live cattle futures

live cattle futures

April 16th, 2018

While winter lingers in the upper Midwest, ranchers in the U.S. central plains are dealing with relentless drought, forcing some ranchers to send livestock to feedlots earlier. We’ll see this Friday how many more head are at feed yards when USDA releases the monthly Cattle on Feed report.

Cattle futures have been sliding as market watchers expect a landslide of meat in the coming months. Severe drought is parching the U.S. Plains, and ranchers have had no choice but to send their animals to yards where they’re fattened up for market with grains. That speeds up the growing process and means the animals will go to market earlier than usual.

“It’s a shockingly weak market,” said Dennis Smith, a senior account executive at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago. Traders can expect “a bulge in production that’s going to happen in the second and third quarter,” he said.

Extreme and exceptional drought has spread across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s been that way for around six months, and doesn’t show signs of improving.

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natural gas futures news

natural gas futures news

April 23rd, 2018

Natural gas futures started the week in negative territory on Monday, amid speculation the start of spring will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for the fuel.

Front-month U.S. natural gas futures slumped 1.9 cents, or around 0.7%, to $2.748 per million British thermal units (btu) by 9:00AM ET (1300GMT).

The commodity notched its second straight weekly gain, with futures rising about 0.2% last week, thanks to lingering winter-like weather conditions, which has delayed the official start of the storage injection season.

Despite recent gains, market experts warned that futures are likely to remain vulnerable in the near-term as below-normal temperatures in April mean less than they do in January and February.

Spring usually sees the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to this week’s storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show another draw in a range between 3 and 17 billion cubic feet (bcf) for the week ended April 20.

That compares with a decline of 36 bcf in the preceding week, an increase of 74 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 60 bcf.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 1.299 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That figure is 808 bcf, or around 38.3%, lower than levels at this time a year ago, and 449 bcf, or roughly 25.7%, below the five-year average for this time of year.

Record high domestic production levels have overshadowed the fact that stocks in storage are well below their seasonal averages for this time of year.


cotton futures news

cotton futures news

April 3rd, 2018
Cotton prices will edge up to their higher in five years next season, the International Cotton Advisory Committee forecast, as it cut its forecast for inventories to the lowest since 2011-12.


The intergovernmental group, in its first forecast for cotton prices in 2018-19, which starts in August, saw them averaging 84 cents a pound, as measured by the Cotlook A index of physical values.


That would represent a small improvement from the price expected for this season, which Cotlook hiked by 5 cents a pound to 83 cents a pound.


The group failed to elaborate on the reasoning behind the upgrade, although it follows consistently higher prices than many commentators had envisaged earlier in the season, with the Cotlook A closing last week at 89.95 cents a pound.


The 84 cents-a-pound cotton price the ICAC forecast for next season would also be the highest since 2013-14, when prices averaged 91 cents a pound, before tumbling to 70 cents a pound two seasons later as China curtailed imports and focused on drawing down bloated state inventories.


Cotton Futures: ‘Environmental damage’


The ICAC’s price forecast came as it trimmed by 220,000 tonnes, to 17.93m tonnes (82.4m bales), its estimate for cotton inventories at the close of 2018-19.


Stocks at that level would be the lowest since 2011-12, when US inventories were recovering from a 20-year low.


The committee, highlighting a “positive” short-term outlook for the cotton market, flagged the prospect of accelerating growth in demand for the fibre, seen increasing by more than 1.1m tonnes next season, after an 880,000-tonne rise in 2017-18.


“Consumption – which has steadily increased over the last three seasons – is expected to continue rising,” the ICAC said.


It noted factors including “the rising production costs of synthetic fibres and growing awareness of the environmental damage being caused by microfibre pollution”.

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