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Corn+Soybean Digest

Soybean Prices Under Pressure


November soybean futures have seen little movement since late April; soybean prices have ranged from $11.90 to $12.40/bu. They closed Monday (May 13) at $12.09. And with USDA’s projected average season prices as low as $9.50, beans in the teens and even $12 prices may soon be history.

USDA’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reporton May 10projected overall 2013-2014 U.S. oilseed production at 100.9 million tons, up 9% from 2012-2013. Bean yields are projected at a weather-adjusted trend level of 44.5 bu./acre, up 4.9 bu. from 2012.

Soybean exports are projected at 1.450 billion bushels, up 100 million from 2012-2013 on increased supplies and competitive prices. USDA says soybean supplies are projected at 3.530 billion bushels, up 10% from 2012-2013.

Additional soybean meal exports for 2012-2013 are offset by reduced domestic consumption, leaving the U.S. crush unchanged. USDA projects ending stocks at 265 million bushels, up 140 million from 2012-2013.

With all that, USDA projects a season-average soybean price for 2013-2014 at $9.50-11.50 – compared with $14.30 in 2012-2013. So like with corn, the highest new-crop bean markets for the year may have already past.

“Love them or not, USDA laid down its initial markers for the 2013 crop and its up to us experts to question every number,” says Ed Usset, University of Minnesota grain marketing economist.

“I have no major issues, but found it interesting that they used a subdued 158 bu./acre for corn, and a fairly aggressive 44.5 bu. for soybeans. It may seem a little nitpicky, but it does seem inconsistent. At first blush, the feed use number for corn looks a little aggressive, while the export number (1.3 billion bushels) is not very aggressive at all. I like to think we can and will export much more if we get a normal crop.”

Meanwhile, as November soybean prices have remained near stable, old-crop May beans have traded up since late April, from near $14 to a $15.21 close on Monday. The May was up some 32¢ following Friday’s report, even with the higher supplies.  


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July beans were at about $14.19 Monday, up about 20¢ over Friday. August closed at $13.45 Monday. And September, a contract many growers work to use to beat a filled pipeline, closed Monday at about $12.63. May was up slightly Tuesday morning, but other contracts were off a few cents.

As the planting season escalates and new-crop conditions become clearer, prices could easily see more pressure. Growers should consider getting some soybeans marketed before price pressure arrives and threatens to hit that sub-$10 level, Usset says.


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TAGS: Soybeans
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