COMMENTARY 3/21/14

CORN

UNCHANGED

Export demand is hanging right in there.  Egypt buys 340,000 MT U.S. corn for 13/14 delivery; USDA 1.625 bbu export forecast beginning to look low. Razen Energia CFO expects 5-10% loss in 14/15 Brazil sugar cane due to recent dryness. Currency fluctuations/fears said to be restricting Ukrainian producer selling. %’s vary but a couple of sources overnight said 14/15 Ukraine corn output could be down 25-33%, due to lack of input funding. Earlier in the week, a Chinese feed mill has purchased 50k + Ukrainian corn (since US corn is still being rejected).  FH Mar exports from the Ukraine are up 64% from last March and YTD shipments are 40 % larger at 18mmt. 3 corn vessels loading at Brazil ports; 15 total, down 1; volume off 3 mbu to 24 million.

River levels now steady and holding!   Freight costs are now some 25 cents/bu cheaper than what they were 16 days ago.  Much needed water has come in from the North to help stabilize river levels and give some logistical relief.   St Louis river level now at +10.6 ft and forecast to rise to 9.0 by 3/26.  Drafts on barges improving with more volume being able to be loaded into a barge, which makes cost per bushel cheaper.

 

BEANS

DOWN 25

FUND SELLING AGAIN.  No announced cancellations but rumors abound regarding Chinese vessels ne-route from Brazil to the Gulf.  The old crop supply/demand issues are still not resolved despite a sale by China to US Crushers.  Export Sales were decent at 7.4 with a cancellation rate of -4 per week needed.  China DID back out of 5.8 million.  China also bought 4.4mbu f US beans for 14/15.  Chinese trader, Shandong Sunrise Grain and Oil Trading, reportedly the largest soybean importer, claims it has re-sold 3 Brazillian bean vessels to US Crushers.  It was a .45 cpb loss, but that paled in comparison to a $3.50 loss if the beans actually sailed to China.

The US is 107% sold and 90% exported.  Both of these levels are unprecedented.  If we export all that has been sold, that would put C/O down to just 37 mill bu.   Look to soon see the US import both soybeans AND bean meal as it may  be cheaper to import them than it is to grow them.  Vessel waiting times at Paranagua is almost half of what it was this time last year. The vessel line up jumps: 16 loading in Brazil, 14 more in line; total bean volume up 27 to 290 mbu.

Argentina was again generally dry Thursday; South Brazil received 1/2 to 1″ and in the north, 1/3″ or less. Radar indicates Argentina is dry today with light rain in Central Brazil. Brazil will then turn dry for the up-coming week as is Argentina. The 6-10 day outlook should see below normal rain for Argentina, above normal amounts for southern Brail.

Ag Rural and Safras put Brazil harvest at 59%, up 10 from last week.  They are lowering the crop size 1 to 86 mmt.

 

WHEAT

DOWN 10

FUND SELLING.  Lower on ideas that the run-up from recent dryness has ran prices up, thus limiting export demand.  Drought is aslo expected to intensify in SW Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas panhandle.

Continuing declining conditions and lack of rainfall in the US HRW growing areas  of KS, OK, and TX ran futures higher today.  Crimea voted to join Russia which should relieve some of the concerns about Black Sea shipping concerns.  Australia wheat is dry.  So far, the SRW areas of the US look decent and are just beginning to green-up.

31% of the TX wheat crop is rated poor/very poor, which is down from 46% last week.  Kansas crop saw their poor/very poor rating drop from 22% to 18%.  Milder temps in the US will slowly bring aid to corn planting and help break the HRW out of dormancy in the Plains.  Market is now anticipating the slowing of  Black Sea exports.