News & Media

Market Briefs for Feb. 20, 2020

FSA deadline for ARC & PLC enrollment is 3/15
Producers who have not yet enrolled in ARC or PLC for 2019 need to make an appointment to begin the enrollment process prior to March 15, 2020. Farmers can also enroll for 2020 during the same visit but have until June 30 to finalize 2020 elections. The 2018 farm bill provides a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields, which could prove beneficial to producers.

Corn futures will be under pressure from the initial USDA acreage estimate of 94 million acres, up from 89.7 million a year ago. That total was announced Thursday at the USDA Outlook Forum. The market is chopping along mostly sideways. March has support at $3.75 and resistance at $3.94. Corn use for ethanol has been brisk, but the Energy Department says U.S. ethanol inventory has hit a record high of 24.8 million barrels, and that stockpile could limit production.

Rice futures look to be attempting to confirm a top last week’s 5 ½ year high of $13.86 for nearby March. After a sharp selloff, the market found support at $13.08 and is attempting to build on that level. The February supply/demand report was bearish for prices. All rice imports were increased 2.4 million Cwt. to a record large 32.5 million cwt., with long-grain aromatics from Asia and medium-and short-grain imports from China making up the increase. Total rice exports were raised 1 million cwt, reflecting the robust pace of shipments already this marketing year. All rice ending stocks were raised 1.4 million cwt to 30 million cwt, and the season-average on-farm price was lowered by 20 cents to $13.00. 

The data coming out of USDA’s annual Outlook Forum was not particularly bullish for soybean prices. Soybean acreage is estimated to be 85 million acres, up from 76.1 million, and soybean prices are expected to average $8.80 per bushel as competition from South American beans and a stronger dollar limit the upside potential of the market. It was also announced that USDA only expects U.S. ag exports to increase by $4 billion in 2020, which is a significant disappointment as the USTR has been estimating exports to be up $40 billion. Technically, march continues to be capped by resistance at $9.

Cotton futures continue to show weakness. A strong U.S. dollar and global economic concerns continue to weigh on the market. Uncertainty about when China will re-enter the market in light of the coronavirus outbreak is a negative factor. There are still concerns about cancellations due to price declines and the stronger dollar, but so far they haven’t materialized.

Nearby March is struggling with resistance around 69 cents at present. Support begins at the recent low of 66.75 cents.

Cattle futures have been trending lower over the past couple of weeks. The market has been under pressure from a fundamental perspective from weaker cash prices and uncertain demand due specifically to coronavirus in China. The February supply/demand report increased the beef production forecast on higher slaughter numbers and higher carcass weights for the first half of the year. Exports were reduced due to demand concerns in several markets, including China. From a technical perspective, the April contract has confirmed a top in the $128 area, but has found support at $118.45 for the time being. 

Hog futures continue to be under pressure. The market is concerned about demand, especially from China as coronavirus continues to spread. The most-active April contract has support at the recent low of $61 and technical resistance above $67