[Fri]: Stewart-Peterson says the recent price jump “has been due in large part to consumers buying large quantities of pork ahead of coronavirus social distancing, and subsequently, grocery stores have needed to restock pork very quickly. There is also some concern that the spread of coronavirus could eventually shut down pork packing plants”… [Thurs]: National carcass base down 21 cents… Iowa-Minnesota carcass down $1.19… USDA reported carcass cutout values this afternoon were up $4.03… The Hightower Report says pork cutout values were up again today. The surge in prices “should help spark aggressive packer profit margins, and that will keep producers current with marketings,” they said…

 

Farm Commodity Newsletter/Iowa Farmer Today

 

Fri 3/20/2020 8:37 AM

 

Lean hogs - Stewart-Peterson says the recent price jump “has been due in large part to consumers buying large quantities of pork ahead of coronavirus social distancing, and subsequently, grocery stores have needed to restock pork very quickly. There is also some concern that the spread of coronavirus could eventually shut down pork packing plants.”

 

Pork export sales totaled 35,650 metric tonnes, says Allendale. That was 22% over last year in the same week. Year to date sales of 775,705 tonnes are 66% over last year. China was responsible for 15,724 tonnes of today’s buy.

 

Demand to exceed retail supplies for another week

 

Allendale says demand for U.S. meat at the retail level “will likely exceed supplies for at least another week,” the chief executive of Tyson told Reuters, as the coronavirus pandemic fuels panic buying among shoppers. He said once supplies are replenished, likely in another week or so, that supply and demand will even out.

 

Allendale expects Monday’s USDA Cold Storage report to show 673 million lbs. of pork, compared to a five-year average at 622 million lbs., and 574 million the previous month. Beef stocks are estimated at 456 million lbs.

 

Thu 3/19/2020 4:48 PM

 

In weighted average negotiated prices for barrows and gilts, USDA reported;

 

National carcass base down 21 cents to $56.08/cwt.

National live up 17 cents to $42.18/cwt.

Iowa-Minnesota carcass down $1.19 to $56.05/cwt.

 

USDA reported carcass cutout values this afternoon were up $4.03 to $78.93/cwt.

 

April lean hogs closed up $1.85 at $69.15. Hightower says the market’s short-term trend “is positive on the close above the nine-day moving average”, adding “it is a mildly bullish indicator that the market closed over the pivot swing number.”

 

The cash index and pork values are still trending higher lately, which is providing good support. Stewart-Peterson says the heavy production pace is allowing grocers to keep meat cases stocked, and is also providing supplies ready in case China becomes a major buyer soon.

 

Cattle goes limit up, hogs higher

 

Beef values have rallied over $30 in just three days, says Stewart-Peterson, representing the largest three-day increase in history. “This has likely pushed packer margins near all-time highs and should keep the demand for slaughter supplies very strong, at least as long as packer plants are not shut down due to the spread of the virus,” they said.

 

The Hightower Report says pork cutout values were up again today. The surge in prices “should help spark aggressive packer profit margins, and that will keep producers current with marketings,” they said.

 

Grains higher, led by wheat

 

It was a volatile day in the soybean market, but prices managed to surge moderately higher today. Hightower says a sharp rally in the U.S. dollar could have helped keep prices in check. That was offset by a mild gain for the Brazilian real. USDA says bean export numbers continue to run below forecasts.

 

On the flip side, corn prices were unable to hold on to strong mid-session highs, but still closed over a dime higher. Hightower says a rebound in energy prices helped provide a boost to the corn market.

 

Corn

 

May corn finished up 10 ¼ cents at $3.45 ½, while July corn closed pu 9 ¼ cents at $3.51. Hightower says “stronger global risk sentiment provided many commodities, including corn, with underlying support.” Momentum studies remain bearish, but are now at oversold levels, says Hightower.

 

Until the market sees an extended recovery in the crude oil markets, it is difficult to expect ethanol demand to remain very strong. “Ethanol margins are widening very quickly across the country as profit margins for ethanol production have dropped almost instantaneously,” Stewart-Peterson says.

 

Soybeans

 

May soybeans closed up 17 ¾ cents at $8.43 ¼, while July beans closed up 15 ¼ cents at $8.48. Both May meal and oil finished up. Hightower says meal price finished a wild day up over $10. The prospect of increased U.S. ag sales to China gave an additional boost to soybean prices Thursday.

 

Barchart.com says weekly soybean sales from the week ending March 12 were 631,577 MT, which is 66.2% more than sales from the same week last year. New crop bookings were listed at 69,589 MT from the same week. Soybean meal bookings from the weekly update were just below expectations.

 

Wheat

 

May wheat closed up 26 ¾ cents at $5.35, while July wheat closed up 24 cents at $5.31 ½. Hightower says wheat prices “were one of the major beneficiaries of the ‘risk on’ mood in global markets as it broke out of its consolidation zone to the upside, and reached a three-week high before finishing with a sizable gain.”

 

Stewart-Peterson says there is talk that virus issues may not impact wheat as much as other ag commodities, especially the wheat varieties used for making bread and other consumer goods. They add that it’s “still reasonable to expect a pullback in export activity due to the virus.”

 

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