Jul 27, 2014
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Cash Grain Insights

RSS By: Kevin McNew, AgWeb.com

Kevin McNew is President of Grain Hedge and Geograin. McNew was raised on a farm in central Oklahoma and received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from North Carolina State University. For over a decade, he was a Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland and Montana State University, focusing on commodity markets. He has received numerous academic awards for his research and outreach work, and was (and still is) widely regarded for boiling down complex economic issues into easy-to-understand concepts for applied life.


Rain Showers More Than Expected

Jul 25, 2014

 This morning we have the markets trading lower here with September corn down 3 cents, September wheat unchanged, and September soybeans down 8 ¾ cents as better than expected precipitation covered a good portion of the Midwest last night.

This morning we did have a number of export sales reported including 269,084 metric tons of corn to Mexico with 91% of it for new crop delivery. Exporters also sold 134,700 metric tons of soymeal to Mexico for new crop delivery and 360,000 tons of U.S soybeans to China for 14/15 delivery.

Showers over the Midwest were better than expected over the last 24 hours, helping to alleviate some concern over dryness in the northern and eastern Iowa, overall 30% of the Midwest received timely rains. Planalytics is looking for a dramatic cooling trend to begin this week and into next week that will have temperatures in the Northern and Central Plains into the 70’s and 80’s.   

Ukraine ag minister said the country could lose between 500,000 and 550,000 tonnes of grain in Eastern Ukraine due to the ongoing war. This would represent 1.5% of total production expected by the USDA in the July WASDE report. Wheat futures have continued to find limited buying as traders seem comfortable with the state of Ukraine grain exports. Several export sales from Ukraine to Egypt were booked last week, indicating the world’s largest wheat buyer is confident in Ukraine’s ability to supply grain through the fall.

The weather doesn’t appear to be cooperating with European wheat harvest this year as more rain is expected over the next 10 days. The wetter than normal harvest has many grain buyers concerned about quality and has caused the spread between feed wheat and milling wheat to widen. Talks that feed wheat is trading at a $40 per ton discount to milling wheat has analyst thinking about the implications of this on corn imports from other countries. With cheaper feed wheat, corn imports into Europe will likely decline.  

Soybean Sales Surge

Jul 24, 2014

 Grains are moving higher across the board in Chicago with corn up 5 cents, soybeans up 22 cents, and Chicago wheat up 7 cents.

Export sales this morning were very positive for soybeans which had sales of 226,700 MT for old crop which was on the high side of expectations and new crop sales of 2,451,100 MT which beat the high side of analyst expectations by about one million bushels. China was a large buyer this week, accounting for 70% of old crop sales and 52% of new crop sales. Unknown destinations made up another 37% of new crop soybean sales. Old crop sales are now 63 million bushels ahead of pace to meet USDA expectations and if no sales were reported from now until the end of the marketing year would finish out 44 million bushels above USDA forecasts.


Corn export sales came in below analyst expectations at 291,500 MT compared to 300,000-500,000 expected. Sales for old crop corn were down 49 percent from the week before. New crop sales met analyst expectations at 1,143,400 MT. Old crop corn is now 42 million bushels ahead of pace to meet USDA expectations.


Wheat sales this morning met expectations reporting 443,200 MT of sales compared to expectations of 350,000-550,000 MT. 


Even before this morning’s export sales report, November soybean futures were trading 21 cents higher on some concerns about final yield. Concerns are starting to circulate through the trade that a cooler / dryer August leaves questions about final yield as we enter the pod setting stage for much of the crop. Non-commercial traders held a near record short soybean position – making the market ripe for a short covering rally.

Forecast Drier For Next 10 Days

Jul 23, 2014

 This morning the grain markets are mostly unchanged to slightly higher here with September corn up ½ a cent, September wheat up 2 cents and august soybeans up 2 ¾ cents.

The weather forecast has turned drier in the western half of the grain belt with the next 10 days looking to bring more dry weather to that region.  Today should bring some showers to southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, Illinois and southern Ohio. Rains will be needed during August to maintain the crop quality in the western half of the grain belt. Soybeans and corn in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin which received significant precipitation during the earliest parts of the season will be most susceptible to moisture stress due to their shallow rooting. Despite the drier weather outlook, we continued to see selling pressure yesterday as soybeans broke through key support of $10.65.

Two military jets were shot down in Eastern Ukraine this morning, but at the moment wheat futures are not showing any buying interest as a result. The USDA’s attache in Ukraine released a report yesterday after the market close stating that harvest in Eastern Ukraine had been slowed by the military conflict but "Grain exports for the new marketing year are starting off well." U.S. wheat futures are showing very little interest in the Ukraine story following one day of buying last week. We will continue to monitor the situation for any changes in the export outlook.

Weekly ethanol production will be released at 9:30 central time and is expected to show another strong week of U.S. ethanol production. A collapsing corn market has helped to offset lower DDG prices and a sideways ethanol market. Ethanol facilities remain aggressive bidders of old crop corn. Anyone with remaining old crop bushels may find premium at ethanol facilities for late season sales.


String of Reportable Sales This Morning

Jul 22, 2014

 The grain markets moved a couple cents higher in the overnight after trading down for the better part of yesterday. September corn is up 1 ¼ cents September wheat is up 4 ½ cents and august soybeans is up 14 cents this morning.

Crop conditions were released yesterday after the market close, showing small changes week over week. Corn conditions were left unchanged at 76% good-to-excellent while soybean conditions improved a percent, now rated 73% good to excellent. Progress is moving along nicely, with 56% of corn now silking and 19% of soybeans setting pods. The next several weeks will be critical for final yield and the forecast for pollination is looking very favorable. The 6-10 day forecast from Planalytics shows above average precipitation and below average temperatures for the U.S. grain belt.

A string of export sales were reported this morning with exporters selling 225,000 metric tons of U.S new crop soymeal to unknown destinations, 180,000 metric tons of U.S new crop soymeal to Vietnam and 20,000 metric tons of U.S. new crop Soyoil to unknown destinations.

Also on the demand front, Taiwain flour millers association has released a tender overnight to purchase 80,900 tonnes of milling wheat from the United States. The tender will close on Friday, July 25th, and will give a better idea of demand following a three month price decline. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture also issued a tender to buy 94,586 metric tons of food quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia. The tender should close Thursday.

Yesterday, new crop soybeans were able to hold the key support level of $10.65 after twice attempting to penetrate that price level. However, November soybeans were able to rally 6 cents off their lows to close out the day, giving hope that we have found a short term bottom. Today it will be important to watch the $10.65 price level again since another test of that level will likely yield lower prices.

This morning there was talk out of Argentina that grain shipments out of the port of Rosario started up again on Monday after several unions’ suspended strikes. The unions will continue to hold talks with the companies, but at least for now it seems that grain will once again be moving out of the country. We have seen these strikes end only to start back up again last week so we will keep a close watch on any further developments out of Argentina. The strikes out of Argentina have been a supporting factor for old crop U.S soybeans.    



Grain Gap Lower in the Overnight

Jul 21, 2014

 This morning all the grains are trading lower as ideal weather during pollination weighs heavily on the market. September corn is trading down 6 cents, September wheat is down 3 ¾ cents and August soybeans is trading 4 ¾ cents lower.

This afternoon’s crop progress report should show unchanged conditions ratings and nearly 50% of the corn and soybean crop entering the reproductive phases. Weather looks to remain very favorable for the remainder of the week with NOAA and private analysts both expecting cool temperatures across much of the grain belt. Showers should be light and intermixed, continuing to support soil moisture.


The longer term outlook remains favorable, with the 8-14 day forecast from Planalytics projecting below average temperatures and above average precipitation for the majority of the grain belt. This is confirmation of NOAA’s projections from last week for a cool, wet, August for the U.S. grain belt.


New crop soybeans are now 6 cents away from the low printed at $10.65 per bushel following the last USDA supply and demand report. Since then new crop soybeans rallied to $11.18 ¾ last Thursday, helped to its high on Thursday by the Malaysian airlines incident over eastern Ukraine. The geopolitical event was used as a selling opportunity after the initial reaction sent soybean prices higher. Keep a close watch on new crop soybeans around $10.65 which should act as a strong support level during today’s trade.


Over the weekend France and Germany both received precipitation that stopped fieldwork during harvest. The moisture throughout Europe during harvest has caused quality concerns for the wheat in that region. This is has been an ongoing story this year for European wheat and the U.S markets are unlikely to respond to it in any kind of meaningful way. 


On the demand side this morning we have some action. Export sales of 135,000 metric tons of soybean cake and meal to unknown destinations for new crop delivery and 120,000 metric tons of old crop soybeans to China. On the global front, Turkey’s state grain agency issued an international tender to import 165,000 metric tons of milling wheat and 65,000 metric tons of animal feed barley. 


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