November 28, 2012 | Grain Hedge Insights | Jackie Roembke | Views: 115

River Woes Push Basis Lower

Basis slipped lower along the river system as many terminals north of St. Louis face the possibility of barge restrictions to the gulf

Basis came under pressure along much of the Midwest river system this week as terminals north of St. Louis slowed grain buying amid looming draft restrictions on the river due to low water levels.   Basis levels for soybeans were off 4 cents on average along major river terminals this week, while corn river markets slipped half a cent for the week.

However, corn basis was higher in the upper Midwest and Northern Plains as ethanol plants pushed basis levels higher by 1.5 cents a bushel on average for the week. Further to the South, river terminals from Memphis running to the Gulf were higher thanks to a 5-cent increase in basis at the Gulf export market this week.

For soybeans, basis levels around the country average a 0.3 cent decline. Lower bids from river terminals in the Midwest helped ease competition for beans, and soybean crushing plants lowered their bids by 4.5 cents for the week.  At the Gulf, export basis climbed 5 cents a bushel.

Continue to expect ongoing threats of closures along the river to hamper basis strength.  While Gulf bids continue to be strong to encourage grain movement, there is a clear risk that the River may close or at least limit barge capacity around St Louis, MO in early December which will keep grain buyers in these areas defensive.

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