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Grain market week in review - Sept. 14, 2018Grain market week in review - Sept. 14, 2018

USDA shocks market with bearish production estimates; grain markets try to regroup following the news.

Farm Progress Staff

September 15, 2018

5 Min Read

Missed some market news this week? Here's a look back.

Monday, Sept. 10, 2018

While traders in the U.S. get ready for Wednesday’s monthly production, supply and demand reports from USDA, markets aren’t standing still overseas, giving a lift to futures overnight. In addition to a big rally in Chinese soybeans, wheat gained in Europe and Australia due to dry conditions. Basis in the cash market remains weak for corn and soybeans but at least beat the roll from September to December thanks to good demand from both processors and exporters.

For the week ending Sept. 6, grain export inspections saw typical mixed results, with corn totals coming in well below the prior week’s tally, while soybeans and wheat tracked slightly higher week-over-week.

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018

Traders hoping to get a few hints about the size of U.S. corn and soybean crops Monday ran into delays when USDA put off Crop Progress reports until today due to “technical issues.” While crops may be suffering a little from too much September rain, yields are still expected to be good when the agency updates its monthly production, supply and demand reports Wednesday. News from overseas wasn’t as optimistic, after both France and Australian cut the size of their crops today.

The latest USDA Crop Progress report was delayed by a day due to “technical issues,” meaning analyst had to wait an extra day to see their expectations of falling crop conditions crumble – with USDA moving both corn and soybean quality higher for the week ending Sept. 9. Analysts expected USDA to dock corn quality a point, moving it from 67% in good-to-excellent condition to 66%. But the agency moved crop quality a point higher instead, pushing it to 68% in good-to-excellent condition. USDA also bucked analyst expectations of soybean crop quality, moving from 66% rated good-to-excellent the week prior up to 68% for the week ending September 9. Analysts expected the agency to lower quality by a point this week.

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018

After consolidating for three weeks, soybean futures face a key test today when USDA updates its forecast of production supply and demand, November futures came within a tick of summer lows overnight as traders brace for bearish news from the government. News for corn could be friendlier, if it can move independently of other markets.

Grain futures were lower after bearish USDA production, supply and demand reports this morning for corn and soybeans, with the government projecting larger than expected yields. Soybeans were able to reverse higher on hopes for renewed trade talks with China. 

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018

USDA reported eye-popping record yields for corn and soybeans yesterday, and the headline numbers were obviously bearish. But futures calmed down overnight because the overall supply and demand situation hasn’t changed that much despite the big crops. The importance of trade was underscored again when soybeans reversed higher on news China and the U.S. could restart talks over tariffs.

Friday, Sept. 14, 2018

Grain futures are trying to regroup this morning after posting new lows in the wake of bearish reports from USDA Wednesday. Financial markets are also looking more positive, buoyed by prospects for the U.S. and China to resume trade talks. Wheat is leading a modest rebound on the board as Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the Carolinas.

Grain futures are trying to hang on to a modest rebound this morning, beginning to stabilize following bearish USDA reports that hammered prices to new lows this week. Financial markets extended yesterday’s gains, getting a lift from hopes the U.S. and China are restarting a dialogue that could ease trade tensions.

Bargain buyers came for wheat Friday, giving corn a small dose of spillover strength, too. Soybeans, in contrast, slid slightly on lingering concerns over the unresolved U.S.-China trade conflict. Trade war worries kept Wall Street skittish Friday, as the Dow slipped 26 points in afternoon trading to 26,119. Energy prices were mixed, meantime, as crude oil climbed another 0.5% higher while diesel and gasoline futures were down moderately.

Big speculators bet the right way on USDA’s Sept. 12 reports, boosting bearish positions in the run up to the bearish data from the government that hammered crop prices. Here’s what funds were up to through Tuesday, Sept. 11, when the CFTC collected data for its latest Commitment of Traders. 


Basis Outlook- The 2017 marketing year for corn and soybeans ended on a very weak note for basis as bids got ready to officially roll out of September. But buyers weren’t sitting on their hands everywhere, reflecting the boom or bust yields seen around the country this year. 

Fertilizer Outlook- Fertilizer costs are trading mixed so far in September, ahead of what looks like another huge harvest in the U.S. But while growers here confront low crop prices, rising markets around the world are boosting demand for fertilizer. The ripple effect is landing with a thud on budgets for 2019, raising the cost of corn nutrients by more than 20% over year-ago levels.

Wheat Outlook- The best days of the wheat rally may still be ahead. But first the market may need to get beyond seasonal weakness from the fall harvest, with no assurances the fires of summer can be rekindled. 

Soybean Outlook- Farming is a gamble, and 2018 looked like a year when soybean growers rolled snake eyes – then doubled down and rolled them again. But a funny thing happened on the way to the poor house: A profit.

Corn Outlook- Barring a bearish production estimate from USDA Sept. 12, supplies should continue to ratchet lower in the year ahead, after dropping more than 12% over the past 12 months. When all is said and done, carryout could be down another 18% by the end of the 2018 marketing year. 

About the Author(s)

Farm Progress Staff

/author/compiled-by-staff, Farm Progress


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