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Grains Futures Prices

Sun, Feb 23rd, 2020
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Futures Market News and Commentary

Wheat Closes with Losses on Friday

March wheat options expired on Friday. Chicago SRW futures closed 9 cents lower on Friday, but that didn’t erase the week’s gains as CBT wheat finished 8 1/4 cents higher wk/wk. Kansas City wheat was 5 1/4 cents lower at but gained 2 3/4 cents wk/wk. March HRS futures were 3 1/2 cents lower, which erased most of the week’s progress as futures were 1/2 a cent/bu lower wk/wk. The USDA listed 2020/21 wheat production of 1.836 bbu at their annual Ag Outlook Forum, the lowest level since 06/07 MY. USDA’s estimate for 20/21 ending stocks of 777 mbu, would be the lowest carryout since the 14/15 MY. The CoT report Friday afternoon showed that Chicago wheat spec traders expanded their net long 40.87% wk/wk to 64,715 contracts. Managed money was net long 14,312 HRW contracts as of 02/18. Spring wheat spec traders expanded their net short to an 8-week high 11,891 contracts. USDA’s Export Sales report from the week ending 02/13 indicated 346,290 MT of old crop wheat sales. Wheat shipments from... Read more

Soy Market Ends Friday in the Red

Soybean options expired, with futures having posted 3/4 to 2 1/4 cent losses in the front months. March beans were the weakest on Friday and ended the week 3 1/4 cents lower than last Friday’s close. March meal futures were $3.70/ton lower on Friday which pushed futures negative on the week. Soybean oil was 52 points higher on Friday, for a 7 point gain wk/wk. The CFTC’s weekly update showed soybean spec traders were less net short on 02/18, with managed money OI lower. Soybean meal spec traders expanded their largest net short on record. The weekly Export Sales report from USDA showed 494,277 MT of soybean bookings on the week ending 02/13. That was below the estimated range, and 13.3% lower wk/wk. New crop soybean sales were 3,360 MT for the same week. Weekly shipments from the report were 957,812 MT, which was 5.4% higher than the same week last year. MYTD soybean exports total 28.406 MMT, which is 21.9% above than last year’s pace. Soybean sales to China totaled 11,484 MT or onl... Read more

Corn Lower on Friday

March corn options expired today, with corn futures 1 1/2 to 2 cents lower at the closing bell. In the CoT report, managed money was 14.74% less net short wk/wk to 61,461 contracts. Managed money OI was 33,207 contracts higher to 441,903. The Export Sales report this morning showed 1.249 MMT of corn was sold for the week ending 02/13. That was slightly higher than the average estimate prior to the report, and 28.9% higher wk/wk. Corn bookings for the week were 24.3% higher than the same week last year. MYTD corn shipments are now at 12.651 MMT which lags last year by 48.90%. From the same report new crop corn bookings were 1,016 MT, which was below the pre-report expected range. USDA released initial 20/21 projection in their Ag Outlook Forum on Friday showing corn used for ethanol at 5.45 bbu, which would be the highest since 2017/18. Forecasted corn exports for 2020/21 are estimated at 2.1 bbu, also the highest since 2017/18. The forecasted yr/yr change in use (670 mbu), would not... Read more

Wheat: Awkward Times Ahead

There isn’t much to say about the cash wheat market that hasn’t already been said in this space over the last many months. The cmdty National Basis Indexes (weighted national averages) for the three major markets (HRW: hard red winter, SRW: soft red winter, HRS: hard red spring) all continue to hold near recent highs. Of the three, the cmdty National HRW Wheat Basis Index (HWBI) looks to be the most vulnerable with Friday’s (February 21) calculation of 29 cents under (Kansas City March futures) near mid-range from the most recent high of about 18 cents under (week of June 24, 2019) and most recent low of 38 cents under (week of September 2, 2019). What makes this even more interesting is marketing year-to-marketing year export demand comparisons show 2019-2020 shipments of HRW are running 37% ahead of 2018-2019 (as of Thursday, February 13, 2020). On the other end of the spectrum, 2019-2020 marketing year export shipments of SRW are running near even with 2018-2019 (again, through February 13) while the cmdty SRW Wheat Basis Index (SWBI) continues to hold near 6 cents under (Chicago March futures), about a 1/2 cent off its recent high. It will be interesting to see what happens with the SWBI as the March Chicago futures contract moves into delivery at the end of the month, possibly still showing an inverse to the May issue. We will soon be entering that awkward time of the winter wheat marketing year when there is no old-crop futures spread to get a read of supply and demand, with only the hybrid May issue to monitor. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
Corn: The Silent Assassin

If one were to sit and watch the corn market for any time at all, they would most likely fall asleep. Yes, the corn market is quiet, some would say silent, but this silence hides what could be a bullish assassin sneaking up on the rest of the grain and oilseed complex. Regardless of what we think we know about corn, its most telling features are the weak carry in the old-crop (2019-2020) forward curve and the continued strong basis reflected by the various cmdty indexes. For this discussion, I’ll again look at the cmdty National Corn Basis Index (NCBI, weighted national average) though I could just as easily use a specific state, region, county, or local index. Almost across the board I see nothing but stronger than normal readings on the relationship between cash and futures. Thursday (February 20) afternoon the NCBI was calculated at 11 3/4 cents under the March futures contract, with the 5-year average for the NCBI this week coming in at 29 3/4 cents under. Meanwhile, the latest weekly export shipment update (released Friday morning due to this past Monday’s U.S. government holiday) showed through February 13, 498 mb of corn has been exported. Based on the 5-year average of percent shipped, total export demand would not be projected at 1.476 bb, well below last year’s reported shipments of 1.937 bb USDA’s February projection of 1.725 bb. This continues to imply the strength of the market, a much smaller supply situation than what is being reported, remains hidden for the most part. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
Soybeans: Cloudy, With a Chance of Not Being Clear

There are a lot of moving parts in the soybean market as the dog days of February near an end (recall that February in South America is the equivalent of August in North America). That means Brazil’s soybean harvest should continue to ramp up, with another harvest weekend coming into view. Meanwhile, the Brazilian real fell to a new major (long-term) low versus the U.S. dollar making that country’s newly harvested supplies more attractive to the world’s largest buyer – China. And as part of the phase-one deal, the world’s largest buyer is allowed to buy ag commodities based on market factors rather than a quota. Despite all this, though, national average soybean basis continues to firm with the cmdty National Soybean Basis Index (NSBI, weighted national average) calculated at 46 3/4 cents under the March futures contract Wednesday afternoon. Last year at this time the NSBI was sitting at $1.45 1/2 under, or about a dollar weaker. This is an incredible statistic given my research and analysis showing 2019-2020 ending stocks to be similar to USDA’s 2018-2019 estimates a year ago of roughly 1.0 bb. To confuse things even more, let’s look at the cmdty National Soybean Price Index (NSPI, weighted national cash average) that was calculated at about $8.50 1/2 Wednesday as compared to $8.15 a year ago. For the marketing year the NSPI is showing a daily average of $8.46 versus the previous year average at the same point of $7.89. It will be interesting to see how the second half of the 2019-2020 marketing year works all this out. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
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