Is MIR 162 impacting more than corn trade?... As we reported earlier this week, Reuters confirmed China canceled 10 cargoes (up to 600,000 MT) of soybean purchases from Brazil and Argentina that were scheduled to ship March through May. The sources say Chinese
buyers are looking to cancel or delay shipment on another 30 cargoes (up to 1.8 MMT) of soybean commitments because of weak demand and poor crush margins. But industry sources tell us there is more to this story.
Where this really gets interesting is why some in the industry suspect China is canceling cheaper South American soybean purchases and still taking delivery of U.S. soybeans. Industry sources have told us it may be tied to China’s rejection of U.S. corn shipments due to the presence of MIR 162 (Syngenta’s Viptera corn).
Exporters who incurred losses because of China’s corn rejections aren’t willing to let Chinese buyers out of soybean contracts. We’re also hearing China isn’t being allowed to bust freight contracts that were already booked.
Crimean referendum March 16... Citizens of Crimea will vote Sunday whether to remain a Ukrainian territory or become an independent sovereign state. It’s widely expected Crimea will vote to break away from Ukraine, effectively joining Russia. If that’s the course Crimea chooses, the U.S. and European Union have said they will increase sanctions against Russia.
The uncertainty in the Black Sea region is already supportive for the wheat and corn
markets, but it could become a bigger deal next week. Experts see geopolitical tensions settling down in around 30 days, though there could be lingering impacts for grain markets if Black Sea grain trade slows.
There has already been a heavy price paid by the Russian economy for its invasion of Ukraine. Russian stock and financial markets have taken a beating the past week.
NOAA: Midwest has top 10 coldest winters... It may be hard to believe, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the winter of 2013-14 (December-February) was "only" the 34th coldest on record for the contiguous United States. But those of us in the Midwest aren't surprised to learn the winter registered as one of the coldest. NOAA says seven Midwest states recording top 10 coldest winters on record. The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during the winter was 31.3°F, one degree below the 20th century average.
The winter precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 5.69 inches, 1.10 inches below average and the ninth driest winter on record. Much of the West and Great Plains were much drier than average. Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas each had a top 10 dry winter season. As a result, drought intensified across the West and Southern Plains. "Above-average precipitation was observed in the Northern Rockies and parts of the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast," says NOAA. "Across these regions, numerous winter storms brought heavy snowfall. Detroit had its snowiest winter on record, while New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston each had one of their 10 snowiest winters."
Impressive moves in livestock markets... Boxed beef and pork cutout values rose to record levels this week, bringing live cattle and lean hog futures along for the ride. Lean hog futures advanced to all-time highs this week. And while April live cattle didn't post new contract highs, they posted strong gains for the week. Pro Farmer's Brian Grete and Chip Flory discuss what's driving the livestock markets on this week's Profit Briefing segment on AgDay TV.