Grains mostly weaker, US dollar firmer and crude oil fell again.
- Chicago wheat May contract down US2¢/bu to 546.75¢;
- Kansas wheat May contract up 1.5c to 496.75¢;
- Minneapolis wheat May contract down 5.75c to 505¢;
- MATIF wheat May contract unchanged at €203.75;
- Corn May contract down 5c/bu to 309.25¢;
- Soybeans May contract up 4.25¢/bu to 830.75¢;
- Winnipeg canola May contract down $C1.20 to $451.90/t;
- MATIF rapeseed May contract down €5.50/t to €366.75;
- Brent crude June contract down US$6.24 per barrel to $19.33
- Dow Jones index down 631 points to 23019;
- AUD weaker at $0.6287;
- CAD weaker at $1.4198;
- EUR weaker at $1.0853.
Markets generally were easier, combined weakness in energy sectors and overall demand worries on agriculture weighing on grains. Chicago ended down 2¢ to 546 3/4¢, KC +1.5¢ to 496 3/4¢, Minny -5 3/4¢ to 505¢, and Matif unchanged at 203.75€. Corn gave up a nickel to 309 1/4¢ (up from mid-session lows when it was off over a dime) while beans picked back up 4 1/4¢ to 830 3/4¢ (matif crashed 5.5€ on biodiesel worries to 366.75€ and Winnipeg dropped a buck twenty to $451.9). Crude oil was off hard early in the session with ongoing questions about delivery and storage capacity (with markets now looking past the April expiry towards May and onwards) with WTI dropping to $11.6 (M) / Brent $19.3 and the DOW dropped back 631 points.
The renewed US stimulus package just passed after much political infighting, allocating another US$480 billion in funding.
EU weather maps are still on the drier side and stoking a little optimism in the bulls. Crops aren’t dead yet, but the dryness is spurring new talk of production cuts, as Lachstock’s been flagging for a few months now. Russia’s Institute for Agricultural Market Studies, IKAR, cut the Russian wheat crop estimate by 2.3 million tonnes, and we expect other analysts to follow suit. The question remains just how much stress will hit the crop as we move into the grainfill stage. The weather maps do not look good and the pattern remains negative. Light showers are forecast for parts of France/Germany, but not what they need to see. There’s next to nothing predicted for the Volga areas in Russia.
Corn markets remain in the dumps with no bright spots on the horizon for ethanol demand and the collapse in meat markets/slaughter is not helping direct feeding usage. Both live cattle futures and feeder markets have continued to drop this week. How low can corn go? Feed use and ethanol manufacture represent nearly 90pc of US corn demand, so it’s easy to see where talk of 3+ billion bushels (76 million tonnes) carry outs into next year can come from. Cash basis levels have firmed slightly in some areas, but with the board collapse it’s been more about holding cash at a level where they can attract some small farmer selling. Good planting weather isn’t doing anything to ease the supply side ideas either.
Aussie weather maps are improving for parts of the Wimmera and Mallee as Anzac Day approaches. Longer term models are pushing a shower into NSW next week, but elsewhere the forecast is for good dry field work weather. Concerns are building gradually further west in SA and in WA, with more moisture needed for establishment. It’s not critical, just something for the market to keep their eye on. Old crop markets are still quiet, and new crop markets are watching the global situation with care.