Daily Market Wire 20 March 2020

Lachstock Consulting March 20, 2020

Futures strengthened and the US dollar weakened.

  • Chicago wheat May contract up US26.75¢/bu to 535¢;
  • Kansas wheat May contract up 19c to 465.5¢;
  • Minneapolis wheat May contract up  509.25¢;
  • MATIF wheat May contract up €5.25/t to €189.25/t;
  • Corn May contract up 10.25c/bu to 345.5¢;
  • Soybeans May contract up 17.75¢/bu to 843.25¢;
  • Winnipeg canola May contract up C$5.50/t to $462.90/t;
  • MATIF rapeseed May contract up €5.75 to €350/t;
  • Brent crude May contract up US$3.59 per barrel to $28.47;
  • Dow Jones index up 188 points to 20087;
  • AUD firmer at $0.5783:
  • CAD firmer at $1.4486;
  • EUR weaker at $1.0668

Market news

Rumours about potential Chinese wheat purchases started circulating the other day, and helped push wheat off with a bang – Chicago bounced 26 3/4¢ to 535¢, KC +19¢ to 465.5¢, Minny +10.5¢ to 519 3/4¢, and Matif +5.25€ to 189.25€ on the earlier close.  Row crops also pushed higher with corn +10 1/4¢ to 345.5¢ and beans were up 17 3/4¢ to 843 1/4¢ (Winnipeg +$5.5 to 462.9, Matif +5.75€ to 350€).  Crude oil has also firmed some four bucks across the complex, with WTI up to $25.2/Brent $28.5 and the DOW was up 188 points on close.  The AUD briefly dropped into the 55¢ range yesterday after the RBA rate cut, but has firmed overnight to 57.3¢, the CAD $1.451, and the EUR at $1.066 was down about two and a half cents after the European Central Bank announced more asset purchases.

Wheat and corn sales rumours have been floating around but so far we’ve got no confirmation there and no flash sale reports to be seen. It’s suggested up to five boats for both. If the rumours are correct, it seems likely that we should have at least one counterparty triggering reporting thresholds. If so we should see flashes tomorrow.

Later in the session ideas started to trickle down towards only two wheat boats, which, if done with different counterparties, would miss the flash levels.

There have also been reports about two bean cargoes booked amidst concerns about South American logistics.  Meanwhile, regular US export sales were mediocre on both beans and wheat (at 632,000t /338,000t respectively) though corn managed 905,000t.

There were also three boats of US sorghum sold to China, one of which was unknown, so two further, and a chunk of pork.

Export sales are gradually starting to pick up some volume to China, but nothing yet in line with the lofty trade deal ideas.

On the upside, there have been more concerns about Chinese spring crop plantings being adversely impacted by coronavirus lockdowns, which could well flow through to increased food import needs.

Saudi Arabia’s buying agency SAGO is back for barley for May/June arrival, adding some excitement to the market there.  Aussie barley looks to be within possible ranges for May, though not June given tender roll terms, and has excited the Aussie trade some.

With coronavirus continuing to expand, Argentine ports are causing some trade worries over potential shutdowns. No hard news yet, but raising concerns as talks are underway.  Public Brazilian terminals in Santos also shut down earlier this week, but the majority of grain there is loaded through private berths so the shutdown is not absolute. Logistics as still a tricky business though.

Black Sea weather maps have taken a turn back towards drier and warmer yet again, renewing concerns about the potential for crop stress.  It’s not a problem now, but if these same patterns hold into grain fill there’s a problem to be had.


Aussie markets are starting the session out higher after the board moves, and lots of discussion about the SAGO tender.  Weather maps are still showing some light rains in northern NSW next week, but nothing much yet for SA despite the chances further west along the Bight.  Will it push across into next week?


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