The Grain Hedge Team provides a macro-focused daily view of the world’s grain markets. Kevin McNew received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from North Carolina State University. He spent 10 years as a Professor of Economics with the University of Maryland and Montana State University focusing on commodity markets and is widely regarded for his ability to boil-down complex economic situations into easy-to-understand concepts for applied life.
Can Surging Bean Exports Save this market?
Jan 28, 2014
Grains were mixed overnight with wheat up 3 cents a bushel, while corn and beans were unchanged to modestly lower.
Soybeans continue to lack conviction on price direction. Monday brought impressive exports with weekly inspections totaling 73.8 MB versus trade expectations of 50 to 58 MB. Also helping support the market was an announcement on Monday by USDA that a private firm had sold 183,000 MT of new-crop delivery beans to unknown destinations. However, a record-large South American crop continues to weigh on the market. Soybean premiums at the Gulf were weaker on Monday as Brazilian soy is offered at a steep discount to old-crop US beans. There continues to be Chinese interest in new-crop US soy, but sales have dropped off from the torrid pace of recent weeks. Next week is the Lunar New Year holiday, which will keep a lid on Chinese demand.
In wheat, Saudia Arabia bought 715,000 MT of wheat on Monday with optional origin sources at the discretion of the sellers. Some of the wheat could come from the US but Europe, Australia, and Canada are part of the mix too. Late Monday, Egypt’s GASC announced another round of tenders to buy wheat. However, a moisture requirement of less than 13% could limit French wheat in the deal. Also supporting the market is on the ongoing winter freeze in the Midwest, although the overall risk seems limited to small sections of SRW wheat areas.
In corn, weekly exports were at 28.7 MB, at the high end of expectations of 23 to 28 MB. Also on Monday, USDA announced an old-crop sale of 119,888 MT to unknown destinations. This adds to the 370,000 MT of old-crop sales announced on Friday. River logistics in the US continue to be a struggle. Navigation on the Illinois is getting extremely difficult. Shippers are not able to assemble tows of more than 6 or 8 barges due to heavy ice accumulation, industry sources said. Two urea barges that were taking on water near Havana, Illinois, late last week were determined to have had their hulls damaged by gorged ice.