November 30, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 263

USDA Forecasts a Big Drop in Corn Acres for 2017

Grains Swing into Positive Territory Overnight

Grains swung back into positive territory overnight following Tuesday’s sharp selloff. Crude oil catapulted higher overnight gaining $3 a barrel on news OPEC would cut production.


USDA announces a sale of 123,000 MT of soybeans to China.


Palm oil was up sharply overnight but China soybeans and soymeal were off following the US lower from Tuesday. Crush margins and hog margins in China, but there is signs that they are starting to move to South America for supplies.


In the long-term China's grain production will fall by 15 MMT, or about 2.5 percent, in the five years to 2020, as the government withdraws severely polluted or degraded farmland for rehabilitation, a state planner official said on Wednesday. Under the proposal, some five million hectares of land - about four percent of the country's total arable land - will be taken out of production and either rehabilitated or turned over to forest or grasslands,


On Tuesday, USDA released their long-term forecasts for agriculture. Looking at their 2017 acreage numbers, call for a big drop of 4.5 million acres in corn and soy acres up only 1.8. Traders expect a much bigger swing high in beans and a less dramatic drop in corn. Yesterday was FND-eve, sending longs exiting heavily in Dec corn and wheat which contributed to widening of spreads to March and a sharp plunge in flat price.

Crude oil got a jolt as top oil producer Saudi Arabia said a deal was close despite some loose ends. Iran, which is considered crucial to a breakthrough because its output has been rising after western sanctions were lifted, said it was also "optimistic".


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)


November 29, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 148

Soybeans correct lower on Asian weakness

Grains were weaker to start Tuesday

Soybeans correct lower on Asian weakness

Grains were lower overnight led by soybeans which gave up most of Monday’s strong gains. In outside markets, crude oil fell sharply while equities and the US dollar sat in positive territory to start the trade day.


Yesterday, USDA’s crop condition for the US wheat crop held steady at 58% , unchanged from last week, but slightly better than last year’s reading of 55%. However Plains states of OK/KS/TX saw declines in key HRW wheat conditions. Egypt’s GASC was tendering for an unspecified quantity of wheat.


In Asian markets overnight, China’s Dalian Exchange soy futures were lower and palm oil took a breather from 6 days of advances. US basis levels continue to erode on the rally as end users showed sharp declines on Monday as farmer selling was active.


The CFTC report on Monday showed a continued expansion in fund longs in commodities and in particular funds at 15K contracts to soybean longs.  

In global markets, OPEC will meet in Vienna on Wednesday aiming to implement a deal outlined in September to cut output by around 1 million barrels per day from around 33.82 million bpd in October. But key OPEC members appear to disagree over details of the agreement and some analysts have suggested the meeting may fail to reach a deal or produce one that is unworkable.

November 28, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 141
November 28, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 202

Soybeans Start Strong on the Week

US Dollar and Equities Slightly Lower

Soybeans started strong on the week holding on to double-digit gains overnight, but corn and wheat continued to sag. Outside markets saw crude oil trade both sides of unchanged but was heading into the day session in positive territory while the US dollar and equities were slightly lower.


Asian markets continued to show good strength as palm oil hits its highest market since 2012. China soybean futures were also up strong overnight posting a 26-cent advance. Meanwhile, in South America weather continues to be favorable with Argentina getting better than expected rains over the weekend as one third of the bean crop has been planted there.


In Brazil, rains hit 45% of the crop area there over the weekend and the 5-day calls for 50% coverage.  The longer-term forecast of 16-30 day forecast shows wet over northern Brazil and normal to below normal across southern Brazil and Argentina.

In global markets, Saudi Arabia has said they won’t attend meetings today & tomorrow ahead of the oil summit on Nov 30. There is some conjecture this may be signs of dissent in an oil output cut deal.


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)


November 25, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 182

Weekly Cash Comments

Weekly Cash Commentary for week ending 11/25/2016

The cash markets saw relatively small gains this week with basis along the river beginning to taper off.


On average corn gained 1 1/2 cents per bushel, slowly grinding higher for the third week in a row. Ethanol plants saw gains as well up 2 1/4 cents. Ethanol production was off slightly, down 3,000 BPD. Even so, stocks remained high gaining 343,000 barrels. Corn along the river remained unchanged from last week.


Soybeans held onto last week’s numbers remaining unchanged both nationally and at crush facilities. Soy oil continues to get a boost from strength in palm oil market. Wednesday saw the largest movement higher for soy oil futures in the past year. Soybeans along the river saw relatively large losses this week, off 5 1/2 cents per bushel.


The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

November 25, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 188

US Dollar Drifts Lower

Grains Were Closed Overnight

Grains were closed overnight but will reopen for trade at 8:30 am CDT. In outside markets, the USD drifted lower while crude oil was off in early trade and equities were higher.


Lower output of palm oil into early next year and tight supplies of rival soybean oil are likely to bolster prices for the tropical product in the short term after they hit a four-year high this week. Higher mandates for biodiesel production in the United States and Indonesia will further squeeze inventories of palm oil, used in products ranging from candy to cosmetics and cooking oil. Palm oil futures rallied 1% overnight and is up 5.7% on the week.


Russia's food safety watchdog said on Thursday it would have to introduce a quarantine that could hit agricultural exports if there were more outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) at pork breeding facilities in the southern Krasnodar region. The watchdog said on its website a quarantine could affect, for example, grain exports. Analysts said this would be due to concerns ASF - a highly contagious hemorrhagic fever among pigs - could be transmitted via animal feed.


The dollar retreated against its major currency peers on Friday, a pullback in U.S. bond yields spurring some profit-taking as it headed for its best run in almost two years. Expectations of rises in U.S. inflation and interest rates have driven the greenback to a more than 6 percent gain over October and November, its strongest showing over a similar period since early 2015.



                                                Actual         Expected

Corn                                          1,668         900-1,200

Soybeans                                   1,898      1,200-1,500

Wheat                                          712            350-550

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)

November 23, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 228
November 22, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 211

Grains Mildly Lower in the Overnight

US Dollar in Positive

Grains were mildly lower overnight although prices in China continued to surge. The two-day gain for Chinese soy prices is +38 cents and soymeal up $14. In outside markets, bonds, equities and the US dollar were in positive territory while crude oil gave back some of the $2 a barrel gains from Monday.


USDA reported 30,000 MT of soybean oil to China.


Strong US exports and a robust demand from China sent soybean prices sharply higher on Monday. China’s October crush surged 24% year-on-year as the country continues to have a vigorous appetite for soybeans. China is said to be shopping for US beans to reduce shipping time from the US Gulf.

South African farmers are expected to bolster corn plantings by 35% over last year. South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to forecast the planted area at 2.62 million hectares, 35% higher than 1.947 million hectares planted last year, according to an average estimate of five trading houses polled by Reuters. The CEC will announce the data on Thursday.

OPEC experts discussing how to implement a plan to cut oil output are likely to reach agreement later on Tuesday, a Nigerian delegate said, a possible sign of progress in finalizing the group's first supply-limiting deal since 2008. The key issue before the committee is how to implement a September agreement by the OPEC Countries to reduce production to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels per day in an effort to prop up prices.

The risk of trading futures, hedging, and speculating can be substantial. Grain Hedge is a Branch of Foremost Trading LLC (NFA ID: 0307930)


November 21, 2016 | Grain Hedge Insights | Kevin McNew | Views: 514
November 17, 2016 | Tech Talk | Charlie Trauger | Views: 906

Should We Fear Robots and Artificial Intelligence?

Charlie muses on the world of Artificial Intelligence and what it will mean for agriculture and the world

Should We Fear Robots and Artificial Intelligence?

This week I caught the latest Star Wars release on TV and was reminded from the first movie out in ’78, that robots like R2D2, C3PO and the new guy, BB-8 would be cool to have. The closest thing I have now is Siri and Cortana as they are at least called ‘bots’. I do use them both quite a bit to bark in appointments and reminders. It’s almost like the old days when we had assistants that would help schedule our day and keep us on time and tasks, but the ‘bots’ only recognize a few words, and then call up an agent to do the task. They don’t really understand us like our assistants did (in some ways that might not be bad). But, things are changing in the world of artificial intelligence.

You know things are progressing quickly in the agricultural arena as Case-IH recently unveiled their self-driving tractor at the Farm Progress Show. They are billed as “The Terminators of the agricultural world” by Luke Dormehl in this article on Digital Trends. The front even looks a bit mean and menacing to me. 

In other areas outside of ag, Facebook for instance has spent a lot of money on developing “bots” with over 33,000 currently that allow payments on messenger, help companies with the automation of back-office conversations, all eliminating jobs. With 6% of jobs possibly being eliminated in the next 5 years projected, change is coming per this article on CNBC recently.

We already have automatic palletizers and other machines that allow us to find something less strenuous and more strategic for our employees. But the new bot technology could end up replacing customer service, trucking and potentially other areas. Plus, it is hitting Wall Street as well with projections that there will be anywhere from 20 to 50% less data analysts needed in the future. It makes me wonder if the picture below will be what all of our businesses will look like in the future.


Guess we all should start learning how to write code, but then I am sure someone will create a bot for that also. Just speak into the mic and out pops a software application. I hope this does not end with a computer named ‘Hal’. I am not really worried, after all when I was a bond trader in the 80’s working at a bank, we all thought ATM’s would replace tellers. I see more bricks and mortar in the banking world than ever.

This new technology could end up being good for those of us living and working in rural America. It is hard to get and keep young people in smaller communities, but then I doubt robots will pay taxes and contribute to society by volunteering, etc. Or perhaps they will. Something worth keeping an eye on. 

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