US corn plantings may hit four year low
Beans closed higher for a third day despite apparent confirmation that a Chinese crusher has sold Brazilian beans to US buyers on the east coast, and that the first such shipment is already en-route from Santos. As ever, it's soybean jam tomorrow. Doane Advisory Services estimated that US farmers will plant a record 83.6 million acres of soybeans this year. That's more than 7 million acres up on last year, for a rise of over 9%.
And with domestic soybean prices where they are right now, then why wouldn't they? That's the highest public estimate in the ring so far, although it's not too far ahead of Allendale's suggested 83.2 million acres, it's well above the USDA's Outlook Forum forecast of 79.5 million. Old crop stocks remain tight though, with the trade thinking that Mar 1 inventories could be below 1 billion bushels. The USDA will report on both quarterly stocks and planting intentions on Mar 31. Tomorrow's weekly export sales report will be of interest, with trade estimates for old crop sales ranging from -100 TMT to +300 TMT, and with new crop sales of 300-600 TMT. That report will also tell us what volume of soybeans got shipped in the past week. Last week's cumulative total was already over 93% of the USDA's forecast for the season which is barely more than halfway through. May 14 Soybeans closed at $14.31 1/4, up 13 cents; Jul 14 Soybeans closed at $14.10 3/4, up 15 cents; May 14 Soybean Meal closed at $462.00, up $6.20; May 14 Soybean Oil closed at 42.10, down 17 points.
The corn market closed with small gains. Weekly ethanol production rebounded from 869,000 barrels a day last week to 891,000 bpd this time round, although that's still below the required level of around 932,000 bpd needed to hit USDA targets. Doane Advisory Services said that US corn plantings this spring would hit a four year low of 90.9 million acres.
That's at the low end of other trade forecasts. Goldman Sachs currently estimate the US 2014 corn acreage at 93.5 million versus Allendale's 92.349 million and the USDA Outlook Forum figure of 92.0 million. Plantings last year were 95.4 million. China were said to have bought a couple of cargoes of Ukraine corn as part of an inter-governmental deal. They still haven't approved MIR 162 corn for import, which has effectively dried up shipments from the US for the time being. Weekly export sales for corn tomorrow are expected to be around 400-700 TMT for old crop and in the region of 100-350 TMT for new crop, for a combined 500 TMT to 1.05 MMT.
Tensions in Ukraine remain high, although things still don't seem to be having too much of an adverse affect on grain exports. The Ukraine Ministry said that the country had exported 1.7 MMT of grains so far this month, almost all of which (1.6 MMT) was corn. The 2013/14 marketing year to date corn export total out of Ukraine is 16.2 MMT. The Ukraine Ministry said that Crimean ports only account for around 7% of grain shipments, although SovEcon said that the true figure is more like 10%. May 14 Corn closed at $4.87 3/4, up 1 1/2 cents; Jul 14 Corn closed at $4.92 3/4, up 1 3/4 cents.
The wheat market was lower in overnight trade, but quickly turned that around in afternoon trade to close sharply higher on heavy fund buying - estimated by some to be as much as a net 11,000 contracts in Chicago wheat taking prices up to a 10-month high. Heightened tensions in the Black Sea region, concerns aver dryness on the Southern Plains, and talk of dryness in Germany, eastern Europe, the FSU and even now Australia ahead of the planting season there all added to spec money's new found enthusiasm for holding wheat.
Doane Advisory Services estimated the US all wheat area at 57.5 million acres versus a USDA Outlook Forum estimate of only 55.5 million. Japan issued a tender for 120,0000 MT of feed wheat and 200,000 MT of feed barley for June shipment. Tunisia bought 34,000 MT of optional origin durum wheat for April/May shipment.
Libya tendered for 50,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat for April shipment. The Ukraine Ministry said that the country had shipped 108,500 MT of wheat so far this month, taking the 2013/14 marketing year to date total to just under 7.5 MMT versus 6.2 MMT a year previously. Total grain shipments out of Ukraine are 26.0 MMT, up 38% on a year ago. US weather refuses to co-operate, with the short-term forecast putting warm, dry and windy weather over western Kansas and Oklahoma along with another round of below-normal temperatures for the US Midwest next week. May 14 CBOT Wheat closed at $7.15 3/4, up 23 1/4 cents; May 14 KCBT Wheat closed at $7.88 1/4, up 25 cents; May 14 MGEX Wheat closed at $7.61, up 19 1/2 cents.
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