27/01/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower in "Turnaround Tuesday" style. Dr Cordonnier reported the first new crop boat of the season loading at Brazil's Paranagua port, picking up 61,700 MT of soybeans for Thailand. He cut his forecast for Brazil's 2014/15 crop by 0.5 MMT to 93 MMT (although still a record), but raised the outlook on Argentina by 1 MMT to a record 56 MMT. Mato Grosso farmers are 45% sold on new crop beans versus 55% this time last year, he said. Nationally they are 31% sold versus 43% a year ago. Early soybean yields so far are averaging a respectable 52 sacks/ha, which is the equivalent of 45.2 bu/acre. Oil World are in the same ballpark as Dr Cordonnier, estimating the Brazilian crop at 93 MMT and output in Argentina at 54.5 MMT. The USDA announced another Chinese cancellation (120 TMT) of US soybeans, but also confirmed 111 TMT sold to unknown under the daily reporting system. The Congressional Budgetary Office forecast US 2015 soybean plantings at 86 million acres, a record area and up 2.3 million, or 2.75%, from last year. Yields however are not estimated to be as good as they were in 2014, putting production at 3.829 billion bushels, down 140 million, or 3.5%, on last year. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.73 3/4, down 9 3/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.81 1/4, down 9 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $336.60, down $2.30; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.17, up 9 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around 2-3 cents lower. The Congressional Budgetary Office forecast US 2015 corn plantings at 89 million acres versus 90.6 million a year ago. They see production at 13.5 billion bushels, down nearly 5% from 14.2 billion in 2014. Dr Cordonnier was unchanged on both his Brazilian and Argentine corn crop estimates at 74 MMT and 21 MMT respectively. South Korea's FLC bought 57,000 MT of optional origin corn for May shipment. South Korea also bought 110,000 MT of US, South American, EU corn for July shipment. CEC estimated South Africa’s 2015 corn area at 2.656 million ha, down 1.2% from a year ago. Ukraine corn continues to undercut US origin material, helped by their weak domestic currency, said Benson Quinn. Ukraine have now exported 8.63 MMT of corn so far this season, and are expected to ship out 16.5 MMT by the end of June, according to the USDA. The Ukraine Ag Ministry estimate the country's exportable surplus at more than 20 MMT this season. It remains to be seen how "safe" a seller Ukraine are regarded now that the rebels have reached as far as the port of Mariupol, which ships around 1 MMT of grains annually. The US Energy Dept will release the latest US ethanol production numbers tomorrow, last week's output was 979,000 barrels/day. The trade is expecting a small drop in output this time round. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.81 1/4, down 2 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.89 3/4, down 2 3/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed lower across the three exchanges once more. Wheat can't seem to buy a rally at the moment. Chicago wheat hasn't closed higher for 15 trading sessions. The US weather outlook for the main bread wheat states is beneficial. "The 7-day forecast calls for heavy rain, well above normal, in a wide swath of the United States. Kansas wheat farms are expecting at least 0.50 inch of rainfall, while Oklahoma would receive 1-1.5 inch of rain. Texas has a very wet forecast the expected rainfall from 1 to 1.75 inches. Soaking rains would extend from the Southern Great Plains through the Mid South and northeast to New England," said Martell Crop Projections. Texas wheat is currently rated 42% good to excellent (down 1% from a week ago) and 17% poor to very poor (up 1% from a week ago). Russian winter wheat is in trouble, with 40% of the crop in the Volgograd region and 32% of the crop in Rostov said to have failed. Ukraine announced that they are to limit wheat exports to 1.3 MMT in the Jan/Jun period, including a maximum of 900 TMT in Q1 of 2015. Around 500 TMT of that has probably already been shipped. Jordan bought 100,000 MT of feed barley in a tender, said to be most likely from Romania, for June-July shipment. Bahrain are tendering for around 30,000 MT of wheat for March/April shipment. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.19, down 1 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.50 1/4, down 4 1/4 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.66 1/2, down 2 1/2 cents.
27/01/15 -- EU grains traded lower, with Paris wheat trundling along towards the middle of the recent trading range.
Front month Paris wheat hasn't closed outside the EUR190-200/tonne range so far this year, whilst London wheat has been stuck in the GBP125-135/tonne for the same period - although it wasn't too far from falling below that level today.
At the close Mar 15 London wheat was down GBP2.00/tonne at GBP125.30/tonne, Mar 15 Paris wheat was EUR3.25/tonne easier at EUR193.25/tonne, Mar 15 Paris corn was down EUR2.50/tonne at EUR155.00/tonne and soon to expire Feb 15 Paris rapeseed slumped EUR6.50/tonne lower to EUR346.25/tonne.
The market either doesn't seem to know, or care, that winter crop conditions in Russia are far from ideal after autumn sown wheat went into dry soil, followed by an early cold snap that stopped growth.
Of the 1.3 million hectares of winter grains planted in the Volgograd region, around 40% is said to have failed to germinate, or have succumbed to winterkill after a cold and snowless winter. Of the approximate 780,000 ha that has made it through winter so far, less than a third is rated to be in "good" condition.
In Rostov meanwhile some 700,000 ha, or 32% of the area planted with winter grains is said to have suffered a similar plight.
Well, they can just replant those lost acres in the spring, right? Sure if you've got the money, if not then short-term borrowing rates are running at 30-32%, if you can find a bank that's willing to lend at all.
Meanwhile, S&P cut their assessment of Russia's sovereign credit rating to "junk" status yesterday night, sending the rouble lurching to fresh all-time lows against the dollar and euro.
The Russian government were back in the market looking to buy grain for their intervention fund today. They managed to pick up a princely 12 TMT, taking the total volume purchased so far to 335 TMT out of an intended target of 2.5-3.0 MMT.
Russian growers prefer to hang onto their grain as a hedge against spiralling inflation and the sinking rouble, rather than sell it to the government.
In other news, Reuters are reporting that the details of the recent accord between the Ukraine Ministry and the country's grain exporters are that only 900 TMT of wheat can be shipped out in Q1 of 2015, followed by a maximum of 400 TMT in Q2.
The Ukraine Ministry said that the country had already shipped 21.2 MMT of grains so far this season, of which 8.57 MMT was wheat. Wheat exports as of Dec 31 were around 8 MMT, suggesting that more than half of the Q1 quota has already been shipped this month.
The Ukraine Food Minister said only last week that there would be no limit set on wheat exports this year.
26/01/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed higher on talk of developing dryness issues in central Brazil. "Drought has been ongoing for at least a month in the Brazil tropics. Rainfall this month to date has been severely deficient, 100-200 mm below average in Mato Grosso's primary soybean areas. It requires very heavy rainfall indeed to successfully grow soybeans in the tropics, due to the incessant heat and high evaporation," said Martell Crop Projections. The forecast for the week ahead is hot and dry in Mato Grosso, which is Brazil's leading soybean producing state, although southern states have a more favourable outlook. Weekly export inspections of over 1.5 MMT were strong once more, taking the marketing year to date total to 74% of the USDA's target for the season versus 57% typically for this time. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.83 1/2, up 10 3/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.90 1/4, up 10 3/4 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $338.90, up $7.40; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.08, down 52 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around 2-3 cents easier. Increased tensions between Russia and the West didn't seem to grab a lot of attention. Neither did the weekend Greek election results. Despite the fighting in the east of the country, Ukraine seaports shipped 529.9 TMT of grains in the past week, and 86% of that total was corn according to APK Inform. Russia has shipped 22 MMT of grains so far this season, but only 1.2 MMT of that total is corn, according to their Ag Ministry. Weekly US export inspections of 886,825 MT were towards the top end of trade estimates. Sorghum shipments also remain very strong, and are now more than 200% up on a year ago as China continues to be a featured heavy buyer of US origin material in preference to corn. Margins in the US ethanol sector are said to be in decline, faced by falling DDGS and ethanol prices. Fund selling in corn today was estimated at a net 3,000 contracts. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.84, down 2 3/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.92 1/2, down 2 3/4 cents.
Wheat: It doesn't seem to take much for the US wheat market to close lower these days, and so it proved again today. Dollar strength is a continuous hindrance to US export hopes. Weekly export sales of only 263,035 MT were a disappointment, not for the first time this season. The Canadian Farm Ministry estimated wheat production there this year at 30 MMT, up 2.5% on last year. They see plantings rising 4% to 10.11 million hectares. Despite the rise in output 2015/16 ending stocks will fall 22.6% to 4.8 MMT, which is said to be the second lowest total in the past 25 years. Ukraine seaports only exported 74.2 TMT of wheat in the past week, according to APK Inform, as they now major on corn. The Ukraine Grain Association contradicted the Food Minister and said that exporters and the Ag Ministry are working on the fine print of their "Memorandum of Understanding" on wheat exports, and expect that to be made public soon. MARS said that winter wheat across large parts of Europe is far from fully hardened. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.20 1/2, down 9 1/2 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.54 1/2, down 9 1/2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.69, down 7 cents.
26/01/15 -- EU grains closed lower. The euro was little changed despite the results of the weekend elections in Greece. Perhaps that had done all its falling last week?
At the finish, Mar 15 London wheat was down GBP1.00/tonne to GBP127.30/tonne; Mar 15 Paris wheat was EUR2.00/tonne easier at EUR196.50/tonne; Mar 15 Paris corn was EUR1.75/tonne lower at EUR157.50/tonne; Feb 15 Paris rapeseed was down EUR3.75/tonne to EUR352.75/tonne.
The EU Commission's MARS unit released their latest winter crop condition report today, and sounded a few alarm bells for production prospects later in the year.
"Our latest frost-kill model simulations show no or only a slight degree of hardening in the Mediterranean region and a wide (parts of central/northern/western Europe) area between Ireland and eastern Poland, due to the fact that this region experienced mostly warmer-than-usual daily temperatures since early December," they said.
"Winter wheat only partially reached the hardening stage in some parts of Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and in the Balkan Peninsula. The weakly hardened crops run the risk of incurring frost-kill damage in the event of a sudden freezing air intrusion accompanied by shallow snow cover.
"Due to the dry autumn, the establishment of winter wheat was less than optimal in the northern and north-eastern parts of Ukraine, as well as in the Central Federal District and northern half of the Southern Federal District of Russia. As a result, the emergence of winter wheat was problematic and the crop remained weaker and smaller than usual at the start of winter. Model calculations indicate the occurrence of crop damages in southern Russia and parts of Bulgaria, Romania and Poland.
"Considering the poor condition of winter wheat, it is probable that the north-eastern regions of Ukraine are also affected by frost kill, and that the actual damages are even more serious in Russia than the model results indicate. The shallow snow cover currently in Belarus, the western and central areas of Ukraine, and southern Russia, may lead to further frost-kill damages in the event of bitterly cold temperatures," they added.
Meanwhile, an upsurge in fighting in Ukraine over the weekend has the rouble back under pressure today on talk of increased Western sanctions against Russia. There are also implications for grain production and exports out of the affected south eastern parts of Ukraine, now that the rebels have reached as far as the port of Mariupol.
On the fundamental front, APK Inform said that Ukraine seaports had shipped out 529.9 TMT of grains last week, and are now majoring their efforts almost entirely on corn, which accounted for 455.7 TMT of that total (86%).
The President of the Ukraine Grain Association said that export houses and the government were working on the text of the agreed "memorandum of understanding" reached between the two sides a couple of weeks ago. These are widely expected to cap wheat, particularly milling wheat, exports even though the Ukraine Food Minister said only a few days ago that there would be no limits set.
Russia said that it had exported 22.089 MMT of grains so far this season (to Jan 21), a 29.7% increase on a year ago. That total consists mostly of wheat (17.341 MMT, or 78.5%), along with 3.273 MMT of barley and 1.195 MMT of corn,
Those figures imply that Russia exported around 500 TMT of grains for the week to Jan 21, taking exports for the first three weeks of the month to around 1 MMT. December's full month exports were in excess of 3 MMT, so there has certainly been a considerable drop off in pace this month. Russia's new wheat export duty kicks in at the weekend.
23/01/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed lower on the day and lower for the third week in a row. Weekly export sales of only 14,100 MT for 2014/15 were a marketing-year low, down 99 percent from the previous week and 98 percent below the prior 4-week average. There were cancellations from unknown destinations (413,800 MT) and China (77,000 MT). There were also net sales of 101,200 MT for 2015/16 shipment. Actual exports themselves of 1,631,800 MT were still pretty robust though. The US has now exported 33 MMT of soybeans already this year, and has another 11.3 MMT of outstanding sales. That takes total commitments for 2014/15 to 44.3 MMT, which is 92% of the USDA target for the season, versus 78% normally at this time. The Argentine Ag Ministry trimmed their forecast for soybean plantings there this year to 20 million hectares, down 0.2 million from previously, but up from 19.78 million a year ago. They said that the crop is now 95% planted versus 92% this time last year. Crop conditions are said to be good. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated Argentine plantings a little higher at 20.4 million hectares, of which 98% is already sown, according to them. Brazilian analysts Agroconsult forecast the soybean crop there at 93.9 MMT, which is down slightly on their previous estimate and 1.6 MMT below the USDA, although still a record. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.72 3/4, down 4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.79 1/2, down 3 1/2 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $331.50, up $1.40; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.60, down 37 points. For the week that puts nearby beans down 19 cents, with meal up $5.30 and oil 179 points lower.
Corn: The corn market closed higher on the day, but virtually unchanged on the week. Weekly export sales of a very impressive 2,185,400 MT for 2014/15 were a marketing-year high and up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior 4-week average. Actual shipments of 762,400 MT were also much better than a week ago, and up 31 percent from the prior 4-week average. Shipments for the season so far are 13.8 MMT, along with another 16.6 MMT of outstanding sales. That puts total sales commitments so far this season at 68% of the USDA target for 2014/15 versus 59% typically at this time. That's quite impressive given the recent strength of the US dollar. Sorghum sales were large again at 307,700 MT for 2014/15, and were mostly for China (209,500 MT) and unknown destinations (86,100 MT). Total sorghum sales commitments for the season are now already 96% of the USDA target for all of 2014/15. The Argentine Ag Ministry forecast all corn plantings there at 5.4 million hectares, down from 5.5 million previously. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimate corn for grain plantings at 3 million hectares, and said that sowing is 91.6% complete, which is up only 3.8 percentage points on a week ago. China's December corn imports were only 607 TMT, down 26% versus a year previously. Their total 2014 calendar year corn imports were 2.6 MMT, a 20% decline versus 2013. Agroconsult estimated Brazil's corn crop this year at 80 MMT, consisting of 30 MMT of full season corn and 50 MMT of "safrinha" or second crop corn. Brazilian growers could do with a timely 2014/15 soybean harvest to get all that second crop corn planted. Will thy get it? Some buyers may see the escalating violence in Ukraine as a reason to shy away from committing to too much of their corn for the time being. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.86 3/4, up 3 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.95 1/4, up 3 1/4 cents. For the week front month corn was a quarter of a cent lower.
Wheat: The wheat market closed lower in Kansas and Chicago, and a tad higher in Minneapolis, although all three were lower for the week. Weekly export sales of 458,400 MT for delivery in the 2014/15 marketing year were up 61 percent from the previous week and 69 percent from the prior 4-week average. These were at the top end of albeit modest trade expectations and the best since mid-November. Total net sales are now 77% of the USDA target for the season versus 75.8% typically at this time. More weekly sales like this would be nice, but can the US get them with the dollar at new 11 year highs versus the euro? There were also net sales of 106,000 MT for 2015/16. The Argentine Ag Ministry raised their forecast for this season's wheat crop there from 13.2 MMT to 13.9 MMT, an increase of 51% on a year ago, aided by a 44% jump in planted area. The harvest there is now complete. There's talk of dryness issues for US winter wheat areas. "Heavy soaking rain is needed now in hard red winter wheat. The subsoil is very dry in Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, all key wheat areas, from 3 straight months of drought," said Martell Crop Projections. Meanwhile "tensions continue to rise in Ukraine as the Russians step up their game. The benefits to the EU export market, resulting from the Black Sea backing away from the export market, are being complemented by continued weakness in the Euro," said Benson Quinn. They also noted that Russian analysts IKAR estimate the 2015 Russian grain crop at only 86 MMT versus 104 MMT in 2014, including 50 MMT of wheat against 59 MMT last year. "This seems like an aggressive cut at this point in the game," was their take on that. We shall see. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.30, down 3 3/4 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.64, down 3/4 cent; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.76, up 1/2 cent. For the week Chicago wheat was down 2 3/4 cents, with Kansas 13 cents lower and Minneapolis lost 8 1/2 cents.
23/01/15 -- EU grains closed mixed, with the Paris markets mostly higher on acute euro weakness, and London wheat falling in an attempt to make our exports more competitive with those on the continent.
At the close, Jan 15 London wheat was went off the board GBP0.45/tonne lower at GBP126.30/tonne, Mar 15 Paris wheat was EUR0.50/tonne higher at EUR198.50/tonne, Mar 15 Paris corn was EUR1.00/tonne firmer at EUR159.25/tonne and Feb 15 Paris rapeseed was u EUR1.25/tonne at EUR356.50/tonne.
For the week overall there was very little movement, London wheat was unchanged, whilst the Paris market rose one euro. Corn was down a quarter and rapeseed fell half a euro. The market is still largely ignoring what is going on in Russia and Ukraine, both militarily and crop-wise.
The big story of the week that has grabbed everyone's attention has to be the ECB move to pump more than EUR1 trillion into the eurozone economy which sent the euro tumbling to an 11 year low against the US dollar and a new 7 year low versus the pound. The latter meanwhile fell below 1.50 against the US currency today, a level not seen since July 2013.
Despite previous denials, the Russian Deputy PM has apparently now admitted that the recent tough stance on phytosanitary rules was a deliberate attempt to limit grain exports in January, before the new export duty comes in on Feb 1. These rules will be relaxed after that date for the purposes of "transparency in the market" he said! That's Russian politics for you.
He said that Russia will export around 28 MMT of grains this season, which is some 6 MMT more than they have currently shipped, according to his figures. The last numbers released from the Russian Ag Ministry said that the country had exported 21.571 MMT of grains to Jan 15.
The USDA currently have Russia down to export 27.3 MMT of wheat, corn and barley in 2014/15.
Europe will be the most likely beneficiary of any shortfall in Russian exports, particularly given the recent demise of the euro.
Brussels said that they'd issued 728 TMT of soft wheat export licences this past week, up 32% on the previous week. That takes the marketing year to date total so far to just over 16 MMT, which is 4% less than last year's record pace. Europe has also exported 531 TMT of durum wheat so far this season, putting all wheat exports at almost 16.6 MMT, which is 55% of the USDA's 30 MMT target for the season.
Brussels also granted 286 TMT worth of barley export licences, taking the season so far total to 4.77 MMT, which is in line with a year ago. Cumulative corn import licences are down 23% versus last year at 5.14 MMT.
Ukraine's Food Minister denied that the country has any plans to limit grain exports, despite it being widely reported recently that a cap on milling wheat sales had recently been agreed with the country's exporters. Ukraine politics clearly isn't much different to that in Russia.
Looking ahead to 2015 production prospects, Russia's Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) were said to have estimated the country's grain production potential this year at only 86 MMT, a sharp 17.3% fall on output this season. Wheat will account for 50 MMT of that total, a 15.3% fall compared to this season, they said.
22/01/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed around 5-7 cents lower. The US dollar rose to new highs following the news that the ECB was to pump EUR60 billion a month into the eurozone economy. The euro fell to its lowest level against the US dollar since September 2003 on the news. The spectre of this weekend's looming Greek elections is also putting the single currency under pressure. Europe are of course the world's second largest soybean buyer after China. The IGC raised their forecast for the world 2014/15 soybean crop by 4 MMT to a new record 312 MMT, a 10% rise year on year. Consumption was increased 3 MMT and ending sticks raised 2 MMT. "Output in South America is on track to surpass all records," they said. They raised their outlook on Brazil to 94 MMT and increased Argentina to 54 MMT. China's imports were increased to a record 74 MMT. Trade estimates for tomorrow's one day delayed weekly export sales report for beans are around 500-700 TMT. "Sales should really start to slow over the next couple week’s as China gets quiet ahead of Lunar New Year holidays and then demand switches to South America," said Benson Quinn. Mar 15 Soybeans closed at $9.76 3/4, down 6 3/4 cents; May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.83, down 6 1/2 cents; Mar 15 Soybean Meal closed at $330.10, down $0.40; Mar 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.97, down 44 points.
Corn: The corn market closed around 3-4 cents lower. Falling wheat and soybeans, plus the perennially firm US dollar didn't help corn's cause today. The IGC added 10 MMT to the global corn crop in 2014/15, but also raised consumption by a similar amount. World ending stocks were cut 1 MMT to 194 MMT, which is still 5 MMT above the USDA's latest estimate though. There were "bigger than previously forecast crops in Argentina, Brazil, the EU and Ukraine, but a reduced figure for the US," they said. The EU was also seen importing 1.5 MMT more corn in 2014/15 than projected a month ago. The IGC's estimate for the 2014/15 Ukraine corn crop is now 28.5 MMT, which is the same as the Ukraine Ag Ministry. They see Ukraine's 2014/15 corn exports at 18 MMT, up 0.5 MMT from their previous estimate, although less than the 20.2 MMT predicted by the Ag Ministry. The US Energy Dept reported weekly ethanol production up slightly (1,000 barrels/day) to 979,000 bpd. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report for corn are in the region of 600-800 TMT. Mar 15 Corn closed at $3.83 3/4, down 4 1/4 cents; May 15 Corn closed at $3.92, down 3 3/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed lower across the three exchanges, reversing earlier action. This may have been linked to the US dollar surging to fresh highs following the ECB announcement. Constant dollar strength has been a real thorn in the side of US export hopes of late. Early strength had been tied to increased military activity in Ukraine, and another upsurge in tensions between Russia and the West. The IGC were unchanged on their estimate for the global wheat crop in 2014/15 at 717 MMT, but trimmed 4 MMT off consumption to 708 MMT. Ending stocks were increased by 3 MMT to 196 MMT, similar to the USDA's latest estimate. "Prospects for 2015/16 winter wheat remain mostly favourable in the northern hemisphere. "Crops in the US and Russia suffered from adversely cold weather at times, while conditions have been mostly favourable in the EU, India and Turkey," they said. Russia's 2014/15 wheat exports were cut from 22.7 MMT to 18.5 MMT, with Europe's increased from 30.1 MMT to 31.5 MMT. Despite a cut of 0.8 MMT to production in Ukraine, exports were raised 1.2 MMT to 11.5 MMT. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales are modest at around 250-400 TMT. Mar 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.33 3/4, down 3 cents; Mar 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.64 3/4, down 7 1/2 cents; Mar 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.75 1/2, down 5 1/2 cents.