Afternoon Market Recap for September 24, 2021

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Grain prices find mixed results Friday.

Corn spills moderately lower, with soybean and wheat contracts mixed

Good afternoon! A round of uneven technical maneuvering left grain prices mixed on Friday. Spring wheat was the day’s big winner after firming 1% on a round of technical buying. CBOT futures also rose around 0.75% today. Corn prices fell nearly 0.75% on expectations of a brisk harvest pace moving forward. Soybeans finished the session narrowly mixed.

Most areas in the Midwest and Plains will be completely dry between Saturday and Tuesday, although parts of the eastern Corn Belt could gather up to 0.25” during this time, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s 8-to-14-day outlook predicts more seasonally dry weather for the eastern half of the country between October 1 and October 7, with warmer-than-normal conditions likely for most of the country next week.

On Wall St., the Dow ended a volatile week with a whimper, easing 2 points lower in afternoon trading to 34,762. Investors remain skittish about the fate of Chinese real estate developer Evergrande and ongoing supply chain issues that have led to widespread production delays. Energy futures made moderate gains, with crude oil up nearly 1% to move back above $74 per barrel. Gasoline rose more than 0.5%, with diesel up more than 0.75% this afternoon. The U.S. Dollar firmed moderately.

On Thursday, commodity funds were net buyers of corn (+4,500), soybeans (+1,000), soyoil (+2,500) and CBOT wheat (+9,000) contracts but were net sellers of soyoil (-1,000).

Corn

Corn prices faded nearly 0.75% lower on a round of technical selling largely spurred by harvest pressure. Prices ended the week very close to where they started, with December futures easing half a penny lower since Monday morning. Today, December futures dropped 3.75 cents to $5.2550, with March futures down 3.5 cents to $5.3350.

Corn basis bids held steady across the central U.S. on Friday after showing significant variability earlier this week.

France, Europe’s largest corn producer, is off to a sluggish start to harvest, with just 1% of the crop cut though September 20. Last year’s pace had reached 15% by this time. Crop progress has consistently been running 10 days below the prior five-year average, according to the farm office FranceAgriMer. Quality ratings held steady from a week ago, with 89% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition.

South Korea purchased 2.4 million bushels of animal feed corn from optional origins in a private deal today. The grain is for shipment by December 30.

Taiwan issued an international tender to purchase 2.6 million bushels of animal feed corn sourced from the United States, South America or South Africa, which expires September 28.

China’s state stockpiler sold a modest amount of imported corn (just under 415,000 bushels) on auction earlier today, which was 9% of the total available for sale. The country has offered a flurry of similar auctions in recent months to combat high domestic prices.

In the week through September 21, speculators raised their net long position in corn by another 5,265 contracts to reach 159,214.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 119,550 contracts, drifting slightly below Thursday’s final count of 124,568.

Soybeans

Soybean prices dialed in small changes in a choppy session Friday as traders await fresh export and harvest news. Harvest pace will likely make a big leap forward when USDA reports its next progress updates Monday afternoon, thanks to favorable weather over much of the central U.S. this past week. Today, November futures eased 0.25 cents to $12.84, while January futures picked up half a penny to reach $12.9450.

Soybean basis bids tilted 5 cents higher at an Indiana elevator while holding steady elsewhere across the central U.S. on Friday.

U.S.-China trade relations remains a key priority for the Biden Administration, according to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. “I want to ensure everyone how serious we take this relationship. We know it is one of the most consequential relationships of our time. It’s worth taking the time to get it right,” she says. Farm Futures policy editor Jacqui Fatka has additional details – click here to learn more.

If you haven’t been to FarmFutures.com in a few days, the Friday feature “7 ag stories you might have missed” is an easy way to quickly catch up. The latest batch of content includes information about farm safety and health week, questions about dicamba usage for 2022 and more. Click here for additional details.

In the week through September 21, speculators trimmed their net long position in soybeans by 10,275 contracts, falling to 4,564.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 87,082 contracts, falling a bit short of Thursday’s final count of 104,908.

Wheat

Wheat prices were mixed but mostly higher after some uneven technical maneuvering Friday, thanks in part to rising global prices and solid overseas demand, along with some production concerns scattered among some key producers around the world. December Chicago SRW futures gained 5.25 cents to $7.23, December Kansas City HRW futures slipped 1.75 cents to $7.1825, and December MGEX spring wheat futures rose 8.5 cents to $9.20.

Ukraine’s agriculture minister reported on Friday that the country’s 2021/22 wheat exports could reach 896.5 million bushels. That would be a year-over-year increase of 47%, if realized. Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain exporters and is coming off a record-breaking harvest this year. Winter wheat planting progress for the 2021/22 season is now 18% complete.

Russian analytics firm JSC Rusagrotrans estimates that the country will export 422.6 million bushels of wheat between July and September. That would be a year-over-year decline of 9%, if realized. Reductions of exports to Egypt was a significant factor in this projection.

Japan purchased 4.2 million bushels of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada in a regular tender that closed yesterday. Of the total, 49% was sourced from the U.S. The grain is for shipment between late October and late November.

In the week through September 21, speculators added another 3,194 contracts to their net short position for CBOT wheat, moving to a new total of 31,445.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 60,515 CBOT contracts, moving slightly ahead of Thursday’s final count of 59,572.

Settlement Prices for Key Commodities 
  High Low Last Change
Corn                     $/bushel  cents/bu    
21-Dec 528.75 524 526.75 -3.75
22-Mar 536.25 532 534.5 -3.5
Soybeans        
21-Nov 1290 1278.25 1285 -0.25
22-Jan 1299.75 1288 1294.75 0.5
Soymeal                $/ton        
21-Dec 341.1 337.8 339 -1.2
Soyoil                    cents/lb        
21-Dec 58.07 56.62 57.87 0.76
Wheat                    $/bushel        
21-Dec 725.75 711.5 723.75 5.25
22-Mar 736.25 722.75 734.75 6
KC Wheat        
21-Dec 723.75 713.25 719.75 -1.75
22-Mar 732.25 722 727.75 -2.25
MPLS Wheat        
21-Dec 920 906.25 916 8.5
22-Mar 907.5 894 902.75 9.25
Live Cattle             cents/lb        
21-Oct 123.325 122.6 122.725 -0.5
Feeder Cattle         cents/lb        
21-Oct 157.625 156.4 157.175 0.325
Lean Hogs             cents/lb        
21-Dec 77.2 75.65 77.175 0.675
Crude Oil  $/barrel *Energy prices may not represent final settlements      
21-Oct 74.27 72.81 73.91 0.61
Diesel        
21-Oct 2.2703 2.2325 2.2645 0.0154
Unleaded Gasoline   $/gallon        
21-Oct 2.1923 2.1448 2.1786 0.0071
Natural Gas        
21-Nov 5.216 5.045 5.208 0.165
Ethanol Futures        
21-Nov     2.207  
U.S. Dollar Index        
21-Dec 93.415 93.045 93.33 0.3
Gold                      $/ounce        
21-Oct 1755.6 1738.3 1745 -2.7
Copper        
21-Sep 4.238 4.2175 4.238 0.007
Fertilizer Swaps     (as of 09/24)  
DAP Tampa-index              655.0 0
DAP-New Orleans              722.0 -18
Urea-New Orleans              620.1 42
Urea-Middle East              562.5 65
Urea-Black Sea              525.0 75
UAN (32%) New Orleans              325.2 0

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