb on Thursday, up 2.24 cents/lb from the previous week.

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