Can Government Stimulus Stabilize Markets?

Good Morning from Allendale, Inc. with the early morning commentary for March 18, 2020.

Grain Markets were mixed with corn futures hitting 18-month lows with May futures down 10.75 cents at $3.44.  Soybean and Chicago wheat futures finished slightly higher with May soybeans up 2.50 cents at $8.2425 and May Chicago wheat 1.25 cents higher at $4.9925.

The Trump administration announced a $1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver $1,000 checks to Americans within two weeks to bring more stability to the economy as it is hit by the coronavirus.  President Trump said progress was being made against the fast-spreading virus and predicted the U.S. economy would “come roaring back” when it slows.

President Trump said travel restrictions within the U.S. are also on the table.  He asked Americans to avoid traveling and urged them to “buy less” when they go to stores after nationwide reports of shoppers emptying grocery store shelves.

Russia could limit exports of some food products if the coronavirus outbreak leads to a shortage, officials said, adding their ag markets remain stable and no deficit of grain was expected.  “We are prepared to impose restrictions on the export of essential foodstuffs if a shortage of such goods arises, to fulfil the needs of the domestic market,” said First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov.  (Reuters)

Argentina’s export chamber reported delays in shipping cargo out of the primary port in Rosario due to confusion over a government order to seal its borders in an effort to contain the coronavirus.  The delays come at a time when the export season is not yet in full swing. Argentine farmers have just started harvesting corn and the soybean harvest will begin in the coming weeks.

Allendale, Inc. has released their Cattle on Feed & Cold Storage estimates for reports being released later this week.  Allendale estimates On Feed (as of March 1st) at 0.2% under last year at 11.775 million head, Placements at 8.8% under last year at 1.694 million head and Marketing at 6.2% over last year at 1.787 million head.

Cold Storage (end of February) is expected at 673 million lbs. according to our estimates, total pork storage (five-year average at 622 million lbs., 574 million lbs. previous month).  Beef stocks are estimated at 456 million lbs. (487 million lbs. five-year average, 490 million lbs. previous month).

Brazilian pork and poultry processors have no plans to cut production or place workers on paid leave in response to the coronavirus crisis, ABPA said.  “Our sector is not like that of beef producers, who can leave cattle grazing on pastures.   We are conscious that this is a complicated moment and all of our companies have contingency plans,” said ABPA Executive director, Ricardo Santin.

Live cattle future contracts notched the largest gains in the commodity sector, with the first three trading months locked with limit-up gains.  The most-active April hog futures contract also settled limit up.

Dressed beef values were significantly higher with choice up 15.57 and select up 12.61. The Feeder cattle index is 124.00.  Pork cut-out values were up 1.04.

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