Weekly commodity wrap-up

Corn Screams Big Demand, Weather Fears, Supply Concerns

Corn blasted to its highest levels since 2013 with export demand and fears of the potential for hot, dry weather in the corn belt in coming weeks. On Friday morning, the USDA released a supply vs. demand report indicating that ending stocks were below expectations for both the U.S. and the whole world. 

May corn traded on Friday at $5.82 per bushel, up 20 cents from last week. Dec corn was at $4.98, up 10 cents from last week. May soybeans for delivery traded at $14.07.

Livestock Leaps to New Highs

Hogs and cattle rose sharply throughout the week as we enter outdoor grilling season. Hogs were boosted by concerns about African Swine Fever in China (it’s not here, and it’s not contagious to humans), while cattle remain bullish due to weather concerns. The Southwest drought slows weight gains while increasing the cost of feed—a double jeopardy for our ranchers. April cattle traded $1.24 per pound while June hogs were at $1.09 per pound, up a whopping 3 cents from last week.

Shout Out to U.S Ranchers

American beef producers are being hailed as the world’s best in sustainability in a recent report published in Global Change Biology. We’ve had lower greenhouse gas emissions from cattle than other countries for the last couple of decades. Brazil, on the other hand, has some of the highest emissions from beef. Clearcutting the rainforest and the subsequent degradation of the soil and carbon release contributes to their poor environmental performance. Stateside, the growing enthusiasm for methods that reduce cattle emissions, such as regenerative ag, carbon sequestration, and increased efficiency, will help American ranchers remain global role models. For overall greenhouse gas emissions, including transportation, meat production, and industry, the U.S. is consistently one of the worst offenders, alongside Europe, China, and India.

Lithium Contracts to be Launched

Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans to start trading lithium futures in early May for the first time. Lithium is a crucial component of electronics like cell phones and batteries of all kinds, including those in electric vehicles. The metal will be in demand as the eco-friendly transportation sector continues its rapid growth. Japan, South Korea, and China manufacture much of the world’s batteries, while the largest lithium reserves are found in South America, the U.S., China, and Australia.

Opinions are solely the writer’s. Walt Breitinger is a commodity futures broker with Paragon Investments in Silver Lake, KS. He can be reached at (800) 411-3888 or www.paragoninvestments.com. This is not a solicitation of any order to buy or sell any market.