Oct 1, 2014
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February 2014 Archive for The Ted Spread

RSS By: Ted Seifried, AgWeb.com

Ted is the Chief Market Strategist and Vice President in charge of the Zaner Ag Hedge Group and specializes in agricultural hedging employing various strategies using futures, futures spreads, outright options and option combinations. He believes it is paramount to be able to use different strategies to adapt to market conditions. Ted works with large to mid size grain and livestock producers and end users in North, Central and South America.

Is the High now in for Soybeans?

Feb 27, 2014

TRADING COMMODITY FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, KNOWLEDGE AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES.        

Soybeans have been on massive bull run in recent weeks on fears that the US may run out of soybeans this year.  These fears stem from strong crush numbers, a record pace of export sales and a lack of cancellations/switches of previous sales. But, is Thursday's big reversal off highs signaling that a top may be in for now?  

To date US export sales have reached 1.597 billion bushels compared to the current USDA export estimate of 1.51 billion bushels.  This means that if all of the soybeans that have been sold for export do in fact end up getting shipped out this year we would be 87 million bushels over the current USDA estimate and with the current USDA ending stock estimate of 150 million bushels it could mean that if everything else on the balance sheet remained the same ending stocks could slip to a dangerously low level of 63 million bushels.   

This would be the lowest ending stock number on record and would be well below what the USDA considers "pipeline supply".  This fear has sent soybeans (old crop in particular) on a price rationing rally with the intention of shutting down export demand.  In the last three weeks soybean export sales have slowed dramatically, but they have still been a positive number each week suggesting soybeans have had more work to do to shut down export demand.   

Thursday started with another positive export sales number that sent soybeans soaring to new recent highs, at one point 47 1/2 cents higher in the May contract.  However, shortly after the export sales report the USDA announced another sale of 112k metric tons of soybeans to China in 13/14.  The thing that was different about this sale though was that it was from optional origin.  This means that this sale can come from the US or any soybean exporter.  This did not sit well with the market as traders realized that if this is the way China is going to structure sales from here on out it could mean that the origin may end up being South America and it could effectively end the US export sales business with China for the year.  

On top of that there was talk all day of more cancellations and switches.  Towards the noon hour it came to light that China had switched 4 panamaxes of old crop soybeans to new crop delivery.  This put substantial pressure on the market and erased all of the gains from the day and much of yesterday's.  The thing is, this may not be a one off scenario.  This may continue to happen or may have already happened more then the market realizes.  I have also heard talk that one of the major global grain companies has already taken in more South American imports then the current USDA estimate of 35 million bushels.  If this is true, a vast majority of the export sales above and beyond the current USDA estimate could be offset by imports.  There has even been some stories of container ships of South American soybeans reaching their destination in the US only to refuel and turn around for China.  So far, I have not seen any conformation of this, but I have heard this story more then once.  

Sign up for our newly redesigned Morning Ag Hedge newsletter!  If you have signed up previously there is no need to sign up again, you will see it in you inbox shortly.  Sign up for our Morning Ag Comments: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=17

There is also still the possibility of more switches and cancellations of soybean export sales which could bring the export number in line with the USDA estimate.  So far 1.325 billion bushels have been shipped of the 1.597 Billion bushels sold. There is still a chance that 87 million of the outstanding 272 million bushels get switched or canceled which would bring us to the USDA export number of 1.51 billion bushels.  Even if this does not happen, at these prices we may see imports on a much larger scale then in previous years.  

The bottom line is that this situation is much different then the sharp rally in 2012.  In that situation a drought in South America followed by a major drought in the US left world ending stocks at very low levels and caused a need for sharp price rationing of demand to allocate the short supply of soybeans.  Right now the US has a tight soybean situation, but with a massive crop in South America the world numbers show a potential for a record carry over.  This means that although the US situation is tight the world situation is not so global importers can look outside of the US to fill their needs.  Furthermore it may mean that the tight US situation could be remedied by imports of South American soybeans.  So, the tight US situation may only be temporary as South America gets into the swing of exporting their massive crop.  

November soybeans did not have as sharp of a rally as front month, old crop soybeans but did enjoy some carry over strength on the move.  Here again the sweeping reversal down day on Thursday could be signaling a top for now.  Certainly there is still a growing season and a weather market to get through.  With big acreage numbers expected for soybeans and what could be a record world carry over going into next year the outlook for new crop soybeans could be turning quite a bit more negative and could easily shed the rally off lows.  Short of a major weather issue this year soybean prices could be much lower next year and the spread difference between old crop and new crop shows it.  This has to be a concern for soybean producers.  The good news is that the recent rally off lows has given producers an opportunity to lock up some better prices for some of their production.  

CME Options On Futures: The Basics: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=9&ap=tseifrie

So, we are likely still in for some volatility after the strong run in soybeans and Thursday's sharp reversals.  The bull camp is still out there and could see this as a value buy.  But, it seems that the tide may be turning and in the long run it is hard to justify soybean prices at current levels with the possibility of South American imports.    

Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email if you would like to talk about your marketing plan, the markets, weather, or just to visit.     

March Corn Daily chart:

March Soybeans Daily chart:

March Wheat Daily chart:

All this means that speculators should be looking for opportunities and producers need to look to lock up some prices. Give me a call for some ideas. In particular, producers looking to hedge all or a portion of their production may be rather interested in some of the options / options-futures strategies that I am currently using.

In my mind there has to be a balance. Neither technical nor fundamental analysis alone is enough to be consistent. Please give me a call for a trade recommendation, and we can put together a trade strategy tailored to your needs. Be safe!

Ted Seifried (312) 277-0113 or tseifried@zaner.com

Additional charts, studies, and more of my commentary can be found at: http://markethead.com/2.0/free_trial.asp?ap=tseifrie

Sign up for our newly redesigned Morning Ag Hedge newsletter!  If you have signed up previously there is no need to sign up again, you will see it in you inbox shortly.  Sign up for our Morning Ag Comments: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=17

Futures, options and forex trading is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss.  This commentary should be conveyed as a solicitation for entry into derivitives transactions.  All known news and events have already been factored into the price of the underlying commodities discussed.  The limited risk characteristic of options refers to long options only; and refers to the amount of the loss, which is defined as premium paid on the option(s) plus commissions.

FOR CUSTOMERS TRADING OPTIONS, THESE FUTURES CHARTS ARE PRESENTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THEY ARE INTENDED TO SHOW HOW INVESTING IN OPTIONS CAN DEPEND ON THE UNDERLYING FUTURES PRICES; SPECIFICALLY, WHETHER OR NOT AN OPTION PURCHASER IS BUYING AN IN-THE-MONEY, AT-THE-MONEY, OR OUT-OF-THE-MONEY OPTION. FURTHERMORE, THE PURCHASER WILL BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO EXERCISE HIS RIGHT ON AN OPTION DEPENDING ON HOW THE OPTION'S STRIKE PRICE COMPARES TO THE UNDERLYING FUTURE'S PRICE. THE FUTURES CHARTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO IMPLY THAT OPTION PRICES MOVE IN TANDEM WITH FUTURES PRICES. IN FACT, OPTION PRICES MAY ONLY MOVE A FRACTION OF THE PRICE MOVE IN THE UNDERLYING FUTURES. IN SOME CASES, THE OPTION MAY NOT MOVE AT ALL OR EVEN MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

How High can Corn Go?

Feb 25, 2014

TRADING COMMODITY FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, KNOWLEDGE AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES.        

Old crop corn has managed a 50 cent rally off of lows in a little over a month.  Fundamentally the worst news may now be behind us as low prices have been able to inspire demand.  But, now that corn has rebounded how high can corn go before it begins to loose some of this newly found demand?   

A few months ago the concern was that the US had a 2 billion bushel plus carry over in corn.  This would have been the largest corn carry over in recent history.  Since then lower prices have worked well to buy back corn demand.  Exports are sharply higher, ethanol is higher and feed demand has increased.  This has cut corn carry over to just under 1.5 billion bushels.  This is still a big carry over, but the increase in demand at lower prices has been impressive.  The question is - how fragile is this new demand base that corn has built on lower prices, and how much of it could get lost if corn prices continue to go higher?   

Feed demand seems to be coming back well as the last two cattle on feed reports have shown a substantial up tick of cattle being placed on feed.  This comes from a combination of higher priced cattle and lower priced corn.  The bitterly cold winter (see polar vortex) has also had a positive influence on corn demand as cattle need to eat more to hold on to weight as their bodies burn calories at a higher rate to keep body temps up.  This effect of cold weather is a temporary situation however.  Still, both the corn market and the cattle market are trying to encourage more cattle on feed and the trend for higher placements could continue if this relationship holds up.  But, how sensitive will cattlemen and the cattle market be to higher priced corn?  The last few years have been tough for cattlemen, and they could be quick to slow their expansion or even cut back if input costs go up.  Guys certainly remember the last few years and may be rather sensitive to higher corn prices.  

CME Options On Futures: The Basics: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=9&ap=tseifrie

Corn demand for ethanol has been better this year as well.  Currently ethanol stocks are near three year lows while production is on the high end.  This is a good sign of solid ethanol demand despite the EPA wanting to relax the ethanol mandate.  higher crude oil and gas prices combined with lower corn prices are a winning formula for ethanol profit margins and good profit margins usually mean good production.  Currently corn used for ethanol is running just slightly behind the USDA projection, but this could increase in the summer months.  Crude oil and Gasoline prices will certainly have an effect on ethanol profitability, but for now the crude complex looks like it could go higher.  Corn demand for ethanol may be the most resilient on the balance sheet, but questions about the EPA's direction may also keep ethanol producers from stockpiling.   Export demand for corn will be an interesting question and may be the most visible and telling indicator of corn demand.  It is more difficult to guess how corn prices effect profitability in other countries. 

Export demand has been quite strong in the last 2 months with export sales of over 1 million metric tonnes in 4 of the last 5 weeks.  However the exception came last week when sales were only about half of the week before.  It is too early to tell if this was just a one-off or if exports are now starting to suffer from the 50 cent rally off of lows.  But, if export sales continue to fall back this could be an indicator that corn prices may be starting to negatively effect demand.  

So, the low may well be in for corn for now but higher prices could snuff out some of the demand that lower prices worked to re establish.  The question is where this would happen on a bigger level.  Corn prices will now likely try to find this level and then retreat from it.  We believe this will begin to happen anywhere from current prices to about 25 cents higher.  What the market does not need right now is price out this growing demand base and add bushels back on the balance sheet.    

Sign up for our newly redesigned Morning Ag Hedge newsletter!  If you have signed up previously there is no need to sign up again, you will see it in you inbox shortly.  Sign up for our Morning Ag Comments: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=17

Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email if you would like to talk about your marketing plan, the markets, weather, or just to visit.     

March Corn Daily chart:

March Soybeans Daily chart:

March Wheat Daily chart:

All this means that speculators should be looking for opportunities and producers need to look to lock up some prices. Give me a call for some ideas. In particular, producers looking to hedge all or a portion of their production may be rather interested in some of the options / options-futures strategies that I am currently using.

In my mind there has to be a balance. Neither technical nor fundamental analysis alone is enough to be consistent. Please give me a call for a trade recommendation, and we can put together a trade strategy tailored to your needs. Be safe!

Ted Seifried (312) 277-0113 or tseifried@zaner.com

Additional charts, studies, and more of my commentary can be found at: http://markethead.com/2.0/free_trial.asp?ap=tseifrie

Futures, options and forex trading is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss.  This commentary should be conveyed as a solicitation for entry into derivitives transactions.  All known news and events have already been factored into the price of the underlying commodities discussed.  The limited risk characteristic of options refers to long options only; and refers to the amount of the loss, which is defined as premium paid on the option(s) plus commissions.

FOR CUSTOMERS TRADING OPTIONS, THESE FUTURES CHARTS ARE PRESENTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THEY ARE INTENDED TO SHOW HOW INVESTING IN OPTIONS CAN DEPEND ON THE UNDERLYING FUTURES PRICES; SPECIFICALLY, WHETHER OR NOT AN OPTION PURCHASER IS BUYING AN IN-THE-MONEY, AT-THE-MONEY, OR OUT-OF-THE-MONEY OPTION. FURTHERMORE, THE PURCHASER WILL BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO EXERCISE HIS RIGHT ON AN OPTION DEPENDING ON HOW THE OPTION'S STRIKE PRICE COMPARES TO THE UNDERLYING FUTURE'S PRICE. THE FUTURES CHARTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO IMPLY THAT OPTION PRICES MOVE IN TANDEM WITH FUTURES PRICES. IN FACT, OPTION PRICES MAY ONLY MOVE A FRACTION OF THE PRICE MOVE IN THE UNDERLYING FUTURES. IN SOME CASES, THE OPTION MAY NOT MOVE AT ALL OR EVEN MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

The Soybean Export Situation

Feb 13, 2014

TRADING COMMODITY FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, KNOWLEDGE AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES.        

Soybeans rallied to new five month highs this week despite a better weather forecast for Brazil, a disappointing export sales report and talk of Chinese cancellations swirling around the market.   The fundamental outlook for soybeans seems to be turning but prices continue to rise.  What is behind this and when will it end?  

A record pace of Export Sales has been the most bullish underlying fundamental lending strength to old crop soybean prices.  In the last 11 days the soybean market has seemed to be determined to price ration demand and in particular shut down the export sales market.  With the current export sales figure above the current USDA export demand projection the market has seen it as an immediate need to shut down exports to keep a tight balance sheet from getting tighter.  Thursday's export sales report was well below expectations but was still a positive number.  It could be the case that soybean will continue to be strong until the export sales number is negative and cancellations begin to occur on a bigger scale.  When a market has an agenda it works to achieve that agenda and it doesn't stop when the work is mostly done, many times it will only stop when the work is more then done.  In the case of soybeans right now this seems to be the case.   

The funds have a hand in this as well.  Funds are mostly technical traders and do not pay much mind to fundamental factors.  So, when you get a sharp move in a market many times it will extend further then it needs to as the speculators pile in.  Either way, this price rationing rally in soybeans has got me wondering - How many bushels need to get canceled to get back to the current USDA estimate?  And what happens if the market overachieves in its goal to ration exports?  

CME Options On Futures: The Basics: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=9&ap=tseifrie

Currently the USDA is projecting 1.51 billion bushels of soybean exports for this marketing season.  So far we have sold 1.587 billion bushels of soybeans for export and we have shipped 1.215 billion bushels.  This means that so far we have shipped 76.6% of our total sales and it leaves 295 million bushels of soybeans yet to be shipped.  This also means that we are currently 77 million bushels in sales over the USDA estimate.  So, if the global export market shifts to South America from this point forward and cancellations were to start rolling in we could easily end up at or below the current USDA estimate.  

Even if the global end users continue to buy some US soybeans there is still a good possibility of larger imports from South America then what the USDA is currently projecting.  If prices stay at current levels or higher it will be very attractive for US buyers to took to South American, especially on the Eastern seaboard.  

So, for now the soybean market is continuing to push to higher prices to price ration export demand.  Based on Thursday's export sales report higher prices are beginning to curb buying, but there may still be more work to do.  In the process the market may end up doing too good of a job and could even encourage imports on a larger scale.  if this happens it could be setting soybean prices up for failure.   

Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email if you would like to talk about your marketing plan, the markets, weather, or just to visit.     

March Corn Daily chart:

March Soybeans Daily chart:

March Wheat Daily chart:

All this means that speculators should be looking for opportunities and producers need to look to lock up some prices. Give me a call for some ideas. In particular, producers looking to hedge all or a portion of their production may be rather interested in some of the options / options-futures strategies that I am currently using.

In my mind there has to be a balance. Neither technical nor fundamental analysis alone is enough to be consistent. Please give me a call for a trade recommendation, and we can put together a trade strategy tailored to your needs. Be safe!

Ted Seifried (312) 277-0113 or tseifried@zaner.com

Additional charts, studies, and more of my commentary can be found at: http://markethead.com/2.0/free_trial.asp?ap=tseifrie

Sign up for our Morning Ag Comments: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=17

Futures, options and forex trading is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss.  This commentary should be conveyed as a solicitation for entry into derivitives transactions.  All known news and events have already been factored into the price of the underlying commodities discussed.  The limited risk characteristic of options refers to long options only; and refers to the amount of the loss, which is defined as premium paid on the option(s) plus commissions.

FOR CUSTOMERS TRADING OPTIONS, THESE FUTURES CHARTS ARE PRESENTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THEY ARE INTENDED TO SHOW HOW INVESTING IN OPTIONS CAN DEPEND ON THE UNDERLYING FUTURES PRICES; SPECIFICALLY, WHETHER OR NOT AN OPTION PURCHASER IS BUYING AN IN-THE-MONEY, AT-THE-MONEY, OR OUT-OF-THE-MONEY OPTION. FURTHERMORE, THE PURCHASER WILL BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO EXERCISE HIS RIGHT ON AN OPTION DEPENDING ON HOW THE OPTION'S STRIKE PRICE COMPARES TO THE UNDERLYING FUTURE'S PRICE. THE FUTURES CHARTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO IMPLY THAT OPTION PRICES MOVE IN TANDEM WITH FUTURES PRICES. IN FACT, OPTION PRICES MAY ONLY MOVE A FRACTION OF THE PRICE MOVE IN THE UNDERLYING FUTURES. IN SOME CASES, THE OPTION MAY NOT MOVE AT ALL OR EVEN MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

Price Rationing Soybeans, How long will it Last?

Feb 06, 2014

TRADING COMMODITY FUTURES AND OPTIONS INVOLVES SUBSTANTIAL RISK OF LOSS AND IS NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL INVESTORS. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER TRADING IS SUITABLE FOR YOU IN LIGHT OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES, KNOWLEDGE AND FINANCIAL RESOURCES.        

Soybean prices have risen dramatically in the past week as concerns grow about a tight US balance sheet.  Strong export sales and strong crush margins are threatening to wipe out US ending stocks.  The soybean market has responded with sharply higher prices to try to price ration or slow down demand.  It seems that soybeans are on a mission to cut out export sales and force cancellations.  So, as we prepare for the February USDA WASDE report the question is how long will this price rationing last?  

Currently the USDA is projecting a 150 million bushel carry over in soybeans for the 2013/2014 marketing year.  This compares to a 141 million bushel carry over in the drought effected 2012/2013 marketing year that saw prices move to record highs.  Now, it is important to note that when soybeans hit record highs in the summer/fall of 2012 the market thought we would certainly run out of soybeans. So, there are some similarities in the sense that the market is reacting to a perceived tight supply situation and trying to curb demand with higher prices.  However, there is one major difference - South America.  

When soybeans hit record high prices in the summer/fall of 2012 the world soybean balance sheet was tight.  South America had just come off a drought year and we were in the thick of our own with months to go before South America started planting their next crop.  The market had to move to record high prices to shut down as much demand as possible because there simply was not enough soybeans in the world to fill demand needs.  This year is different, as I write this the world is on the verge of gaining access to what looks to be a record soybean crop in South America, particularly in Brazil.  This will be a very limiting factor for soybeans going forward.  

CME Options On Futures: The Basics: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=9&ap=tseifrie

Once South America is able to get fully up and running on their soybean exports they can fill the needs of global end users for months and months to come.  So, it is likely the export season for US soybeans is about to come to an end.  And, it is also likely that when South America gets into full swing that many of the remaining unshipped US sales could be canceled.  It may be the case that China and the gang bought more soybeans then they need in the immediate future just in case the Brazilian harvest saw major delays like in years past.  So far we have not seen any threatening weather and logistics might be in better shape then in previous years.  So, once countries like China start receiving South American soybeans they may cancel the balance of US sales in favor of cheaper South American beans.  This could be weeks or maybe just days away.  

Not only will countries like China be interested in buying cheaper South American soybeans, but US end users might as well.  If soybean buyers, especially on the Eastern Seaboard, could buy South American soybeans at a $.60-1.00 discount delivered then why not?  So as tight as the US balance sheet gets for a short period of time it may not matter long term because soon we may be able to buy as many soybeans as we could want.  

Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email if you would like to talk about your marketing plan, the markets, weather, or just to visit.     

March Corn Daily chart:

March Soybeans Daily chart:

March Wheat Daily chart:

All this means that speculators should be looking for opportunities and producers need to look to lock up some prices. Give me a call for some ideas. In particular, producers looking to hedge all or a portion of their production may be rather interested in some of the options / options-futures strategies that I am currently using.

In my mind there has to be a balance. Neither technical nor fundamental analysis alone is enough to be consistent. Please give me a call for a trade recommendation, and we can put together a trade strategy tailored to your needs. Be safe!

Ted Seifried (312) 277-0113 or tseifried@zaner.com

Additional charts, studies, and more of my commentary can be found at: http://markethead.com/2.0/free_trial.asp?ap=tseifrie

Sign up for our Morning Ag Comments: http://www.zaner.com/offers/?page=17

Futures, options and forex trading is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss.  This commentary should be conveyed as a solicitation for entry into derivitives transactions.  All known news and events have already been factored into the price of the underlying commodities discussed.  The limited risk characteristic of options refers to long options only; and refers to the amount of the loss, which is defined as premium paid on the option(s) plus commissions.

FOR CUSTOMERS TRADING OPTIONS, THESE FUTURES CHARTS ARE PRESENTED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THEY ARE INTENDED TO SHOW HOW INVESTING IN OPTIONS CAN DEPEND ON THE UNDERLYING FUTURES PRICES; SPECIFICALLY, WHETHER OR NOT AN OPTION PURCHASER IS BUYING AN IN-THE-MONEY, AT-THE-MONEY, OR OUT-OF-THE-MONEY OPTION. FURTHERMORE, THE PURCHASER WILL BE ABLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT TO EXERCISE HIS RIGHT ON AN OPTION DEPENDING ON HOW THE OPTION'S STRIKE PRICE COMPARES TO THE UNDERLYING FUTURE'S PRICE. THE FUTURES CHARTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO IMPLY THAT OPTION PRICES MOVE IN TANDEM WITH FUTURES PRICES. IN FACT, OPTION PRICES MAY ONLY MOVE A FRACTION OF THE PRICE MOVE IN THE UNDERLYING FUTURES. IN SOME CASES, THE OPTION MAY NOT MOVE AT ALL OR EVEN MOVE IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

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