Rains delay Brazil soybean harvest; another US cold spell
Beans closed with nearby Mar 14 posting a new high of $14/bushel and finishing the day within a cent of that. Nearby meal also set a new contract high. Very strong nearby demand continues to push the market higher, aided by further fund buying (estimated at around a net 5,000 soybean contracts on the day today). The USDA announced that "unknown" bought 568,000 MT of old crop US beans. There is some obvious speculation that this is China.
There is also some debate that this sale may include the provision to deliver South American beans and/or that the delivery period is right at the end of the season, and that the seller may therefore be able to delivery new crop US beans against the contract (assuming that there are any available). The Brazilian harvest is around a third of the way done, and there is some suggestion that output potential is trending lower. Around 85-92 MMT is the range of trade guesses, any of which would be a record versus last season's thus far all-time high of 82 MMT. Wet weather is slowing the Brazilian harvest and causing some yield loss concerns.
Flooding is causing some logistical problems too, after Brazil's "soybean highway" in Mato Grosso - the main transport route for beans to the ports - was reduced to only one lane after a dam broke. Repairs could take several months, according to Dr Cordonnier. Reuters reported that a gantry at the Brazilian port of Rio Grande's Tergrasa’s berth had been hit by accident, halting the shipment of grains from one of the five bulk terminals at the port. Repairs to the gantry may take 2 weeks. Analysts at a grain conference in Winnipeg estimated Canada’s canola plantings this year at 21.0 million acres, up 5% from a year ago, but below Ag Canada’s estimate of 21.6 million. Mar 14 Soybeans closed at $13.99, up 12 1/2 cents; May 14 Soybeans closed at $13.87 1/4, up 12 1/4 cents; Mar 14 Soybean Meal closed at $469.60, up $3.70; Mar 14 Soybean Oil closed at 40.58, down 17 points.
The corn market closed around 3-4 cents higher on the day. The heavy rains in Brazil that are delaying the soybean harvest there will also be having a negative impact on timely second crop corn plantings. Israel seeks 56,000 MT of optional origin corn for May-June shipment, with the Black Sea the most likely supplier.
The turmoil in Ukraine seems to have calmed down for now, but there are still reports of buyers preferring to buy corn from other sellers, such as Russia, in the region for the time being. South Korea's FLC bought 63,000 MT of US or South American corn for June shipment. Taiwan is seeking 60,000 MT of optional origin corn for April/May shipment. Another very cold spell is underway for the Midwest and US heartland, potentially boosting domestic feed demand for corn. A jump in US ethanol prices is also said to have sparked better margins.
The same Arctic blast hitting the US is also in evidence in Canada, making logistics there even worse. US oat futures surged limit up and above $5/bushel to fresh contract highs today, underpinning corn values. Front month Mar 14 oats are now up more than 40% since the turn of the year. Slow rail transportation in Canada was said to be one of the primary factors behind the jump. The Energy Dept will report on weekly ethanol production tomorrow. Last week's grind came in at 903k barrels/day, up 1,000 bpd on the previous week but still below the circa 930k bpd needed to hit the USDA's target for the season. Mar 14 Corn closed at $4.55 3/4, up 4 1/4 cents; May 14 Corn closed at $4.61 1/4, up 3 1/2 cents.
The wheat market closed mixed. News that Egypt had cancelled 110,000 MT of US SRW wheat for 2013/14 shipment was bearish. Egypt’s Finance Ministry were however said to have approved financial guarantees of $75.3 million for the import of 240,000 MT of wheat. A report on Reuters suggests that they may be in the market to buy some 500,000-700,000 MT of wheat before their own harvest begins in April. They've been absent from the open market since late January.
Taiwan are said to be seeking 83,150 MT of US milling wheat for April–May shipment. The USDA's attache in Saudi Arabia said that the country will import 3.03 MMT of wheat in 2013/14 versus the USDA's own estimate of 2.7 MMT. Canada remains mired in logistical issues in attempting to move its record 2013 wheat crop. Bad weather, a newly nationalised railway system and now a 48 hour strike by Vancouver truck drivers are all taking their toll. Analysts at a grain conference in Winnipeg estimated Canada’s 2014 wheat planted area at 23.3 million acres, down 10% from a year ago and well below Ag Canada’s estimate of 24.7 million.
India's state owned firm STC was said to have picked up a best bid of $271.10 in a tender to export 110 TMT of wheat out of the west coast for Feb 28-Mar 28 shipment. Another government backed firm, PEC, was said to have picked up a best bid of $274.90 in a tendrr to export 70 TMT of wheat out of the east coast for the same shipment period. Both bids are well above the government's agreed minimum of $260/tonne. Rabobank cut their forecast for CBOT wheat prices in Q4 of 2014 by 80 cents to a 4-year low of $5.60/bushel. Mar 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $6.15, down 2 3/4 cents; Mar 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $6.90 1/2, up 1 1/2 cents; Mar 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $6.74, up 11 1/4 cents.
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