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Market week in review: Corn, soybeans and wheat all in the week in the green.

Compiled by staff

January 29, 2021

4 Min Read

Missed some market news this week? Check out the latest marketing news from Jacqui Holland, Ben Potter and our guest Ag Marketing IQ bloggers.

Ag Marketing IQ

Instead of playing the guessing game, your time is probably better spent building a marketing plan that enables you to embrace the unpredictable nature of the market. To do so, I would encourage you to focus on 3 things each year: Get control, build flexibility into your marketing plan, and retain opportunity.

Putting on hedges during the spring and summer was a drag on revenues, according to my long-term study of selling strategies. Locking in a price, whether with futures, options or average price contracts, led to lower net revenues than just moving the grain across the scales off the combine. Those who held on to grain after harvest, whether in the bin or on paper, were the big winners -- at least so far. The unusual 2020 rally – and mediocre yields – made this year the exception that proves the rule. Preharvest hedges continue to offer better long-term average returns compared to the harvest price. But years with rallies later in the marketing year show the risks of relying too much on seasonal averages that work most – but not all -- of the time.

Between 2010 and 2012, grain prices were higher due to lower global supplies and strong demand. Some feel that 2020-21 may be trading in a similar manner, where prices could overall trend higher into summer. In those years, there was a direct correlation that whenever corn prices would head north of $6, wheat demand for domestic feed needs would increase as wheat became a substitute.

Our new number one buyer stepped in again today and bought 2.1 million metric tons (mmt) of U.S. corn , the second largest daily purchase in history. China’s purchase was in addition to the purchases made earlier this week , putting weekly totals at 5.848 mmt to China and 0.316 mmt to the unknown category. That brings total weekly corn sales (that we know of) to 6.1644 mmt, or 242 million bu. Other sales may show up in the weekly report if they were below the 100,000 tonne, the standard for reporting to USDA.


The latest grain export inspection report from USDA, out Monday morning and covering the week through January 21, held mixed but mostly bullish data for traders to digest. Corn climbed moderately higher from a week ago and topped all analyst estimates. Wheat also bested all trade estimates after nearly doubling the prior week’s volume. Soybeans moved modestly lower but still stayed on the upper end of trade guesses

In the latest export sales report from USDA, corn sales climbed another 61% above its prior four-week average and surpassed all trade guesses. Wheat sales also posted week-over-week gains while landing in the middle of analyst estimates. Old crop soybean sales were relatively disappointing but were propped up by a healthy dose of new crop sales

Daily sales were reported four days this week, with China taking more than 230 million bushels of corn.


Is the recent rally in the soybean market driven by supply or demand? The short answer is first supply, next demand, and then supply again. There are several pronounced factors currently influencing soybean prices. Here is a deep dive look at them.


Corn prices moved higher again in overnight trading, anchored by ample optimism over rising Chinese demand and a slowdown for the South American harvest amid dwindling domestic stocks. Despite a modest setback yesterday, overnight gains have prices positioned around 8% higher this week, making it possible to see the biggest weekly gain since June 2013. Soybean prices are ready to close out a very volatile week, trending nearly 1% higher in overnight trading, thanks in part to spillover strength from corn. Wheat prices tacked on moderate gains in overnight trading, following corn and soybean prices higher. Traders continue to balance slightly bullish domestic demand against staunch overseas competition. Prices remain below but near multiyear highs captured earlier this month

Corn prices lurched higher in a sometimes choppy session Friday but ended more than 2% higher after another big round of technical buying today. Soybean prices saw gains of around 1% Friday on a round of technical buying spurred by spillover strength from corn and a new large sale to China announced this morning. Wheat prices followed corn and soybeans higher Friday with a round of technical buying that lifted most contracts more than 2% higher.

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