Grains were listless overnight with little directional bias in the market. In outside markets, S&P futures recovered some of the losses from Tuesday, while crude oil printed its lowest price since October 2nd.
On Tuesday, corn reached a 5-week low at $3.72, but has since managed to move slightly higher as prices look to stabilize from a spat of selling. Harvest pressure seems to be limiting any prolonged rally and the lack of significant demand in the export market seems to be putting a lid on the rallies.
Some dryness issues in Ukraine & Russia are helping underpin the market as well. Ukraine’s ag minster on Tuesday said wheat acres there are likely to fall to 5.5 million hectares versus 6.2 that were previously expected as a result of dry conditions. In Russia, farmers have delayed winter grain sowing due to dry weather, analysts and traders said on Tuesday, signaling higher risks for next year's crop in one of the world's key wheat exporters. A lack of rain has been reported since September by some of Russia's southern regions, the main areas for wheat exports to North Africa and the Middle East.
S&P futures (ESZ5) were modestly higher and reached their highest point since Aug 20. Earnings data for Q3 has turned out better than expected so far. Some 32 S&P 500 companies are due to post results today. Of those that have reported so far, 43 percent have beaten sales estimates while 74 percent have beaten earnings targets.
Oil (GCLZ5 / QMZ5) prices fell on Wednesday following a big build in U.S. crude inventories that fed concerns demand may not be enough to absorb one of the largest global surpluses in modern times. The American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday a rise in U.S. commercial crude stocks of 7.1 million barrels to 473 million barrels in the week to Oct. 16, trumping expectations for an increase of 3.9 million barrels.
Barge traffic was halted Monday on the Mississippi River north of Quincy.
Grain markets found modest support overnight as they attempt to reverse course from their 4-day sell-off. In outside markets, the US dollar & stock index futures were lower while crude oil posted modest gains.
Yesterday, better weather and sluggish exports helped push grain prices lower. Forecasts called for rain in Russia and the US Plains which seemed to alleviate fears over winter wheat planting and germination, while wetter weather in Brazil is expected to help planting conditions for soybeans. Weekly export inspections were disappointing for corn and wheat, which came in below trader expectations going into the report. But, for soybeans, export inspections beat expectations by a wide margin coming in at 2.4 MMT versus 1.2 to 1.8 MMT expected.
In cash news, barge traffic was halted on Monday on the Mississippi river north of Quincy, IL as a towboat ran aground from low water. The closure is expected to remain in place until at least Wednesday as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges the river to deepen the waterway, a Coast Guard spokesman said. The closure halted the flow of corn and soybean barges and prevented many grain elevators north of the closure from receiving the empty barges they need to continue loading out newly harvested soybeans and corn. Spot barge freight rates on some portions of the river jumped by 50 to 100 percentage points of tariff on Monday as elevators scrambled for empty vessels, traders said.
S&P futures (ESZ5) were lower overnight as investors prepared for the peak of earnings season and awaited housing data that could feed into the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate assessment. Third quarter earnings numbers from Walmart to IBM to JP Morgan have been disappointing traders of late, which has kept a lid on the recovery in stocks.
Crude oil (GCLZ5 / QMZ5) tried to hold onto positive gains overnight but oversupply and economic woes in China continue to hamper the recovery. Comments by Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zangeneh, that the country is likely to boost its oil production by 0.5 million barrels a day in the coming months did not help prices. Industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) will report its stocks data later today, while the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release oil inventory data on Wednesday. U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles are expected to increase by 3.7 million barrels over last week according to a Reuters survey.
Markets were generally lower overnight with grain, stocks and energy all starting the week on the downside of last week’s close.
Wheat fell for the 4th consecutive trade session as favorable weather and ample stocks keep prices on the defensive. Weather forecasts suggest showers this week that should help germination in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, and encourage producers who have been delaying seeding because of dry soils. Overnight, Jammie Penm, chief commodity analyst for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics predicted that Australia’s wheat crop would come in below 24 MMT based on dry, hot weather that has gripped the country in the past month and hampered the late-season development of the wheat crop there. USDA has Australia pegged at 27 MMT of production in their latest report issued on Oct 9th. In Ukraine, the Ag Minister there pegged the 2015 corn crop at 22.9 MMT versus USDA’s outlook of 25.0 MMT.
In South America, planting pace has picked up as Brazil's 2015-16 soybean crop is 13 percent planted, above 10 percent at this time last year but behind the 18 percent historical average. So far the growing season in Brazil has been on the dry side but rains in the coming weeks should help improve soil moisture. Brazil, the world's No. 2 soy producer and top exporter, is expected to plant a record soybean crop of more than 100 MMT, according to the government's crop supply agency Conab.
S&P stock futures (ESZ5) slipped overnight with energy stocks helping to drive the small decline, as crude oil dropped after China’s latest GDP data and fresh fears about oversupply. Asian markets closed narrowly mixed in the wake of the reading on China’s gross domestic product. Growth in the world’s No. 2 economy slowed to 6.9 percent in the third quarter, below Beijing’s 7 percent target for the first time since 2009, but above forecasts for 6.8 percent.
Oil (GCLX5 / QMX5) was off as well on the news from China. Along with slowing growth in China, data also showed that Chinese oil demand fell slightly in September, meaning the country’s year-to-date growth is running behind the International Energy Agency’s forecast. In other news, Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, shipped 278,000 barrels a day less crude oil in August, trade data showed, suggesting demand for Saudi oil is sliding as the global supply glut persists.
Grain basis was mixed this week, with soy basis mostly unchanged on the week while corn basis posted its biggest weekly advance in the new-crop year with a 2-cent gain.
US average corn basis has shown very little response to harvest pressure this year holding flat for much of the past month as harvest has likely reached the mid-point mark. This week, corn basis actually moved higher on average, led by gains at river terminals which were up 5 cents on the week, fueled by slumping barge rates. For the week, barge rates on the IL River are off 7 cents a bushel, and stand at nearly a 50 cent discount to the same time last year, which is supporting grain basis. For soybeans, river terminals were up 2.5 cents a bushel even though bids at the Gulf were off 6 cents.
End users this week were less reluctant to raise bids as pipeline supplies seem abundant in most areas. However, ethanol plants as a group were up 1 cent a bushel, with some plants in southern Midwest areas showing more aggressiveness in upping their bids. Soy crushing plants were off nearly 10 cents a bushel as some plants dropped basis by a dime, while very few saw the need to boost basis.
Look for corn basis to start its seasonal recovery in the coming weeks with strength likely to carry on through the end of the calendar year. We would expect basis levels to improve 10 to 20 cents a bushel over the next 2 months as light farmer sales and weak futures keep farmer movement somewhat limited.
Weekly export sales announced this morning were generally neutral.
Grain markets were subdued overnight as soybeans and wheat were modestly higher while corn was lower in quiet trade. Outside markets saw the US dollar and treasuries higher while stock futures took a breather from their highest price in nearly two months.
Yesterday’s trade in grain was mostly negative as weaker than expected NOPA soy crush and a lack of export news kept markets favoring the downside. Egypt announced the results of their wheat tender in yesterday’s trade, with the U.S. again being shut out of any of the business and Russia and Romania garnering the trade.
This morning there was however a bright spot for soybeans as USDA announced China bought 270,000 MT of soybeans from the US. That makes the 3rtd announcement this week of daily business exceeding 200,000 MT.
Weekly export sales announced this morning were generally neutral as actual export sales were at or slightly above trade expectations, in the case of wheat.
WEEKLY EXPORT SALES (in thousand metric tons)
Corn 598 450-650
Soybeans 1,476 1,000-1,500
Wheat 460 250-450
US stock index futures are a bit lower in the night session following Thursday’s advance in stocks by about 1 percent. Earnings data and US manufacturing data is set to be released this morning. U.S. industrial production in September, due at 9:15 a.m. EDT is expected to have shrunk 0.2 percent, after falling 0.4 percent in August.
Crude oil prices attempted to recover some of Thursday’s losses overnight following a report on Thursday showing US commercial crude stockpiles increased last week. US inventories jumped by 7.6 million barrels in the week ending October 9, nearly three times as much as experts had predicted.
Grains were lower in the night session, with light losses across the board. In outside markets, the US Dollar and S&P futures were higher while crude was lower.
Today, NOPA soy crush estimates will be released with expectations at 129.24 MB. If realized, that would be the busiest September for NOPA's member groups since 2007, when processors crushed 139.829 MB of soybeans. Soybean harvest progressed ahead of the typical pace during September, with reports of huge yields weighing on the market throughout the month.
French farmers had harvested 38 percent of this year's grain maize crop by Oct. 12, ahead of the 15 percent gathered by the same stage last year, farm office FranceAgriMer said on Thursday. In winter grain sowing, 39 percent of the planned soft wheat area for next year's harvest had been sown by Monday, against 31 percent a year ago, Bertrand Naturel, head of FranceAgriMer's crop monitoring service, told reporters.
In export news, Egypt announced another tender for wheat with the results expected by the end of the week.
Stock index futures were higher in overnight trade, even as consumer inflation fell for the 2nd month in a row. Consumer prices fell 0.2% in September, as economists had expected, the Labor Department said Thursday. Gasoline prices were the major depressant after slumping 9% over the month. Excluding volatile items such as gas and food, core consumer prices added 0.2%. Core prices are up 1.9% over the past 12 months, while consumer inflation has remained flat. The Empire State Manufacturing Index narrowed to negative 11.4 from negative 14.7 in September, though missed an estimated negative 8.3 reading. The index has not seen three straight months with readings below negative 10 since 2009.
Grains were modestly lower overnight following Monday’s strong turnaround in prices. S&P futures were lower while crude oil was higher after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane overnight, increasing global tensions.
Grains started the week on a down note, with soybeans leading the sell-off to the downside while wheat and corn were slightly lower in quiet trade. In outside markets, S&P futures and crude oil were off slightly from Friday’s close.