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Grains Futures Prices

Fri, Apr 10th, 2020
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Futures Market News and Commentary

Wheat Market Rallied on Thursday

The wheat futures market ended higher after Thursday trading. KC HRW gained the most with May futures up 14 cents. Chicago wheat was 8 1/4 cents/bu higher in May, and May HRS wheat futures gained 2 1/2 cents. Weather forecasts contain several potential frost/freeze events over the next 10 days. The April estimate for 19/20 wheat ending stocks was 970 mbu, which is up 30 million from March, but still 10.2% below last year’s carryout. The bump to ending stocks came from reduced export and feed use ideas. USDA estimates World wheat ending stocks at 292.78 MMT. That is a 5.64 MMT hike, traders were looking for a slight dip from the March edition. USDA’s Export Sales report showed wheat bookings from the week ending April 02 just above estimates at 258,598 MT. Sales for 2020/21 wheat were 117,400 MT, which was just below estimates. Wheat commitments for the MY are at 25.04 MMT which is 1.81% above last year’s pace.

May 20 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.56 1/2, up 8 1/4 cents... Read more

Corn Closes in Black

Corn futures ended report day 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cents higher. The USDA cut U.S. corn used for ethanol by 375 mbu, increased feed and residual use by 150, and left exports UNCH at 1.725 bbu vs. their March numbers. The updates left 2019/20 corn carryout at 2.092 bbu (up 10.6%, compared to the average trade guess of 6.2%). The USDA average cash price for the year was lowered 20 cents to $3.60/bu. World corn carryout is 303.17 MMT, higher than the estimated 299 MMT, and up 5.83 MMT from the March WASDE. CONAB lowered their first crop production but increased second crop’s production for a net bump of 1.784 MMT for a new projected 101.868 MMT, citing an increase in Safrinha corn acreage. Corn export sales from the week ending April 02 were 1.85 MMT, which was a 72% increase wk/wk and 237% above the same week last year. New crop bookings of 608,770 MT brought the total corn sales on the week to 2.46 MMT, which was the most for any week since 12/20 of 2018.

May 20 Corn c... Read more

Beans Higher into Extended Weekend

Soybeans futures closed the last trading day of the week with 8 to 9 1/4 cent gains. May soymeal futures were down by $0.30/ton at the close. May bean oil futures closed with 23 point gains. USDA updated the 2019/20 soybean projected carryout 55 mbu higher to 480 mbu. That was above the pre-report estimates of 446, but still 47.2% lower than last year. The export cut lowered the average cash price for soybeans to $8.65/bu. The average cash price for bean oil was 150 points lower at 30 cents/lb. World bean carryout was revised lower by 1.94 MMT, traders were looking for a smaller 900k MT cut. USDA estimated Brazilian soybean production at 124.5 MMT, which is down from the March WASDE but a smaller reduction than pre-report estimates. CONAB estimates Brazil’s soybean output at 122.06 MMT, which is down 2.14 from their previous estimate. Argentina’s 19/20 bean production is estimated at 52 MMT, which was a bigger than anticipated cut from the March forecast. Soybean bookings from the w... Read more

Soybean Basis: Plateuaing

The cash soybean market could be reaching a tipping point as the cmdty National Soybean Basis Index (NSBI, weighted national average) plateaus near its recent high. After hitting a peak of roughly 44 1/4 cents under the May futures contract on Wednesday, April 1 the NSBI has flattened into a range between that peak and a series of lows near 44 1/2 cents under (yes, a range of only 1/4 cent). The next move could be key to future direction, with a bullish breakout beyond 44 1/4 possibly indicating another round of commercial buying interest or a bearish breakdown below 44 1/2 hinting at the commercial side finally admitting the demand cavalry simply isn’t coming. Tuesday, April 7 saw the NSBI calculated near 44 1/2 cents under May futures, again not overly surprising given what we’ve seen over the past week. However, with the May futures contract still looking to be in a secondary (intermediate term) uptrend on its weekly chart and hinting at renewed short-term buying interest, all while export demand remains near non-existent and the soybean meal market has come under renewed pressure from commercial traders, soybean basis could soon crack. A daily calculation below the 44 1/2-cent under mark would be a new 4-day low, a technical momentum indicator that the bearish side is indeed growing stronger. Keep in mind the next weekly export sales and shipment update is on the docket for Thursday’s, though likely to be overshadowed by USDA’s monthly round of guesses in its April Supply and Demand report. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
Corn Basis: A Turning Point

It’s possible that days, weeks, or maybe months down the road we will look back at this past Monday (April 6) as the turning point in the corn market. No, we haven’t seen an upswing in demand with exports still dismal with the most recent weekly export inspection report (through Thursday, April 2) showing 2019-2020 trailing the pace set during 2018-2019 by 37%. Nor is ethanol demand for corn improving with the latest numbers showing gasoline demand is down 50% so far in 2020, while the nearby ethanol futures contract remains higher priced than the spot-month RBOB futures contract by almost 17 cents (a far cry from the recent 47 cents). As for feed demand, we will need to monitor the fallout from the recent break in the cash cattle market before making a final decision. But this past Monday could be a turning point as the cmdty National Corn Basis Index (NCBI, weighted national average) finally strengthened after a near vertical fall from its high of 12 1/4 cents under May futures (March 5) through the low of 30 3/4 cents under (April 1). Both Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3 saw the NCBI hold at unchanged before Monday’s uptick to 29 1/4 cents under May. This was an important move for a couple different reasons: 1) It sets the stage for a possible new 4-day high Tuesday if it can firm by even a 1/4 cent, and 2) The stronger basis reading was enough to keep the cmdty National Corn Price Index (NCPI, weighted national cash average) above major (long term) support on its monthly chart at the September 2018 low of $2.96 1/2. Last Friday saw the NCPI calculated at $3.00, with May futures losing 3 cents at Monday’s close, 5 1/4 cents at Monday’s low. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
Wheat Basis and Bacon Cheeseburgers

For all the craziness we saw in markets last week, wheat seemed to be the sanest of the bunch. How often can you say that? In this case, though, it’s true with last week likely to go down in history as the point in time when the phrase “there is no demand for bacon” was first uttered (for further discussion, see my latest Weekly Column “Limbo”, on my website). Additionally, truckloads of milk are being dumped in open fields as demand for dairy (including) cheese disappears, all while the cash cattle market comes tumbling down as millions of newly unemployed started to fill their menus with ground beef rather than more expensive cuts. Yet wheat was able to make it through relatively unscathed. We saw the cmdty National Basis Indexes for soft red winter wheat and hard red spring wheat strengthen for the week, while the hard red winter index weakened slightly. The latter (HWBI) was calculated Friday at 30 cents under May futures, down 2 3/4 cents from the previous week’s final calculation. Some of this was likely due to the initial run of cash wheat buying to resupply mills slowing, though again, the soft red basis index (SRBI) gained about 1/2 cent for the week while the hard red spring index strengthened by about a 1/4 cent. More attention will soon be paid to new crop markets, with reportedly the second smallest winter wheat acreage planted across the U.S. Southern Plains and Midwest. Focus will turn to new-crop bids, particularly in this new world of unknown demand. In the meantime, let’s do our part for demand by enjoying a bacon cheeseburger on a whole wheat bun. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
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