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Whoever coined the phrase, “no news is good news” obviously was not involved with markets. This is not to say that no news, or at least very little news is better than bad news but we need at least a little something every day to keep us from falling into a stupor. The one item this morning that was at least “fresh” was the announcement of 133,096 MT of corn sold to unknown destinations. Note as well that it was a week ago today that a sale of 130,000 MT to unknown was reported. It is always a bit intriguing when the sales are made to the mysterious “unknown” entity and why is it that they really want to remain anonymous? We do know that any sales in excess of 100,000 MT must be reported within the next business day, which was a rule that was put into effect in response to the “Great Russian Grain Robbery” that took place in 1972. Prior to that, there was not an organized reporting and recording system and seeing that these initial purchases by Russia were done in a rather clandestine fashion, it turned out that we had drastically depleted U.S. inventories, which eventually led to the Nixon administration embargoing soybeans. While this took care of the quantity issue, the way I read the regulations, the destination only need be specified by the time of exportation, and even then, it could be an intermediate destination. Many of these sales are switched and identified in the weekly reports but certainly not all. While the sale this morning or even last week was probably innocent enough but with the slack amount of other news to focus on, it does allow the imagination to run just a bit, particularly with stories about the need for China to begin importing quality corn in the future. Could that future be today? I certainly cannot answer that, but realistically it is not really a question as to if it will begin to happen but rather when.
While we still remain behind normal, corn harvest increased 16% last week and was reported to be 70% complete. The only state now below 50% complete is Wisconsin which stands at 37%. Soybean harvest is now 90% complete which is basically at the historical norm with the only state that is really behind average being Kentucky with 63% harvested versus the normal 72%.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the Producer Price Index number for October and it turns out, prices bumped a bit higher for the month than economists expected. For the month, wholesale prices were up .4% and were 2.8% over a year ago, which is the largest annual bump in more than 5-years. Food prices were up .5%, which turns out to be the largest jump since June of this year. Does this suggest that inflation is finally set to return? Don’t hold your breath just yet.
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