After the Bell | February 15, 2022
Corn: March corn futures fell 17 3/4 cents to $6.38, the lowest closing price in a week. December corn fell 8 1/2 cents to $5.89 3/4. Heavy profit-taking and long liquidation weighed on corn futures following last week's rally to contract highs, while weakness in other major commodities and apparent easing of Russia-Ukraine tensions contributed to pressure on grain markets. Drought-related crop damage in South America continues to support futures, though losses are likely factored into current price levels. Crop consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier kept his Brazilian corn crop estimate at 112 MMT but cut his Argentine corn crop forecast by 1 MMT, to 50 MMT.
Soybeans: March soybean futures fell 18 3/4 cents to $15.51 1/4, the contract’s lowest closing price since $15.44 1/4 on Feb. 3. March soybean meal fell $9.60 to $438.80 per ton. March soyoil fell 18 points to 65.63 cents. March soybeans fell to the lowest levels in over a week as eroding chart patterns encouraged fund liquidation. Cordonnier lowered his Brazilian soybean crop estimate by 6 MMT to 124 MMT, saying conditions in southern Brazil are worse than expected and there may be additional yield losses due to drought. He also lowered his Argentine soybean crop forecast by 2 MMT to 40 MMT.
Wheat: March SRW wheat fell 19 1/2 cents to $7.79 3/4. March HRW wheat fell 22 1/2 cents to $8.06. March spring wheat tumbled 23 cents to $9.53 per bushel. Wheat futures fell on apparent easing of Russia-Ukraine tensions and general commodity market weakness. Reports early today said Russian troops were backing away from the Ukrainian border, which followed recent comments from Russian officials that diplomacy may be a way to move forward.
Cotton: March cotton futures fell 11 points to 123.04 cents per pound, while December futures rose 54 points to 104.08 cents. Cotton futures were pressured by broad commodity sector weakness that was led by a drop of over $3 in Nymex crude oil, though selling in cotton was limited by weakness in the U.S. dollar. The ongoing roll of positions from the expiring March contract and into its deferred counterparts also factored into price action. First notice day for the March contract is Feb. 22.
Cattle: April live cattle rose 55 cents to $146.90, while March feeder cattle rose $1.85 to $168.725, the contract’s highest closing price since Jan. 3. Anticipation of continued cash market strength boosted live cattle futures, as illustrated by the February contract’s $2.50 premium to last week’s live steer average of $140.48. This week’s cash trade has yet to establish. Wholesale beef extended a three-week slide as meatpackers continue to cut prices to move product. Choice cutout values fell $3.59 today to an average of $270.37, the lowest since Jan. 6, though movement was strong at 165 loads.
Hogs: April lean hog futures rose $1.825 to $104.15, the contract’s highest closing price since Jan. 9. Hog futures rose for a second consecutive day behind cash market strength and bullish technicals that helped fuel the steep rally over the past month. Today’s CME lean hog index rose $1.59 to $90.51, the highest since Oct. 8, and the cash benchmark is expected to jump another $1.33 tomorrow. Meatpackers have accelerated slaughter and continue to move product at higher prices, indicating firm retail demand. Pork cutout values fell $1.26 today to $106.72, still near a fourth-month high hit Feb. 11. Movement totaled 325 loads.