Surprising Export Sales
This morning export sales surprised analyst expectations with wheat seeing significant old crop cancellations and soybeans booking over 400,000 metric tons of old crop sales.
In the overnight session the grains moved higher with corn up 1 1/2 cents, soybeans up 6 1/2 cents and wheat up 3 1/4 cents going into this morning’s pause in trade. The dollar index was trading lower most of the night, but has found some buying support underneath the 100 day moving average and is now trading near the open of last night. Crude oil is up 41 cents this morning.
This morning’s export sales report held some surprises particularly for wheat which showed net cancellations for old crop sales. Wheat sales recorded a marketing year low for old crop when it showed 449,200 metric tons of old crop cancellations. New crop wheat sales only totaled to 852,900 metric tons supported by some old crop sales being switched over onto the new crop books. Corn export sales were down 4 percent week over week, booking 832,500 metric tons for old crop delivery. Soybean sales were very strong this week with 433,400 metric tons booked which is a sharp increase from the 102,100 metric tons booked last week. With South America on the downhill side of harvest, it is unexpected to see such a large week of U.S. soybean sales.
Ethanol production fell 9,000 barrels per day last week to 921,000 barrels per day. Ethanol stocks slipped 545,000 barrels to 20.8 million barrels this week as well. Ethanol production has been steadily declining since this year’s production highs in November. Typically, we would expect to see a seasonal increase in production between March and May as we head into driving season, but we have yet to observe a relative increase in ethanol production during this time period. Ethanol production is running 5.2 percent ahead of last year’s pace which is well ahead of the USDA expectations of an increase in production by 1.3 percent.
Dollar Decline Helps Grain Prices
Cody reviews how the dollar decline, export sales expectations, and ethanol production affected grain prices today.
Dollar Sinks on Weak U.S. GDP
The grains are trading slightly higher, lifted by a falling dollar after GDP numbers disappointed traders this morning.
In the overnight session corn was up 2 1/2 cents, soybeans up 1/4 of a cent and wheat increased 3 1/2 cents. A reportable sale was announced yesterday with 390,000 metric tons of new crop soybeans sold to unknown destinations. This morning another reportable sale was announced for 130,000 metric tons of old crop corn to Taiwan.
The U.S dollar is trading lower by over 1/2 a percent this morning after U.S. GDP released worse than expected numbers. GDP fell sharply in the first quarter to .2 percent annually as a result of low crude oil prices and harsh weather conditions slowing spending. This was a sharp decline from last year’s fourth quarter which reported GDP of 2.2 percent annually.
Yesterday’s trade activity was volatile for soybeans and has me questioning whether or not the commodity can continue higher in today’s session. Soybeans started out strong in yesterday’s session, climbing to $9.88 at the high of the day. However, the oilseed was unable to hold onto the gains and losing 7 cents in the last 45 minutes of trading. On the daily chart, soybeans struggled to rise above the 50 day moving average which has acted as strong resistance recently.
The weather looks positive for planting progress throughout the majority of the grain belt for the rest of the week. Showers will continue to delay planting in the Delta with substantial amounts of planting still left to complete in that region.
Volatile Day of Trading
Cody recaps today's market and explains why he is skeptical of price gains this week.
Soybeans Pop in the Overnight
In the overnight session the soybean market popped higher touching on the 50 day moving average which has acted as resistance in the recent weeks.
In the overnight session the grains were mixed with corn up 1 1/2 cents, soybeans up 9 1/4 cents and wheat down 2 1/4 cents. First notice day for May grain contracts is Thursday the 30th. Be sure to either liquidate or roll those may contracts by the close of trade on Wednesday.
July Chicago wheat fell through $4.85 support yesterday and continued lower after breaching the level. Precipitation on Monday helped provide moisture to Western Oklahoma, parts of the Panhandle and southwest Kansas. Dry spots have now been limited to 10 percent of the winter wheat area with more precipitation expected in the 6-15 day forecast. Winter wheat conditions were unchanged this week with 42 percent of the crop rated good to excellent.
Crop conditions showed that 19 percent of corn has been planted which is behind the analyst expectations of 23-25 percent and lagging the four year average of 25 percent planted. Soybean progress was reported at 2 percent complete behind the four year average of 4 percent during this time period.
Yesterday, Iowa’s state agriculture department said that they have found “probable new cases” of the bird flu in an estimated 2.3 million birds. There were four probable cases throughout Iowa in Sioux County, Osceola County and two incidents in O’Brien County.
Tune in for today's report.
Grains Pressured on Monday Morning
The grains are pressured by precipitation in the southern plains, a stronger dollar and the easing of the trucker strike in Brazil.
In the overnight session the grains traded lower with corn down 2 1/4 cents, soybeans up 1/2 a cent and wheat down 2 cents going into the morning pause in trade. Crude oil is down 28 cents and the U.S. dollar is trading a fraction of a percent higher. Exporters reported 158,000 metric tons of old crop soybeans sold to unknown destinations. Taiwan issued a tender to purchase 65,000 metric tons of corn to be sourced from U.S, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa this morning.
Concerns that the Brazil trucker strike would escalate eased on Monday as the number of strike locations were on the decline. On Thursday evening there were 17 reported strike instances which compare to over 100 instances during the peak of the logistics crises. By Friday the number of strike related blockages on highways had fallen to 11.
More precipitation is expected today in the southern plains providing some relief to parts of Texas and Oklahoma, with chances of more precipitation in the 6-15 day forecast. The past two weeks provided between .5-5 inches of precipitation to the winter wheat fields of the plains, with over half of the region receiving 2 or more inches of rain. The moisture helped avoid serious crop loss, but continued precipitation is necessary to improve the overall condition of the crop. Without moisture in the coming weeks, the trade will begin to focus on the low subsoil moisture levels as a risk factor for the plains wheat.
Crop conditions and planting progress will be released out today with expectations of corn planting to jump from 9 percent complete to nearly 23-25 percent complete. This will be the first week of soybean planting progress and expectations are for around 3-4 percent completed nationwide.
Weekly Wrap Up
Cody gives and update on the Brazilian trucker strike and weather in the plains. He ends with a report of weekly basis changes.
Weekly Cash Comments
Weekly Cash Commentary for week ending April 24
Grain basis levels were modestly higher this week with both corn and soybeans posting an anemic 1-cent a bushel gain on average across the US this week.
In corn, it was a quiet week for export basis with the Gulf basis unchanged. River terminals found only modest strength with barge rates slipping a bit from the previous week. For ethanol, production continues to be robust which is keeping plant bids for corn relatively strong. Although basis levels were up on average only about a penny for the week, some plants in IA and MN were posting 5-cent advances for basis.
For soybeans, Gulf bids were modestly weaker with a one-cent decline, but river terminals found added strength, posting a nearly 3-cent gain on the week. Export sales for soybeans continue to be positive and while not as big as early season sales, are significant enough to keep buyers aggressively trying to get beans out of farmer hands. For crushers, it was a pretty quiet week overall, but there was some modest strength in the Eastern Cornbelt with some plants up 5 to 7 cents on the week.
Corn Weak on Prospects of Record Argentina Crop
The agricultural ministry announced Argentina is anticipating a record corn harvest and raised their forecast by 1 million metric tons yesterday.
In the overnight session the grains traded lower with corn down 2 cents, wheat down 1 3/4 cents and soybeans down 3 3/4 cents. The U.S dollar index is down 1/4 of a percent and crude oil is off 11 cents this morning. This morning a reportable export sale was announced for 121,400 metric tons of old crop corn to unknown destinations.
Yesterday, the Argentinian Agricultural Ministry is anticipating a record 59 million metric ton soybean harvest this growing year, up from their previous forecast of 58 million metric tons. The increase in production was due to higher than expected yields in certain growing regions.
By Thursday night truckers in Brazil took to the roads to strike again, with local authorities counting 17 strike locations. Truckers began striking again after not adequately addressing their issues in the latest negotiations. Although it is improbable that the latest Brazilian trucker strike will escalate to the level it reached over the last couple months, it is still an issue that deserves close attention over the coming week.
The weather outlook next week is positive for U.S. planting and fieldwork with limited showers expected in the forecast. Planting pace was reported at 9 percent for corn in the last planting progress report, while spring wheat made the largest gains, jumping to 36 percent planted compared to a four year average of 19 percent during the same time period.