Afternoon Market Recap for Oct. 30, 2020

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Soybean prices shift higher.

Corn prices were narrowly mixed Friday, as were wheat prices

Grain prices were mixed but mostly higher Friday after suffering some steep cuts earlier this week. Soybeans firmed around 0.5% on some technical buying, as did spring wheat contracts. Winter wheat prices fell as much as 0.8%, meantime, as traders continue to monitor recent drought-quenching rains in the Southern Plains. Corn prices finished the session narrowly mixed.

With the exception of Michigan, Ohio and parts of Wisconsin, little to no measurable rainfall is expected between Saturday and next Tuesday, according to the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s 8-to-14-day outlook predicts seasonally wet weather returning to the Corn Belt between November 6 and 12, with warmer-than-normal conditions holding east of the Mississippi River during this time.

The selloff on Wall St. continues, with the Dow falling 333 points in afternoon trading to 26,326 and heading for its worst week since March. Volatility is also likely certain to spill into next week, amid uncertainty surrounding Tuesday’s election. Energy futures fell moderately lower this afternoon, with crude oil losing around 1.25% to stay below $36 per barrel. Gasoline saw fractional declines, meantime, with diesel dropping nearly 0.5%. The U.S. Dollar firmed slightly.

Have a safe Halloween this weekend, and don’t forget to get out and vote next Tuesday if you haven’t already done son. Meantime, click here to listen to a special election edition of our Midweek Markets podcast, featuring special guest Jacqui Fatka, policy editor for Farm Futures.

On Thursday, commodity funds were net sellers of most grain contracts, including corn (-7,500), soybeans (-1,500), soymeal (-2,500) and CBOT wheat (-3,500) but were net buyers of soymeal (+1,000).

Corn

Corn prices spent most of Friday’s session narrowly mixed as traders attempted to balance spillover weakness from other sectors with a bullish round of export data from USDA Thursday. December futures eased a penny lower to $3.9750, while March futures firmed 0.75 cents to $4.0225.

Corn basis bids were widely variable Friday, moving as much as 5 cents higher at an Ohio river terminal while tumbling as much as 25 cents lower at an Illinois river terminal today (with that location actually closed until further notice due to being “full on space until river open”), signaling uneven demand needs across the central U.S.

A South Korean feedmill group has purchased another 7.7 million bushels of corn from the United States and additional optional origins in a series of private deals today. “It was obviously seen as a good opportunity to buy supplies in case prices rise again,” noted one trader.

Brazil’s Safras & Mercado raised its estimates for 2020/21 corn production by 0.8%, moving it to a projected total of 4.586 billion bushels.

Ukraine’s wheat and barley harvests are now complete, and 62% of the corn crop has now been harvested through October 29, per the country’s economy ministry. That has current production at an estimated 630 million bushels so far. Ukraine exports the vast majority of its corn crop each year.

France’s 2020 corn harvest is 88% complete through October 26, according to FranceAgriMer. That’s up from 77% a week ago and progressing nine days faster than the prior five-year average.

Commodity Classic just announced it will transition to a virtual event for the 2021 show in early March. One silver lining is that “farmers from across the nation and even around the world can get a taste of the Commodity Classic experience without ever leaving their farms,” according to Arkansas soybean farmer Brad Doyle, a co-chair of next year’s event. Click here to learn more.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 380,837 contracts, trending moderately below Thursday’s final count of 492,997.

Soybeans

Soybean prices finally found some positive momentum after spending most of the week in the red. A large export sale reported this morning provided some headwinds that sparked some technical buying today. November futures rose 5 cents to $10.5675, while January futures firmed 6.25 cents and also closed at $10.5675.

Soybean basis bids were mostly steady to weak Friday, dropping 4 to 8 cents across a handful of locations today. An Illinois river terminal bucked the overall trends, moving 3 cents higher.

Private exporters reported to USDA the sale of 4.5 million bushels of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2020/21 marketing year, which began September 1.

Ahead of a USDA monthly report out Monday afternoon, analysts expect the agency to show a September soybean crush of 171.3 million bushels, which would be down from an August crush of 174.6 million bushels but well ahead of last September’s tally of 162.3 million bushels, if realized.

Brazil’s Safras & Mercado is now predicting 2020/21 soybean production at a bin-busting 4.905 billion bushels, moving 1% ahead of prior estimates and making it the country’s biggest crop on record, if realized.

In Argentina, an oilseed crushers union (SOEA) began a 24-hour strike earlier today after negotiations over coronavirus bonus payments fell apart this week. SOEA carried out a similar 24-hour strike last week.

If you haven’t been to FarmFutures.com in a few days, the easiest way to quickly catch up on is reading our weekly “7 ag stories you might have missed” feature. This week’s edition covers a new carbon sequestering program, food stockpiling trends, a new digital tool for cover crop growers and more. Click here for further information.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 225,914 contracts, falling moderately below Thursday’s final count of 284,159.

Wheat

Wheat prices were split Friday, with winter wheat contracts moving moderately lower and spring wheat contracts moving slightly higher amid an uneven round of technical maneuvering. December Chicago SRW futures dropped 5.25 cents to $5.9850 (falling below $6 per bushel for the first time in more than two weeks), December Kansas City HRW futures slipped 0.5 cents to $5.4150, and December MGEX spring wheat futures picked up 1.25 cents to $5.5350.

France has planted 66% of its intended 2020/21 soft wheat acres through October 26, which is up from 45% last week and in line with the prior five-year average, according to FranceAgriMer.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 126,552 CBOT contracts, tracking slightly ahead of Thursday’s final count of 118,409.

Closing commodity prices

Closing Prices for Key Commodities 
  High Low Last Change
Corn                     $/bushel  cents/bu    
20-Dec 400 394.25 398.5 -1
21-Mar 404.5 399.25 403.25 0.75
Soybeans        
20-Nov 1062.25 1047 1056.5 5
21-Jan 1062.75 1046.75 1056.25 6.25
Soymeal                $/ton        
21-Jan 373.7 368.3 371.6 1.7
Soyoil                    cents/lb        
21-Jan 33.55 32.8 33.46 0.62
Wheat                    $/bushel        
20-Dec 607.25 595.25 598.5 -5.25
21-Mar 607.25 596.75 600 -2.75
KC Wheat        
20-Dec 549.25 535 541.25 -0.5
21-Mar 556.25 542 547.75 -1
MPLS Wheat        
20-Dec 557 547.5 552.25 1.25
21-Mar 569.25 560.25 565.25 1.5
Live Cattle             cents/lb        
20-Oct 107.525 102.75 105.975 -0.3
Feeder Cattle         cents/lb        
21-Jan 134.275 131.1 134.2 2.85
Lean Hogs             cents/lb        
21-Feb 66.95 65.25 65.55 -0.05
Crude Oil  $/barrel *Energy prices may not represent final settlements      
20-Dec 36.6 35.21 35.57 -0.6
Diesel        
20-Nov 1.0966 1.0689 1.0858 -0.0026
Unleaded Gasoline   $/gallon        
20-Nov 1.0581 1.0294 1.0519 0.0004
Natural Gas        
21-Jan 3.479 3.374 3.462 0.045
Ethanol Futures        
20-Dec 1.38 1.35 1.35 -0.04
U.S. Dollar Index        
20-Dec 94.105 93.66 94.055 0.078
Gold                      $/ounce        
20-Dec 1890.9 1863.3 1879.2 13.6
Copper        
20-Nov 3.048 3.0355 3.0415 -0.0105
Fertilizer Swaps     (as of 10/30)  
DAP Tampa-index      361.0 6
DAP-New Orleans      393.5 3
Urea-New Orleans      243.6 6
Urea-Middle East      253.5 -2
Urea-Black Sea      238.5 -2
UAN (32%) New Orleans      132.3 0

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