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Published November 25, 2013, 10:41 AM

Strong exports support

By: Ray Grabanski, Agweek

Wheat

Wheat contracts were narrowly mixed throughout last week. Support came from a decreasing crop condition rating, as well as from a strong weekly export sales estimate. Gains were kept in check by a stronger U.S. dollar. For the week ending Nov. 21, December fell 0.5 cents, December Chicago was up 4.25 cents and December Kansas City fell 3.5 cents.

Wheat closed lower Nov. 18 with spillover pressure from the sharp losses in the corn market. Losses were limited by a slight drop in winter wheat conditions and from a slightly higher-than-expected export inspections report, which continues to show a pace higher than what is needed to meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimate. Cumulative shipments have reached 57.2 percent of the USDA projection, compared with 46.6 percent as average for this time.

Wheat contracts were somewhat mixed at midday on Nov. 19, but closed with gains following active buying late in the session. Gains in corn and talk that wheat is oversold provided support. Demand for wheat provided some additional support with the Dow Jones announcing that Japan had tendered for 133,480 metric tons of milling wheat with 51,556 metric tons coming from the U.S. Winter wheat is off to a strong start, though the crop progress report did show a 2 percent decrease in crop condition ratings, another factor that limited selling.

Wheat contracts closed mostly lower on Nov. 20 and 21 because of a lack of new buying interest. The winter wheat crop is off to a good start with beneficial rain falling in the Southern Plains. Demand was supportive with an announced sale of 110,000 metric tons of soft red winter wheat to Egypt on Nov. 20 and better-than-expected export sales on Nov. 21.

USDA estimated wheat export shipments pace for the week ending Nov. 15 at 18.1 million bushels. This brings the year-to-date export shipments pace for wheat to 629 million bushels, compared with 438.7 million for last year. Wheat export sales pace for the week ending Nov. 15 was estimated at 22.7 million bushels. This brings wheat’s export sales pace for the year to 801.5 million bushels, compared with 582.9 million last year.

As of Nov. 17, 89 percent of the nation’s winter wheat crop was emerged, compared with 84 percent the previous week and 85 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat’s crop condition rating fell by 2 percent to 63 percent good to excellent, 30 percent fair and 7 percent poor to very poor.

Corn

The corn market was choppy last week, but still ended near unchanged for the week. Early week pressure came from news that the Environmental Protection Agency is considering cutting the corn ethanol mandate for 2014. Late week support was from short covering and a decent export sales report. For the week ending Nov. 21, December was up 1 cent.

Corn was under pressure to start the week, closing at session lows and at a level last seen in early July of 2010. Pressure came from the EPA announcement of a possible 2014 ethanol mandate cut of 1.4 billion gallons to 13 billion gallons. Selling accelerated with news that China rejected a cargo of U.S. corn that contained genetically modified organisms.

On Nov. 19, the futures bounced off a new recent low (set overnight Nov. 18) to trade slightly higher with short covering, while the market traded steady on Nov. 20 and slightly higher on Nov. 21. Support came from a decent export inspections and sales report. There was also an announcement that South Korea bought 121,000 metric tons of U.S. corn, but it also bought 63,000 metric tons from the Black Sea. Traders have also been concerned about the cargo of corn rejected by China and how it may affect further shipments, but the Chinese National Grain and Oils Information Center says the finding of an unapproved GMO trait won’t have a long-term effect on trade. They reported that Chinese traders don’t expect the Chinese government to restrict corn imports and that the variety in question will be approved soon.

Ethanol production for the week ending Nov. 15 averaged 904,000 barrels per day, down 2.5 percent from the previous week. Total ethanol production for the week was 6.328 million barrels. Corn used in production the week ending Nov. 15 was estimated at 94.92 million bushels and needs to average 94.4 million bushels per week to meet this crop year’s USDA estimate. Stocks were 15.083 million barrels, down 0.46 percent from the previous week.

As of Nov. 17, 91 percent of the nation’s corn was harvested, compared with 84 percent the previous week, 99 percent for last year and 86 percent for the five-year average.

USDA’s export inspections for corn were estimated at 30.8 million bushels for the week ending Nov. 15. This brings the year-to-date shipments pace for corn to 254 million bushels, compared with 182 million for last year. The corn export sales were estimated at 38.7 million bushels. This brings the year-to-date sales pace for corn to 960 million bushels, compared with 470 million for last year.

Soybeans

Soybeans traded with gains to start and end the week but traded sloppily during the middle of the week. Support continues to come from strong demand while gains were kept in check by technical selling. For the week ending Nov. 21, January gained 11 cents for the week.

To start the week, soybeans closed higher after trading choppy with support from strong demand. Talk of a likely increase in 2014 planted acreage and the potential for record production in South America limited session gains. Strong export demand continued to support, despite talk that Chinese demand might be slowing. The Nov. 18 export inspections came in well above the amount needed to keep pace with USDA’s projection.

Soybeans closed with moderate losses Nov. 19 and 20 as concerns about potentially strong South American production continued. South America’s recent favorable weather has been supportive to a quick planting pace and early crop development. Overnight weakness in the Chinese soybean market provided pressure on Nov. 19, while a rally higher in the U.S. dollar was a negative factor on Nov. 20. Strong export demand continued to provide support with USDA announcing a sale of 240,000 metric tons of soybeans to China.

Gains returned to the soybean market Nov. 21 as soybeans closed near session highs because of a round of late session buying sparked in part by strong gains in soybean oil futures. Commercial buying was noted as the basis firms with the harvest winding down. Bullish export sales provided additional support. The Nov. 21 export sales came in well above expectations and the amount needed to keep pace with USDA.

USDA reported soybean export inspections pace for the week ending Nov. 15 at 87.8 million bushels. This brings the year-to-date export shipments pace for soybeans to 508.9 million bushels, compared with 504.9 million for last year at this time. Soybean export sales pace for the week ending Nov. 15 was estimated at 50.6 million bushels. This brings the year-to-date export sales pace for soybeans to 1.3 billion bushels, compared with 989.9 million last year at this time.

As of Nov. 17, 95 percent of the nation’s soybeans were harvested, compared with 91 percent the previous week and 96 percent for the five-year average.

Barley

USDA estimated barley export shipments pace for the week ending Nov. 15 at 38,000 bushels, all going to Mexico. This brings barley’s export shipments pace to 3.1 million bushels, compared with 5.5 million last year. No barley export sales were reported for the week. This brings the year-to-date export sales pace for barley to 5.3 million bushels, compared with 5.6 million last year.

Nov. 22 cash feed barley bids in Minneapolis were at $3.45 per bushel, while malting barley bids were $5.45.

Durum

USDA reported durum export shipments pace for the week ending Nov. 15 at 582,000 bushels, with 487,000 bushels going to Italy and 4,000 bushels going to Canada. Durum export sales pace was estimated at 600,000 bushels. This brings durum’s year-to-date export sales pace to 10.1 million bushels, compared with 12.2 million last year.

Nov. 21 cash bids for milling quality durum were at $7 per bushel in Berthold, N.D., and Dickinson, N.D.

Canola

As of the Nov. 21 close, January canola futures on the Winnipeg, Manitoba, exchange were $1.10 (Canadian) higher. Weakness in the global vegetable oil market and strength in the Canadian dollar provided pressure early in the week. A strong rally in Chicago soyoil futures on Nov. 21 provided support to close with strong gains, offsetting the early-week losses.

Nov. 21 cash canola bids in Velva, N.D., were at $20.44 per hundredweight.

Sunflowers

As of Nov. 17, 65 percent of the nation’s sunflower crop was harvested, compared with 51 percent the previous week and 85 percent for the five-year average.

Soybean oil export sales pace for the week ending Nov. 15 was estimated at 95.8 trillion metric tons. This brings the year-to-date export sales pace for soybean oil to 248.1 trillion metric tons, compared with 449.3 trillion for last year.

Nov. 21 cash sunflower bids in Fargo, N.D., were at $20.15 per hundredweight.

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