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Will Ethanol Production Stay Ahead of Pace

Ethanol production has been running well ahead of pace to meet USDA expectations all year, will we begin to see production soften this week?

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In the overnight session the grains traded slightly higher with corn up 3/4 of a cent, soybeans up 3 1/4 cents and wheat up 3 ¾ cents. Soybeans are trading at $9.87 ½ just below $9.91 which is the low side of the sideways range it traded in since late October. The low side of the range which acted as support multiple times since late October will likely act as resistance since prices broke below $9.91 on January 20th.

Ethanol production and stocks will be released today due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. Ethanol production increased sharply in last week’s report following two holiday shortened weeks of declining production. As of last week 14/15 ethanol production was running 5.3% ahead of last year. Ethanol production this year is significantly higher than the .8% increase the USDA has factored in. Seasonally, production begins to slow during this time of the year and with depressed crush margins throughout the Midwest there is a strong possibility this week’s ethanol production will be lower than last week. On a more positive note, Brazil’s agricultural minister stated this morning that the government will raise its ethanol blend requirement in gasoline in the first week of February.

Ukraine Farm Ministry announced that they have an agreement with traders to limit the amount of milling wheat exports to 1.2 million metric tons between January and June of this year and have a preliminary agreement that overall wheat exports will be limited to 12.8 million metric tons in the 2014/15 marketing year which is 1.8 million metric tons higher than the USDA currently forecasts. So far Ukraine has exported 8.5 million metric tons this marketing year.

The European central bank held its policy meeting on Thursday and announced it will buy up to 60 billion euros worth of sovereign bonds from March until September 2016. This is a more aggressive quantitative easing policy than the ECB has undertaken in the past. The move was widely expected by the market and has been a contributing factor to the price slide in the Euro recently.

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