Aug 11, 2017
Market Watch with Alan Brugler and Austin Schroeder
August 11, 2017
My Dad was fond of reading Westerns, in fact that was about the only kind of fiction he would read. In a number of novels of that type, some unfortunate who was not the principal character (like the red shirts in Star Trek TV shows and movies) would be traveling the untamed West and be bushwhacked. While the original definition of the term was hacking your way through uncharted wilderness, it came to mean being ambushed by guerillas or bad guys hiding out in said wilderness. This was a week that left a lot of market participants feeling bushwhacked. It was a veritable crime wave. Volatility sellers in the VIX were waxed by the stock market correction. Grain bulls were wandering down the trail searching for greenery in the drought parched landscape, and got picked off en masse. The murder weapon has been identified as a WASDE report, dated August 10, 2017. Cattle traders also were stampeded into some sizeable losses.
Corn futures were down just 1.57% this week after taking a hit in Thursday’s supply and demand report. The USDA Crop Progress report showed corn condition ratings deteriorating another 1% to 61% good/excellent. The Brugler500 index was down 1 point to 356, which is 29 points lower than last year. That had little effect on the market, as most of the focus was on the August WASDE report. In that report, the USDA indicated US corn yield at 169.5 bpa, which was down 1.2 bpa from July, but nowhere near the 166.2 bpa that most of the trade had been expecting. NASS indicated record yields for 7 states, only two of which have conditions tracked in the 18-state weekly table. The figure did create a lower production number, which caused US new crop ending stocks to shrink 52 mbu to 2.273 bbu, but was still 270 mbu higher than the average trade guess. Also on Thursday, the FSA put August 1 Prevent Plant for corn at 950,344 acres, which was a 5 year low for that date and 8.55% lower than last August. The CFTC Commitment of traders report on Friday showed spec funds backing off their net long position by 17,571 contracts, as of Tuesday. They now have a net position of 67,073 contracts in corn futures and options.
Wheat futures were down hard again this week, with spring wheat taking the brunt of the hit. Chicago SRW lost 3.41%, with KC HRW down 3.97% and MPLS HRS 5.9% lower. The USDA reported an…