Commodities turn higher on Zelenskiy comments.
After a mixed to firm overnight grain session, and a complete reversal of yesterday, at 6:30 a.m. Chicago time, grain futures bolted higher led by wheat on comments from Ukrainian Pres. Zelenskiy that he believed Russia was sending new forces into Ukraine during a speech to the Norwegian parliament. He also warned that he sees a risk to Black Sea transport due to Russian mines. Talks between Russia and Ukraine have failed to reach an agreement on a cease-fire, but there is conversation that Pres. Putin and Zelenkiy to potentially meet for the first time since the month-long war started. An exact meeting date has not been set.
Russian military actions continue on Ukraine with no noticeable change in its military focus. This is despite Russia claiming that is reducing but not ending military activity around Kyiv and Chernihiv to the north. Ukrainian negotiators were seeking security guarantees for areas outside of the Russian-controlled Crimea and separatist-held territories in far Eastern Ukraine. No agreements on this were notably found.
Grain prices are finding a return of war premium pricing as peace remains elusive. Negotiators will not give up on any form of a peace accord, but Russia continues its Ukrainian rocket bombardment which implies any lasting path forward to peace is appearing unlikely.
Russia’s is demanding that buyers/importers of Russian energy, metals, and grains are forced to pay in rubles according to the Kremlin. Paying rubles would get around sanctions imposed by NATO members and raise the value of the recently crumbled ruble. Germany and EU countries are balking at the demand and grain importers will find it difficult to find all the rubles needed for payment.
Ukraine’s export ports are heavily damaged, and farm workers are on the front lines fighting the Russians, leaving spring-seeding efforts in doubt. Unless Putin is removed as president, economic sanctions will be in place for an extended period. The March 31 NASS Stocks/Seeding report is tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. to help mark the pinnacle of volatility for this week.
Cattle futures marked a higher close yesterday with June live cattle closing above the 50-day MA. The cash cattle market was quiet with feedlots holding out for 140.00. Packers look to be cautious bidders with the bearish inventory situation, suspecting that they can get a cash cattle trade no better than steady with last week. Box beef values had choice rising $0.63 to $264.50 and select was lower by $1.48 at $254.84. The beef cut-out is still holding at seasonal record prices for late March.