Corn evades broad selloff blues
Corn prices beat the odds Friday – overcoming broad commodity losses that affected other grains, energy prices, stock markets and more – closing with gains of around 1% after a late-session rally. Spring wheat futures also firmed moderately higher today. Soybeans weren’t so fortunate, suffering double-digit declines after a round of technical selling. And winter wheat prices also slumped moderately lower to close the week.
Don’t expect a lot of additional rain or snows between today and Monday, although some parts of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes region could see some light accumulations through the weekend, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s 8-to-14-day outlook predicts widespread seasonally warm, dry weather for the central U.S. between December 3 and December 9.
On Wall St., the Dow plummeted 905 points lower around noon (CST) to 34,899 after news of a new Covid-19 variant coming out of South Africa rattled investors. The new variant may be more susceptible to mutations, which has some scientists concerned over the long-term viability of current vaccines. Energy futures also jostled significantly lower, with crude oil tumbling 12% to fall back below $69 per barrel. Gasoline also plummeted 12% today, with diesel down more than 11%. The U.S. Dollar softened moderately.
On Wednesday, commodity funds were net sellers of most major grain contracts, including corn (-1,000), soybeans (-4,000), soymeal (-4,000) and CBOT wheat (-11,500) but were net buyers of soyoil (+4,000).
Corn prices spent much of Friday’s shortened session in the red, following a broad range of other commodities lower, but a late-session rally helped prices jump more than 1% higher by the close, thanks in part to some better-than-expected export data from USDA this morning. December futures added 6.5 cents to $5.8625, with March futures up 6.25 cents to $5.9175.
Corn basis bids were mostly steady to firm on Friday after rising 1 to 8 cents higher at four Midwestern locations. An Iowa processor bucked the overall trend after sliding 2 cents lower today.
Corn exports saw 56.3 million bushels in old crop sales and other 3.5 million bushels in old crop sales for a total of 59.8 million bushels. That was on the very high end of trade estimates, which ranged between 31.5 million and 61.0 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2021/22 marketing year are still a bit behind last year’s pace, making it to 342.8 million bushels.
Corn export shipments faded 20% below last week’s pace but firmed 12% above the prior four-week average, with 36.6 million bushels. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, with 11.2 million bushels.
Brazil’s Agroconsult estimates the country’s 2021/22 corn production will reach 4.882 billion bushels, which would represent a substantial rebound (more than 44%) from last season’s drought-addled crop if realized. Brazilian corn plantings are expected to trend 5.6% higher this season.
The European Commission slightly raised its forecast for 2021/22 EU corn production to 2.693 billion bushels. EU corn import estimates are unchanged from a month ago, with estimates holding steady at 570.8 million bushels.
France’s 2021 corn harvest has moved from 91% completion a week ago up to 97% through November 22, per the country’s FranceAgriMer farm office.
South Africa’s Crop Estimates Committee reported that the country’s 2020/21 corn production is expected to improve 6.1% over last year’s output, with an estimated 639.1 million bushels. White corn comprises roughly 53% of the crop, with the remaining acreage in yellow corn.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 296,804 contracts, falling well below Wednesday’s final count of 544,673.
Soybean prices succumbed to a round of technical selling Friday after a selloff on Wall St. negatively affected a broad range of other commodities. Prices closed around 1% lower, with January futures dropping 13 cents to $12.53 and March futures losing 13.75 cents to $12.6350. Soyoil futures eroded 3% lower, with soymeal incurring losses of around 0.5%.
Soybean basis bids were steady to slightly firm after tracking 1 to 2 cents higher at three Midwestern locations on Friday.
Soybean sales firmed 13% ahead of last week’s pace and the prior four-week average, to 57.5 million bushels. That was toward the higher end of trade estimates, which ranged between 33.1 million and 68.0 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2021/22 marketing year remain moderately behind last year’s pace, with 691.1 million bushels.
Soybean export shipments tipped 4% lower week-over-week and tilted 18% below the prior four-week average, to 82.8 million bushels. China was by far the No. 1 destination, with 51.8 million bushels.
Brazil’s Agroconsult is now predicting the country’s 2021/22 soybean production will reach 5.302 billion bushels, which is easily a record-breaking effort, if realized. Brazilian soybean acres are expected to climb another 4.2% higher this season. In Argentina, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange reports that soybean plantings for the 2021/22 season have reached 39%, with an initial production estimate of 1.617 billion bushels.
Through the end of October, China’s hog herd moved 6.6% higher year-over-year but slumped 2.5% lower from a month ago, per the latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Egypt purchased 30,000 metric tons of soyoil in an international tender that closed yesterday and is for arrival during the second half of January.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 127,227 contracts, trending slightly higher than Wednesday’s final count of 114,240.
Wheat prices were mixed on Friday after an uneven round of technical maneuvering left winter wheat contracts shifting moderately lower, while spring wheat contracts pushed moderately higher on a late-session rally. December Chicago SRW futures dropped 6.5 cents to $8.3025, December Kansas City HRW futures fell 3.25 cents to $8.70, and December MGEX spring wheat futures added 5.75 cents to $10.4250.
Wheat export sales improved 42% week-over-week and jumped 70% above the prior four-week average, to 20.9 million bushels. That was nearly above all trade guesses, which ranged between 9.2 million and 21.3 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2021/22 marketing year remain moderately behind last year’s pace, with 347.4 million bushels.
Wheat export shipments slid 10% below the prior four-week average, to 7.3 million bushels. Mexico was the No. 1 destination, with just 2.2 million bushels.
The European Commission raised its common wheat export estimates for the 2021/22 season by 6.7% to 1.260 billion bushels. Estimates for 2021/22 EU wheat ending stocks, in turn, fell 8.6% from October to 466.6 million bushels.
The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange reported yesterday that Argentina’s 2021/22 wheat crop could reach a record production of 745.9 million bushels. Harvest is already underway and progressing faster than usual, reaching 33% completion so far.
Ukraine’s grain exports during the 2021/22 marketing year are trending 18% higher year-over-year so far, per the latest data from the country’s agriculture ministry. That includes wheat sales totaling 525.4 million bushels of wheat, plus another 204.7 million bushels of corn. Total wheat exports are expected to rise 48% higher after Ukraine hauled in a record grain harvest this fall.
In France, soft wheat quality ratings are off to an incredible start, with 99% rated in good-to-excellent condition through November 22, holding steady from a week earlier. Ninety-seven percent of the crop is now planted, versus 93% a week ago.
Turkey has made provisional purchases of around 14.1 million bushels of milling wheat in an international tender that closed on Thursday. The grain is for shipment between January 10 and January 31.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 73,026 CBOT contracts, fading well below Wednesday’s final count of 152,674.
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