- 06/07/2023 SNAP Benefits Still Under Siege
This now edited report had been queued in the docket for a long time and it was just as well as the recent debt ceiling hike deal should have a significant impact on what comes next. SNAP was poised to be a real hurdle in the next farm bill with GOP ideologues looking for significant cuts. The farm bill is always a compromise between the political factions, one that sees it as a food assistance bill and the farm constituency that sees it as a farm bill. Each essentially wants government subsidies for their constituency but not always for the others. Philosophically is comes down to the conception that one needs to works to get government support but those that cannot work due to health and/or age should not suffer in poverty. SNAP rules were tightened up in the debt ceiling hike agreement so that the GOP could sign on to the measure. That should take the edge off their using SNAP as a large bargaining chip as the farm bill gets negotiated. Then again, the GOP will want more SNAP cuts and SNAP supporters will still not support farm subsidies so there will have to be another compromise. Personally, I support both within reason. Some government spending has short legs but every dollar spent on SNAP returns $1.50-$1.80 in economic activity…some of that benefit going to farmers.
The Iowa GOP controlled legislature actually reportedly introduced a bill that would have prevented the use of SNAP benefits to buy meat. I ...» Continue Reading
- 06/07/2023 Wide Range in Ending Stocks Estimates for Friday’s June WASDE
On the Grains:
Grains are steady-to-mixed in overnight trade as we go to press. Positioning ahead of Friday's June WASDE report will be the dominant feature barring any major shifts in the weather outlook. Trade estimates are out and the most dominant metric for the balance sheets is the bottom line: Ending stocks. For old crop, on average, they're expected to rise slightly for corn, soybeans and wheat on reduced usage estimates. Nonetheless, there's a surprisingly wide range of estimates that allows potential for market-sensitive surprise:
2022-23 U.S. Corn Ending Stocks - Avg. 1.443 billion bu., up 66 million from last month with estimates ranging from 1.267 to 1.515 billion.
2022-23 U.S. Soybean Ending Stocks - Avg. 223 million bu., up 8 million from last month with estimates ranging from 200 to 255 million.
2022-23 U.S. Wheat Ending Stocks - Avg. 605 million bu., up 7 million from last month with estimates ranging from 592 to 643 million.
Somewhat surprisingly, the average trade estimates for new crop ending stocks are also up from last month and even wider variance in the range of estimates. I find the increases particularly surprising for corn and soybeans because initial crop condition ratings for both crops are below last year even though USDA's initial yield estimates for both are well above last year's yields. Further, at least one firm with a pretty good track record on its yield estimates (Barcharts) pegs the corn yield at 177.9 compared to USDA's May estimate of 181.5 and their bean yield estimate is 50.6 compared to USDA's May ...» Continue Reading
- 06/06/23 Three Topic Tuesday
Basis Discussion: Farmers who have held grain expecting seasonal strength to sell into when the planters were running were disappointed this year. April/May is most often when highs are made and this year the seasonal was a bust. Cash markets languished and farmers have borne the cost of carry. It goes back to "short crop/long tail", that when highs are made at harvest, spring rallies melt. I sold out completely in December and did not even carry any gambling bushels into this year. The market had to further appreciate in order to cover the cost of carry and I did not see that happening. End-users do not have their demand needs covered yet to reach the next harvest so it will be a game of chicken between farmers with grain yet to sell and end-users who need it. Time will run out. Farmers who overstay wrapping up their old crop sales could see that grain devalue to new-crop price levels. Our local ethanol plant basis is 85 cents over CBOT off July. They will make another basis adjustment when commercials shift to bid off of September but the cash price may change little. The top end of the range for cash corn here was just marginally above $7 and has been for months. Our local bid was 6.99 at the 614 (July) high Sunday night. My bet is that some cash moved. If July corn can cover the May contract expiration (623), that may be the last old crop sales ...» Continue Reading
- 06/06/2023 Huge Dam and Power Station Blown Up in Ukraine Sends Grains Higher
On the Grains:
Even though the new 7-day weather outlook shows needed rain for the central Corn Belt, grain futures are strongly higher and led by wheat in overnight trade. The wildcard driver is destruction of a huge dam and power station in Eastern Ukraine that both sides are blaming on each other. The Kakovka Dam destruction in the Kherson region threatens more than 80 communities over a large part of prime wheat country subject to flooding and power loss. It also threatens the safety of Europe's largest nuclear power plant. The manager of SovEcon, a Black Sea Ag Research Firm, darkly warns, "This is a major escalation with dire consequences." Since it happened overnight, those "consequences" are still ill defined and the knee-jerk grain trade reaction to the upside despite the better weather forecast.
After the close, we got the weekly Crop Progress Report with a host of noteworthy features. Corn is 96% planted vs. 91 on average and 93 last year. Emergence is at 85% vs. 77 on average and 76 last year. Most importantly, as expected, crop condition fell last week, at 64% good-to-excellent it's down 3 points more than expected, 5 points from the week before and down 9 points from a year ago. The portion rated poor-to-very poor came in at 6%, up a point from last week and up 2 points from a year ago. Week-to-week declines in the ECB were most noteworthy.» Continue Reading
- 06/05/23 The 40,000-foot view of CBOT Markets-Take Six
Can drought in June impact corn yields? The number of kernels per row, kernels per ear and even kernel mass is determined very early in the corn plant growth cycle, V2-V12. This sets yield potential. Granted, it is the success of pollination and the fill after pollination that determines the degree of yield potential that is realized. Stress early in plant development thus impacts yield potential while conditions at pollination and thereafter determine how much of that potential is manifested. Perdue notes that: " Row number is determined strongly by plant genetics and less so by environment. This means that row number for any given hybrid will be quite similar from year to year, regardless of growing conditions. The potential number of kernels per row is complete by at least V15 and maybe as early as V12. Kernel number (ear length) is strongly affected by environmental stresses. This means that potential ear length will vary dramatically from year to year as growing conditions vary. Severe stress can greatly reduce potential kernel number per row. Conversely, excellent growing conditions can encourage unusually high potential kernel numbers."
Pioneer added, "In general, ear responses to environmental stress factors at specific times of the corn life cycle include: ̵ A reduction in the number of kernel rows around the ear if substantial stress occurs at or just before ear initiation (approximately V7). ̵ A reduction in the number of kernels along the length of the ear or a shorter ear if substantial environmental stress occurs ...» Continue Reading
- 06/05/2023 Saudis Break Ranks with OPEC+ to Cut Output Unilaterally
REVISED CORN RECCO DAY 2 Per the special advice revision issued yesterday, we've raised our price targets for additional hedging. We've laid out why we think this weather scare is a 4th wave upward correction with a 5th wave down likely later this summer. We just hedged a third of our new crop at 536 and had set targets of 542 and 548 for similar sales. That's now changed. For reasons discussed below, wait for 548 to hedge another third of '23 production and raise the target for the final third to 576.
This weather scare seems like it could persist and possibly complete a head-and-shoulders bottom on the December chart, which would project to 581. (I'm fading that by a nickel to 576.) I'm also staying with the secondary advice (for those willing to take on the risk) of matching the hedges with sales of $6 December calls for 20 cents or better. That's because once this weather scare ends, I still see a 5th wave breakdown where we'll lift the hedges and take profits on the short calls.
UPDATED RECCO ON SOYBEANS DAY 2: We are able to count a smaller degree 5-wave decline from the April 3 high in November soybeans (April 18 high basis July) to the recent low. This rally too is likely to be a 4th wave upward correction. First resistance is just above 1200 and old broken support sets a tougher barrier at 1250 in November soybeans. Resistance at old broken support is 1392, basis July. We would exit any long August soybeans at that level.
NEW ...» Continue Reading
- 06/04/2023 Special Sunday Recommendation
Time Sensitive New Recco:
The Saudis will reportedly unilaterally cut their daily oil production by 1 mln barrels but there is not a lot of solidarity in the OPEC+ cartel. Others have been known to cheat on quotas. The Saudis also reportedly need $81 barrel to meet their revenue requirements for spending commitments. Funds have built a short position in oil.
There were pop-up rains favoring the WCB with little relief in the ECB. Drought will expand in the ECB while the forecast uncertainty for the timing for relief fluctuates with subsequent runs. *** Our 542 offers for hedging another one-third increment of new crop December corn was just missed Friday. Increase the offer from 542 to 548. Maintain the order for the next increment of hedges at 576.» Continue Reading
- 06/04/2023 Sunday Market Preview
Grains are set up for a firmer start to follow up on a strong close from Friday. The forecast remains mostly dry for the Midwest this week, but the determining influence for the market will be by what degree storms in the South possibly poke up into Illinois/Indiana/Ohio.
In the Headlines
The new week kicks off with an OPEC meeting, where members of the cartel will decide on possibly making another oil production cut in addition to the 2 million barrel per day reduction that has been in place since last fall. WTI crude oil futures spent a couple of days trading below $70 last week before rebounding following news of a debt deal and after Friday morning's strong jobs report.
Export sales were a mixed bag last week, including the lowest total of the marketing year for wheat, but some signs of strength for corn and soy demand. For wheat, prior export commitments are being cleaned up and cancelled or switched if they could not be priced before the end of the marketing year (May 31st). Old-crop corn sales were only about half of the weekly pace needed to meet the USDA's target, but they were positive for the first time in three weeks and did include a cargo of corn priced by China. Old-crop soybean export sales also missed the mark last week; however, there were sizable new-crop soybean purchases made by China. Soymeal sales were strong again and came in with their highest weekly total in more than six months.
Outside ...» Continue Reading
- 06/02/23 Economic Check Up
Corn/Soybean Recco Update:
Let's take another look at the charts: As noted on the generic Elliot Wave chart we are likely in a 4th wave correction. I mentioned 537 a couple reports ago as a technical target for a rebound in December corn and it proved to be a barrier. We hedged a third of our new crop at 536. It could be jabbed which is why we set additional sales at 542. The chart pattern has also set up as a potential head and shoulders bottom that would project to 581 in December corn. Sell $6 Dec corn calls relative to your risk appetite. I would expect such a rally to be a spike based on a weather threat. I will change the price target for hedging the last third of expected 2023 corn production from 548 to 576. If, as expected, favorable growing conditions materialize in the latter half of June, then I would expect a major breakdown unto a summer low as the 5th wave decline unfolds.
We are able to count a smaller degree 5-wave decline from the April 3 high in November soybeans (April 18 high basis July) to the recent low. This rally too is likely to be a 4th wave correction. First resistance is just above 1200 and old broken support sets a tougher barrier at 1250 in November soybeans. Resistance at old broken support is 1392 basis July. We would exit long August soybeans at that level. USDA thinks this is a 52 ...» Continue Reading
- 06/02/2023 Rally on “Pause” Overnight As “Weather Scare” Still Unfolding
On the Grains:
Grains are just steady-to-mixed in overnight trade after yesterday's gains. The debt deal was approved by the Senate and is off to the President's desk for signing so default is off the table, finally. Along with some better economic data from China, that's given crude oil a boost. In turn, that's increased the likelihood OPEC will not decide to cut production further at this weekend's meeting. Meanwhile, some soft U.S. data has traders back to thinking the Fed will not hike interest rates again this month but "wait and see" how the summer economic stats unfold.
At 7:30, we'll get weekly export sales. Expectations remain very modest for corn and beans. They range from a net loss in YTD sales of 100,000 tonnes to a gain of 400K at most for corn, a net loss of 100K for beans to 300K at most. Wheat expectations are least in the "green" at both ends, from 200K to 450K in new net sales.
It's officially a "weather scare" market after yesterday's performance. It started with that hot-dry June forecast on Wednesday and then was fanned by the updated Drought Monitor that showed the drought footprint expanding. (I've got all the detail on that below in the Other Ag Headlines and Hotlines section.) Yesterday's rally gave another shot at executing our recommended hedging for a third of '23 production in December at 536 or better. It also gave another opportunity for those willing to sell $6 December calls for 20 cents or better ...» Continue Reading
- 06/01/23 No sign the Damage to Hog Market is Done Being Done Yet
The hog market is a disaster and losses may persist before it gets better. There have been strong signs of underlying demand weakness for pork that has appeared to defy an explanation. The Supreme Court ruling to allow California's Prop 12 ban on pork sales from hog operations that do not comply with California production standards for sow herd treatment adds another ton of bricks to weigh on the market. California represents 15% of US pork consumption so it has an oversized impact on US demand.
I have been writing about our ability to buy Iowa Chops for $1.69 cents lb. here in NW IA. In looking at pork prices around the country, what I have found is that pork here is the cheapest in the nation. I have also been told that pork quality is the best here. For the most part the production and processing centers for the US are in this region so we are logistically best positioned to have the least cost pork. The CBOT River system prices the cheapest corn in the country with basis radiating from the river delivery location. It is a similar situation for pork here with pork plants in the WCB. Transportation adds cost whether it is shipped to California or Japan. The later of those two doesn't artificially increase the cost of pork. However, by imposing restrictions to increase production costs here in America as the state of California it does. If Japan did this, it would violate international trade rules.
Californians ...» Continue Reading
- 06/01/2023 Markets Firm Overnight on Warmer, Drier June Forecast
On the Grains:
Grains are higher in overnight trade as we go to press, led by soybeans. (The weekly export sales normally announced today will be delayed until tomorrow due to the Monday holiday.) After making new lows yesterday, prices managed to come back and close near highs of the day and now we're seeing follow-though in the overnight. Palm oil prices are higher on concerns El Nino conditions threaten production in Asia. Also injecting a bit of optimism is overnight passage of the debt limit deal in the House.
But I'm suspecting the biggest reason for the rebound overnight is the updated 30-day weather outlook released yesterday. It shows the whole month of June and (not just the first half) will be warmer and drier over a larger part of the Corn Belt and Dakotas than the prior maps showed.» Continue Reading
- 05/31/23 Setting Up Again for Corn-on-Corn
A lot of corn-on-corn has been historically planted where we live in western Iowa. Much of it was the result of livestock producers wishing to produce their own feed. That is still the way that it is in our extended family operation. I have planted corn-on-corn for an extended number of years, most of the time during my 50-year career in farming, very successfully. Our corn yields have been rising in spite of corn-on-corn which can be a drag on yields. Stalk management has a lot to do with it. Years ago, we took care of stalks with fall moldboard plowing. Today stalks are baled for bedding. Stalk removal is traded for manure. I believe that corn economics is generally more profitable than soybean economics here. Corn yields are more reliable than soybeans. My last run of corn-on-corn was because I could not grow $8-9 soybeans profitably so I grew continuous corn. $13-15 soybeans became competitive with corn-on-corn. If soybean prices fade again then the incentive to grow corn-on-corn will return. I will probably consider it again in 2024.
Corn requires more water to grow than soybeans and one response to the recent La Nina and accompanying drought was to shift away from corn-on-corn to a corn/soybean crop rotation. As a general statement, farmers here have reported significant yield impairment from rootworm damage in corn-on-corn. I have grown soybeans in rotation now for 3 years and it was, frankly, well-timed to the 3 year La Nina. Corn-on-corn yields were not good ...» Continue Reading
- 05/31/2023 Markets Sour in Risk-Off Mood After Grim Chinese Data Feeds Freefall in Oil
On the Grains:
Grains are all weaker in overnight trade, with crude oil back in a freefall after China's official manufacturing activity gauge fell deeper into contraction in May and way below economists' expectations. Also adding to pressure on grains is continued uncertainty the debt deal will pass Congress and avoid default, plus hints by a Fed governor another rate hike is coming after all.
After the close, we got the Crop Progress Report and it held several surprises. Corn planting is 92% complete and in line with expectations. Its 8 points ahead of average and last year's pace. Emergence is at 72% vs. 63% average and only 58% last year.» Continue Reading
- 05/30/2023 The View from 40,000 feet for CBOT markets-Take Five
The View from 40,000 feet for CBOT markets-Take Five
PLEASE REFER TO THE HEDGE AND TRADE STRATEGY PAGE FOR UPDATES!!
The global weather pattern is in a transition from what was a strong La Nina to an El Nino where crop conditions around the world essentially flip regionally. Australia, Indonesia and India tend to produce well during a La Nina while the US corn-belt/plains and southern Brazil/Argentina do not. The opposite conditions tend to occur during an El Nino. 2023 is the transition year. The current climate pattern has not yet fully conformed to what is seen during El Nino but is forecast to get there later this year. The timing of the ENSO transition will impact crop outcomes. A dry June actually conforms to a typical ENSO transition. If crops went in well and got started in moisture then a dry June gets them rooted in. If rains then come later in July and August, the bins will bust. There will likely be some places where rains do come too late.
The positive PDO (cool water temps off California) is not what it needs to be yet for a typical El Nino but is weakening so it is heading in the right direction. The water is still relatively cold off California. We want warm water and a negative PDO off California, which splits the airflow over the US bringing moisture to the corn-belt. What we are really talking about is the fine timing of the transition from La Nina to El Nino. If things ...» Continue Reading
- 05/30/2023 Weather, Debt Deal and Geopolitics Have Markets Stewing
On the Grains:
The grains are lower in overnight trade with soybeans weakest. (Before turning lower, December corn did manage to hit and exceed the 536 target mentioned for beginning the strategy described above that we outlined in yesterday's "Monday Preview".)
Beans are weakest this morning for two reasons. First, they're less threatened than corn by the forecast for early June to be warmer and drier than normal in much of the Corn Belt and also by weakness in crude oil and its connection with renewable diesel demand. The weakness in crude stems from several sources. First there's concern the debt limit deal struck by both sides over the weekend faces opposition by members from both parties. Normally, that's the very definition of successful compromise when neither side gets all that they wanted. The stock markets nonetheless, are firm in overnight trade, likely for that very reason.
Another source of weakness in crude is a growing consensus that when OPEC+ meets this weekend they will not cut production further. The global economy remains on shaky footing with Europe already in recession and a new fast-spreading strain of COVID in China (dubbed XBB strain) is threatening to make that engine of global commerce start sputtering again. In other geopolitical news, the extension of the Black Sea deal looks less meaningful with weekend drone attacks on port facilities at Odessa and Russia again threatening to renege on the extension.
Weather-wise, not much has changed for the U.S. outlook. The first part of June is going to ...» Continue Reading
- 05/29/2023 Monday Market Preview
New Corn hedge Recco:
It is time to hedge new crop corn on this 4rth wave rally. I am cancelling our previous recommendations to hedge in March 2024 futures and opting to use the December 23 contract now. I am starting at 536 and scaling up incrementally every 6 cents with equal sales at 542 and 548 until I have covered my expected production. I will also add to these futures hedges with call option sales using $6 calls or higher to supplement the net sales price. That should add another 20 cents or more from the sale of calls which is a risk but that is the game. This added risk of selling calls is of course up to you. I do not intend to hold these hedges to harvest but intend to take profit on a decline below 491 as 5th wave lows are made. I would think that the C-wave would bottom prior to harvest. I will store the physical crop and if we can see 5 waves down for Wave-5 of C, we will try to buy the C-wave low.
Grains look open for a higher start when trading resumes tonight at 7:00 pm central, but action could be choppy if lighter volume follows from the long holiday weekend. Weekend weather updates were still calling for a warmer, drier trend in the Midwest over the next two weeks. Better moisture chances remain for the Southwest. The weekly Crop Progress report issued on Tuesday afternoon will include the first ...» Continue Reading
- 05/26/23 Higher Ag Prices Hang on Possible Recovery for Exports
Poor export performance has been the primary drag on the grain market during its latest slide lower. Corn prices have felt the weight of several Chinese cancellations, soybean demand has stalled out against competition from Brazil, and wheat exports have been underpriced by much cheaper offers out of Russia. One could argue that the export negativity has been fully priced into the market – the recent break from the middle of April to recent lows took $1 out of nearby corn futures, almost $2 off of July soybeans, and about $1.20 away from July Chicago wheat.
RJ O'Brien analyst Randy Mittelstaedt stated in his latest weekly grain export sales recap that, for corn, "it appears more likely the USDA's just-lowered 1.775 billion bushel export project is still in need of further downward revision." Total old-crop corn sale commitments are tracking down 36 percent from last year versus the USDA projection for them to drop 28 percent. Mexico and Japan were still shown as strong buyers of U.S. corn in the latest report. Chinese importers have been cancelling recent purchases, not making new ones, but they have also been taking in large shipments of corn bought earlier in the year.
The soybean export target is at risk of receiving further cuts while current commitments are down 14 percent from last year versus a projected fall of just under 7 percent. Soymeal exports are currently outperforming the rest of the grain trade after 341,000 metric tons were sold last week compared to about 55,000 ...» Continue Reading
- 05/26/2023 Weather Threat Boosts Grains Heading into Long Weekend
On the Grains:
Based on overnight trade as we go to press, grains will head into the long Memorial Day weekend on a firm note. Since the end of the Civil War, the last Monday in May has been set aside to remember those who have died while serving our country. A salute to all of you who have served or have loved ones in the service now. (This AM report will resume on Tuesday.)
Oil prices gave back Wednesday's gains yesterday after Russia pooh-poohed the hint by Saudi Arabia's oil minister that OPEC+ was mulling another production cut. The latest on the budget ceiling crisis is that both sides will only say they're "closer" to a compromise that will avoid default, which is improvement from days of both sides saying they "remain far apart".
Weekly export sales were awful, but could have been worse. Corn sales were a negative 75,000 tonnes but estimates ranged as low as a negative 500K. Wheat sales were a negative 45k, but some thought they'd be minus 75K. Soybeans were the only decent number. At 115,000 tonnes in new net sales, they were at least close to the midpoint of estimates ranging from minus 50K to a positive 300K. Meanwhile, the firmness we're seeing in overnight trade is from the supply-side concerns.
Most of the Midwest region has been much drier than normal in the past 4 to 6 weeks, which includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Yesterday, the Climate ...» Continue Reading
- 05/25/2023 CO2 Pipeline State of Development and Beyond
PLEASE REFER TO THE HEDGE AND TRADE STRATEGY PAGE FOR UPDATES!!
Progress never comes easy and so it is for a project the scope of burying CO2 pipelines from IA to ND and IL. There are a lot of moving parts that must be connected and the process is still advancing. There is nothing apparent here in Iowa that would portend failure for the proposed CO2 pipelines. IA Governor Kim Reynolds favors adding CO2 sequestration to the Iowa ethanol industry supply chain. She is a very pro-business Governor and in control of the strings that facilitate these projects. IA Senate legislative leaders did not allow anti-CO2 pipeline bills into the junket so as to give the Governor cover. Otherwise, she would have had to veto them and they spared her the notoriety of such public exposure. This allows her to stay under the radar on what to many is an unpopular position. She also recently appointed 2 new members to the 3 person IUB board so there is no reason that when the T's are crossed and I's dotted that the projects will not get IUB approval. They hold their hearings in October.
Summit Carbon Solutions has acquired nearly 70% of its needed easements voluntarily from landowners. They are still negotiating with groups of farmers who have banded together to negotiate and are just looking forward to having the most leverage to make a deal. Each group represents several miles of the pipeline route so they should get closer to the finish ...» Continue Reading
- 05/25/2023 Markets Steady to Weak on Pessimistic Export Sales Expectations
On the Grains:
Grains are steady to soft in overnight trade as we go to press, mostly on somber expectations for the weekly export sales due at 7:30 this morning. Traders are bracing for the possibility all three crops could see cancellations exceeding new sales. Expectations for corn range from a net decline of 500,000 tonnes to as much as 400K in net sales. For soybeans, they range from a negative 50K to as much as 300K and for wheat from a negative 75K to as much as 100K to the positive side.
The short term outlook for warm and dry conditions over most of the Corn Belt into next week are slightly supportive for corn but less so for beans. We'll get the first set of weekly crop "ratings" for corn next Tuesday since the Memorial Day holiday will delay the weekly Crop Progress Report by a day. The trade sensitivity to even a short-term warm dry outlook shows awareness that with USDA already projecting record yield potential for both corn and beans even the hint of adverse weather puts those yields in question.
Wheat remains under pressure from what's seen as improving weather for spring wheat country and even some benefit to HRW still in the head-filling stage. Our prices are still so uncompetitive there are even reports of EU wheat imports heading for the U.S.
Crude oil is soft in overnight trade but the energy outlook got a boost yesterday when EIA data showed crude stocks down 12 million barrels, far more than ...» Continue Reading
- 05/24/2023 Which Analog Year Is It…. 2012 or 2013?
PLEASE REFER TO THE HEDGE AND TRADE STRATEGY PAGE FOR UPDATES!!
The trade would have you believe that because of the developing El Nino that yields will surge in the oncoming crop season. During the recent La Nina, the US has had consecutive below trendline yields for corn that USDA says will recover to trendline or higher this season (181.5). Recent drought years concentrated on the WCB and plains states while the ECB generally produced well. End-users have been shipping corn from the ECB to the plain's region via the basis. The El Nino could flip this pattern so that the WCB out produces the ECB. First off, it begs the question which analog year we are following… 2012 or 2013? The PDO cold water condition off California currently resembles 2012 more. That brought a major drought to the corn-belt. 2013 was the recovery year which the bears have been assuming matches 2023. The USDA has committed to an EL Nino record yield which they have been factoring into the futures market. Nothing is ever as sure as the trade being wrong when having become too sure of something.
Trade winds have shifted from west to east and equatorial Pacific Ocean temps have warmed to levels consistent with a developing EL Nino. Not everything has yet fallen into line yet as with the PDO. The US drought has not been broken everywhere including western IA. Dry conditions into early June will allow planting to wrap up but will also bring back some ...» Continue Reading
- 05/24/2023 How Weather and Geopolitics Are Sending the Market Mixed Signals
On the Grains:
Grains are soft in overnight trade as we go to press. A notable exception is soybean oil. It's getting support from a pop in crude oil prices because of the biodiesel connection. The American Petroleum Institute say U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 6.8 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks dropped by 6.4 million barrels. If DOE data due later today confirms those numbers, it will be the third weekly decline. Oil traders are also a bit unnerved by Saudi Arabia's energy minister warning, "short-sellers should watch out" as a thinly-veiled threat that OPEC+ is mulling another production cut.
NOAA issued a new 8-14 day forecast yesterday and it was one of those rare ones that both bulls and bears claimed supported their view. The bears noted the warm dry conditions for most of the Corn Belt promised planting completion and a good start for crops while bulls saw the same maps as potentially threatening, "If they persisted beyond the forecast period."
That might seem like a stretch because the CPC's 3-month forecast through August issued just last week says the summer outlook as a whole looks promising. Nonetheless, the bullish spin worked to help corn close higher yesterday while the bearish spin prevailed in beans.
Wheat is soft overnight as we go to press, but not enough to negate the upside key reversal Chicago wheat scored yesterday. It met that definition by first probing to a new low, but rising enough to take out the previous day's high and ...» Continue Reading
- 05/23/23 Changing the World for the Better
Ukraine President Zelensky has had an extremely productive past several days. After a sweeping tour of Europe picking up $blns in new aid, embracing European heads of state and traveling in donated aircraft, he detoured to the Middle East to scold Arab nations for their support of Russia. Those Arab leaders can see the solidarity of the European coalition of support for Ukraine and economic banishment of Russia from the world community. They will benefit from the loss of Russian production in the global energy markets as Russian production capacity declines as it will long term without western technology. They also get to see firsthand that any Russian military kit that they have is inferior to ours. The Saudis benefit from having US military equipment but then again depend on us to have it serviced and upgraded. Note that there were two Saudis on the latest trip to the International Space Station showing something else that money can buy. Then Zelensky traveled to the G7 summit in Hiroshima Japan in a French Government aircraft landing like a "rock star". Further economic sanctions were extended on Russia to make it more difficult for them to fund their war. They had found ways to circumvent things such as the cap on their oil price and adjustments were made to make them more effective.
A few years ago, most would have considered the current coalition of EU nations that has formed against Putin and Russia would have been unimaginable but here it is. It ...» Continue Reading
- 05/23/2023 Grains Give Back Some of Monday Gains on Crop Progress Stats
On the Grains:
Grains are giving back part of yesterday's big gains in overnight trade. It confirms those gains were largely technical recovery from dramatic losses last week, rather than any significant shift in fundamentals. At best we can say the fundamentals are getting "less bearish" with El Nino raising risks for Southern Hemisphere production, but still premature to declare them "turning bullish."
Yesterday's weekly export inspections weren't bad for corn. At 1.323 billion bu., they were near the upper end of expectations that ranged from 700K to 1.425 billion. Wheat sales actually stole the show for a change. At 407,682 tonnes, they were well above even the high end of expectations that ranged from 100K to 350K.
Soybean shipments were poor, coming in at the low end of expectations. It was impressive how bean traders shrugged it off; more interested in recent soybean meal sales to non-traditional customers (the Philippines and Poland) as the first evidence Argentina's short crop may divert some business our way.
Corn and beans were both helped yesterday by reports the EPA was dropping plans to give "eRINS" (renewable fuel credits) to makers of electric vehicles that would cut into the demand for the traditional liquid biofuels that the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) was originally intended for.
After the close, we got the weekly Crop Progress report. Corn planting is 81% complete, up 6 points from average and 12 points from last year. North Dakota is the only laggard at just 32% planted vs. 50% normally. Eligibility for "prevent plant" ...» Continue Reading