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Morning Market Review for May 24, 2019

Futures try for gains into holiday. (Comments are updated by 7:30 a.m. Central Time.)

Overnight trend:
Corn: Up 5
Soybeans: Up 6
Wheat: Up 6 to 8

Two more weeks of wet weather leave markets in doubt

Grain futures are higher across the board this morning, getting a lift after the start of trading in Europe as traders ponder a wet forecast and a holiday weekend that sometimes marks a turning point for the market. After a regular close today, futures don’t start trading again until 7 p.m. CST Monday.

Storms this morning are barreling through Chicago, part of a system stretching all the back to north Texas. With a series a storms set to rumble across the growing region over the next week, heaving accumulations are likely from the southern Plains to Michigan. Official 6 to 10 and 8 to 14-day forecasts out yesterday and the latest updates from the ensemble model this morning call for above normal precipitation over much of the country.

Rains over the past week were a bit lighter in the eastern Midwest, which faced the most severe delays this spring. While one eastern Ohio grower posting Feedback From The Field yesterday said farmers in his area were finally done planting corn and soybeans, a producer in northwest Ohio had only 5% of corn planted, with no soybeans in yet. “Nothing but mud,” was his summary.

Farm Futures wants to know what farmers are experiencing as the spring of 2019 unfolds. Click this link to tell us what’s happening in your area and we’ll publish regular updates featuring first-hand accounts from growers with an interactive map of conditions. Grower reports this spring have been an accurate predictor of what USDA reports in its Crop Progress updates weekly.

Other markets are also turning around Thursday’s losses. Stocks look set for a stronger open on Wall Street following mostly higher trade in Asia and good gains in Europe. The dollar is even a little weaker despite news British Prime Minister Theresa May will resign June 7, leaving the future of Brexit unknown. Traders are also shedding other safe havens like gold and Treasuries, though the yield curve remains inverted, with 10-Year Treasury notes below short-term interest rates.

Crude moved back above $58 a barrel on the heels of its biggest one-day loss of the year Thursday. That took Midwest cash diesel benchmarks to three-month lows Thursday, with propane also easing to its lowest since 2016.

Corn futures are higher, rebounding from Thursday’s bearish reversals in old and new crop contracts. With planting deadlines for full crop insurance coverage starting to work through the Corn Belt over the next couple of weeks, corn faces a loss of some 1.4 billion bushels of yield potential without perfect conditions the rest of the growing season.

Weather continues to disrupt traffic on the river system. St. Louis harbor closed yesterday and may not reopen until June 2 or later. Little traffic is moving on the river south of New Boston, Illinois, with more heavy rains headed across the Upper Mississippi River Valley.

Export sales eased to 24.6 million bushels lasts week for old and new crop business, with 2018 totals below the rate needed to reach USDA’s forecast for the 2018 crop.

The preliminary report from the CBOT showed daily futures volume up 21% to an active 734,352 while open interest fell 6,278 despite heavy fund selling as traders squared positions.

Options volume was 64% higher at298,601, 68% of it calls as traders liquidated June calls that expire after the close today. New interest was also noted in the December $5 call and $4 put. Implied volatility in at-the-money December options fell to 24.74%.

Overseas markets are mixed today. September futures in China dropped 1.2 cents to $7.301 and June Paris futures in morning trade are unchanged at $4.601 after adjustments for volumes and currencies.

Bottom line: Keep pricing old crop inventory while penciling out decisions on replanting, prevent plant or switching to soybeans. December futures have potential to hit profitable levels this summer, so hold off on pricing new crop.  For more, see my Corn Outlook. For specific recommendations and daily charts, subscribe to our free E-newsletter, Farm Futures Daily.

Soybeans are higher, following other markets higher after holding the bottom of their range for the past week. Ideas farmers will plant more soybeans remain in play, though USDA’s aid program makes any compensation guesswork at this point, complicating planting decisions.

Export sales yesterday fell below 20 million bushels, in line with expectations. Shipments remain below levels needed to reach USDA’s forecast for the 2018 crop, with river delays and under Chinese interest not helping the cause.

The preliminary report from the CBOT showed futures volume up 2% Thursday to 206,851 while open interest was up 683 on light new fund selling.

Options volume rose 50% to 98,788, 61% of it puts as traders rolled down in-the-money June puts that expire today as well as out-of-the-money November puts. Implied volatility in at-the-money November options increased to 19.25%.

Vegetable oil markets in Asia were mixed today. September soybean oil futures in China fell to 35.20 cents per pound but July palm oil futures in Malaysia recovered from early selling to settle a little higher at 21.71 cents.

Oilseed markets internationally are also mixed. September soybeans in China were up a quarter cent to $14.09, August rapeseed futures in Paris were down three quarters at $9.256 and July Winnipeg canola overnight gained 1.7 cents to $7.462 after adjustments for currencies and volumes.

Bottom line: Soybean fundamentals are bearish but the crop could still be profitable with government aid. Take a stab at predicting tariff payments and crunch the numbers now to see where your bottom line stands. Though no decision is needed on the farm program yet, ARC may wind up better again for most growers though PLC could also work. For more, see my Soybean Outlook. For specific recommendations and daily charts, subscribe to our free E-newsletter, Farm Futures Daily.

Wheat prices are higher as the market tries to consolidate into the holiday weekend. While crops here in the U.S. and Europe are in good shape, too much rain could be a problem in the Black Sea growing region too.

Export sales last week were mostly for new crop, with the 2018 total having a chance to meet USDA’s forecast for the crop.

Volume in soft red winter wheat was 20% higher yesterday at 128,156 while open interest fell 3,707 despite light new fund selling. Options volume edged 2% higher to 37,660, 57% of it calls with new interest noted in the September $5.40 call and $4.50 put. Implied volatility in at-the-money July options rose nearly 1% to 32.83%

Volume in HRW increased by 23% yesterday to 78,760 on open interest that was down. 439.

Overseas markets are higher today. July futures for Eastern Australian Wheat jumped 9.4 cents on dry forecasts for the continent while December futures in Paris midday trade are up a penny at $5.47 after adjustments for currencies and volumes.

Bottom line: Too much rain is the biggest threat to the crop now, though problems won’t show up for a while. For more details on the outlook, see the Wheat Outlook. For specific recommendations and daily charts, subscribe to our free E-newsletter, Farm Futures Daily.



 Explanation of pivot points. 

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This information is not to be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation or an offer to buy the commodities herein named. The factual information of this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not necessarily all-inclusive and is not guaranteed as to the accuracy, and is not to be construed as representation. The risk of trading futures and options can be substantial. Each investor must consider whether this is a suitable investment. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
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