Soybeans also trend higher, with corn down almost 1% Monday
Grain markets were mixed but mostly higher to start the week. Strong demand fundamentals had wheat up again Monday, although about half of the overnight gains captured were trimmed during today’s session. Soybeans also moved modestly higher, but embattled corn prices lost nearly 1% today as traders continue to worry about the potential for historically high acres this spring amid a severe downturn in ethanol demand.
Between Tuesday and Friday, much of the eastern Corn Belt will see another 0.5” to 1” of rainfall, with the western Corn Belt and Plains likely to be much drier, according to the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. Further out, expect a sharp drop in temperatures between April 13 and 19, with mostly wetter-than-normal conditions likely during this time, per the agency’s 8-to-14-day outlook.
On Wall St., the Dow soared 1,169 points higher in afternoon trading to 22,222 on hopes that the rate of U.S. coronavirus cases appears to be slowing after several weeks of targeted social distancing measures. Energy futures were mixed, meantime. Crude oil dropped 6.25% this afternoon to fall back below $27 per barrel, with diesel down around 2%. Gasoline firmed nearly 1%, in contrast. The U.S. Dollar firmed fractionally.
Last Friday, commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT wheat (+5,500) and soyoil (+2,000) contracts but were net sellers of corn (-10,000), soybeans (-6,000) and soymeal (-2,500).
Corn prices buckled again Monday, spilling nearly 1% lower on another round of technical selling today, with ethanol demand in jeopardy as farmers prepare to plant what USDA projects will be the third-largest acreage on record. Traders mostly shrugged off a bullish round of export inspection data from USDA this morning. May futures dropped 3 cents to $3.2775, with July futures down 3.25 cents to $3.3350.
Corn basis bids were largely steady Monday, moving as much as 2 cents lower at an Illinois river terminal while boosting 7 cents higher at an Illinois ethanol plant today.
Losses in the ethanol sector could swing more corn acreage into soybeans ahead of 2020 planting. Farm Futures is tracking the impacts of ethanol declines on corn planting and could use your help. Click here to share information about ethanol plants in your area to help fellow readers see how the recent ethanol collapse is affecting the entire farming community.
Corn export inspections reached 50.1 million bushels last week, moving a hair above the prior week’s tally and topping all trade guesses, which ranged between 31.5 million and 47.2 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals are still unlikely to match last year’s tally, however, with 761.2 million bushels since last September. Japan (14.8 million) and Mexico (12.7 million) were again the top two destinations last week.
Syria issued an international tender to purchase 2.0 million bushels of corn that closes May 12. The grain is for delivery four months after purchase is confirmed.
European Union corns are trending 15% lower so far this marketing year after reaching 631.9 million bushels as of April 5. EU soymeal imports are 2% above last year’s pace, meantime, while EU palm oil imports have dropped 16% year-over-year.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 229,612 contracts, falling moderately below Friday’s final count of 342,357.
Soybean prices firmed slightly amid dry conditions in Brazil and Argentina that could trim production potential there. A poor round of export inspection data from USDA put a lid on gains, however. May futures added 1.25 cents to $8.5550, with July futures tracking 1.75 cents higher to reach $8.6125.
Soybean basis bids were narrowly mixed at two interior river terminals Monday while holding steady elsewhere across the central U.S. today.
Soybean export inspections also had a lackluster performance last week, with just under 11.0 million bushels – spilling 28% lower than a week ago and falling below all trade estimates, which ranged between 11.0 million and 23.9 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2019/20 marketing year have an eroding but slim lead over the prior year’s pace after reaching 1.172 billion bushels. Egypt was once again the No. 1 destination with 4.0 million bushels.
European Union soybean imports for the 2019/20 marketing year reached 401.6 million bushels as of April 5, which is trending fractionally lower from a year ago, so far.
Syria issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of soymeal that closes May 12. Delivery is sought four months from the purchase date.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 142,630 contracts, down slightly from Friday’s final count of 153,935.
Wheat prices bounced through a choppy session to close moderately higher. Overnight gains eroded somewhat today, however, after a poor round of export inspection data from USDA this morning. May Chicago SRW futures gained 6.5 cents to $5.5575, May Kansas City HRW futures added 2.75 cents to $4.7475, and May MGEX spring wheat futures picked up 2.25 cents to $5.2725.
Wheat export inspections reached only 11.8 million bushels last week. That total slid 17% below the prior week’s volume and landed on the low end of trade estimates, which ranged between 11.0 million and 20.2 million bushels. Marketing year-to-date totals are still maintaining a modest lead over 2018/19’s pace, with 764.4 million bushels. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, with just under 2.0 million bushels.
In the first two months of 2020, Russia exported 134.8 million bushels of wheat, trailing 2019’s pace by 21% to start the year. Russia is the world’s No. 1 wheat exporter.
European Union soft wheat exports for the 2019/20 marketing year reached 910.5 million bushels as of April 5, a 66% increase year-over-year. EU barley exports are also 52% higher than a year ago.
Saudi Arabia’s state grain buyer has asked private Saudi investors abroad to import approximately 13 million bushels of wheat for staggered arrival between May and November. That would provide 10% of the country’s local needs this year.
Turkey issued several international tenders to purchase up to 9.2 million bushels of milling wheat from optional origins that close April 10. The grain is for shipment between late April and mid-May.
Jordan purchased 4.4 million bushels of hard milling wheat from optional origins in a tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment in June and July.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 94,039 CBOT contracts, coming in fractionally lower than Friday’s final count of 94,083.