What We're Watching This Week - Oct. 24, 2016

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Soybean Growers Race to the Finish Line in Mato Grosso:


According to Mato Grosso Institute of Agricultural Economics (IMEA), soybean planting in the state of Mato Grosso is accelerating as farmers are increasingly confident that seasonal rains will strengthen. While dry soil conditions caused planting to get off to a slow start in September, IMEA says that 31.4% of Brazil’s planned soybean acreage had been planted as of the week of the 15th. In the western part of the state, 55.0% of acreage had been planted, which is well above the 33.0% completion rate at the same time a year ago. Despite occasional delays after heavy storms, IMEA expects that farmers will finish up planting this month before the forecast seasonal rains. In light of last year’s setback to soybean yields in the state, we will be watching progress in the country’s largest soybean growing state during the final stretch of planting.

India Attempts to Fight Off a Bird Flu Outbreak:


Last week, the Indian government confirmed that bird flu had been detected in the Central Park of Delhi. Initial lab tests indicated that the birds had the H5N8 strain of the virus rather than the much deadlier (for humans) H5N1 strain. The Department of Animal Husbandry in Delhi blames the growing number of cases on migratory bird patterns. As such, the Indian government is urging the animal husbandry ministers of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, to increase surveillance on wetlands and bird sanctuaries to stem the transmission of H5N8 to other regions of India. While the outbreak doesn’t appear to present a major risk to the country’s poultry industry at the moment, we will continue to watch for updates this week.

China Continues to Ramp Domestic Ethanol Production:


Chinese customs data showed that ethanol imports into the country dropped by 91.7% from just a year ago, to the lowest reading since April 2015. While Chinese import activity isn’t a key determinant of profitability for US ethanol producers, the country’s shift to domestic ethanol production is likely to put a cap on US export potential in the coming months. Whether this is bearish for US corn prices depends on how much China relies on corn stock draws rather than imports. We will continue to monitor US corn export sales in the coming week.

USDA Cattle-On-Feed Report Is Bullish for Cattle Futures:


On Friday afternoon, USDA released the monthly Cattle-on-Feed report showing that the number of cattle in feedlots was only 0.4% higher than a year ago versus trade expectations for a 1.3% year-over-year jump. At the same time, new cattle placed within feedlots actually declined by 2% from the year ago period in comparison to market anticipation of a 3.6% rise. We will be watching the future markets this week, as the report should be viewed as generally bullish for cattle futures.

US Cattle Placement

US cattle placement has slightly declined from a year ago

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