Markets were mixed.
- Chicago wheat May contract down US0.75¢/bu to 568.75¢;
- Kansas wheat May contract up 6.25c to 493¢;
- Minneapolis wheat May contract up 4.5c to 539.25¢;
- MATIF wheat May contract unchanged at €196.25/t;
- Corn May contract down 0.25c/bu to 340.75¢;
- Soybeans May contract up 3.75¢/bu to 886¢;
- Winnipeg canola May contract up $C1.30 to $468.80/t;
- MATIF rapeseed May contract down €1.75 to €359/t;
- Brent crude May contract down US$0.02 per barrel to $22.74;
- Dow Jones index down 410 points to 21917;
- AUD weaker at $0.6124:
- CAD firmer at $1.4115;
- EUR weaker at $1.1011
USDA figures out overnight in the US proved barely a blip on the market radar – no surprises of significance to be seen. Chicago ended down 3/4¢ to 568 3/4¢, KC +6 1/4¢ to 493¢, Minny +4.5¢ to 539 1/4¢, and Matif unchanged at 196.25€ on the earlier close. Corn was off half a cent to 340 3/4¢ while beans were up 3 3/4¢ to 886¢ (Winnipeg jumped a buck thirty to $468.8, Matif off a euro seventy five to 359€). The DOW gave up 410 points as coronavirus fears resumed.
USDA acreage figures from early March surveys pegged corn at just under 97 million acres, beans 83.5, and wheat 44.7 – bigger on corn and lower on beans than estimates going into the report, but no real surprise considering the timing of the survey. Markets have moved massively since then, and many are expecting the corn figure to drop given the ethanol collapse. March 1st corn stocks were tighter than expected at 7.95 mbu, versus ideas upwards of 8 mbu, but all are within reasonable ranges. Beans at 2.25 and wheat 1.41 were not big surprises.
So, there we have it – the figures are out and the trade has reset their benchmarks towards the USDA. This year has been even more volatile than normal in the window post survey/pre report release though, and everyone’s already got their biases about how the figures will change.
What’s the best option right now in corn country in the US? Corn certainly seemed that way, given the depressed bean market, but if there’s no ethanol bid, or it’s sharply reduced, that’s a hard story to sell to the bank. There’s already been some rejigging away from corn in recent weeks, and it appears set to see more – the question is how much. We’re also watching corn belt weather again. So far no repeat of last year, but with outlooks trending well above average on the precipitation front for the northern edge of the corn belt the PP game looks set to return.
Global news and markets were relatively quiet with the USDA reports coming, but many have focused on Russia’s announcement the other day that they’d sell more of their government reserve wheat stocks to manage prices. A million tonnes of wheat in Siberia isn’t realistically a big factor on the global scale, but it does provide some insight into the fears of the government. Food inflation, food availability, and implicitly social stability all becoming a risk during the coronavirus situation.
COVID-19 case levels globally continue to expand. There was some tapering in the US, but new hot spots are popping up and the US is projecting potentially 100,000 deaths. Problems continue – stay healthy and safe all. Lachstock sent a brief wire separately on the Canadian canola situation, but in short there’s been no change to the status quo there, yet, despite the rumours.
Aussie markets are watching the current rainfall maps for the east coast, with more optimism about the next batch of moisture there arriving right before planting starts. Acreage ideas remain mostly unchanged at current, with some more ongoing interest towards canola away from barley but otherwise it’s all about getting in and going. Old crop markets have held firm despite the firmer AUD, although liquidity is low. New crop continues to see some more selling interest as crop ideas improve with rainfall.