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Key an eye on cattle futures, crude oil prices and the calendar as world crawls out of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Naomi Blohm, senior market adviser

February 4, 2021

4 Min Read
Calendar concept, white note paper with Feb. text. Colored arrow-shaped sticky notes point to it.
atakan/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Commodities continue to twist and turn as the price volatility continues into 2021. As the world crawls out from the coronavirus lockdown in the coming months, demand for certain commodities will grow, with crude oil and beef coming immediately to mind. Attending summer festivals, gathering with friends and traveling to destinations are top of mind for many. Here's a look at three things to watch as February unfolds.


Cattle futures have been inching higher over the past month with prices reaching $117.62 in the February contract, and $123.90 in the April contract. The theme of improved demand kept a supportive tone for the rally. Deferred contracts have also had a supportive tone thanks to news of lower placements, and lower cattle supplies available into third quarter. We feel the overall tone of cattle is supportive, yet a slight setback may be likely in the short term as heavy cattle coming to slaughter are providing plentiful beef production in the short term.

Crude oil

Prices continue to inch higher as demand grows as lockdowns are easing, with $60 per barrel crude oil on the horizon. China has been buying large amounts of its energy needs in recent month as prices have been historically low. Once prices reach $60 per barrel, traders will be eyeing various types of news from OPEC on production amounts, global demand, and lost U.S. production. If prices can clear the $60 hurdle on monthly charts, $80 crude by summer seems a possibility.

Calendar dates

The next USDA report for grains is on Tuesday, Feb. 9. This is a regular monthly supply and demand report. Most likely it will have a supportive tone as ending stocks continue to shrink. How much of that friendly tone may already be priced into the market is what needs to be monitored. The days following that report are also important.

The Chinese New Year begins on Friday, Feb. 12. For nearly a week much of the country is off from work, and spends time celebrating with friends and family. It will be interesting to see if China is an active grain buyer during this week.

Feb. 12 is also important as it is the last trading day before a three-day U.S. holiday weekend. On Monday, Feb. 15, the markets will be closed for President’s Day.

The last important event taking place in February is the USDA Outlook Forum, happening on Thursday, Feb. 18 and Friday, Feb. 19. Traditionally, USDA puts forth their first guesstimates for how many acres of grain will be planted in the U.S. this spring at this event. Expect big numbers. They also use trendline yields in their equations, so on paper, there will be the appearance of a potential for a large U.S. crop being planted this spring.

At least for the moment, the month of February seems to have an optimistic tone for the world versus last year at this time when the reality of coronavirus was beginning to spread. The question is: What lies ahead?

Reach Naomi Blohm: 800-334-9779 Twitter: @naomiblohm   and [email protected]

Disclaimer: The data contained herein is believed to be drawn from reliable sources but cannot be guaranteed. Individuals acting on this information are responsible for their own actions. Commodity trading may not be suitable for all recipients of this report. Futures and options trading involve significant risk of loss and may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. No representation is being made that scenario planning, strategy or discipline will guarantee success or profits. Any decisions you may make to buy, sell or hold a futures or options position on such research are entirely your own and not in any way deemed to be endorsed by or attributed to Total Farm Marketing. Total Farm Marketing and TFM refer to Stewart-Peterson Group Inc., Stewart-Peterson Inc., and SP Risk Services LLC. Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. is registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as an introducing broker and is a member of National Futures Association. SP Risk Services, LLC is an insurance agency and an equal opportunity provider. Stewart-Peterson Inc. is a publishing company. A customer may have relationships with all three companies. SP Risk Services LLC and Stewart-Peterson Inc. are wholly owned by Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. unless otherwise noted, services referenced are services of Stewart-Peterson Group Inc. Presented for solicitation.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

About the Author(s)

Naomi Blohm

senior market adviser, Total Farm Marketing by Stewart Peterson

Naomi specializes at helping farmers understand how to manage cash marketing needs and understand the importance of managing basis, delivery point considerations, cash flow needs and storage capacity. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Agriculture Business at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville. She has a Master of Science in Adult Education with an emphasis in Ag Economics from the UW-Platteville and a Master Certificate in Global Education, from the UW-Oshkosh.

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