Markets Focus On Lasting Effects of Coronavirus

Good Morning from Allendale, Inc. with the early morning commentary for March 17, 2020.

Grain Markets traded back and forth overnight with most of the time spent in the green after yesterday’s trade saw May soybean futures down 27 cents to $8.21 3/4, May corn futures down 11 cents to $3.54 3/4 and May Chicago wheat futures down 8 cents to $4.98.

President Trump urged Americans to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.  “We’ve made the decision to further toughen the guidelines and blunt the infection now,” Trump told reporters. “We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it,” he added.

Trump’s administration and leading Republicans urged the Senate to swiftly back a House-passed coronavirus aid plan and seriously consider massive new economic stimulus legislation that was still under development.  “We will be looking for support for small and medium-sized businesses, we’ll be looking for support for certain industries that we’ve talked about that are particularly hard hit. I’ve talked about airlines, hotels, others, and we will be looking at a general stimulus,” Mnuchin said.

NOPA Soybean crush report (for February) showed crush moderately higher at 166.288 million bushels (estimated at 165.0 mb, 176.94 mb last month, 154.49 mb last year).  Oil stocks at 1.922 billion lbs. (estimated at 2.037 bil. lbs., 2.013 billion lbs. last month, 1.752 bil. lbs. last year).

USDA weekly grain export inspections showed corn exports at 978,000 tonnes (700,000 to 1,050,000 expected), soybean exports at 436,000 tonnes (400,000 to 750,000 expected) and wheat exports at 450,000 tonnes (350,000 to 600,000 expected).

Russian grain exports rose sharply last week as the rouble weakened against the dollar, SovEcon said.  Russia’s wheat exports rose 30% from a week earlier to 725,000 tonnes, SovEcon said, adding it had upgraded its estimate for Russia’s March grain exports to 3.4 million tonnes (2.1 million previously).

China said it is encouraging companies to build pig farms overseas to plug a severe domestic pork shortage.  China has urged local authorities to support qualified domestic firms to “go out,” and build hog farming bases in countries where pig products are eligible to be exported back to China, according to China’s state planner and ag ministry.

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).

Dressed beef values were significantly higher with choice up 16.22 and select up 14.73. The Feeder cattle index is 124.67.  Pork cut-out values were up 3.54.

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