After a strong start of the week, market closed collectively down in a very typical double sided session. Soybeans ended down -2.75 cents, Corn -3.25 cents, and Wheat -6.00 cents in Chicago, -11 cents in Kansas and -5.50 cents in Minneapolis.
Firstly, wheat conditions are slightly improving, at least they are not getting worse, and hopes of decent spring rains are resurfacing. Also, the potential of trade war could clearly hit US exports. If China were to put tariffs on US soybeans, this could become quite problematic… But there’s also the quarterly stock report on Thursday and it is making people nervous. There might be fears on new crop productions but the old crop is still there and struggle to leave silos… It’s expected corn stocks to be around 221.07MT, +1% more than last year and only -30% form 3 month ago. Soybeans stocks are expected at 55.25MT, -36% from 3 month ago but +17% from last year. Wheat stocks are expected at 40.77MT, -20% from 3 month ago and -10% from last year. It can be a market mover as market has already moved quite a lot in the build-up… Plantings will also be released: the USDA Ags Forum Outlook was betting on 90M acres for both corn and soybeans, it’s now expected soybean acreage will be greater than corn as expectations are respectively 91.06M acres and 89.42M acres. Soybeans acreage would be up +1.02% (+1.22MT on the crop at constant yield) and corn acreage would be down -0.8% (-3.07MT on the crop at constant yield). Wheat planting is expected a tad better to 46.3M acres, +0.6% year on year (a marginal +0.29MT on the crop at constant yield)
In Chicago, funds sold 6,000 Corn, 2,000 Soybeans and 4,000 Wheat.
On the other side of the pond, very little activity market was a bit higher on fears of logistic disruptions as France will be ready – as always – to get on strike. MATIF Wheat ended up a couple of ticks higher. On the other side of the Channel, London Feed was also up a couple of ticks, but market is becoming quite irrelevant as physical activity is strong and we are close to import parity as old crop is become rarer and rarer.
US Exports Inspections were weak for wheat, 278.8k, significantly below what is needed to reached the target, even though it was decreased by -0.69M (to 25.17MT) in the last USDA WASDE. Indeed, with 2 months to go basically, only 77% of the target is completed as the cumulative exports are 19.45MT. The pace needs to increase like now, else another cut will be necessary (there’s a little bit of buffer also with unreportable wheat exports, but this is not changing the big picture). Soybeans inspections were just enough (584.6k) not to make the situation worse: 73% of the target is completed while it was 78% last year and 80% on average. It is still not hopeless but the question of whether the cut of -0.95MT of exports to 56.2MT on the latest USDA WASDE was enough will surely be raised. Corn was the paciest exports of the week with 1,154.0MT, and it better be as exports were raised by +4.45MT to 56.52MT in the latest USDA WASDE! Only 40% of the target is completed versus 55% last year and 50% on average, this is lagging quite seriously. So strong, but not enough for sure, better is needed and quickly, basically a record pace is now needed, the seasonality is positive so hopes are still permitted but any bad week and Corn will pay its toll.
Not long to wait until the full national weekly crop report is coming back! 2nd of April. But by the meantime, Kansas Wheat G/E increased by +2% to 13% and P/VP decreased by -6% to 49%. Improvement can be quick, rain makes grain in spring! Texas G/E +2% to 12%, -7% P/VP to 63%, Oklahoma G/E +4% to 9%, P/VP -14% to 54%. This is far worse than last year but improvement is quite noticeable for sure! Encouraging.
Night session is up on Soybeans (+0.75 cent) and Corn (+0.50 cent) but still down on Wheat (-2.25 cents in Chicago, -3.50 cents in Kansas and a tick down in Minneapolis). European markets are opening on the weaker side, catching up with the US: MATIF Wheat is trading a couple of ticks down and London Feed is still to trade (liquidity is lower these days as MATIF is getting used for basis as physical is trading at import parity).
EURUSD and GBPUSD are a tad down this morning, no major stats expected apart from CB Consumer Confidence later today (expected at 131.2). It doesn’t mean there cannot be any action as investors are looking closely at development of the US tariffs stories and Brexit stories for sure. EURUSD s trading around 1.2430 and GBPUSD around 1.4150 (GBPEUR cross-rate is trading around 1.1385