The week ahead has a lot of news scheduled for the general economy but no major USDA reports. Weekly crop progress and condition is being closely watched for speed of planting; this week parts of the Corn Belt did allow some field work to progress. Export inspections on Monday and net export sales on Thursday are of diminishing importance as the main U.S. export campaign winds down. Perhaps of most importance this week will be the Federal Reserve’s FOMC meeting, the minutes of which will be released Wednesday. No bump in interest rates is anticipated before June, however. Other reports of some import included consumer confidence on Tuesday, GDP on Wednesday and Personal Income on Thursday.
Last week’s Cold Storage report from USDA reported less beef and more pork and chicken, as expected. Friday’s Cattle on Feed report came in with more cattle than the trade expected. Weekend electronic trade has continued to show gains for both cattle and hog futures as traders focus on lost meat production due to avian influenza.