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Published July 29, 2013, 10:10 AM

China, weather influence markets

By: Ray Grabanski, Agweek

Wheat

Wheat played a follower role last week as it searched for news of its own. For the week ending July 25, September Minneapolis was off 12.75 cents, September Chicago was down 15.25 cents and September Kansas City was off 13 cents. Both Minneapolis and Chicago traded to new weekly lows last week, while Kansas City did not.

Wheat started the week on the defense. Early selling was tied to spillover selling from a lower corn market. Corn and wheat have become linked again, so as goes one market so goes the other. Wheat was pressured from a disappointing export inspections report. Added pressure came from better-than-expected growing conditions in the Northern Plains.

July 23 and 24 sessions saw wheat struggling. Wheat never made it to the plus side of the equation, but it never really came under any hard pressure like corn and soybeans. Early losses were kept in check by the July 25 crop progress report, which showed another decline in spring wheat’s crop condition rating. Late in the session, a rumor broke that China was releasing 3 million metric tons of soybeans from its reserves. This resulted in the grains retreating. Losses seem to be limited by technical buying, as wheat is at or near contract lows and seems to be reluctant to extend losses. Losses were limited by reports from the Wheat Quality Tour, which is finding massive amounts of prevented planting acreage and lower yields potential in the northern leg of the tour.

Wheat struggled again on July 25. Selling pressure was from a disappointing export sales estimate. Additional selling was tied to the corn and soybean complex, as both were under technical selling pressure. The Wheat Quality Tour wrapped up the tour of the Northern Plains. The tour estimated the spring wheat crop yield at 44.9 bushels per acre, virtually the same as last year.

As of July 21, winter wheat harvest was 75 percent complete, compared with 67 percent the previous week and 76 percent for the five-year average. Spring wheat heading is estimated at 85 percent, compared with 71 percent the previous week and 88 percent for the five-year average. Spring wheat’s condition rating declined 2 percent to 68 percent good to excellent, 27 percent fair and 5 percent poor to very poor.

Corn

Selling pressure picked up steam last week, forcing corn to new contract lows for 2013. Weakness came from a benign weather forecast, lack of fresh export demand and a disappointing ethanol report. The weather continues to be the focus of the market and the next two weeks remain ideal for crop development. For the week ending July 25, September lost 47 cents and December was down 23 cents.

Corn traded with red ink for the first three days of the week. Selling pressure came from a nonthreatening weather forecast (scattered showers and lower temperatures). The next two weeks are critical for the corn crop and will be the most active for pollination. The export inspections report was also below estimates on July 22 and news that Japan bought corn from Ukraine and Brazil did not help. South Korea also bought 120,000 metric tons of corn from the Black Sea region. The ethanol report was disappointing, as corn usage was down again last week.

July 25 was another day of continued pressure and selling in corn. Additional weakness came into the September contract from a declining basis and sharp losses in August soybeans. The export sales report also had a negative number for old crop corn because of cancellations. The good weather forecast continues to limit the upside.

Ethanol production for the week ending July 19 averaged 853,000 barrels per day and down 2.6 percent from the previous week. Total ethanol production for the week was 5.97 million barrels. Corn used in production the week ending July 19 is estimated at 89.6 million and needs to average 98.4 million per week to meet this crop year’s U.S. estimate of 4.6 billion bushels. This crop year’s cumulative corn used for ethanol production is 4 billion bushels. Stocks as of July 19 were 17.3 million barrels and up 4.1 percent from the previous week.

The crop progress report showed 43 percent of the corn is silking versus 84 percent a year ago and a five-year average of 56 percent. The condition is rated as 63 percent good to excellent, 26 percent fair and 11 percent poor to very poor.

Soybeans

The soybean complex came under extreme pressure last week. Not only did soybeans take a major hit, but so did the products. Most of the selling was tied to China’s decision to dump 3 million metric tons of soybean reserves on its domestic market. For the week ending July 25, August soybeans were down $1.355, while November was 50 cents lower.

Tight old crop supplies continued to support soybeans, as the week started with the market closing near the day’s highs July 22. Sharp gains in the nearby August contract led the way. Rain over the weekend was lighter and more scattered than expected, providing support to the new crop. But the forecast is good for growing conditions this week. July 22 export inspections were seen as bearish.

The first part of August came under major selling pressure on July 23 and 24, as weak longs took to the sidelines. August soybeans lost $1.2775 over the course of two sessions. News that China released 3 million metric tons of 2010 soybeans out of reserves sparked the selling, as traders think China will not need to buy soybeans in the near term. The forecast pressured new crop contracts, as the weather should be nonthreatening as soybeans enter a critical crop development time frame.

August soybeans led the way lower July 25, as old crop long liquidation continued. Rumors of farmer selling and China selling from domestic reserves have weighed heavily on soybeans. Basis levels continue to drop, as well.

As of July 21, 46 percent of the nation’s soybean crop was in bloom, compared with 26 percent the previous week and 59 percent for the five-year average. Soybeans setting pods were at 8 percent, compared with the five-year average of 19 percent. Soybean’s crop condition rating was down 1 percent at 64 percent good to excellent, 28 percent fair and 8 percent poor to very poor.

Barley

USDA reported barley export shipment pace for the week ending July 19 at 46,000 bushels, all going to the Philippines. This brings barley’s export sales pace to 227,000 bushels, compared with 72,000 bushels for last year. No barley export sales were reported for the week ending July 19. This brings barley’s export sales pace to 2.8 million bushels, compared with 6.2 million for last year.

As of July 21, barley heading was estimated at 91 percent complete, compared with 76 percent the previous week and 88 percent for the five-year average. Barley’s crop condition rating was unchanged at 65 percent good to excellent, 31 percent fair and 4 percent poor to very poor.

July 25 cash feed barley bids in Minneapolis were at $4.50 per bushel, while malting barley bids were $6.85.

Durum

USDA reported durum export shipment pace for the week ending July 19 at 349,000 bushels, all going to Venezuela. Durum export sales pace for the week ending July 19 was estimated at 400,000 bushels. This brings durum’s export sales pace to 4.3 million bushels, compared with 6.2 million for last year.

As of July 21, North Dakota’s durum crop was 95 percent jointed, compared with 85 percent the previous week and 95 percent for the five-year average. Heading was estimated at 77 percent, compared with 54 percent for the previous week and 73 percent for the five-year average. Durum’s crop condition rating was unchanged at 80 percent good to excellent, 18 percent fair and 2 percent poor.

July 25 cash bids for milling quality durum were at $7.60 per bushel in Berthold, N.D., while Dickinson, N.D., bids were $7.45.

Canola

Canola futures on the Winnipeg, Manitoba, exchange closed the week ending July with almost $23 (Canadian) losses, ending the weekly chart near its low. Canola started the week off higher as a result of technical buying from thoughts that canola is undervalued when compared with the other vegetable oil markets. The rest of the week canola spent in negative territory as it followed the U.S. soybean complex and the European Union canola market. The pressure was from rumors that China dumped 3 million metric tons of domestic soybeans on the market and that this move will likely result in import cancellations of soybeans and canola. Once canola dropped below the physiological $500 (Canadian) level, technical selling and sell stops were triggered, which only accelerated the selloff.

As of July 21, North Dakota’s canola was 92 percent in bloom, compared with 69 percent the previous week and 93 percent for the five-year average. Turning color was estimated at 7 percent, compared with zero the previous week and 19 percent for the five-year average. North Dakota’s canola crop condition rating increased 1 percent to 76 percent good to excellent, 21 percent fair and 3 percent poor to very poor.

July 25 cash canola bids in Velva, N.D., were at $21.78 per hundredweight.

Dry beans

As of July 21, 38 percent of North Dakota’s dry bean crop (35 percent of nation’s acreage) was blooming, compared with 13 percent the previous week and 58 percent for the five-year average. North Dakota’s crop condition rating increased 2 percent to 57 percent good to excellent, 35 percent fair and 8 percent poor to very poor. Minnesota’s dry beans (9 percent of the nation’s acreage) are 42 percent bloomed, compared with 12 percent the previous week. Minnesota’s dry bean crop condition rating was unchanged at 64 percent good to excellent, 28 percent fair and 8 percent poor.

Sunflowers

As of July 21, 2 percent of North Dakota’s sunflower crop was in bloom, compared with none the previous week and 6 percent for the five-year average. North Dakota’s sunflower crop condition rating dropped 5 percent to 71 percent good to excellent, 24 percent fair and 5 percent poor to very poor.

USDA estimated soybean oil export sales pace for the week ending July 19 at 3.3 trillion metric tons, with a majority of the soybean oil (3,500 metric tons) going to Nicaragua. This brings the year-to-date export sales pace for soybean oil to 900.3 trillion metric tons, compared with 544.4 trillion last year.

July 25 old crop cash sunflower bids in Fargo, N.D., were at $21.80 per hundredweight, while new crop bids were $21.80.

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