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Image of grain bins with words Grain market week in review with Bryce Knorr and Ben Potter in white. Entire image has red tint.

Corn finds new contract lows to end the week

Soybeans end session down another 0.5% today and wheat continues to spill lower

Missed some grain market news this week? Here’s what Bryce Knorr and Ben Potter have been writing about.

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Grain futures are quietly mixed this morning, but doing better than many other markets as U.S. trading gets going again after the Labor Day break. Stocks look set for a sharply lower open following losses in Asia and Europe, weighed down by concerns over Brexit, the trade war and weaker global economic growth. The dollar surged to its highest level since May 2017 on safe-haven buying, sending most commodities lower.

Markets of all stripes took a beating on Tuesday on a host of concerns worrying investors and traders. Those fears faded a bit today, helping everything from stocks to soybeans get a much-needed bounce as grain markets begin to focus on next week’s USDA reports.

U.S. negotiations with China to end the trade war so far have been all talk and no action. But news overnight that the two sides will meet again in October helped markets regain their momentum overnight. Investors shed safe havens like the dollar, giving commodities support as news around the world brightened a bit.

Thin trade in choppy markets defined what’s happen so far to grain futures that are limping into the weekend after more disappointing moves this week. Corn and soybeans posted modest gains while winter wheat contracts eased thanks to gains by the dollar. Export sales out this morning aren’t expected to move the market much as traders wait for next week’s update by USDA.

Crop progress

In a year that’s seen just about everything, the worries are far from over for growers. Those reporting Feedback From The Field last week ticked off a litany of concerns, from drought to cool temperatures to emerging disease problems affecting corn and soybeans.

With another week of mostly agreeable crop-producing weather under the belt this past week, corn condition improved again, per the latest USDA crop progress report. Crop quality improved to 58% in good-to-excellent condition for the week ending Sept. 1. That’s up from 57% a week ago and the second-straight week of better conditions. USDA elected to hold soybean ratings steady at 55% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 32% of the crop is rated fair, with the remaining 13% rated poor or very poor – also unchanged from a week ago. Spring wheat condition fell two points last week to 67% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 25% is rated fair (unchanged from a week ago), with the remaining 8% rated poor or very poor (up two points from a week ago).

Market recaps

Grain futures are mixed this morning after what’s so far been a very lightly traded overnight session. With prices buffeted by bearish supply and demand news and volatile outside markets, consolidation into next week’s USDA report may be the best to hope for right now.

Corn prices found new contract lows Friday on a round of tepid export data out this morning, and with more favorable weather in the near-term forecasts. Weather also prompted some technical selling in soybeans, which ended the session down another 0.5% today. And wheat continues to spill lower on large global stocks, with some spillover weakness from corn providing additional headwinds.

Exports

Bulls and bears alike had something to chew on after USDA released its latest weekly export inspection report, covering the week ending August 29.

This past week, corn and soybean exports began a new marketing year. Optimism is thin so far after USDA released its latest export sales report that tracked results for the week ending August 29.

Outlooks

Basis outlook - The 2018 marketing years for spring-planted crops ended over the Labor Day weekend, and what a year it was. A selling season that began with trade wars and natural disasters ended with even more turbulence.

Corn outlook - USDA releases its next update on the 2019 corn crop Sept. 12 and the market is bracing for bearish data. But while the final story of the 2019 corn crop won’t be known for months, what seems like an ugly year could turn out plenty good-looking enough.

Soybean outlook - The market pays a lot of attention to the ebb and flow of USDA reports, especially those who make prognostications about what the government will or won’t say. I confess, I put out a lot of words on the topic. But this year in particular, growers would be better served by not obsessing on what comes out of Washington Sept. 12.

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