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Global grain markets looking for direction after benign WASDE report…

Posted by | Grain Brokers Australia News, USDA WASDE Report, Weekly Commentary | No Comments

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released their November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) to the market last Friday (Saturday morning down under) and there was nothing to get the trade, or futures markets, too excited.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) December wheat futures closed the week at 510¼ cents per bushel (c/bu), down 2¼ c/bu on the day and down 5¾ c/bu for the week. Wheat futures have been trending downward since a 3-month high of 532¼ c/bu was set on October 18. That equates to a fall of almost AU$12 over the last three weeks.

The December corn futures contract closed last Friday’s trade at 377¼ c/bu, up 2 c/bu on the day but down 12 c/bu for the week. The soybean contract for November closed at 919½ c/bu, down 5½ c/bu on the day and down 4¾ c/bu for the week. Like wheat, both corn and soybean futures have been trending lower in recent weeks and have lost the equivalent of just under AU$12 and just over AU$11 respectively since the highs of mid-October.

The WASDE wheat production numbers were basically a juggling act, the result being a small global increase of around 0.3 million metric tonne (MMT). Australian production was decreased by 0.8MMT to 17.2MMt, similar to last year’s final number. However, this is still around 1.5MMT above many domestic trade estimates, and a further reduction is expected in the next report, due for release on December 10.

Argentine wheat production was decreased by 0.5MMT to 20MMT. Like Australia, this is around 1.5MMT above the most recent estimates emanating from the South American republic. Last season’s production was 19.5MMT. Reaping has commenced in many parts of the country, and the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange called the wheat harvest 7 per cent done compared to 11 per cent at the same time last year.

The United States (US) was the other major wheat producer which saw production fall compared to last month. The USDA pegged 2019/20 production at 52.3MMT, a decrease of 1.1MMT, but still, 1MMT higher than last season.

Planting of the next US winter wheat crop is well underway with 94 per cent expected to be planted by early this week. This compares to 89 per cent last week, 85 per cent last year and 92 per cent on average. Crop ratings are expected to be unchanged week-on-week at 57 per cent good to excellent, versus 51 per cent last year.

On the positive side of the equation, Ukraine, Russia and the European Union (EU) all saw increases to their final wheat numbers for the 2019/20 season compared to the October report. Ukraine production was increased by 0.3MMT to 29MMT. This represents a significant year-on-year increase of 4MMT, or 16 per cent.

The USDA increased Russian production by 1.5MMT to 74MMT. Here again, the USDA appears to be conservative with their revised estimate as local Russian forecasts are around 1-2MMT higher. That said, it is still around 2.3MMT higher than 2018/19 production.

The most significant increase to global wheat numbers in Friday’s WASDE report came in the EU. Production was posted at 153MMT, an increase of 1MMT compared to October and an increase of 16MMT compared to last season. However, the USDA number is 3MMT lower than the most recent European Commission wheat forecast of 156MMT.

In France, the European Union’s biggest wheat producer, planting of the winter wheat crop is delayed by wet weather. The French state grains board, FranceAgrimer, estimates that 67 per cent of the soft wheat crop has been planted, up 13 per cent on the previous week, but still well behind the long term average of 82 per cent.

With global wheat demand remaining static, the washup of all of the production changes was an increase in world ending stocks to a record 288.3MMT, 142.6MMT (49 per cent) of which is held outside of China.

On the barley front, the WASDE report was slightly bullish. The USDA cut Australian production by 0.2MMT to 8.4MMT. While this may be achievable, it appears to be on the high side based on the hard finish experienced in almost all the major barley production regions of the country.

Elsewhere, Argentine production was decreased by 0.1MMT to 4.7MMT (5.1MMT last year), the EU was raised by 0.2MMT to 61.8MMT (55.9MMT last year), and Ukraine was increased by 0.3MMT to 9.5MMT (7.6MMT last year).

The USDA increased global barley demand by 0.8MMT, predominantly in Russia, Ukraine and EU and world ending stocks were decreased by 0.8MMT, mostly in Russia and Saudi Arabia. Australian barley exports were reduced by 0.2MMT to 4.3MMT, and China’s barley imports were cut by 0.2MMT to 6.3MMt (5.5MMT last year).

There were several decreases to global corn supply, but most had already been factored into trade calculations, hence the subdued futures market reaction. US production was down by 3MMT after the yield forecast was decreased to 167 bushels per acre (10.5 metric tonne per hectare). Mexican, Ukraine and EU production were cut by 2MMT, 0.5MMT and 0.2MMT respectively, and Russian was increased by 0.5MMT.

US corn demand was down by 1.2MMT, but world demand was increased by 0.8MMT compared to the last WASDE report. World ending stocks are forecast to decrease by 6.6MMT, predominantly in Brazil, China, EU and the US.

The soybean numbers were quite benign, with global production down by 2.4MMT, mainly in India and Canada, and global demand down by 2.4MMT, primarily in India, China and the United States.

The grain market needs news, and the WASDE report provided nothing that wasn’t already known and factored into global thinking. From a wheat and barley perspective, 2019/20 production is basically known, even though the USDA numbers still need a little tweaking in several key jurisdictions.

A resolution, or otherwise, to trade disputes involving China is a key driver in the near term. The big one, of course, is the US standoff, with Trump seemingly dousing the most recent positive news with his usual Twitter diplomacy.

Call your local Grain Brokers Australia representative on 1300 946 544 to discuss your grain marketing needs.

Australian winter crop teetering as it enters spring…

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The annual Pro Farmer Crop Tour was conducted across seven of the most important corn and soybean states in the US last week. The results were released after the markets closed on Friday and, as most market pundits expected, came in lower than the recent USDA production estimates.

This year’s tour had more than 125 scouts representing 12 countries and included farmers, agribusiness experts, media, government and representatives of the financial industry. The scouts sampled around 3000 individual fields along 20 pre-determined routes across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota.

Pro Farmer estimates the average US corn yield at 163.3 bushels per acre (bu/ac) or 10.25 metric tonne per hectare (MT/ha). This was 6.2 bu/ac (0.39 MT/ha), or 3.7 per cent lower than the most recent USDA forecast of 169.5 bu/ac (10.64 MH/ha). Total US corn production came in at 13.358 billion bushels, or 339.3 million metric tonne (MMT).
The soybean production estimate came in at 3.497 billion bushels or 95.2MMT. This was based on an average national yield of 46.1 bu/ac (2.89 MT/ha), 4.9 per cent, or 2.4 bu/ac (0.15 MT/ha) lower than the latest USDA mark of 48.5 bu/ac (3.04 MT/ha).

One key observation from the tour was the maturity of the corn crop. Many scouts put it up to three weeks behind the average for this time of the year in the regions worst affected by the delayed sowing. The eastern reaches of the corn belt were the worst affected, but the crop certainly improved in quality and maturity as the tour moved west.
The forecast for cooler weather in coming weeks will slow the maturity of the crop even more. With autumn fast approaching, the days are getting shorter, and the average daily temperatures are on the decline. This raises the concern of early frosts and the potential impact on final yields.

Here in Australia, spring is almost upon us. As the days get longer and average day temperatures increase the evapotranspiration rate of each plant rises significantly, increasing moisture demand of the maturing crop. The possibility of frost also becomes a significant production risk as the crop moves into its reproductive phase.

Rainfall last week has continued the hand-to-mouth pattern evident across most of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia this season. The falls were generally less than 10mm with most of the more marginal cropping regions receiving less than 5mm. New South Wales didn’t fare as well with some minor falls limited to districts south of the Murrumbidgee River. Central New South Wales, northern New South Wales and all of the Queensland cropping areas received absolutely nothing.

Victoria is the pick of the states at the moment, with forecasts suggesting average to slightly above average production. All but the north-west corner has received at least 25mm of rainfall so far this month. That said, the picture is not uniform across the entire state. There are parts of the Western Districts that are too wet and conversely a significant portion of the Mallee is starting to struggle due to lack of in-crop rainfall.

In South Australia, it is also a tale of two stories. The South East, lower Mid-North, lower Yorke Peninsula and the lower Eyre Peninsula are all tracking along quite nicely, but the more northern production areas have only been catching the edge of each change and have been struggling for almost the entire season.
Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) released their latest crop estimates last week with the wheat crop currently estimated at 4.8MMT and barley at 2.2MMT. This would appear to be extremely optimistic based on the current state of the crop.

In Western Australia, most grain growers are in the game but, overall, the crop is running around three weeks behind average. The crop went in on time, but most of it was dry sown. The break didn’t come until late in the first week of June, so germination was delayed accordingly. Canola appears to have lost the most potential with poor germination in many paddocks and flowering running very late, especially in the Kwinana and Geraldton zones.

Southern New South Wales is starting to feel the pinch. Most of the crop south of a horizontal line through West Wyalong was planted, but rainfall registrations in most regions have been well below average through July and August. The crops in many areas are showing signs of stress and production potential is falling quickly.
Save for a few isolated areas, crop prospects in New South Wales north of that line are a disaster. Much of central and northern New South Wales have had less rainfall year-to-date than at the same time in 2018. Southern Queensland is no better. Less than 30 per cent of the crop was planted, and less than half of that still has some prospect of harvesting more than next years seed requirements, assuming adequate spring rainfall is forthcoming.

The big outlier across the entire country this year is the size of the area that will be cut for hay. In Western Australia, livestock producers have been forced to feed for a much longer period this year as the break came late and ensuing pasture growth was slow. Reserves have been depleted as a result and growers will be looking to restock.

The situation in the eastern states is far more dire. It was dry across all eastern states last year, and hay stocks were not replenished last spring. Back-to-back droughts in central and northern New South Wales and southern Queensland has sustained hay prices at extremely high levels for an unprecedented length of time.

For those doing the calculations, the high prices are certainly providing a significant incentive in many regions to minimise production risk by cutting their crops for hay rather than carrying through to harvest. This is especially the case where the crops are already under moisture stress and potential grain production is decreasing.

The entire Australian winter crop area is currently behind the eight ball in terms of year-to-date rainfall. While the drought area on the east coast is currently less than what it was last year, much lower production prospects in Western Australia and high demand for hay across the entire country means that above-average rainfall and a kind spring will be required to ensure that this season’s domestic winter crop production exceeds that of 2018/19.

Call your local Grain Brokers Australia representative on 1300 946 544 to discuss your grain marketing needs.

USDA WASDE Summary 12/12/16

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The latest USDA Report for December was released on Friday, and globally the USDA Report was overwhelmingly bearish across all commodities. However, the US ending stocks of the key commodities were kept unchanged despite expectations that they might have increased, which combined with fund buying led to a jump in most futures. Globally, wheat jumped a solid 6.5 million mt of which 4.7 million mt was in Australia at 33 million mt. Corn production was up in several countries but lower than expected US stocks supported prices overnight. Beans were also up solidly on the production side but it was almost matched by a similar increase in demand.  Overall, the report was more of the same with big crops so the market will likely digest it pretty quickly.

WHEAT           BEARISH

  • World production UP 5 million mt – key changes:
    • Australia UP 7 million mt to 33 million mt.
    • China UP 85 million mt.
    • EU UP 4 million mt.
    • Brazil UP 36 million mt.
  • Consumption UP 2 million mt (mainly in Australia, Russia and China).
  • Stock levels UP 9 million mt and stocks to use ratio UP 24 points to 34.08%.

BARLEY           SLIGHTLY BEARISH

  • World production UP 7 million mt – most in Australia and Canada.
  • World demand UP 3 million mt.
  • World stocks UP 28 million mt with stocks to use ratio UP 16 points to 15.85%.

CORN              BEARISH

  • World production UP 2 million mt – with key changes:
    • China UP 55 million mt.
    • Brazil UP 3 million mt.
    • Russia UP 1 million mt.
    • Canada UP 7 million mt.
    • Indonesia UP 6 million mt.
    • EU UP42 million mt.
  • World demand UP 7 million mt – mainly in the China and Indonesia.
  • World stocks UP 4 million mt – mainly in China and Brazil.
  • World stocks-to-use ratio UP by a 30 points to 21.65%.

SOYBEANS      BEARISH

  • World production UP 9 million mt – most of it in India and Canada.
  • World demand UP 9 million mt.
  • World stocks UP by a massive 1.3 million mt (in Argentina and India).
  • World stocks-to-use ratio UP 27 points to 28.85%.

USDA Summary – October

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OCTOBER USDA WASDE REPORT SUMMARY

USDA report mainly bullish grains and bearish oilseeds. Wheat saw another month of support with less production, more consumption and less stocks, whilst the USDA lifted the Australian wheat production by 0.8 million MT from last month (we believe they are 2 million MT on the high side for AUS).  Barley continue to get tighter every month in these reports, and this month was no exception with production down, consumption up and stocks down.  Globally corn saw lower production in the US and a better Brazilian crop could not help that. Stocks of corn are down 2.6 million MT this month. Beans were the most bearish with record US yields and higher global production by 2.8 million MT. Ending stocks jumped 5.1 million MT.

WHEAT             BULLISH

  • World production DOWN 4 million mt.
  • Biggest changes
    • Australia unexpectedly UP8 million mt. This should definitely change once harvest gets going.
    • Canada UP 1 million mt.
    • EU DOWN 2 million mt.
    • US DOWN 3 million mt.
  • Consumption UP Close to 1 million MT (US consumption down close to 2 million MT)
  • Stock levels DOWN 7 million MT and stocks to use ratio down 5 point to 33.76%

BARLEY             BULLISH

  • World production DOWN close to 1 million MT (mainly in Russia and EU)
  • World demand UP close to 0.5 million MT
  • World stocks DOWN 5 million MT with stocks to use ratio down a solid 32 points to 15.61%

CORN                BULLISH

  • World production DOWN close to 1 million MT (mainly EU and US whilst Brazil actually up 1 million MT)
  • US yields now forecast at 173.4 bu/acre
  • World demand DOWN 5 million MT – mainly in the EU and “Other” countries
  • World stocks DOWN 6 million MT
  • World stocks-to-use ratio DOWN 31 points to 21.28% (and US ending stocks projected to be down as well)

SOYBEANS        BEARISH

  • World production UP 8 million MT – (US up 1.8 million MT and Brazil up 1 million MT)
  • US yields up to 51.4 bu/acre
  • World demand DOWN 5 million MT
  • World stocks UP by a massive 5.1 million MT (in Argentina, Brazil and China)
  • World stocks-to-use ratio UP 185 points to 27.06%

September USDA Summary

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The USDA report was mostly bearish with a few surprises. Wheat took a good chunk out of ending stocks again by reducing EU, India and China down solidly (and Australia up).  USDA left US wheat ending stocks unchanged. Corn saw global production and ending stocks down, and in particular we saw US corn yields down from the August estimate which took a good chunk out of US production – most of it expected though so market did not react much. Beans saw the biggest surprise with US yields up well more than most traders expected – and a resulting 3.8 MMt increase in US production.

WHEAT             BULLISH – CBOT SRW DEC UP 5.80 USc/bu

  • World production for 16/17 UP 4MMt. EU (2.2MMt) & China (2MMt) both DOWN. Kazak (1.5MMt), Russia (7MMt) Aus (1MMt) India (2MMt) all UP.
  • World consumption UP 1MMt (Mostly India & Morocco.)
  • World stocks-to-use ratio DOWN again to 33.81%. (Fourth downward revision in a row).

BARLEY             BULLISH

  • World production DOWN 5MMt (Mainly EU & Russia).
  • World demand UP 13MMt.
  • World stocks DOWN25MMt.
  • World stocks-to-use ratio DOWN 19 points to 15.92%

CORN              NEUTRAL to BULLISH – CBOT Corn DEC DOWN 1.60 USc/bu.

  • World production DOWN 7MMt (Mostly China, U.S & EU)
  • World demand DOWN5MMt (Mostly U.S & EU).
  • World stocks DOWN4MMT.
  • World stocks-to-use ratio DOWN 12 points to 21.59%.

SOYBEANS        BEARISH – CBOT Soybeans NOV DOWN 16 USc/bu.

  • World production UP12MMt (Majority US which is UP 3.8MMt).
  • World demand DOWN1MMt.
  • World stocks UP9MMt.
  • Stocks-to-use ratio UP 42 points to 25.20%.

JUNE USDA WASDE REPORT SUMMARY

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Not a report full of surprises on Friday night, more just in line with expectations. Wheat saw big increases in production, but nothing that we didn’t know beforehand. HRW wheat also got a boost of production. Beans and Corn ending stocks cut in the US, but as global figures were cut less than expected, no real change there.

Wheat            Neutral to Bearish – CBOT SRW JUL Down 15c

  • World production for 16/17 up nearly 4 million mt, comprising mostly of the US, EU and Russia.
  • World consumption up 3.4mmt, mainly India, the EU and the US.
  • World stocks to use ratio down slightly to 36%

Barley                        Neutral to Bearish

  • World production up 3.1 million mt, mostly EU and Ukraine
  • World demand up 2.7mmt, mostly EU, Saudi Arabia and Iran
  • World stocks up .6mmt
  • World stocks to use ratio up slightly to 16.41%

Corn               Neutral to Bearish – CBOT Corn JUL Down 3c

  • World production up 0.7 million mt – All Mexico
  • US ending stocks below traders estimates
  • World demand up 1.2mmt – mostly US
  • World stocks down 2 million mt
  • World stocks-to-use ratio down to 20.25%

Soybeans        Neutral to Bullish – CBOT Soybeans JUL Up 1c

  • World production down 0.5mmt
  • World demand up 0.6mmt
  • World stocks down 2mmt
  • Stocks to use ratio down a considerable 72 points to 23.12%

Nic Sewell

Markets Find Support

Posted by | Grain Brokers Australia News, Misc | No Comments

Last week we saw the latest report from the USDA on global supply and demand. It focused on production and stocks as well as demand for grain and exports globally. Grain markets on a whole probably reacted a little more positively to the report than was expected with wheat corn and soy all making positive moves following the report and backed up by more positive gains during the week. A stronger Australian dollar and a basis that weakened recently has offset local prices though.

Northern Hemisphere weather markets are now starting to come into play with the wheat dormancy period starting earlier due to warmer and drier weather, leaving US winter wheat susceptible to a late freeze. Dry areas throughout the US may come under pressure and this threat along with damaging rain and hail recently in India’s Northern wheat growing areas have since aided the market. A quick snapshot of the latest USDA WASDE report as is most relevant to us here in Aus.

Wheat; a continuation of the recent bearish themes with an increase to stocks. Increases to the production forecast were made for Europe, China and the Black Sea, decreased in Brazil while notably a change to Aussie production decreased to 24.5mmt, finally. The market saw a decrease in US planted acres as a positive and was the main driver of Chicago markets in a US centric view on trading directly following the report.

Barley; again the report was not supportive of barley with supply up mainly in China and Russia. Global supply was increased 0.6mmt up from 145.16mmt to 145.83mmt. Demand was up by roughly the same figure. Stocks were increased from 23.6mmt to 24.2mmt.

Corn; bucked the trend and was slightly bullish. Chinese, Russian and US production was down by a combined 2mmt but the biggest drop came out of South Africa of 4mmt where the country has been gripped by drought. The market was most surprised by the cut to US corn yields however. Global supply decreased by 6mmt from 973.87mmt to 967.9mmt. Global demand was also decreased tempering the reports decrease to supply down 4mmt from 970mmt to 966mmt. Global stocks were decreased by close to 3mmt.

Soybeans; Beans were bullish with both greater consumption and forecast lower production. The reduction of US hectares was seen as key to reducing production overall by 1.4mmt. Global supply decreasing 1.1mmt overall, decreases to the US offset somewhat by increases to China production. Demand was increased by a healthy 1.85mmt form 270.86mmt to 272.7mmt.Stocks were decreased by 3.3mmt overall.

Tom Wake

Weekly Report 5/3/16

Posted by | Grain Brokers Australia News, Misc, Weekly Strategy Market Update | No Comments

BEANS/CANOLA

Chicago May-16 soybean prices increased 1% and settled at 863.6 US¢/bu on Friday, as the sharp rise in Brazilian Real hurts their export prospects, and also found support on the back of weather concerns in the US.

Chart 160305 WR1

Canola took a huge knock over the week with ICE Canola March 16 finishing at CA$452.3 up CA$4.5/t for the week.

Chart 160305 WR2

Although the international markets saw increases last week, there is still growing concerns that the South American crop could limit gains in the near term.

With the Brazilian Soybean harvest gathering momentum and 54% complete. Informa has increased the Brazilian soybean crop to 101.3 million mt up 800,000t from their previous estimate.

The Argentine soybean crop has benefited from the recent rainfall and the crop is now well into their flowering period and pod fill stages. Informa lowered the Argentine production by 1 million mt to 58 million mt.

COFCO estimate Chinese soybean imports could reach 83 million mt, due to improved margins on the pig production, This estimate is above the 80.5 million mt estimated by the USDA.

Chart 160305 WR3

To read the full report click the link below.

Weekly Report 16_03_04

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