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Grains Futures Prices

Sun, Apr 5th, 2020
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Futures Market News and Commentary

Corn Closed Mixed

At Friday’s close corn futures were a 1/4 to a penny higher in Sept and Dec contracts, while May and July contracts were lower. May corn was 15 1/4 cents lower from Friday to Friday. Private exporters reported a sale 567,000 MT of corn to China. Delivery for the sale is spilt with 504,000 MT for 2020/21 delivery and the remaining 63,000 for old crop. The CFTC reported managed money corn traders were 8,217 contracts less net short on Tuesday than the previous week. Open interest for corn spec traders was down 35,719 contracts to 341,810. That is the lowest since July 19 of 2016. March corn exports from Brazil were 494,600 MT which was down 332,100 MT from 2019. Ethanol exports from Brazil totaled 75.1m L in March, which was a 41.5% drop off yr/yr.

May 20 Corn closed at $3.30 3/4, down 2 3/4 cents,

Jul 20 Corn closed at $3.36 3/4, down 1 3/4 cents,

Sep 20 Corn closed at $3.42 1/4, up 1/4 cent,

Dec 20 Corn closed at $3.50 3/4, up 1 c... Read more

Friday Beans Close Lower

Soybeans closed the last trading day of the week 2 to 4 1/2 cents lower. For May futures that was a wk/wk drop of 27 1/4 cents. Soymeal futures closed higher than the midday lows but still down by $5.90/ton. The weekly drop for May meal futures totaled $19.90/ton. Bean oil futures were up by 19 points after Friday trading, but still closed 42 points below last Friday. NASS revised February soybean crush to 175.26 mbu, 6.3 mbu lower than the number released on Wednesday. That is still a record for the month. The CoT report showed soybean spec traders switched to net long on a bout of short covering. The net short lasted for 10 weeks. On March 31 soybean spec traders were 23,230 contracts net long. Soymeal spec traders were 49,619 contracts net long. That was up 26.9% from their net long a week earlier. Managed money was more net short for soybean oil. The BA Grain Exchange lowered their forecast for Argentine soybeans to 49.5 MMT citing lower than expected yields. Brazil shipped 11.6... Read more

Wheat Bounced on Friday

Friday gains in the wheat market were not enough to erase the earlier drops. SRW wheat futures gained 7 1/2 cents, but were down 22 cents wk/wk. May KC wheat was up 8 cents on Friday, but down 13 3/4 cents wk/wk. Spring wheat futures were 5 1/2 cents higher on the day, but down 9 3/4 cents from Friday to Friday. In the weekly update from the CFTC, managed money was 35,971 contracts net long for SRW wheat. The 18,301 contract increase to their position came via mostly new buying interest. In KC wheat managed money flipped back to net long after 4 weeks of net short. MPLS spec traders were still net short but reduced the position 17.5% to 13,445 contracts.

May 20 CBOT Wheat closed at $5.49 1/4, up 7 1/2 cents,

May 20 KCBT Wheat closed at $4.72, up 8 cents,

May 20 MGEX Wheat closed at $5.24 1/2, up 5 1/2 cents,

--- provided by Brugler Marketing & Management

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.
Cash Soybeans: Different Reads

As I talked about in the cmdty by Barchart webinar Wednesday, April 1 (you can watch the rebroadcast of the webinar at this link: https://www.barchart.com/solutions/contact/cmdty-webinar-04012020), the soybean market continues to show a complicated mix of fundamental signals. As you saw, or will see, in the webinar, one of the uses I’ve developed for the cmdty National Soybean Price Index (NSPI, weighted national cash average) is as a way of calculating continuous real stocks-to-use (as opposed to USDA’s imaginary numbers released each month). The NSPI (and other cmdty National Price Indexes) allows me to make these calculations without knowing the unknown variables of total supplies and total demand. In the case of soybeans, my calculation at the end of March showed U.S. soybean stocks-to-use at 27.3%, as compared to USDA’s mid-month result of 10.4%. Given that, one would think the overall supply and demand situation is far more bearish than current reads. Furthermore, USDA’s Quarterly Stocks figure of 2.253 bb projects an ending stocks figure for 2019-2020 of roughly 1.05 bb, putting ending stocks-to-use at 30.5%. This is closer to what the NSPI has been indicating over the course of the marketing year than what USDA’s guesses amount to at this time. The flip side of the coin is the cmdty National Soybean Basis Index (NSBI) continues to strengthen, with the most recent calculation coming in at roughly 44 1/2 cents under the May futures contract. The fact basis continues to strengthen seems to be a counterpoint to the bearishness of the NSPI ending stocks-to-use reading, though we have to keep in mind the influence of the futures market. In this case, we see the May futures contract has dropped $1.50 from early January through late March, making the 40-cent appreciation in the NSBI seem reasonable. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
Corn Basis: Bulls Becoming Extinct

The early part of this week has seen national average corn basis stabilize, a small victory for a market that has crumbled of late. A look at the daily chart for the cmdty National Corn Basis Index (NCBI, weighted national average) is enough to dishearten remaining corn market bulls, as the NCBI has fallen from a high of 12 1/4 cents under May futures on March 5 to the final March reading of 29 1/4 cents under as markets came to a close on Tuesday the 31st. Those looking for a silver lining will note the NCBI is unchanged, basically, from the previous Friday’s calculation. On the other hand those, like the Joker from “The Dark Knight” who “just like to watch the world burn”, will point out that even though the NCBI has stabilized this week each daily reading has been fractionally weaker. As I’ve talked about in this space over the last month or so, the biggest hurdle faced by corn basis has been continued domestic demand destruction. The loss of export business is well documented, particularly compared to the previous marketing year’s record pace, but more alarming is what is happening on the ethanol front. Wednesday morning was filled with talk of crude oil having its worst quarter ever, with the spot market reportedly losing 66% from January 1. Meanwhile, the RBOB gasoline to ethanol spread showed the latter moving to an almost 50-cent premium over the former during the latter stages of March. With gasoline demand near non-existent heading into the busy spring-summer driving season, it only looks to be making the situation more bearish for corn. Darin Newsom President Darin Newsom Analysis Inc.
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