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Corn futures settled 2 to 3 cents lower on the last trading day before the 3 day Easter weekend. Private exporters reported to the USDA sales of 125,000 MT of corn to South Korea for 2013/14. This was under the weekly report system. Export sales for the week ending April 10 were expected to come in between 500,000 – 900,000 MT. USDA put the actual figure at a neutral 794,500 MT (including 192,600 MT for 14/15). Total commitments as a % of total exports are now at 96% which compares to 89% last year and the 5 year average of 84%. The NWS 6-10 day forecast calls for much above normal temps and above normal precip in the Corn Belt next week. This was seen as allowing the pace of planting to pick up, although it will depend on the rainfall totals.
Soybean futures saw some profit taking ahead of the long weekend, losing 1 1/2 to 6 1/2 cents in the old crop contracts. November was 2 cents higher. Traders were expecting USDA weekly export sales to be 150,000-350,000 MT. USDA put the actual figure at 419,900 MT (including 400,700 MT for 14/15). Total US commitments as a % of total exports are now at 104% which compares to 101% last year and the 5 year average of 95%.
Wheat futures were higher at all three exchanges, surviving a late sell off to close mostly 3 to 6 cents higher. Strategie Grains lowered its EU soft wheat production estimate 500,000 MT to 137.2 MMT. Trade estimates for USDA export sales this morning were 250-850,000 MT. USDA put the actual figures at 797,900 MT (including 359,900 MT for 14/15). Total commitments as a % of total exports are now at 96% which compares to 100% last year and the 5 year average of 100%.
Cattle futures settled $.30 to $1.55 lower. Feeders were $0.70 to $1.85 lower. USDA put weekly export sales for beef at 21,900 MT, a marketing year high which failed to do much for futures. Wholesale beef prices were higher today with choice boxes up $2.13 at $225.88 while select boxes were up $0.96 at $215.43 in the afternoon report. Cash trade was reported at $148 today but futures perceived it as the beginning of the end and we saw some profit taking in the nearby contracts. The CME Feeder Cattle Index was down $0.68 to $178.95. Week to date FI slaughter was 458,000 head vs. 460,000 last week and 482,000 for the same point in 2013.
Lean Hogs closed 60 lower to 165 higher.USDA put weekly export sales for pork at 8,600 MT. The pork carcass cutout value was $1.08 lower at $120.08. The CME Lean Hog Index is down another $1.04 to $123.08. Carcass base hog prices in the ECB were not reported by USDA due to confidentiality restrictions. The IA/MN direct market was 50 cents higher, and the Western Corn Belt (WCB) average was up 55 cents. Week to date FI slaughter hit 1.621 million head, slightly below the 1.627 million last week and 1.672 million in 2013.
Cotton futures closed 87 lower to 60 higher. USDA put the weekly export sales for cotton at 230,800 RB, including 218,800 RB for upland and 12,000 RB for Pima. Total commitments as a % o total exports are at 93% compared to 94% at this time last year and the 5 year average of 98%. China cotton futures on the Zhengzhou exchange for May delivery closed 0.29% lower. ICE Certified stocks were reported @ 282,084 bales, with 4,480 new certs, 353 decerts and 805 bales awaiting review. Merchants are gearing up for May deliveries by increasing supplies in deliverable position. The Cotlook A is 1.00 higher at 93.85.