Grain Stocks data very bearish for the grain and soy markets

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The March 28 USDA Prospective Plantings report stated 2013 corn plantings at 97.282 million acres, which represented a 0.1% annual increase. Pre-report estimates averaged 97.33 million, within a range extending from 95.7 to 98.5 million acres. The quarterly Grain Stocks report stated March 1 U.S. corn stocks at 5.399 billion bushels, which easily topped the average forecast at 5.013 billion (range 4.885-5.248). May corn plunged its 40.0-cent daily limit to $6.9525/bushel in response, while December dropped 18.25 cents to $5.5275.

The Prospective Plantings report stated 2013 U.S. soybean plantings at 77.126 million acres, which represented a 0.1% annual decline. Pre-report estimates averaged 78.39 million, within a range extending from 77.0 to 79.70 million acres, so this result seemed bullish. The quarterly Grain Stocks report stated March 1 U.S. soybean stocks at 0.999 billion bushels, which greatly exceeded the average forecast at 0.935 billion (range 0.905-0.984). This bearish news superseded the acreage result. May soybeans dove 40.25 cents to $14.125/bushel soon thereafter, while May soyoil plunged 0.78 cents to 50.05 cents/pound, while May meal crashed $16.4 to $406.7/ton.

The USDA stated total U.S. wheat acreage at 56.44 million acres, which virtually matched average expectations at 56.414 million. Winter wheat acres came in at 41.988 million [forecast average at 41.79 million; range 41.20-43.00], so that figure seemed bearish for nearby wheat futures. Spring wheat acreage other than durum was stated at 12.701 million acres [forecast average at 12.45 million; range 11.91-13.80], which seemed bearish for deferred futures as well. Wheat stocks at 1.234 also topped forecasts, thereby seeming quite bearish as well. May CBOT wheat futures plummeted 36.75 cents to $7.00/bushel in late Thursday morning trading, while May KCBT wheat sank 39.0 cents to $7.35, and May MGE futures lost 34.25 cents to $7.7875.

Cattle futures surged after wire services reported that Panhandle cattle prices had risen two cents to 127.00 cents/pound Thursday morning. Not only is this seen as good news for late March, it seems bullish for April price prospects as well, especially if grocers accelerate their beef purchases after Easter. April cattle jumped 0.97 cents to 128.32 cents/pound in late Thursday-morning trading, while August surged 0.57 cents to 124.60. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures spiked 2.55 cents to 142.95 cents/pound, and August soared 2.77 cents to 152.02.

CME lean hog futures rose modestly Thursday morning. Bulls likely added positions in response to strength spilling over from the cattle pit and from fresh talk of rising cash values. However, traders were clearly unwilling to become very aggressive in the market before the 2:00 PM CDT release of the quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report. It is expected to indicate a modest expansion in the U.S. hog herd on March 1. April hogs rose 0.70 cents to 80.77 cents/pound around midsession Wednesday, while June gained 0.25 cents to 90.92.

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