17/04/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans closed with small gains on the day (on old crop at least), and finished up with relatively modest advances for the week too. Fund money was seen as ending up a net buyer of around 2,000 soybean contracts on the day. "This afternoon’s Commitment of Traders report shows that the speculative funds piled on the new short positions last week as the market tumbled 34 1/2 cents basis the May future. The spec trader increased his short position by 27,845 contracts to net short 76,269 lots," noted Benson Quinn. Support for old crop beans comes from the fact that US exporters have already sold 48.537 MMT of US soybeans for export this season, with the vast majority of that (almost 45 MMT) already shipped and gone. The USDA forecast for the entire season is "only" for US exports of 48.716 MMT, so shippers are already at 99.6% of that target. This week's better than expected old crop weekly export sales and a March NOPA crush at record levels, and well above even the highest trade estimate, are also supportive to the nears. However, Celeres today estimated the Brazilian bean crop at a record 93.9 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange yesterday estimated this year's Argentine soybean crop at a record 58.5 MMT. With the Brazilian soybean harvest winding down, and the Argentine one making rapid progress, attention is now starting to switch to US planting potential. So all eyes will be on the fluctuating US weather forecasts across the coming months. The magnitude of the fund short in beans leaves the market vulnerable to an upside correction should there be a perceived threat to US output this year, which might prompt a re-test of the $10/bu level. If the weather plays ball, then record plantings and likely record US production in 2015 could see prices in the low $9/bu region, we haven't seen beans close below $9/bu since October 2009. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.68 3/4, up 2 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.71 1/2, up 2 1/2 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $315.00, up $2.60; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.52, down 24 points. For the week, front month beans were up 17 1/4 cents, meal advanced $5.80 and oil gained 43 points. The new crop soybean:corn price ratio ends the week at 2.36:1, up from 2.34:1 a week ago.
Corn: The corn market managed small gains on the day and for the week. Fresh news was thin on the ground today. "Monday’s (US) planting progress estimate is expected to confirm limited progress, which may have triggered light short covering," suggested Benson Quinn. The USDA reported US corn plantings at only 2% complete in their first numbers of the season last week. That was one point behind this time last year, and three behind the previous 5-year average pace. Ukraine said that they aim to export 3.5 MMT of corn to China this calendar year. Planting of the 2015 corn crop in Ukraine is now underway at 2% complete. UkrAgroConsult see plantings falling from 4.7 million ha to 4.4 million this year. Agritel estimated the EU corn crop in 2015 down from last year's record 74 MMT to 66 MMT. FranceAgriMer said that sowing of the French corn crop was 27% complete as of Apr 13, up from only 2% done a week previously, but still behind last year's pace of 35% sown. Agritel said that warm and dry weather should see further rapid progress made in the week ahead. Dr Cordonnier said that "the weather in Brazil continues to be beneficial for the development of the safrinha corn crop." Growers in Mato Grosso already have almost half their safrinha corn crop sold versus only 15% committed this time a year ago, say IMEA. The reason for the faster selling this year is the weaker Brazilian real, says Dr Cordonnier. Celeres estimated the Brazilian corn crop at 80.3 MMT, much higher than the USDA's 75 MMT forecast, and up 3.5 MMT on their last prediction. China reportedly only sold 1% of the near 300 TMT of domestic corn offered up for sale at auction today. In contrast all the near 36 TMT of US origin corn was sold. The reason for the difference is the low quality of the domestically produced corn on offer, said CNGOIC. For the week through to Tuesday night, fund money increased their net short in corn by around 39,000 lots to nearly 87,000 contracts. May 15 Corn closed at $3.79 3/4, up 3 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.86 3/4, up 3 1/2 cents. May 15 was up 2 3/4 cents on the week.
Wheat: The wheat market ended the day narrowly mixed, but lower across the board for the week on all three exchanges. In Chicago, prices are now below $5/bu, and could be lining up a test of the September lows around $4.75-4.80/bu. We haven't seen prices trade below that since the first half of 2010. The strong dollar, and consequent lack of US exports, is the problem. Concerns over the state of health of the 2015 US winter wheat crop is about the only fundamental left to prevent a total capitulation. Rain is on the radar, moving across parts of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma today, and are forecast to last at least through to Sunday. Have these rains come too late to do much good though? The USDA will update us with their latest crop condition ratings on Monday. Last week they had the US winter wheat crop rated 42% good to excellent, down by two points from previous week. The crop was then rated 19% poor to very poor, up from 16% a week previously. They will also report on spring wheat planting progress, which was 17% complete last Sunday night versus 5% a year ago and 11% done for the 5 year average. Tonight's commitment of traders report reveals fund money sitting on a record net short of around 82k contracts in Chicago wheat. That's over 11 MMT, and more than the expected entire size of the 2015 US SRW crop, so there could be some upside if they get spooked by anything. But what? Russia has said that it will be June before it decides on what to do next with the country's wheat export duty. The Russian Ag Minister is reported to have said that he sees no reason to prolong the duty beyond the end of June. Stats Canada are due out next Thursday April with their Canadian 2015 planting intentions report. A Reuters survey pegs the all wheat average trade estimate at 24.2 million acres versus the 2014 area of 23.835 million. For barley the average estimate is 6.7 million acres versus the 2014 area of 5.88 million. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.94 1/2, unchanged; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.09 1/4, up 1 cent; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.32 3/4, down 2 1/4 cents. For the week that puts Chicago wheat 32 cents lower, with Kansas down 52 1/2 cents and Minneapolis down 48 1/4 cents.
17/04/15 -- EU grains were mixed, but mostly a little lower on the day. Rapeseed again bucked the trend, and was the only commodity to post a net weekly gain.
The session ended with May 15 London wheat down GBP0.35/tonne at GBP115.30/tonne, May 15 Paris wheat was down EUR0.50/tonne at EUR182.75/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn fell EUR1.25/tonne to EUR162.75/tonne and May 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR2.50/tonne to close at EUR374.00/tonne.
For the week, London wheat fell GBP5.20/tonne, or 4.3%, with Paris wheat down EUR7.50/tonne, or 3.9%. Paris corn lost a more modest EUR1.50/tonne, or less than 1%, and Paris rapeseed rose EUR4.25/tonne, or 1.3%, versus last Friday.
The spread between old crop and new crop London wheat continues to widen, finishing at GBP10.40/tonne tonight, up from GBP9.75/tonne last week and GBP8.80/tonne at the beginning of the month. It's clearly the old crop that's under pressure for the time being.
As mentioned previously, wheat carryover stocks are seen much higher in Europe at the end of the season than they were a year ago - despite exports running at record levels. The firm US dollar means that their export campaign has been a poor one in 2014/15, so their stocks are higher too. In Russia, bumper production last year, and the introduction of the Feb 1 export duty on wheat, also means that they will begin 2015/16 with much higher stocks than a year ago.
Rosstat reported that Russian grain stocks held in commercial hands as of Apr 1 were 22.7 MMT, up 17.3% compared with a year previously. Grain harvesting and processing organisations were sitting on 29.5% more inventory than a year ago, including 20.6% more wheat.
The Russians have now stated that a decision on whether to alter, cancel or prolong the export duty on wheat won't be made any earlier than mid-June.
Meanwhile spring grain planting is about 6.4% complete on 2 million ha in Russia, down from the 2.2 million ha that had been sown this time a year ago.
Ukraine has also planted 2 million ha of early spring grains, which in their case is 86% of the planned area. The majority of that is spring barley, which has been sown on 1.5 million ha, or 85% of government expectations. Ukraine’s statistics agency said Ukraine’s April 1st grain stocks were 16.2 MMT, up 33% from a year ago
Corn planting is also now underway in Ukraine, with an estimated 2% of the 2015 crop now in the ground. Agritel say that most analysts are predicting the Ukraine corn planted area to decline 5-8% this year, estimating plantings themselves at 4.4 million ha, a 6.4% fall compared to 4.7 million ha a year ago.
They also forecast the EU 2015 corn crop at 66 MMT, down 10.8% on last year's record 74 MMT. French sowing is expected to make further rapid progress next week if the weather forecast for warm and dry conditions holds true, they said.
FranceAgriMer today said that a quarter of the anticipated French corn crop was planted in the week through to Apr 13, taking the total area sown to 27%, although that's still down on 35% complete this time a year ago.
French spring barley planting has been finished for a few weeks now, and the crop is 100% emerged and 46% at the early tillering stage versus 18% a week ago and 41% this time last year.
As far as crop conditions go, 92% of French winter wheat is rated good to very good, up a point on a week ago and 17 points ahead of this time last year. Winter barley ratings were unchanged on last week at 91% good to very good versus only 74% at this point in 2014. Spring barley is seen at 96% good to very good, unchanged on last week and up from only 77% this time last year.
In other news, Reuters reported that Germany would load a 60,000 MT wheat cargo destined for Iran next week. The Middle Eastern nation has become a major buyer of German wheat over the last 6 months after Western sanctions against them were relaxed.
16/04/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans ended with small gains. Weekly soybean export sales of 312,600 MT for 2014/15 were up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior 4-week average. The market was expecting old crop sales of somewhere between net cancellations of 50 TMT to positive 150 TMT. New crop sales came in at 226,200 MT, which was a bit below expectations of 250-450 TMT. MDA CropCast raised their view on Argentine soybean production this year by 500 TMT from last week to 56.62 MMT on better than expected yields. Brazil was unchanged at 94.34 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated this year's Argentine soybean harvest to be 32.5% complete, up 18.7 percentage points in a week. They see final production this year at a record 58.5 MMT. The market is now starting to focus on US weather and planting progress. "The new 7-day forecast is wet, not only for the Midwest but also the Great Plains," said Martell Crop Projections. "Drought is a continuing worry in Nebraska, South Dakota and western Minnesota. Elsewhere in the Midwest soil moisture is adequate to begin planting corn," they add. That might take away some of the recent talk of intended corn acres getting switched into beans. However "the 6-10 day outlook calls for strong cooling in the Midwest that would slow corn planting and emergence," they note. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.66, up 1 cent; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.69, up 1 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $312.40, up $0.90; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.76, down 4 points.
Corn: The corn market closed with fractional gains. Weekly export sales of 588,200 MT for delivery in 2014/15 were down 8 percent from the previous week, but up 19 percent from the prior 4-week average. China popped up as a buyer of 65,200 MT. There were also small net sales of 28,500 MT for 2015/16. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange reported the Argentine corn harvest at 24.1% complete, estimating production at 23 MMT, unchanged from a week ago. The USDA's FAS in Zambia said that the country's corn harvest could halve this year due to drought. They pegged output at just 1.7 MMT versus 3.4 MMT a year ago. ProZerno estimated the Russian corn crop at 10.9 MMT versus 11.3 MMT in 2014. MDA CropCast estimated the US 2015 corn crop at 13.816 billion bushels, down 6 million from a week ago due to acreage adjustments. They see the Brazilian crop at 76.91 MMT, unchanged from last week, but increased Argentina by 480 TMT to 24.03 MMT due to higher yield expectations. The EU corn crop was forecast 4.1 MMT lower than a week ago at 61.5 MMT, a near 10% decline on a year ago. China's CNGOIV forecast corn production there this year at a record near 220 MMT. Crude oil had a choppy day, but ultimately closed higher. It now stands at the best levels since before Christmas and is up around 30% from the March lows. Lower US production on the back of poor margins is being cited as the principal reason for the rally. The USDA reported 108 TMT of sorghum sold to China under the daily reporting system as their appetite for the grain continues unabashed. May 15 Corn closed at $3.76 1/4, up 1/4 cent; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.83 1/4, up 1/4 cent.
Wheat: The wheat market closed mixed, higher in Chicago and lower in Kansas and Minneapolis. I guess that we can put the firmer Chicago market down to short-covering after the recent rout. Fund money is thought to possibly have established a record short position in Chicago wheat, tomorrow's commitment of traders report will therefore make interesting reading. Concerns still remain over the health of US winter wheat on the Plains. Moderate-to-extreme drought conditions in the six-state High Plains region rose to 41% on April 14 from 36% a week earlier, data from the US Drought Monitor report reveals. Weekly export sales were pathetic at just 47,900 MT on old crop. They were also a marketing-year low, being down 85 percent from the previous week and 80 percent below the prior 4-week average - and the previous 4-weeks have been nothing to write home about. Sales of 112,500 MT for 2015/16 were less than stellar as well. In contrast, the EU issued more than 740 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences, more than fifteen times those of the US, this past week. The EU export total to date is 26.42 MMT, which is now more than 2 MMT ahead of this time last year. MDA CropCast cut their forecast for the world 2015/16 wheat crop by 3.4 MMT to 713.7 MMT, principally due to acreage reductions in the EU. ProZerno estimated the Russian wheat crop this year at 58.1 MMT, a relatively modest decline of 2.7% on a year ago. They see barley production falling 13.7% to 17.6 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange estimated Argentine wheat plantings for the 2015/16 crop year to fall to 4.1 million ha from 4.4 million a year ago. Low profitability in planting wheat and difficulties growers face in financing fieldwork were the main reasons given. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.94 1/2, up 3 3/4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.08 1/4, down 6 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.35, down 8 1/4 cents.
16/04/15 -- EU grains continue to slide, despite the strong export programme. London wheat took out the March lows and settled at the lowest for a front month since October 20. For Paris wheat the March low of EUR181/tonne is still intact, but only just.
Slumping US wheat prices, large global carryover stocks and the ever-nearing 2015 harvest are all adding to the negative vibe.
The latest figures from the USDA put wheat stocks in the US up 16% this year, with those in Russia seen almost 66% higher and those in Europe rising almost 54% at the end of the current season.
The day ended with May 15 London wheat down GBP2.30/tonne at GBP115.65/tonne, May 15 Paris wheat fell EUR2.00/tonne to EUR183.25/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was EUR1.50/tonne lower at EUR164.00/tonne and May 15 Paris rapeseed fell EUR3.75/tonne to EUR371.25/tonne.
At the close, the May 15 old crop/Nov 15 new crop spread on London wheat had widened a little more to now stand at GBP10.15/tonne. By comparison the similar May 15/Dec 15 carry on Paris wheat is only EUR2.25/tonne.
Last week's nine month low volume of weekly soft wheat export licences (189 TMT) proved to be just a blip, with Brussels granting more than 740 TMT worth this time round. The season to date total of 26.42 MMT is now more than 2 MMT ahead of this time last year when exports went on to be a record high.
No surprises then that French analysts Strategie Grains raised their forecast for EU soft wheat exports by 2.1 MMT to a record 32.0 MMT. That reduces ending stocks to 16.2 MMT, although that's still a hefty volume to carryover. Ending stocks last season were less than 10 MMT, according to USDA figures.
Bloomberg reported that the French port of Rouen exported more than 240 TMT of soft wheat in the past week, up two thirds on the previous week. The volume was boosted by more than 200 TMT destined for Morocco - said to be the largest weekly total to that destination since at least Aug 2010. The figure also included a consignment of French soft wheat destined for the Philippines, the first such shipment also since at least Aug 2010.
Russian analysts ProZerno estimated the 2015 grain crop there at 100.4 MMT, which is slightly higher even than the official Ministry forecast. They see wheat production at 58.1 MMT (versus 59.7 MMT a year ago), with corn output falling to 10.9 MMT (from 11.3 MMT) and that of barley down to 17.6 MMT (from 20.4 MMT). Despite the reductions, an overall cut in grain production of only 4.6% looks surprisingly optimistic.
MDA CropCast trimmed their forecast for the EU wheat crop by almost 4 MMT to 143.16 MMT, a 4.3% decline on a year ago. The reduction was mostly due to acreage adjustments, they said. Dryness building in the UK, France and Germany got a mention.
The EU barley crop was also estimated lower than previously, down 300 TMT to 56.7 MMT, which is 1 MMT below last year. This was also due to revised acreage estimates.
What's happening to all that land you might ask. They seem to think that it's gone into rapeseed, forecasting the EU crop at 24.53 MMT, which is 3.44 MMT higher than previously and around 3.5 MMT more than the figure suggested by Oil World just a couple of days ago. I'm not aware of anybody else who currently shares this view.
On the international tender front, Ethiopia are in the market for 400,000 MT of optional origin milling wheat for July–August shipment.
New crop Russian 12.5% milling wheat was apparently offered in the market at USD198/tonne for Jul/Aug shipment. Old crop Ukraine 12.5% milling wheat was quoted at USD210/tonne. Both prices being on an FOB the Black Sea basis.
15/04/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans nudged a little higher, helped by the March NOPA crush being reported far higher than expected at a record 162.8 million bushels. That was well ahead of the average trade estimate of 155.26 million bushels, and even well above the high end figure of 159.5 million. With a crush figure so much higher than trade expectations you'd have thought that the market would end sharply higher, but it seems like today was a "buy the rumour, sell the fact" sort of a day. Attention is now very much on the ongoing South American harvest and the much-quoted "demand switch" to Brazil and Argentina. Brazil's record harvest is now well advanced, and confidence is growing by the day that Argentina's crop will also surpass all that has gone before. The Rosario Grain Exchange today raised their forecast for the Argentine soybean crop this year by 1.7% from their March estimate to a new all time high 59 MMT. Tomorrow's weekly export sales numbers aren't expected to offer too much support to the US market, with old crop sales estimates in the region of negative 50 TMT to positive 150 TMT. New crop sales are expected to be around 250-450 TMT. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.65, up 4 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.67 3/4, up 3 3/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $311.50, down $2.10; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.80, up 50 points.
Corn: The corn market edged a couple of cents firmer, garnering some support from the firmer tone in soybeans. Firmer crude oil markets and chatter of planting delays in corn in the South also added some further support. What wasn't too friendly though was the US Energy Dept reporting weekly ethanol production at 924,000 barrels/day, down 12,000 from the previous week and the slowest rate since mid October. Stocks came in at 20.6 million barrels, up 200,000 barrels from a week ago. Also bearish was the Rosario Grain Exchange raising their forecast for the Argentine corn crop by 2.2 MMT to 25.7 MMT. That's now 1.7 MMT more than the USDA predicted last week. Ukraine continues to ship large volumes of their 2014 corn crop. Exports in Jan/Feb to Europe alone included Spain (480.7 TMT), the Netherlands (73.9 TMT), Italy (35.8 TMT), Portugal (21.2 TMT), Germany (12.9 TMT), and Ireland (12.8 TMT), said APK Inform. Total Ukraine grain exports so far this month are 900 TMT, of which 80% (717 TMT) was corn. The leading homes for Ukraine corn this month have been China, South Korea, Egypt and Japan. DRV said that Germany's 2015 corn crop will fall 7.8% to 4.74 MMT. Bloomberg reported that US corn and soybean imports from countries able to supply non-GM crops are "booming" - including corn purchases from Romania. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are around 400-600 TMT. May 15 Corn closed at $3.76, up 2 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.83, up 2 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed lower for a third day, and has now fallen for six of the last eight sessions. Rain remains in the forecasts for the US Plains, although the Kansas forecast has grown progressively drier these past 3 days, cautioned Martell Crop Projections. Kansas is of course the top US wheat state. Russia said that the export duty on wheat will be reviewed around May/June. There was a little hint that an extension of it is not out of the question depending on the state of winter wheat crops then. For now though the government are standing by their official forecast for a 2015 grain crop of 100 MMT. Iran said that it would harvest an 11 MMT wheat crop this year, and that the government would buy 8 MMT domestically and import 2 MMT. Japan are tendering for 109 TMT of food grade wheat for June shipment in their regular weekly tender. Jordan are in the market for 100 TMT of wheat for Dec/Jan shipment. Brazilian farmers in the state of Parana are off to a slow start planting their winter wheat crop, with only around 1% of the crop in the ground so far versus 7% a year ago and 9% typically at this time according to the Secretary of Agriculture for the state (Deral). They currently estimate plantings to increase 3%, with production rising by 7% to 4 MMT. Parana is the leading wheat producing state in Brazil. Trade estimates for tomorrow's weekly export sales report are around 100-300 TMT of old crop and 50-250 TMT of new crop. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.90 3/4, down 6 1/4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.14 1/2, down 7 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.43 1/4, down 8 3/4 cents.
15/04/15 -- EU grains closed mixed, with wheat generally following US markets lower, but corn and rapeseed mostly a little firmer.
At the finish, May 15 London wheat was down GBP0.55/tonne at GBP117.95/tonne; May 15 Paris wheat was EUR1.50/tonne easier at EUR185.25/tonne; Jun 15 Paris corn was up EUR0.50/tonne at EUR165.50/tonne; May 15 Paris rapeseed was EUR0.25/tonne higher at EUR375.00/tonne.
US wheat markets remain under pressure from an improving weather outlook on the Southern Plains, with Chicago wheat prices having fallen by 8.6% so far this month. London and Paris wheat futures have been dragged down by the falling Chicago market, and all three are now threatening to test the March lows.
Market attention is now very much focused on new crop production prospects.
The Russian Ag Ministry maintained their outlook - that the country will produce 100 MMT of grains this year. That's a relatively modest 4.8% drop on last year, given all the trade chatter of poor establishment prior to winter and farmers' reduced ability to fund spring fieldwork activities.
An interesting development to the situation there today was Bloomberg reporting that the Russian Ag Minister said that they "may" decide on what to do next with the wheat export tax that was introduced on Feb 1 around May/June.
The decision will be based on the condition of the winter wheat crop, the report said. This is the first hint that the future of the duty is more dependent on 2015 production prospects than anything else.
In a separate report from APK Inform, a Russian official was quoted as saying that it was possible that the government could prolong the export duty into the 2015/16 marketing year. Up until now, most in the trade seemed to think that the two main considerations were would the duty run right through to the end of June or would it be abolished before then. Now we seem to have the possibility that it may in fact ultimately be extended.
It will be interesting now to see if new crop offers out of Russia still continue to be put up aggressively. According to Agritel yesterday, Russian new crop 12.5% milling wheat was being offered FOB the Black Sea at USD205/tonne for Jul/Aug shipment, which is the equivalent of less than GBP140/tonne.
Meanwhile, spring grain planting in Russia is still in its infancy at 5.9% complete on 1.8 million ha (versus 2.0 million this time last year).
In Ukraine, early spring grains (which excludes crops like corn and soybeans/sunflowers) have also been planted on 1.8 million ha, which is 81% of their anticipated total area. That consists mainly of barley, which has been planted on 1.4 million ha, or 80% of the government target.
According to the Ukraine Ag Ministry, 89% of winter grains have now had a fertiliser application, along with 87% of winter OSR.
Another interesting development yesterday was the EU Environment Committee voting 51-12 (with one abstention) to limit the percentage of biofuel made from crops to 7% of the mandated 10% target of final energy consumption in transport set to be achieved by 2020. The moved is aimed to accelerate the shift to producing biofuel from alternative sources.
In other news, Germany's DRV estimated the wheat crop there this year at 26.72 MMT, a fall of 3.8% versus a year ago. Barley production will drop 5.4% to 10.93 MMT, corn output will drop 7.8% to 4.74 MMT and that of winter rapeseed will decline 15.8% to 5.25 MMT, they said.
Ukraine said that it had shipped almost 200 TMT of wheat to the EU in Jan/Feb under the special duty-free quota agreement that exists. Italy was the main buyer, taking more than 131 TMT, followed by Spain (almost 30 TMT) and the UK (over 16 TMT).
UkrAgroConsult reported that Ukraine had exported 900 TMT of grains so far this month, of which 189 TMT was wheat and 717 TMT was corn.
14/04/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans reversed yesterday's losses, and broke out of a run of six losing sessions in the past seven, to close with double digit gains. The March NOPA crush report, due out tomorrow, might reveal a record crush for the month, according to Benson Quinn. The average trade estimate for that is 155.26 million bushels, with one estimate as high as 159.5 million. The February crush was 146.970 million and in March 2014 the crush was 153.84 million (a record for the month). Brazil are well advanced in harvesting their anticipated record 2014/15 soybean crop, and things are also now getting going in neighbouring Argentina. Fears of crop losses in the latter due to excessive rains and flooding in some areas have now subsided. "Argentine farmers continue to report outstanding soybean yields and the question now is how fast they will sell their record soybean crop," said Dr Cordonnier. "The government of course wants the farmers to sell as quickly as possible in order to collect the 35% export tax on soybeans. But it remains to be seen how aggressive they will be in trying to force farmers to sell," he added. Argentine farmers still have around 17% of their 2013/14 soybean harvest to sell, along with 80% of this year's crop, according to official Ag Ministry estimates. Oil World estimated the EU 2015 rapeseed crop down 11% on last year's record at 21.5 MMT. Production in Germany will drop nearly 16% to 5.3 MMT, they predict. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.60 1/4, up 11 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.64, up 11 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $313.60, up $4.80; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.30, up 26 points.
Corn: The corn market recovered around half of yesterday's losses, in a mini "Turnaround Tuesday" reversal. Wheat prices continuing to fall was a negative influence however. Continued wetness in Southern US states is delaying corn planting, and may cause some switching away from corn into beans it is being suggested. Macquaire forecast US corn prices in Q2 of 2015 averaging $3.60/bu, rising to $3.70/bu in Q3 and $4.00/bu in Q4. They also predict that upwards trend to continue in 2016, with Q1 prices averaging $4.20/bu next year, rising to $4.25/bu in Q2. The Argentine grower is said to be 36% sold on his 2014/15 corn crop, up from 21% this time a year ago. South Africa is said to be importing Argentine yellow corn following significant crop losses there this year. Ukraine seaports exported almost 45 TMT of grains last week, with the vast majority (80%) being corn. Russia's corn seed imports were down nearly 38% last month compared to a year ago. This is probably due to the recent slump in value of the Russian rouble, forcing farmers to cut corners wherever they can. APK Inform recently forecast Russian growers to plant a record corn acreage this year, up 2.8% on last year. Even so, if much of what they are going to plant is inferior home grown seed than production is likely to fall. The USDA's FAS in Europe forecast an EU-28 2015 corn crop of 67.7 MMT versus the record 73.7 MMT produced last year. They see Europe's 2015/16 corn import needs rising 50% to 12 MMT. The Argentine government are expected to grant 1-2 MMT worth of corn export licences in the next few days. China's CNGOIC estimated that the country would import 8.1 MMT of sorghum this season, up from only 4.6 MMT in 2013/14. May 15 Corn closed at $3.73 1/2, up 3 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.81, up 3 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market slipped back below $5/bushel in Chicago to close at its lowest level since Mar 10. Some are suggesting that rains across Kansas and Oklahoma this past few days might revive a flagging US winter wheat crop. Others are saying it's a case of "too little, too late" and that the damage is already done. I guess we won't know the real answer until the combines start rolling, and that day isn't really that far away. With 19% of US winter wheat now rated poor to very poor, among the lowest 25% in the last 29 years according to Martell Crop Projections, the crop needs to improve rapidly. "If drenching rain materialises, as predicted, plump kernels would develop on grain heads increasing test weights that boost the yield. However, significant damage to the (Kansas) wheat yield has already been done from prolonged spring drought," they said. Argentine farmers are said to be almost 66% sold on their 2014/15 wheat crop versus 45% committed this time a year ago. The Argentine government are expected to authorise 1-2 MMT of wheat export licences in the next week or so. South Korea's Daehan bought 45,400 MT of US milling wheat for August shipment. South Korea's KFA bought 24,800 MT of US wheat for Aug-Sept shipment. Japan are tendering for 109,005 MT of milling wheat for June shipment in their usual combo of US, Canadian and Australian origin. Nothing overly special there. China were said to be auctioning 830,000 MT of wheat from reserves today. Russia's seaports exported 190.5 TMT of wheat last week, say APK Inform. Ukraine seaports shipped out only 89.5 TMT, they add. Rusagrotrans see Russia's April wheat exports at around 400 TMT, down from 534 TMT last month. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $4.97, down 5 1/4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.21 3/4, down 7 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.52, down 8 cents.
14/04/15 -- EU grains were mixed on the day with May 15 London wheat ending GBP0.45/tonne higher at GBP118.50/tonne, May 15 Paris wheat was down EUR1.00/tonne at EUR186.75/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn advanced EUR0.75/tonne to EUR165.00/tonne and May 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR0.25/tonne to close at EUR374.75/tonne.
For rapeseed this was the best close for a front month in almost a year.
Oil World estimated the EU-28 2015 rapeseed crop at 21.5 MMT, down 11% versus 24.2 MMT a year ago. That's partly due to lower plantings (down 4.4% at 6.5 million ha), and also reduced yield expectations (with the EU average seen down 8.3% at 3.3 MT/ha).
Nevertheless, this would still be Europe's second largest crop ever.
Production in Germany is seen falling 1 MMT, or almost 16%, to 5.3 MMT. That's still just enough to keep them top of the EU production table though, just ahead of France's 5.2 MMT crop.
In the UK, output is forecast at 2.3 MMT, an 8% decline on last year. Plantings here were estimated 4.5% lower at 640k ha, with anticipated yields falling 2.5% to average 3.56 MT/ha.
In their first estimate for 2015, the USDA's FAS in Europe forecast this year's all wheat crop at 151.0 MMT, a 3.5% decline on last year. They see wheat exports in 2015/16 down 1 MMT on this season's anticipated record 32.5 MMT, but that's still a decent volume. Ending stocks next season are estimated at 6.7 MMT, a decrease of more than 16% versus 8.0 MMT at the end of the current marketing year.
For corn, they estimate an EU-28 crop of 67.7 MMT in 2015, a 6 MMT fall, or down 8%, compared to last year's record. They forecast the bloc's corn imports therefore rising 4 MMT next season, or 50%, to 12 MMT.
In other news, APK Inform said that Russia's seaports exported almost 329 TMT of grains last week, a similar volume to the previous week (322 TMT). That total included 190.5 TMT of wheat, 41.6 TMT of corn and 90.3 TMT of barley.
Rusagrotrans reduced their forecast for Russia's April grain exports from 1.2 MMT to 1.1 MMT, which includes around 400 TMT of wheat (versus 534 TMT in March), 300 TMT of barley (from 734 TMT in March) and 350 TMT of corn (from 440 TMT last month).
The Russian Ag Ministry estimated spring crops had been planted on 1.6 million ha, or 5% of the forecast for the season, down versus 2.0 million ha this time a year ago.
It is interesting to note that Russia's imports of corn seed fell sharply last month compared to a year previously, down almost 38%, according to customs data. That doesn't bode well for final yields later this year.
It is also probably likely that this situation is also being replicated in spring wheat and barley plantings, with more lower quality home grown seed getting sown, rather than higher yielding (but more expensive) hybrid varieties.
Ukraine seaports exported almost 450 TMT of grain last week, up sharply from 303 TMT the previous week. The total was made up entirely of corn (360 TMT) and a little wheat (89.5 TMT), said APK Inform.
The Kazakhstan Ag Ministry estimated their Apr 1 grain stocks at almost 10 MMT including more than 8.5 MMT of wheat.
13/04/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans continue to grind a touch lower, and have now fallen for 6 of the past 7 sessions. Demand for US beans continues to slip towards the southern hemisphere as the harvest there advances and the Brazilian real and Argentine peso weaken versus the US dollar. Weekly US export inspections slowed to 450,317 MT last week, down from 569,648 MT the previous week, the USDA said today. AgRural said that the Brazilian bean harvest was 84% complete as of Friday, up from 77% a week previously. They estimated this year's crop at a record 93.8 MMT. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said last week that the Argentine soybean harvest is 13.8% done, up 6.8 percentage points versus a year ago. They see production there at a record 58.5 MMT. Customs data shows that China imported 4.49 MMT of beans in March, up 5.4% versus the shorter (and Lunar New Year) month of February. That means that China imported 15.63 MMT of beans in the first quarter of the year, up a modest 1.9% from a year ago. They are importing less edible oil. Imports of that were down by more than a third at 360,000 MT in March. That takes Q1 edible oil imports to 1.05 MMT, a fall of 46% compared to a year previously. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.48 3/4, down 2 3/4 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.52 3/4, down 3 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $308.80, down $0.40; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.04, down 5 points.
Corn: The corn market closed lower, under spillover pressure from tumbling wheat prices. Weekly export inspections weren't too bad at 855,766 MT, although they were well below the 1.039 MMT from last week and 1.479 MMT for the same week in 2014. The USDA reported US corn plantings at 2% complete in their first numbers of the season. That's one point behind of this time last year, and three behind the previous 5-year average pace. Southern states remain delayed, with NC at 17% done versus 28% on average, KY is 3% complete versus 15% normally, and TN is at 6% versus 23% typically at this time. Sorghum plantings are 19% done versus 16% a year ago and 20% on average. Safras e Mercado said that Brazil's first corn crop is 61.4% harvested versus 73.7% a year ago. In Argentina the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said that the corn harvest was 17.1% complete last week, up 0.6 percentage points on a year ago. The Argentine government are expected to release 2-3 MMT of corn export licenses at some point over the next week as the harvest there progresses and confidence of a decent crop again this year rises. China are expected to auction 331,500 MT of corn from state-owned reserves on Thursday. Russia said that it had exported 35% less corn (at just over 2 MMT) so far this season than it had a year ago. May 15 Corn closed at $3.70 1/2, down 6 1/2 cents; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.78, down 6 3/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market crashed sharply lower on beneficial weekend rains in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Kansas wheat was the biggest loser, slumping the best part of 30 cents, although the Chicago and Minneapolis markets also suffered significant losses. Forecasts for the week ahead also offer further chances of rain. Weekly export inspections were fair at 445,317 MT. South Korea tendered for 24,000 MT of wheat for Aug/Sep shipment. Iraq tendered for 50,000 MT of Australian, US, Canadian and/or Russian wheat. Egypt said that they will begin buying up to 3.7 MMT of local wheat tomorrow. After the close the USDA cut the proportion of the US winter wheat crop rated good to excellent by two points from last week to 42%. The crop is now rated 19% poor to very poor, up from 16% a week ago. Kansas slipped from 23% to 28% in the poor/very poor category and was down from 33% to 28% good/excellent. Oklahoma declined from 16% to 26% poor/very poor and from 43% to 36% in the good/excellent category. The crop is 5% headed versus 6% last year and 8% on average, they added. Spring wheat planting is 17% complete versus 5% a year ago and 11% on average, with all the leading states bar ND well ahead of the norm. WA is 70% done already compared to only 42% both a year ago and for the 5-year average. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.02 1/4, down 24 1/4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.29, down 29 3/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.60, down 21 cents.
13/04/15 -- EU grains closed mostly lower, following the US wheat market down after weekend rains in the US breadbasket states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas proved to be heavier and more widespread than expected.
The day ended with May 15 London wheat down GBP2.45/tonne at GBP118.05/tonne, May 15 Paris wheat fell EUR2.50/tonne to EUR187.75/tonne, Jun 15 Paris corn was unchanged at EUR164.25/tonne and May 15 Paris rapeseed rose EUR4.75/tonne at EUR374.50/tonne.
At the close, the May 15 old crop/Nov 15 new crop spread on London wheat had widened to exactly GBP10/tonne. By comparison the similar May 15/Dec 15 carry on Paris wheat is only EUR2.25/tonne tonight.
In the case of London wheat the gap between the two crop years is rather large indeed, which would suggest that either old crop prices need to move up, or new crop prices must come down. The large volume of unsold 2014 harvest wheat still being carried by UK growers might suggest that the former scenario is the least likely. So too might the relatively narrow differential between new crop London/Paris wheat. We shall see...
Based on current crop conditions and official planting estimates, France could be in for a record soft wheat crop in 2015. Harvesting of that is only 3 months away.
Despite a strong export campaign, FranceAgriMer last week estimated 2014/15 soft what ending stocks up more than 50%, with barley stocks up by a third and those for corn rising by double that percentage.
Meanwhile Russia also looks set to carry a large volume of old crop wheat into new crop following the Feb 1 introduction of the punitive export duty on wheat, which could minimise potential losses to the 2015 crop from poorly established crops prior to the onset of winter and reduced yields due to financial cut-backs.
Rusagrotrans last week estimated Russia's 2014/15 grain ending stocks at a record 15.5 MMT, far higher than the previous all time high (10.6 MMT) set in the export embargo season of 2010/11.
Russia's wheat exports since the duty was introduced (Feb 1 to Apr 8) fell 59% year-on-year to 1.1 MMT, according to the Russian Ag Ministry. Even so that still takes full season exports to 19.6 MMT versus 15.6 MMT a year previously.
Full season so far Russian barley exports have more than doubled year-on-year at 4.5 MMT. Cumulative corn exports meanwhile are down by more than a third at 2.1 MMT.
Spring grains have so far been planted on 1.4 million hectares in Russia versus 1.7 million this time last year, say the Ag Ministry.
The Ukraine Ag Ministry meanwhile said that winter cereal crop losses were only 0.4%, and said that 87% of the crop is in good to satisfactory condition. Winter OSR in Ukraine hasn't fared so well however, with an estimated 9% of the crop "lost" and a further 13% of autumn plantings rated as "weak/thinned".
One Ukrainian analyst estimated their 2015 wheat crop at 20.0 MMT, down 17% from 24.1 MMT last year.
Egypt said that they aim to buy 3.7 MMT of wheat on the domestic market in a purchasing campaign that starts tomorrow and will last for three months.
Iraq are tendering for 50,000 MT of US, Canadian, Australian or Russian wheat.
10/04/15 -- Soycomplex: Beans and meal closed lower on the day and for the week, with oil ending higher on both. The USDA announced 200,000 MT of US beans sold to unknown, split 140,000 MT for 2014/15 delivery and 60,000 MT for 2015/16 delivery. Other than that though, there wasn't a lot of supportive news. The dollar bounced higher again, and global equities are posting new highs, enticing investment money away from the grains. The S&P 500 closed within 1% of it's Mar 2 all time high tonight. The DJIA was also higher and in Europe the FTSE100 and German DAX30 closed at record highs, whilst the French CAC40 hit a 7-year high. The Brazilian soybean harvest is now well past halfway done, and the Argentine harvest is gathering pace. Conab raised its forecast for Brazil's 2014/15 soybean crop to a record 94.28 MMT from the 93.26 MMT estimated in March. They have 2014/15 Brazilian soybean exports estimated at 46.8 MMT, unchanged from previously and up 2.4% from 45.7 MMT in 2013/14. The Philippines were said to have bought 115,000 MT of Argentine soymeal for July-September shipment, reportedly traded at a $30/tonne discount to US material. May 15 Soybeans closed at $9.51 1/2, down 2 cents; Jul 15 Soybeans closed at $9.56, down 2 1/4 cents; May 15 Soybean Meal closed at $309.20, down $2.90; May 15 Soybean Oil closed at 31.09, up 25 points. For the week, front month beans lost 34 1/2 cents, with meal shedding $18.10 and oil gaining a modest 5 points. The new crop bean:corn price ratio ended the week at 2.34:1 versus 2.37:1 a week ago.
Corn: The corn market edged a little lower on the day, and finished the week almost 10 cents easier. Conab raised its forecast for Brazil's 2014/15 corn crop to 78.99 MMT from 78.21 MMT in March, estimating a first harvest of 30.30 MMT and a second one of 48.69 MMT. The USDA only estimated the Brazilian corn crop at 75 MMT yesterday. South Korea's NOFI bought 194,000 MT of optional origin corn for November shipment. China are said to have bought 2.0 MMT of corn from the Ukraine so far in 2015, around half of which has already been shipped. APK Inform said that Russia will plant a record 2.8 million ha of corn this year. Europe's corn imports are in decline. Brussels awarded 79 TMT of corn import certificates this past week, taking the volume granted so far this season to 7.14 MMT, down 34% from 10.85 MMT a year ago. The Environmental Protection Agency were said to have settled an oil industry lawsuit and agreed to release its proposed biofuel use targets for this year by Jun 1 and formally set the ethanol blending mandates for this year and last year by Nov 30. The USDA are expected to release their first weekly estimates for US corn planting progress on Monday. Significant planting delays are being reported in the South/Mississippi Delta region. Weather forecasts continue to look wet for the Corn Belt and the South for the next 10 days, with excessive amounts possible in the Delta/mid-South. These developments seem to be keeping the corn market from slipping too much lower for the time being. May 15 Corn closed at $3.77, down 1 cent; Jul 15 Corn closed at $3.84 3/4, down 1 cent. For the week May 15 corn fell 9 1/4 cents.
Wheat: The wheat market closed higher on the day, but lower for the week. Dryness in hardcore US breadwheat areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas was the reason cited by many for today's little rally. It may also have been down to some profit-taking on shorts ahead of the weekend. Last week's USDA winter wheat ratings of 44% good to excellent surprised the trade a little, with the market expecting something more like 40-42%. It will be interesting therefore to see what they have to say in this regard on Monday night. Elsewhere, Russia said that spring grains had been planted on 1.2 million hectares, or 3.9% of the planned area. That's down a little from the 1.3 million ha planted this time a year ago. Customs data shows that Russian seaports shipped out 5.1 MMT of grains in Jan/Mar, up 6.9% compared to the same period a year ago. Export progress is certainly slowing now that the new duty on wheat is in place. Warships from the Saudi-led coalition are said to have blocked a vessel carrying 47,250 MT of wheat from entering a Yemeni port, demanding that the United Nations first guarantees that the cargo will not go to military personnel. Morocco said it will hike the import duty on wheat from 17.5% to 75% effective May 1. South Korea's KFMC are tendering for 24,000 MT of wheat for Aug-Sept shipment. Jordan were said to have bought 100,000 MT of feed barley for October shipment. Ukraine's Ag Ministry said that farmers there had planted 1.8 million ha of early spring grains, or 77% of the planned total planted area. That's down significantly from 2.4 million ha a year ago, and includes 1.3 million ha of barley versus 1.9 million ha a year ago. May 15 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.26 1/2, up 7 3/4 cents; May 15 KCBT Wheat closed at $5.58 3/4, up 7 1/4 cents; May 15 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.81, up 7 cents. For the week, nearby CBOT wheat was still down 9 3/4 cents, with KCBT down 24 cents and MGEX losing 14 1/2 cents.
10/04/15 -- EU grains closed higher on the day, but generally lower for the week, with the exception of Paris rapeseed.
At the finish, May 15 London wheat was up GBP0.75/tonne at GBP120.50/tonne; May 15 Paris wheat was EUR1.00/tonne higher at EUR190.25/tonne; Jun 15 Paris corn was up EUR0.25/tonne at EUR164.25/tonne; May 15 Paris rapeseed was also EUR0.25/tonne higher at EUR369.75/tonne.
For the week nearby London wheat still fell GBP2.45/tonne, whilst Paris wheat was down EUR3.50/tonne, corn shed EUR0.25/tonne and rapeseed added EUR6.00/tonne. New crop Nov 15 London wheat fared a little better than old crop May 15, widening the premium available on the carry from GBP8.80/tonne a week ago to GBP9.75/tonne tonight.
That keeps the pressure off the many still holding significant volumes of old crop wheat unsold. How many can afford to continue to do so, and will have the physical space available to do so past harvest 2015 remains an unanswered question for now.
Customs data shows that the UK exported 267 TMT of wheat in February, a 3-year high, with the top home being Spain taking around half of that volume. The vast majority of the rest of it (more than 135 TMT) went to non-EU homes including such exotic destinations as the Philippines and Thailand.
Despite that being a good month, year-to-date exports are still only 1.34 MMT, around 38% of the UK's exportable surplus
For once, Europe didn't have a good week on the export front, with Brussels granting only 189 TMT worth of soft wheat export licences this past week - a nine month low. Still, cumulative season to date exports are an impressive 25.68 MMT - up 7.6% versus 23.86 MMT this time a year ago.
The EU also awarded nearly 43 TMT worth of licences to import Ukraine wheat as part of a preferential duty free quota system. They've now awarded 315 TMT worth of these out of a total 2015 available volume of 950 TMT.
FranceAgriMer estimated both the French winter wheat winter barley crops at 91% good to excellent, both unchanged on a week ago, and both well ahead of only 76% this time last year.
They said that 90% of winter wheat is now displaying an ear of at least 1cm, up from 73% a week ago, but 6 points down on last year. The proportion of the French winter barley crop at that stage is 98% versus 81% a week ago and 99% this time last year.
French spring barley planting is complete, and the crop is 92% emerged versus 76% last week and 90% this time last year. Corn planting is just getting going at 2% complete nationally versus 10% this time last year.
Morocco said that it was to increase the import duty on wheat from 17.5% to a whopping 75% "to protect the local market". The new duty will come into force on May 1. They are clearly expecting a bumper harvest this year, with cereal production estimated at "more than 10 MMT" versus only 6.7 MMT a year ago.
The pound was down around 2 cents against the US dollar for the week, but up around 2 euro cents versus the single currency.
Greece said it made the EUR460 million payment that was due to the IMF yesterday, but several much larger debt repayments are looming in the weeks ahead. The EU says it wants a firm agreement on Greek reforms to be in place by the time of the next Eurogroup meeting on Apr 24 before it hands over the next enormous tranche of bailout money (EUR7.2 billion).