It would appear that the bear will not be satisfied until it has cleaned every ounce of flesh remaining on the long-dead bull’s carcass. The selling yesterday appeared to be a combination of additional fund selling and exasperation on the part of the few remaining longs who finally cried uncle and gave in. On the combination corn, wheat, bean chart, we have returned to within points of the extreme lows that have been tested on several occasions over the past four and one-half years. I work with a number of end users of corn, and I can assure you, none of them are cheering for lower prices as they know over the long-term, this type of market benefits no one, not to mention the fact, it is becoming more and more difficult to source product.
Note that markets are paying a lot of attention to other regions right now, but it would appear that Australian farmers are yet again, getting off the wrong foot as they plant their winter wheat. Drought has gripped that nation for three years running and with the current El Nino, does not appear ready to let up. Some private estimates are already projection a crop in the 17 to 18 MMT range versus a normal production of 24 to 25 MMT.
In case you had not seen the numbers, Stats Canada released updated acreage projections for this year. They project total wheat acreage of 25.674 million acres versus 24.73 million last year, 5.646 million beans compared to 6.32 million and 3.975 million corn, up from 3.63 million.
The General Administration and Customs department in China released import figures for March, and as expected, the volume of bean from the U.S. increased from the prior month. In February the unloaded 907,754 MT of our beans and in March 1.51 MMT, a 66% jump. But, and of course, there is always the but; but this half the quantity we delivered to them a year ago. Total imports of beans in March were 4.92 MMT, of which 2.79 MMT came from Brazil and even 205,776 MT from Canada.
Weekly export sales have been released this morning and all fell in line with expectations. For the week ending April 18th, we sold 425,300 MT 15.63 million bushels of wheat. This was 34% above last week and pretty much in the middle of expectations. Mexico was the top purchaser with 160.8k MT, followed by Nigeria with 80.9k and then Mozambique taking 52.8k. There were also sales of 226,200 MT for the 2019/20 crop year. Corn sales were down 18% from last week at 779,900 MT or 30.71 million bushels, but this was still 6% above the 4-week average and within expectations. Japan with the number one purchaser with 349.4k MT, then Mexico at 310.5k and Colombia at 117.4k. Bean sales were 57% higher than last week’s miserable number and came through at 596,300 MT or 21.91 million bushels. Unknown destinations were on top of the sheet at 230.7k MT, followed by China with 212.1k and then Japan at 52.2k. I would point out though that soymeal sales were up 11% for the week and were 82% above the 4-week average. In case you were wondering, the was no pork sold to China this week and in fact, they canceled 200 MT.Planters are racing across much of the Midwest right now so there is little positive news for the trade to catch hold of. One has to suspect that we will remain in a defensive pattern through the end of the month, with the best potential for a rally coming from shorts wanting to cash in before closing the books on the month.