05 March 2015 | Online since 2003

Chicago Reports

4 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
03/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed a little lower on reports that the Brazilian truckers strike is losing momentum. Media reports say that only around 7 roads in Brazil remain blocked by striking truck drivers versus 18 roads yesterday and over 100 roads a week ago. There's now talk of Argentine farmers striking next week. Informa cut their estimate for the 2014/15 Brazilian soybean crop by 1 MMT to 92.5 MMT. This was offset however by a 1 MMT rise for Argentina to 58 MMT. Conab are due out next Tuesday with their latest Brazilian estimates. Dr Cordonnier was unchanged on his forecasts for both Brazil (93 MMT) and Argentina (57 MMT). Chinese industry analysts said that the country had crushed 29.2 MMT of soybeans between Oct 1 and Feb 27, a 1.57% increase compared with the same period a year previously. They estimated March soybean imports at 4.5 MMT, rising to 5.2 MMT in April and 5.6 MMT in May. Oil World said that EU palm oil imports fell by 4% in the fourth quarter of 2014. India’s 2014/15 veg oil imports were estimated at 12.5-13.0 MMT versus 11.6 MMT in 2013/14. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.08 3/4, down 2 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.12 1/4, down 1 1/2 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $341.80, down $2.50; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.80, up 15 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 3 cents higher. For now, tensions are easing in Brazil, with a meeting between the government and protesters lined up for a week from today. Informa have the Brazilian 2014/15 corn crop now estimated at 72.4 MMT versus a previous estimate of 72.8 MMT. For Argentina they go 23.5 MMT versus a previous estimate of 23.0 MMT. As with soybeans the reduction in Brazil is offset by the increase in Argentina. "They cited results from planting surveys as the reason for the loss in production in Brazil, and higher yields as the reason for the Argentinian increase," said Benson Quinn. Informa now have South Africa’s 2014/15 corn crop is estimated at 10.1 MMT versus a previous estimate of 13.0 MMT. Dr Cordonnier estimated Brazil's 2014/15 corn crop at 74 MMT, and went for 23 MMT in Argentina. Both figures were unchanged from a week ago. Egypt and Algeria are said to be shopping for corn. Argentine farmers are reported to be calling for a 3 day strike next week on Wednesday–Friday. There's talk that Argentine truckers may also strike in the latter half of the month. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.82, up 3 1/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.91, up 3 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed anywhere from virtually unchanged to up to 15 cents higher. Monthly winter wheat crop ratings put the Kansas crop at 44% good to excellent, down 2 points on a month ago. Kansas wheat rated poor to very poor was 12% versus 13% a month ago. Oklahoma was 42% good to excellent and 14% poor/very poor versus 41% and 13% respectively at the end of January. Illinois winter wheat was 47% good to excellent (versus 49% a month ago) and 13% poor/very poor (unchanged). Texas wheat is 46% good to excellent and 12% poor/very poor versus 42% and 16% a month ago. Nebraska is 62% good to excellent and 3% poor to very poor versus 61% and 3% at the end of January. Japan are in for 130,929 MT of milling wheat from the US, Canada, and Australia for April–May shipment in their regular weekly tender. Informa estimated India’s 2015 wheat crop at 97.0 MMT versus previous estimate of 96.0 MMT. Harvesting of that usually begins at the end of March. Kazakhstan’s Ag Ministry said that the country had exported 4.4 MMT of grain between July 1-Feb 28th versus 6.0 MMT a year ago. They estimate full season exports at 7.0 MMT. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.08 3/4, up 3/4 cent; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.30 1/2, up 9 1/2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.61 1/4, up 15 cents.

3 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
02/03/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed the best part of 20 cents lower after a firmer opening and overnight trade. Media reports suggest an easing of the Brazilian trucker strike action over the weekend. "There are reports that Brazilian roads are being cleared and the number of trucks dumping at port has improved. Despite the lack of a formal agreement, it feels like the truckers are losing their leverage on this issue," said Benson Quinn. Weekly export inspections are finally starting to slip at 635,164 MT versus the expected 750-950,000 MT. Safras e Mercado reported that the Brazilian soybean harvest is 28% complete versus 17% a week ago, 41% a year ago and 32% on average. Mato Grosso is 51% complete, up sharply from 25% a week ago, but still down versus 60% a year ago and 54% on average, they said. AgRural said Brazil has harvested 29% of their soybean crop versus 20% a week ago, 39% a year ago and 33% on average. The Brazilian Ministry said that the country exported 870 TMT of beans in February, down sharply from 2.79 MMT in February 2014. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.11 1/4, down 19 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.13 3/4, down 18 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $344.30, down $9.40; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.65, down 15 points.

Corn: The corn market ended around 5 cents lower. That came despite weekly export inspections of 1.28 MMT easily beating trade expectations of 750-900,000 MT. An easing of tensions in Brazil was probably the main downwards driver. "Early morning reports had mixed opinions regarding the amount of progress the Brazilian government had over the weekend in diffusing the trucker strike. Reports indicated that the majority of roads blocks nationwide had been cleared, down from around 50 on Saturday to around 10 on Sunday evening," said Benson Quinn. Safras e Mercado said that Brazil 1st corn crop harvest is 25.9% complete versus 20.7% a week ago and 40.6% a year ago. Brazil's 2nd corn crop planting is at 58.4% complete versus 39.5% a week ago 55.7% a year ago, they added. The Brazilian Ministry reported February corn exports at 1.1 MMT, which is similar to a year previously. Ukraine said that they had exported 10.9 MMT of corn so far this season versus around 14.2 MMT a year ago. Russia's corn exports stand at 1.4 MMT. There's continued talk of lower corn plantings in Ukraine and Russia this year due to financial considerations. There's also talk of what does get sown to be of inferior quality and thus lower yielding varieties. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.78 3/4, down 5 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.88, down 5 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower. Weekly export inspections of 450,093 MT were towards the upper end of expectations. Lower trade in corn and beans didn't help wheat's cause today though. Neither did falling prices in Paris wheat, which is already priced very competitively versus US origin material. The USDA attaché in India estimated India’s 2015 wheat crop at 94.0 MMT, down from the 2014 crop of 95.9 MMT. They estimated wheat exports at 2.0 MMT versus 3.5 MMT last year. Ukraine said that they'd exported 9.2 MMT of wheat so far this season. Russia said that they'd shipped 18.8 MMT of wheat so far. APK Inform reported Ukraine's seaports shipped out 125.3 TMT of wheat last week. Russia's wheat shipments via seaports were similar at 126.4 TMT, they added. Ukraine has apparently asked the EU to increase duty free import quotas on agri products due to the ongoing problems with Russia. ABARES increased their estimate for Australian wheat production to 24.4 MMT from 23.6 MMT a year ago. There's still some talk of possible winterkill damage to US, Ukraine and Russian wheat. "In terms of the US crop, it looks like the bulk of the US HRW crop has gotten moisture and much of it will have some snow cover when cold temps hit on Wed and Thurs morning," said Benson Quinn. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.08, down 9 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.21, down 13 1/2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.55, down 1 cent.

2 March 2015 | Chicago Reports
27/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher on the day and higher for the week, with uncertainty over the Brazilian truckers strike continuing to provide support. The Brazilian port of Paranagua are only said have sufficient soybean stocks to carry on loading ships until Mar 3. There's also talk of pig and poultry units running out of feed. Based on yesterday's figures, total US soybean commitments are now 97% of the USDA target for the season, so any unexpected switch back in demand to US origin material will be perceived as being bullish, eating into 2014/15 ending stocks. Still, the soybeans are out there if you can get to them it would seem, with Brazil’s Agroconsult estimated the country's 2015 soybean crop at 94.7 MMT, up 828,000 MT from previously. Harvesting in Brazil's top state of Mato Grosso is said to be 53.6% complete versus 58.5% a year ago. Parana's crop is 28% harvested, up only 4 points on a week ago. Argentina's Ag Ministry estimated their 2015 soybean harvest at a record 58 MMT versus 53.4 MMT a year ago. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange forecast the Argentine crop at 57 MMT. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.30 3/4, up 6 3/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.31 3/4, up 5 1/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $353.70, down $0.90; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.80, up 96 points. For the week that puts front month beans up 31 1/2 cents, with meal up $6.20 and oil gaining 132 points.

Corn: The corn market closed higher on the day, but little changed for the week."The Brazilian trucker strike continues to be the trade’s mains focus. Yesterday’s reports of an agreement between the Brazilian government and the trucking union now seem slightly premature," said Benson Quinn. The USDA announced 140,000 MT of US corn sold to Saudi Arabia for 2014/15 shipment under the daily reporting system. They also reported 120,000 MT of US sorghum sold to China, split a cargo each for 2014/15 and 2015/16. Brazil’s Agroconsult estimated the country's 2015 first corn crop at 29.0 MMT, with production of the second corn crop at 50.0 MMT. Argentina's Ag Ministry forecast their corn crop at 30 MMT, down 3 MMT from last year. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated the Argentine crop much lower at 22.5 MMT. Harvesting of that is in its fledgling stage at 1.7% complete. Rains in the centre of the country are delaying the harvesting of corn that is ready to combine, they said. There's talk of reduced corn plantings in Ukraine and Russia this year due to the cost of producing an "input hungry" crop at a time when the local currencies have been under severe pressure and costs have risen substantially in domestic terms compared with 12 months ago. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.84 1/2, up 4 1/2 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.93 1/4, up 4 3/4 cents. For the week Mar 15 corn was 3/4 of a cent lower.

Wheat: The wheat market closed with generally decent gains on the day, but was mixed for a week in which Minneapolis wheat in particular lost some ground. Some of today's strength may have been tied to month end book squaring and profit-taking. There's talk of possible weekend frost damage to wheat unprotected by snow on the Southern Plains, although losses aren't expected to be significant. There's also continued trade chatter of possible winterkill damage to poorly established winter wheat in Russia and Ukraine. The trade is also mulling widespread reports of likely difficulties in funding the spring planting campaign in both countries too. Russia said that it had exported 24.2 MT of grains so far this season, including 18.8 MMT of wheat, and that exports for the full marketing year might reach 28.5 MMT and 20 MMT respectively. Russia exported 869,000 MT of grains Feb 1-25, and may finish the month shipping around 1 MMT, said Rusagrotrans. Wheat exports so far this month (to Feb 25) were only 322,000 MT, a drop of more than half compared to the same period in 2014. There's some talk of the Russian wheat export duty being tinkered with in the not too distant future. The Russian Ag Ministry estimated Feb 1 grain stocks at 29.2 MMT, up 3.9 MMT, or 15.4% higher than a year ago. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.17 1/2, up 14 1/4 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.34 1/2, up 7 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.56, up 4 3/4 cents. For the week Chicago wheat was up 7 1/4 cents, with Kansas 1 1/4 higher and Minneapolis 10 3/4 cents lower.

24 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
23/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed flat to with very small losses. The trade has been waiting for some time to finally see some evidence of a switch in demand to Brazil. Whilst weekly export sales have been falling away a little, they've regularly topped trade expectations in recent weeks. Today we got news that weekly export inspections last week "only" totalled 961,749 TMT. Some would say that this is still an impressive number for this time of year. Others will point out that it is the first sub-1 MMT week since Oct 2, and is down 28% on last week. Still, the cumulative pace of exports so far this season is 41.25 MMT, up 15% on a year ago. The US has now shipped 85% of the USDA's forecast for the season versus 80% this time last year and 69% normally. "Wet weather with recurring showers has hampered Brazil’s soybean harvesting this month, said to be 20% complete as of February 19. Soybean quality is also in jeopardy according to AgRural the farm consultancy. The rain is coming too late to improve soybean yields," said Martell Crop Projections. A truck drivers strike in Brazil is also hampering the movement of soybeans to the ports. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.99 1/4, unchanged; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.01 1/2, down 3/4 of a cent; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $348.30, up $0.80; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.14, down 34 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 6 cents lower. "The overnight session started off weaker and gravitated lower into the morning pause. Larger than expected grain inspections in corn and wheat weren’t enough to rally the grains on the day. The bulls seem to have run out of bullets for the moment," said Benson Quinn. Weekly export inspections of over 900 TMT were indeed a little above trade expectations of 700-850 TMT. Year to date inspections now total 17.29 MMT, and are around 2% up on a year ago. Total shipments so far this season are now running at 39% of the USDA's target for the marketing year versus 44% normally at this point. Brazilian rains may be delaying the harvest there a little, but should be beneficial for newly planted safrinha corn. Planting of that crop in Mato Grosso is said to be around 40% complete versus 57% normally. Argentine corn is said to be looking great. Ukraine said that they'd shipped 10.6 MMT of corn so far this season, around half of the Ag Ministry's forecast for the 2014/15 export campaign. Crude oil slipped back below $50/barrel, which didn't help corn's cause today. Mar 15 corn posted the lowest close since Feb 2. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.78 3/4, down 6 1/2 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.86 3/4, down 6 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed. Weekly export inspections of more than 500 TMT were half decent, and the largest since early October. Even so, the marketing year to date total is still down almost 30% on year ago levels. Exports are now 67% of the USDA target for the season versus 70% typically at this time. Egypt are said to have re-opened their tender for US wheat. You will recall that they've been given a special $100 million line of credit to buy US wheat, but passed up on what they were offered last week, booking EU wheat at more than $60/tonne below the cheapest US offer. A Reuters survey into Canadian spring wheat plantings came up with an average trade guess of 17.3 million acres, down slightly on 17.4 million a year ago. FranceAgriMer said that French winter wheat and barley crop conditions are better than they were a year go. The EU Commission's MARS unit said that winterkill damage in Europe had so far only been light. They did however note significant damage potential in north-eastern regions of Ukraine, and especially southern Russia. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.05 3/4, down 4 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.31 1/4, down 2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.67 3/4, up 1 cent.

23 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
20/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower on the day, but higher for the week. The USDA reported decent weekly export sales of 505,600 MT of old crop and 115,900 MT of new crop. Exports of 1.35 MMT were down 16 percent from the previous week and 21 percent below the prior 4-week average. Nevertheless, they are still holding up pretty well. The US now has 96% of its USDA soybean export target already sold. Meal sales of 316,600 MT for 2014/15 and a further 35,900 MT for next season also topped trade expectations. The final day of the USDA's Outlook Forum tentatively pegged the 2015/16 US soybean crop at 3.800 billion bushels versus 3.969 billion last year, a 4.3% decline. Yields were pencilled in at 46 bu/acre versus 47.8 bu/acre last year. Ending stocks however are seen rising to 430 million bushels, up 11.7% from this season. It was the latter piece of news that principally caused today's declines. With China closed, other fresh news was limited. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.99 1/4, down 8 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.02 1/4, down 9 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $347.50, unchanged; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.48, down 35 cents. For the week, front month beans were up 8 3/4 cents, meal was $15.50 higher and oil lost 92 points.

Corn: The corn market was lower on the day, and a bit easier for the week too. That came despite weekly export sales of 932,200 MT of old crop and 143,200 MT of new crop beating expectations. US corn sales are now 77% of the USDA target for the season versus 72% this time last year and 68% typically at this time. That's not too bad given the current strength of the US dollar. The USDA's Outlook Forum estimated this year's US corn crop at 13.595 billion bushels versus 14.216 billion in 2014, a 4.4% decline. Yields were pegged at a second highest ever 166.8 bu/acre versus last season's record 171.0 bu/acre. That might be setting the bar a bit high, even at this early stage in the game. US corn ending stocks were estimated at 1.687 billion bushels versus 1.827 billion this season. Corn used for ethanol production in 2015/16 was forecast at 5.225 billion bushels, or 38.4% of the crop. "Argentina;s corn prospects continue to improve with favourable summer growing conditions. Pollinating corn benefited from heavy rainfall in January, with most corn farms receiving 125-150% of normal rainfall. February weather has trended drier, but cool temperatures are promoting favourable grain filling," said Martell Crop Projections. The later than normal Brazilian soybean harvest is delaying planting of second crop corn there however. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.85 1/4, down 4 1/2 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.93, down 4 3/4 cents. Front month corn lost 2 cents over the course of the holiday-shortened week.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower on the day, and with some hefty losses for the week. This week's Egyptian pass on US wheat offers, followed by them booking 240 TMT of EU wheat, highlighted just how expensive US wheat is. The European wheat bought was more than $60/tonne cheaper than US material, and that's before more expensive freight is added on. Weekly US export sales of only 266,600 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year were down 35 percent from the previous week and 41 percent from the prior 4-week average, driving home the message. Marketing year to date sales are down a hefty 24% on where they were a year ago. Benson Quinn described this week's sales total as "awful". Sales so far this season are 86% of the USDA target versus 88% normally. Actual shipments this week of 391,900 MT were up 5 percent from the previous week and 9 percent above the prior 4-week average. They were still rather unspectacular though. "The negative momentum on the charts is building with sessions as poor as this one. New lows for the move everywhere and a new contract low for Kansas wheat doesn’t bode well for the length going forward," said Benson Quinn. In Washington, the USDA's Outlook Forum estimated the 2015/16 US wheat crop at 2.125 billion bushels versus 2.026 billion last year, a rise of 4.9%. Wheat ending stocks next season were pegged at 763 million bushels, up more than 10% from this year. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.10 1/4, down 17 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.33 1/4, down 11 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.66 1/2, down 7 1/2 cents. For the week that takes Chicago wheat 22 3/4 cents lower, with the market in Minneapolis down 20 1/2 and Kansas falling 29 1/2 cents.

21 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
19/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher, with front month Mar 15 back up above the magical $10/bushel mark. News from the USDA's Outlook Forum that US farmers might only plant 83.5 million acres of soybeans this spring was the catalyst. That's actually 200,000 acres below year ago levels. The average trade estimate was around 86 million, according to a Bloomberg survey - and some forecasts were as high as 88 million. It should be noted however, that despite a double digit rally, beans actually ended around 10 cents off the intra-day highs. Clearly some still see anything above $10/bu as a sell. The USDA also forecast the average US soybean price in 2015/16 at $9.00/bu. The Argentine 2015 crop certainly seems to be getting bigger. The Rosario Grain Exchange said that the bulk of the crop there has now passed the critical period for determining yields well, and said that yields could be up to 20% higher than a year ago. The same can't be said for production prospects in Brazil, although a record crop is still expected. "Very stressful January weather in the tropics has reduced soybean potential in Brazil," said Martell Crop Projections. The Mato Grosso bean harvest is said to be around 30% complete, some 10 points behind normal for this time. Nationally, the crop is said to be around 15-20% complete. Truckers are striking in Mato Grosso state. It will soon be the strike season in Argentina too. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $10.07 1/4, up 11 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $10.11 1/4, up 12 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $347.50, up $8.90; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.83, down 18 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 5-6 cents higher. The USDA Outlook Forum estimated US corn plantings this spring at 89 million acres, which is in line with the average trade guess according to a Bloomberg survey. It would also be the lowest area in 5 years and fall 1.6 million below last year's level. They predict an average US corn price of $3.50/bu in 2015/16. The Energy Dept reported US weekly ethanol production up 3,000 barrels/day from a week ago to 964,000 bpd. Stocks fell slightly to 21.1 million barrels, but are still up sharply on year ago levels of 17.2 million. "The report could be considered slightly bullish as weekly stocks managed to decline for the first time since the week of December 12th on nominally unchanged production. Demand remains steady and plants continue to grind at an aggressive rate even in a weak margin environment," said Benson Quinn Commodities. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that rain is hampering the corn harvest in Argentina, which is now only 1.1% complete. They see production down 16.6% on a year ago at 22.5 MMT. Brussels announced that it had granted 239 TMT worth of EU corn import licences, taking the season to date total to 5.9 MMT, which is 27% down on this time last year. Agritel increased their forecast for the Ukraine corn crop to 28 MMT, pegging exports at 17.5 MMT versus 15.5 MMT previously. The USDA estimate Ukraine's corn exports a little higher at 18 MMT, whilst the ever optimistic Ukraine Ministry of Agriculture go for 20 MMT. Agritel also raised their figure for the 2014/15 Russian corn crop slightly to 11.3 MMT, forecasting exports at 3.0 MMT. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.89 3/4, up 6 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.97 3/4, up 5 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed mostly lower. News that EU offers today came in more than $60/tonne cheaper than the best US price in yesterday's passed on exclusively US wheat tender did most of the damage. An attempt to rally on the back of firmer corn and soybean markets failed to hold and fizzled out towards the end of the session. US wheat is simply not competitive with other global offers, especially those out of Europe. The US dollar is strong and the euro is weak, further hurting US export hopes and ambitions. The USDA Outlook Forum suggested a US all wheat area for the 2015 harvest (winter and spring wheat) at 55.5 million acres. which is half a million below the "baseline" projection and 1.3 million down on last year. They predict an average US wheat price of $5.10/bushel in 2015/16. Japan bought 101,128 MT of milling wheat for March-April shipment, of mostly US origin, in a routine tender. Algeria were reported to have bought 400,000 MT of what is expected to be EU, and most likely French, wheat for June shipment. Tunisia are in the market for 59,000 MT of optional origin durum wheat for March-April shipment. I'm hearing that the Russian Ag Ministry said that winter grain production there might fall to 28-30 MMT, down sharply from 48 MMT a year ago due to poor establishment in the autumn and winterkill. Winter crops in the South and Central regions are said to be rated 29% in poor condition. Another report I read from a company in the Rostov region says that as much as a third of winter crops in the area failed to emerge, and around half the planted area may have to be resown in the spring. If producers have the money to do so that is. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.27 3/4, unchanged; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.44 1/2, down 3 1/2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.74, down 8 cents.

20 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
18/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower, as trade above $10/bushel triggered selling once South American farmers and traders returned to their desks following a two-day holiday. Many Asian traders are also now on holiday ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. That makes the market pretty thin. The USDA Outlook Forum starts tomorrow and concludes on Friday. That will give us some preliminary idea on US spring plantings for 2015, although these numbers aren't held in the same regard as the March Planting Intentions estimates due at the end of next month. I've read that the acreage numbers are due on Friday, but I'm sure that was the case a year ago, and in fact they were released on the Thursday in 2014. The trade is looking for a soybean area of somewhere between 84-88 million acres, up from 83.4 million a year ago and versus the USDA's "baseline" projection of 84 million. (Last year incidentally the figure at the Feb Outlook Forum was "only" 79.3 million, so they were more than 4 million on the low side back then, so whatever number they come out with, there's plenty of time for that to change between now and the end of June/early July when planting concludes). They should also give us some idea on 2015/16 US soybean ending stocks. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.95 3/4, down 12 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.99 1/4, down 12 1/2 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $338.60, down $3.70; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 32.01, down 31 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 5-6 cents lower, in part of a general sell-off in the grains sector. The regular weekly US ethanol production data that usually comes out on a Wednesday is delayed a day due to the President's Day holiday on Monday. Asia is closed, or are closing, for a week, keeping things quiet. A Bloomberg survey estimates US corn plantings in 2015 at 89.09 million acres, down 1.7% versus last year and the lowest in 5 years. The USDA's January "baseline" projection was 88 million acres. Last year's Outlook Forum forecast was 92 million and the final area estimated last month was 90.6 million, so they weren't too far out a year ago. In other news, FranceAgriMer estimated French 2014/15 corn ending stocks at 4.15 MMT versus a previous estimate of 3.99 MMT. Ukraine said that they'd exported more than 10 MMT of corn already this season and would finish 2014/15 shipping out 20 MMT. That would match last season's record volume and also beat the current USDA estimate which was raised to 18 MMT earlier this month. Ag Canada estimated the Canadian corn crop at 12.2 MMT in 2015, up from 11.5 MMT a year ago. They see exports in 2015/16 at 700,000 MT and ending stocks at 800,000 MT. South American crop weather leans favourable. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.83 3/4, down 5 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.92, down 5 3/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed lower on disappointment that a tender by Egypt's GASC to buy US only wheat failed to ignite a lot of interest, with GASC dismissing the offers put up as too expensive. That shouldn't really have surprised too many people, but apparently it did. What the US wheat market now doesn't need is another set of poor weekly export sales this week. These are delayed a day until Friday, due to Monday's holiday. The firm US dollar continues to be a problem for US exports which are missing out to cheaper offers from various sellers, but particularly Europe helped by the weakness of the single currency. The trade is more interested in what the USDA's Outlook Forum will say with regards to US 2015 corn and soybean plantings than they are for wheat. The winter wheat crop is after all already in the ground, whereas corn and soybean sowings are not. Last year's Forum all wheat estimated area was 55.5 million acres and the final area reported in January was 56.8 million. The Indian government forecast this year's wheat crop (harvesting of which will start next month) at 95.76 MMT versus 95.85 MMT a year ago. Ukraine estimated that they will export the maximum allowed 12.8 MMT of wheat this season. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.27 3/4, down 7 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.48, down 14 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.82, down 6 3/4 cents.

18 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
17/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans and meal trade higher, but off the highs. Mar 15 beans hit $9.99 3/4 but couldn't quite breach the $10 mark by around 17.00 GMT. The trade is expecting the USDA to suggest 2015 US soybean plantings to increase somewhere between 2-4 million acres this year to all time highs in their Outlook Forum at the end of the week. Safras said that Brazilian farmers are only 38% sold on their anticipated record soybean crop this year. That's down from 58% sold a year ago and 54% on average at this time. It's also only up 6 points from a week ago. Soybean farmers in Brazil's largest producing Mato Grosso state are 55% sold versus 69% on average. The harvest there is now 25% complete, they said. In the second top producer, Parana, farmers are 23% sold versus 41% normally and the harvest is 17% complete. Dr Cordonnier estimated the Brazilian soybean crop at 93 MMT, a record, although unchanged from a week ago. Some had suggested earlier in the season that production could come close to hitting the magic 100 MMT mark, but dry weather in January put paid to that. Dr Cordonnnier upped his forecast for Argentina by 1 MMT to a new record 57 MMT.

Corn: The corn market slipped back from higher overnight trade to modestly lower once the daytime session began. A weaker look to wheat, which had posted double digit gains at one stage overnight, may have been a contributory factor. The trade is expecting the USDA to indicate that US growers may plant 3-4 million fewer corn acres in 2015 at this week's Outlook Conference. It's early days yet to be talking of an emerging weather problem for US corn in 2015. Martell Crop Projections however say that "strong drying in the US heartland has increased moisture stress in hard red winter wheat also causing concerns for spring corn planting in the Midwest." Dr Cordonnier raised his forecast for this year's Argentine corn crop by 1 MMT to 23 MMT. He was unchanged on his outlook for Brazil at 74 MMT. Brazil's safrinha corn crop is said to be only 23% planted versus around 50% normally. UkrAgroConsult said that they expect Ukraine farmers to reduce corn plantings this year by 5-7% due to increased costs. Rosstat said that Russia's Feb 1 corn stocks were up 13.3% on a year ago. The Russian Deputy PM said that the country will subsidise the Russian sector to the tune of RUB35.7 billion, some of which will go to help farmers get cheap (ish) loans to help with spring plantings.

Wheat: The wheat market gave up most of it's early gains, which ran into double digits at one stage overnight, once the daytime session opened. Early strength was probably tied to news that the fighting in eastern Ukraine goes on, despite last week's "ceasefire" and also concerns of possible damage to US winter wheat due to bitter cold across large parts of the country. "The jet stream has begun to carve out a deep, cold trough over the Midwest and eastern United States. Arctic air began spilling into the heartland this morning. February temperatures have been persistently cold averaging 15-20 F in the Upper Midwest, 20-30 F in the southern half of the corn belt. The new Midwest forecast is very cold calling for temperatures more than 15 F below average," said Martell Crop Projections. SovEcon said that Russia may still export 21 MMT of wheat this season, despite the new export duty. That probably gives them around 2 MMT to export in the Feb/Jun period. Russian grain stocks were up 15.4% as of Feb 1, with wheat stocks 22.7% higher, according to Rosstat. Argentina approved a further 1 MMT of wheat for export in 2014/15. Japan tendered for 101,128 MT of a combination of US and Australian wheat for Mar/Apr shipment. Algeria are tendering for 50 TMT of optional origin milling wheat for June shipment.

17 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
17/02/15 -- US markets were closed for Washington's Birthday on Monday. (Can you imagine us having a Bank Holiday for say Tony Blair's birthday? It's any excuse for a day off over there it seems!)

The overnight markets are open though, and are currently green across the board, with beans up around 6-7 cents, meal $2-3 firmer, corn is up a couple of cents and wheat 5-7 cents higher.

The Russian Deputy PM has said that the government will provide agricultural producers with RUB35.7 billion worth of subsidies this year (around $567 million), without saying exactly where the money will come from.

Rosstat said that last year's Russian grain harvest was 103.8 MMT, versus the government's number of 105.3 MMT, a 12.3% rise versus 2013.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development say that grain production in 2015 will fall, but not by too much, to 100.5 MMT. They estimate that around 21% of Russian winter grains (approximately 3.6 million hectares) are in "unsatisfactory" condition.

They could ultimately prove to be far too optimistic there methinks.

Mind you, they also say that 2014/15 ending stocks will rise 30% year-on-year, which does have a ring of truth to it following last year's bumper production, lower exports than originally expected, and farmer reluctance to sell due to the falling rouble and rising inflation.

UkrAgroConsult say that 20% of Ukraine's winter rapeseed crop is in weak/poor condition, up from 5% a year ago, report the HGCA.

Ukraine grain stocks as at Feb 1 were up 14% at 22.3 MMT, according to the State Stats Service. That includes 6.9 MMT of wheat, 1.7 MMT of barley and 12.7 MMT of corn.

11 February 2015 | Chicago Reports
10/02/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower following a generally bearish USDA WASDE report. "Oilseed supplies are currently transitioning from a prolonged period of tightness to one of relative abundance. Global oilseed ending stocks are forecast to rise significantly this year led by a nearly 40 percent rise in soybean stocks," they said. As was generally anticipated they cut 1 MMT off their Brazilian crop estimate to 94.5 MMT, and added 1 MMT to Argentina, raising output there to 56 MMT. US soybean exports were raised from 48.2 MMT to 48.7 MMT. Imports for China, the EU and other leading players were all left unchanged from a month ago. The US crush was increased from 48.4 MMT to 48.9 MMT. US ending stocks were trimmed back a bit more than expected to 10.5 MMT, or 385 million bushels. World ending stocks were cut from 90.8 MMT to 89.3 MMT. The larger than anticipated cut to US carryout sparked a short-lived mini rally, but the reality of those stocks still being 320% higher than in 2013/14 soon bit back. World ending stocks are also sharply higher, up 35% on a year previously. "The Brazilian farmer was there to sell the rally along with the funds that upon further inspection of the report really found nothing bullish and piled back into short positions," said Benson Quinn. Dr Cordonnier estimated Brazil's bean crop at 93 MMT and went for 56 MMT in Argentina, both unchanged from his previous estimates. Aboive went for 92.3 MMT in Brazil. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.69, down 9 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.74 1/4, down 10 3/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $326.90, down $2.70; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.45, down 56 points.

Corn: The corn market closed around 3 cents or so lower. The firm US dollar and weaker crude oil were bearish influences. The USDA raised their forecast for the world 2014/15 corn crop up from 988 MMT in January to a record 991.3 MMT. "Larger crops in Ukraine, Argentina, and India more than offset lower production in Russia," they said. Argentina's crop was raised 1 MMT to 23 MMT and Brazil's was left unchanged at 75 MMT. Exports from Argentina and Ukraine were both hiked by 1.5 MMT from last month to 13.5 MMT and 18 MMT respectively. US exports were seen unchanged at 44.5 MMT. Chinese imports were increased by 0.5 MMT to 2.5 MMT. World ending stocks were raised by half a million tonnes to 189.64 MMT, despite those in the US being reduced a bit more than expected, from 47.7 MMT to 46.4 MMT (1.827 billion bushels). The USDA added 75 million bushels to the US ethanol grind. "To offset a portion of a higher ethanol grind, they reduced the feed usage by 25 million bu due to the expected rise in available DDG’s for feed use. They also narrowed the range of the season-average farm price by a nickel on both sides to $3.40-3.90," noted Benson Quinn. The USDA also raised their forecast for US sorghum exports from 6.8 MMT to 7.5 MMT, and increased Chinese imports from 6.2 MMT to 7.0 MMT. In other news, Taiwan's MFIG bought 60,000 MT of US corn for Apr/May shipment. Dr Cordonnier estimated the Brazilian corn crop at 74 MMT, pegging Argentina's output at 22 MMT, both unchanged from his previous forecasts. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.88, down 3 1/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.96 1/4, down 3 1/4 cents.

Wheat: The wheat market closed around 6-9 cents lower across the three exchanges. The USDA painted a picture of record world wheat production, abundant stocks and lower US exports due to a variety of factors, not least the strong US dollar and fierce competition from Europe and elsewhere. "US wheat exports to Brazil are likely to drop significantly in 2014/15 compared to last year on competition from traditional South American suppliers. Brazil also has record production, and imports are forecast slightly lower than last year. Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay have recently harvested larger crops and are expected to export more to Brazil. Mercosur exporters have freight and logistical advantages in addition to tariff-free access, while others, including the United States, are subject to a 10% import duty. The situation is very different from last year, when US wheat filled an unusual gap left by short crops in both Argentina and Paraguay," they said. The world wheat crop was pegged at 725 MMT, up from 723.4 MMT previously and versus 716.1 MMT a year ago. Consumption was raised 1.5 MMT to 714.65 MMT, but ending stocks were still increased by the best part of 2 MMT to almost 198 MMT. US wheat exports were lowered from 25.5 MMT to 25.0 MMT, and Europe's increased from 30 MMT to 31 MMT, although still below last season's record near 32 MMT. Egypt's imports were raised 0.5 MMT to 10.5 MMT. In other news, South Korea bought 47 TMT of US milling wheat, and 50 TMT of Australian milling wheat. Bahrain bought 25,000 MT of Australian wheat for Mar-Apr shipment. Morocco are tendering for 360,000 MT each of US soft wheat and US durum wheat for May shipment. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.21 3/4, down 8 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.54, down 9 1/2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.70, down 6 cents.

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