Corn Lower Again in the Overnight
The corn market is pressured again this morning by the rising concern of bird flu and its effects on U.S. poultry
In the overnight session the grains were mixed with corn down 1 3/4 cents, soybeans down 3 3/4 cents and wheat up 1 1/4 cents going into this morning’s pause in trading. The U.S dollar is trading mostly unchanged and crude oil is off .25 percent.
Concerns about the reaction to the bird flu have the corn market nervous that feed use for hens could start to slow. Although the number of birds killed by the flu may not directly affect the feed use in a big way, the reaction by importers could hurt the demand for U.S poultry. Mexico in response to the growing cases of bird flu has stopped all imports of live birds and eggs from the state of Iowa.
Precipitation throughout the Midwest is expected over the weekend and again in the middle of next week. Heavier precipitation in the western grain belt is forecast later in the 11-15 day outlook. The U.S is now 9 percent planted for corn, just behind the four year average of 13 percent at this point of the season. There are no significant planting delays expected in the forecast. The plains should continue to receive precipitation throughout next week which helps limit the stress on the winter wheat crop.
Reports of Bird Flu
Cody takes a look at how the news of bird flu will affect feed usage and discusses the Brazilian Real.
Winter Wheat Conditions Unchanged
On Monday the USDA's crop progress report pointed to an unchanged winter wheat rating despite the rain that went through the plains last week.
The grains are all trading lower in the overnight with corn down 3 3/4 cents, soybeans down 1 1/4 cents and wheat down 3/4 cents going into the pause. The U.S dollar is trading a fraction of a percent higher and crude oil is mostly flat after consolidating for the last couple days.
Crop conditions were released yesterday which showed that winter wheat rated good-to-excellent remained unchanged at 42 percent compared to last week. All other wheat rating categories stayed the same as well. This week’s crop progress report also highlighted the planting progress for spring crops. The most remarkable number was the amount of spring wheat planted. Spring wheat is now 36 percent planted compared to only 17 percent a week ago and a five year average of 19 percent. Corn planting seemed to disappoint analysts by showing only 9 percent had been planted, up from 2 percent last week and behind the five year average of 13 percent.
The avian flu is in the news lately with the Wisconsin governor declaring a state of emergency over the recent outbreaks in the state. The governor authorized the National Guard to help contain the flu and clean infected sites. Another bird flu instance was recently reported in a 3.8 million chicken flock inside Iowa. The birds were being raised by Sunrise Farms near the city of Harris. Since the beginning of the year the bird flu has been detected in Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.
China Reserve Rates Support Soybeans
China lowered reserve rates at their banks helping to boost liquidity and support a sputtering economy.
In the overnight session corn is down 1 3/4 cents, soybeans are up 4 1/2 cents and wheat in Chicago is up 1 1/2 cents. The U.S dollar is trading nearly .5 percent higher this morning with crude oil down .75 percent. Over the weekend china’s central bank cut the reserve requirement by 100 basis points to 18.5 percent in an attempt to encourage bank lending to help revive economic growth. This is the second industry-wide cut in two months and frees upwards of a trillion yuan of liquidity.
Soybeans traded higher in the overnight session in response to lowered reserve requirement in China. With China importing roughly 60 percent of soybeans traded worldwide, news of increased liquidity and access to capital will impact the price of Soybeans in Chicago.
The plains saw beneficial rains over the weekend which should continue to weigh on wheat prices. More showers are possible on Tuesday and Wednesday and further precipitation is expected in the 6-10 day forecast. The crop conditions will be released today after the close. Analysts are expecting an overall increase in the good-to-excellent rating after widespread rains last weekend helped to lower the risk of crop damage to the winter wheat crop. Last week good to excellent ratings were at 42 percent, down from 44 percent the week earlier. Over the weekend Egypt’s GASC purchased 300,000 metric tons of French, Romanian and Russian wheat.
Weekly Wrap Up
Cody reviews this week's prices and basis changes and looks at the long term change in barge rates.
Weekly Cash Comments
Weekly Cash Commentary for week ending April 17
Grain basis levels continued to stagnate this week with both corn and beans each posting less than a 1-cent improvement on the week.
In corn, the biggest movement occurred at the Gulf where export bids were up 3 cents a bushel on nearby basis, but river terminals as a group posted only a 2-cent improvement. Strength was more prominent along the Ohio River areas were many terminals were up a nickel on basis. For the ethanol sector, production levels continue to slip along normal seasonal lines but plants as a group managed a modest 1-cent advance. In eastern Nebraska the two big plants continued to jockey for corn, raising nearby basis by 7 cents a bushel and currently stand at +10K, which exceeded the recent high of +8K in mid-March.
For soybeans, crushing plants were up a modest 1 cent a bushel but several plants in the Western Cornbelt boosted basis by 5 to 10 cents a bushel. In Minnesota, key crushing plants have been steadily ramping up basis with gains of 25 cents a bushel since the first of March. At river terminals, basis levels were up modestly with a 1-cent gain on average, but like corn, bean basis along the Ohio River should greater strengthen the rest of the country.
Wheat Prices under Pressure
Wheat prices have come under pressure from increased precipitation throughout the plains, weak export sales and the possibility Russian export taxes being lifted after July 1st.
In the overnight session corn is down 3/4 of a penny, soybeans are up a cent and wheat is up 3 1/4 cents. The dollar is trading slightly higher this morning, now hovering at 97.640 while crude oil is trading down nearly a percent after news that OPEC’s production in March added to the burgeoning global supply.
Wheat prices have suffered this week from beneficial rains to the plains region. Precipitation should expand into the central plains over the weekend bringing an expected .5-2 inches of rain to 80 percent of the wheat belt. The improvement in the weather, coupled with yesterday’s disappointing export sales provides little fundamental support for the grain going into the weekend.
The Russian Agricultural Ministry recently proposed to end the export tax on Russian wheat after July 1st. The decision will be voted on in either May or June after this year’s crop yield becomes clearer. Also on the international front, the Ethiopian government has issued an international tender to purchase 400,000 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins. Traders are waiting on the results of that tender.
Grains to Trade Higher?
Cody speculates where corn, soybean, and wheat prices will go and reviews the export sales report.
Soybean Sales Beat Expectations
Export sales showed a stark contrast between wheat and soybeans this morning. Can yesterday’s NOPA crush numbers and this week’s export sales help propel soybeans higher into Friday?
In the overnight session corn and soybeans traded a relatively wide range but went into the morning pause mostly unchanged. Wheat increased 3 1/4 cents in the overnight and the U.S. dollar index continued its slide for the third straight day. Crude oil is also trading lower this morning off nearly 1/4 of a percent.
Export sales were slow for wheat this week booking 47,900 metric tons of old crop sales, down 85 percent from last week’s sales. This week’s wheat sales were a marketing year low, missing analyst expectations which ranged between 100,000-300,000 metric tons. Old crop corn sales were reported at 588,200 metric tons which was down from 639,000 metric tons reported last week. Corn sales were on the high side of the analyst expectations which ranged from 400,000-600,000 metric tons. Soybeans beat analyst expectations by booking 312,000 metric tons this week. This week’s soybean sales were a large improvement from last week which saw 176,000 metric tons of cancellations. Notable sales were reported to Germany, Netherlands, unknown destinations and South Korea.
NOPA soybean crush came in well over analyst expectations with 162.822 million bushels of soybeans crushed in the month of March. Analyst expectations ranged from 150.5 to 159.5 million bushels with the average analyst guess expecting 155.261 MBU. The latest NOPA report marks the largest March soybean crush on record. Soyoil stocks were reported at 1.420 billion pounds well over analysts’ expectations of 1.383 billion pounds, but below last year’s levels of 2.023 billion pounds.
Ethanol production declined for the second week in a row bringing weekly ethanol production to 924,000 barrels per day. This week’s 12,000 barrel per day decline in ethanol production marks the first time since October that weekly 2014-15 production has fallen below 2013-14 levels. Despite falling below last year’s weekly production level, cumulative ethanol production this year has increased 5.4 percent compared to a USDA expected increase of 1.3 percent. This year’s ethanol stocks increased 162,000 barrels to 20.65 million barrels this week.