Trade tensions dominate markets
The wheat market continued its slide this week on greatly improved spring wheat condition ratings. Spring wheat conditions improved 8 percent to 78 percent good to excellent. Only 3 percent of the crop is rated poor to very poor. Spring wheat headed is at 9 percent compared to 12 percent for the five-year average. Winter wheat condition ratings improved 1 percent to 39 percent good to excellent. Twenty-seven percent of the winter wheat is harvested compared to 19 percent for the five-year average.
The other big negatives in the market were weekly export numbers and the continued strength in the U.S. dollar. Our export pace is over 50 percent behind the pace of a year ago. The U.S. dollar continues to trend higher reaching $95.22 in June 21 trade. The Russian ruble declined in the last week making Black Sea region export prices 1.5 percent cheaper on the week at $205 per metric ton.
AgriTel lowered their Russian wheat production estimate to 67.4 million metric tons compared to the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate of 68.5 million metric tons. The next 10 days looks to be hot and dry in that region, which gave the wheat complex a boost late week on fears of further production declines.
Fifteen to 20 percent of the Saskatchewan wheat area is currently stressed under dry conditions. Weather model runs are calling for broad coverage of rain in the 11 to 15 day range. The 16 to 30 day forecast is warmer and drier for this area, so if rain coverage is minimal in the 11 to 15 day that would potentially expand the problem area to 30 percent of acreage.
The eight to 14 day forecast calls for warmer and wetter conditions in the both the soft red and northern spring Wheat Belt. That forecast is also showing favorable rains and warmer conditions for the heart of the Corn Belt which put additional pressure on the entire grain complex.
From a technical standpoint, July Chicago closed above its 200-day moving average of $4.8275 in June 20 trade. On the flip side, the Kansas City contract failed to close to its 200-day moving average of $4.96. In the Minneapolis market, $5.95 September would now be viewed as resistance as that was the prior support level before falling to these levels.
Weekly export sales for all wheat totaled 17.0 million bushels for the 2017-18 marketing year. This puts total shipments plus outstanding sales of 183 million bushels 34 percent below the previous marketing year. Marketing year shipments total 15.7 million bushels, 49 percent below the previous year.
For the week ending June 21, July contracts for Minneapolis wheat were down 18 cents at $5.5275, down 4.25 cents at $4.9525 for Chicago wheat, and down 26.5 cents at $4.9325 for Kansas City wheat.
It is the same news everyday concerning these markets; trade talks, favorable growing weather and private estimates saying another record crop is already made and in the bins. It is hard to find positive news in the grain markets, with the only point of optimism being that we are still not at the prime of the growing season. July and August are getting closer every day with no sign of stress yet. The market needs some adverse weather to give it a jump start. A trade agreement with a big corn importer like Mexico could also give corn a boost. Exports and Ethanol usage continues to stay strong, so at least there is a little silver lining within all the negativity. For the week ending June 21, July corn was down 4.25 cents and December corn was 4.5 cents lower
According to Reuters, "speculators have never sold more Chicago-traded corn and soybean contracts than they did in the two weeks ending June 12, as the U.S.-China trade tensions were coming to a head." Traders do not typically give up all of the weather premium this early in the year. If crops start to see some adverse weather conditions in July and August, they should have to bring back some of that weather premium.
So far the weather has been favorable across much of the Midwest and moisture still is in the extended forecasts, so that is not favorable for prices. The six to 10 and eight to 14 day forecasts show warmer than normal conditions moving in but moisture is still in the forecast for almost all of the Midwest.
As of June 17, the corn crop condition rating is at 78 percent good to excellent versus 77 percent good to excellent last week. The rest of the crop is at 18 percent fair, and 4 percent poor to very poor. Average trade estimates were wide ranging from 76 percent to 79 percent good to excellent ratings. Corn was 98 percent emerged versus 97 percent last year and 97 percent for the five-year average.
Weekly export sales were at 19.9 million bushels, with 6.5 million bushels for the 2017-18 marketing year. This puts total marketing year sales at 2.22 billion bushels, 2 percent above the previous marketing year at this time.
The flood gates opened after the newest tariff announcement came from the White House the evening of June 18. Soybeans traded down to lows last seen in the spring of 2016 off this news. That news caused the markets to selloff after President Donald Trump threatened another $200 billion in tariffs in response to a lack of progress made in negotiations. July 6 is the day the tariffs will be put in place, so barring a good piece of negotiating between the two sides, that will be the official start of the tariff battle royale. The volatility in this market continues, and as long as the trade negotiations are going on, the volatility may continue.
The trade is largely ignoring the weather as a potential trade war looms. But to their defense, weather has been non-threatening and the condition ratings have been verifying that so far early in the growing season. Adverse weather is needed sooner than later to get the market bulls excited, that is if there are any left. For the week ending June 21, July soybeans were down 25 cents and November soybeans were down 29 cents.
For the third soybean crop condition ratings of the year on June 18, soybeans are at 73 percent good to excellent versus 74 percent last week. Average trade estimates were for 75 percent good to excellent ratings. The rest of the soybeans came in at 22 percent fair, and 5 percent poor to very poor. Soybean plantings are still ahead of pace, and as of June 10, soybeans were 97 percent planted versus 95 percent last year and 91 percent for the five-year average. As of June 10, soybeans were 90 percent emerged versus 87 percent last year and 81 percent for the five-year average.
Weekly export sales of soybeans showed a total of 19.4 million bushels, with 11.1 million bushels for the 2017-18 marketing year. Total marketing year sales are at 2.074 billion bushels, 4 percent less than the previous marketing year.
For the week ending June 21, November canola futures in Winnipeg were up $2.40 at $511.90 per metric ton Canadian. The Canadian dollar was down .0060 to .7521. This brings the U.S. price to $17.47 per hundredweight.
• Velva, N.D., $17.69 per hundredweight, September at $16.60.
• Enderlin, N.D., $17.96 per hundredweight, September at $17.18.
• Hallock, Minn., $17.89 per hundredweight, September at $16.80.
• Fargo, N.D., $17.95 per hundredweight, September at $17.05.
Cash feed barley bids in Minneapolis were at $2.85, while malting barley received no quote. The Berthold, N.D., bid is $2.60 and the CHS Southwest New Salem, N.D., bid is $3.00.
Cash bids for milling quality durum are $5.85 in Berthold and at $5.20 in Dickinson, N.D.
Cash sunflower bids in Fargo were at $18.30 and October at $18.50. Soybean oil was down $0.29 at $29.19 on the July contract.