As Coronavirus Spreads, Meat Processors Begin Shutting Down

Good Morning from Allendale, Inc. with the early morning commentary for April 13, 2020.

Grain Markets pushed higher but were limited as the USDA raised its outlook for domestic supplies from corn, soybeans and wheat.  Traders will begin watching weather maps more closely as U.S. farmers get ready to start planting in the next few weeks.

Last week, May corn futures were down 1.75 cents, May soybeans were unchanged, May wheat down 0.75 cents, May soymeal was down $11.30 and May soyoil was up 51 points.

USDA Supply and Demand showed U.S. corn ending stocks at 2,092 million bushels (estimated at 2.004 mb, 1.892 mb last report), U.S. soybean ending stocks at 480 million bushels (estimated 430 mb, 425 mb last report), and U.S. wheat ending stocks at 970 million bushels (estimated 940 mb, 940 mb last report).

USDA World Crop Ending Stocks showed world corn ending stocks at 303.20 million tonnes (estimated 298.50 mt, 297.34 mt last report), world soybean ending stocks at 100.50 million tonnes (estimated 101.10 mt, 102.44 mt last report), and world wheat ending stocks at 292.80 million tonnes (estimated 287.37 mt, 287.14 mt last report).

Weekly export sales showed corn sales at 2,457,700 tonnes (estimated 1,200,000 to 1,900,000 tonnes), soybean exports at 876,900 tonnes (estimated 700,000 to 1,400,000), and wheat exports at 376,000 (estimated 200,000 to 550,000).

CFTC Commitments of Traders showed funds new net position short -110,402 corn contracts, long +17,161 soybean contracts, long +26,165 wheat contracts, short -37 live cattle contracts and long +22,833 lean hog contracts.

USDA reported soybean export sales of 120,000 metric tonnes to unknown, 165,000 mt of hard red Winter wheat to China and 165,000 metric tonnes of corn to China.

OPEC and allies led by Russia agreed to a record cut in output to prop up oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic and said they had an unprecedented deal with fellow oil nations, including the U.S., to curb global oil supply by 20%.  “The big Oil Deal with OPEC+ is done. This will save hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in the United States,” Trump Tweeted, thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi King Salman for pushing the deal through.

Livestock Export Sales from the previous week remain strong with beef export sales at 15,822 tonnes.  This was 34% over last year in the same week.  Year to date sales are at 385,836 tonnes (16% over last year).  Pork sales were at 55,913 tonnes.  This was the biggest weekly sale of the year.  Year to date sales are at 908,353 tonnes (54% over last year).

Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, said it will shut down its Sioux Falls, SD. plant indefinitely due to a spike of coronavirus cases among employees and warned the country was moving “perilously close to the edge” in supplies for grocers.  “It is impossible to keep our grocery stores stocked if our plants are not running,” Smithfield Chief Executive Ken Sullivan said.  “These facility closures will also have severe, perhaps disastrous, repercussions for many in the supply chain, first and foremost our nation’s livestock farmers.”

Dressed beef values were higher with choice up 1.26 and select up 0.76. The Feeder cattle index is 114.97.  Pork cut-out values were up 1.78.

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