Markets

Daily Market Wire 18 March 2021

Lachstock Consulting, March 18, 2021

Wheat was weaker again amid improved optimism on the approaching new crop harvests. Row crops provided little support. Crude oil continued to slip, off a quarter to $64.6 WTI / $68 Brent and the DOW is up 189 points after the FOMC comments helped reverse earlier downside pressure. The USD is off half a point after dovish comments from the US Fed after their FOMC meeting suggesting no hike to interest rates for at least the next two years.

  • Chicago wheat May contract down US7c/bu to 640c;
  • Kansas wheat May contract down 7.25c/bu to 601c;
  • Minneapolis wheat May contract down 4.5c/bu to 631.25c;
  • MATIF wheat May contract down €0.50/t to €221.50;
  • Corn May contract up 3.75c/bu to 557.5c;
  • Soybeans May contract down 5.5c/bu to 1417.75c;
  • Winnipeg canola May contract down C$16/t to $779.30;
  • MATIF rapeseed May contract down €5/t to €520.75;
  • US dollar index down 0.5 to 91.4;
  • AUD firmer at US$0.78;
  • CAD firmer at $1.240;
  • EUR firmer at $1.198;
  • ASX wheat May contract unchanged at A$288;
  • ASX wheat January 2022 down $2/t to $298.

International

Macro markets were given a nice shot in the arm by the US Federal Reserve with indications it will keep interest rates near zero until 2023. There’s plenty of speculation about the extent of the economic recovery but markets do love cheap money.  Inflation concerns have taken a back seat in the short term, but after the comments by the Fed we expect to see renewed discussion picking back up again there soon.

A second large flash corn sale to China was reported overnight, with 1.2 million tonnes (Mt) old crop reported by the USDA.  That makes 2.4Mt for the week and, predictably enough, there are rumours that more flashes may still hit this week. Note that tonight’s weekly export sales figures are a week lagged and will not include the flashes.

Weekly ethanol production was up again to 971,000 barrels per day, a high for the year. Stocks were off massively, down 0.7 million barrels to 21.3, with more talk about export loadings.

SovEcon is making headlines in wheat markets after raising their crop estimate by 3.1Mt to 79.3Mt, citing better than expected spring conditions. Remember that just a few months ago they were cutting substantially on the poor seeding conditions. It is hard to judge spring conditions for winter wheat from fall weather.

Following last weekend’s rainfall in the southern Plains of the US, overnight storms were reported in parts of north Texas. An inch or more rain in places should further help reduce the drought areas. The next drought monitor is due out tonight.

Algeria’s ONAB tendering for old crop barley again, for LH April, raises questions about how firm the prices may be given the short window to shipment and recent Saudi business that is still squaring up.  Tunisia also tendering at the same time, so there’s a fairly crowded barley market to end the week.

South American maps are holding a distinctly dry turn again overnight, with some moisture forecast for central Argentina but very little across central Brazil.  Great for the remaining bean harvest/corn planting, but concerns are now shifting forward again towards the safrinha crop and the risk of a potentially dry period during the grain-fill window.

Australia

Australian markets yesterday saw a small amount of trade coverage business, but most markets are still in the execution/logistics rut.  Plenty of fertiliser spreading is being reported across the east coast as we gear up for planting, and there’s less interest from farmers in new contracts to haul grain with planting approaching.

BOM maps are still looking beautiful for the east coast into this weekend. Some slightly heavier numbers appeared on the last runs for northern NSW but in general a widespread 30+ mm event is forecast.

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