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Market Commentary from the Northern Ag Network: 2/24/2017 2:00 PM
May Chicago wheat closed lower Friday, pressured by commercial selling and in spite of concerns about this weekend's colder temperatures in the southwestern Plains. Corn and soybeans were narrowly mixed, but lower for a second consecutive week as the approach of South American crops continues to weigh on prices.
May Chicago wheat closed down 5 1/2 cents Friday and was down 7 1/2 cents on the week as another example of the old adage "buy the rumor and sell the fact" proved out. After several days of warmer weather in the southwestern Plains, this weekend's temperatures are expected to dip into the teens as far south as the Texas Panhandle, offering a new threat to young winter wheat crops. The anticipation pushed wheat prices higher last week but saw Friday's prices drop to their lowest level in two weeks as the short-covering rally lost its fuel. Early Friday, USDA estimated U.S. wheat stocks would drop from 1.14 billion bushels in 2016-17 to 905 mb in 2017-18, helped by the lowest planting on record of 46.0 million acres. If true, it offers wheat prices a slightly less bearish scenario, but the real numbers will depend on global weather. USDA also said last week's export sales and shipments of wheat totaled 16.6 mb and 23.1 mb respectively, a neutral showing that won't make a dent in wheat's current supplies. Technically, May Chicago wheat remains in an uptrend but lacks a fundamental reason to trade higher. DTN's National SRW index closed at $4.02 Thursday, priced 36 cents below the March contract and down from its highest price in seven months. DTN's National HRW index closed at $3.67 and down from its highest price in seven months.
Friday, USDA set out their predictions for 2017-18, pegging U.S. ending corn stocks at 2.215 billion bushels, down slightly from the current estimate of 2.320 billion bushels for 2016-2017. On its face, the estimate looks neutral, but as usual, it all comes down to weather with the early yield estimate put at 170.7 bushels an acre. Technically, the trend in May corn remains gradually higher, but may be losing momentum. DTN's National Corn Index closed at $3.29 Thursday, priced 36 cents below the March contract and down from its highest price in seven months. Outside markets were quiet Friday with the March U.S. dollar index trading down 0.01 and April crude oil down 45 cents a barrel.
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