Weekly Report Archives | Grain Brokers Australia

Tell ’em they’re dreamin’

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Grain Brokers Australia Weekly Market Report

by Peter McMeekin – 16th October, 2018

During the second week of each month of the year the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) release their World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates (WASDE). The report provides the USDA’s comprehensive forecasts of supply and demand for both US and global crops such as wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds and cotton.

In the days leading up to the report, the trade and speculators hypothesize about the numbers and position their trading books accordingly. In the days following the report the same people analyze the numbers, look for the holes (trading opportunities) and reposition accordingly.

There are two things for members to note about the monthly report. Invariably, there are surprises, and the USDA tends to be very slow to react to supply and demand changes outside of the US. When it comes to the rest of the world, it seems they are only concerned about being correct at the conclusion of the season rather than reflecting the production and consumption fluctuations within the season as they do with the US projections.

Take the Australian production numbers in last week’s report, for example. Wheat was decreased by only 1.5 million metric tonne (MMT) to 18.5MMT. Most of the domestic grain trade threw that number away more than a month ago and are probably around 16MMT, or lower today. Even that is possibly on the high side.

The Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA) released their latest crop report on Saturday and they have estimated wheat production at 8.15MMT, slashing almost 2MMT off their September estimate. That is a huge (maybe too huge) decrease and reflects the damage done by the late August and mid-September frosts and the extremely low rainfall in September – the most critical month for most regions.

Frosts and the dry September on the east coast have only added insult to injury for grain growers throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. With the decline in Victorian production in recent weeks combined with the huge area cut for hay, we expect that those three states will struggle to harvest more than 4MMT of wheat.

As South Australian members know, the state’s winter crop has not been immune to the issues that have beset the rest of the country in recent months, and harvest potential has suffered as a result. If we call wheat production in the Festival State 2.35MMT, and we believe the 20% drop in Western Australia, then that brings the total Australian production number to only 14.5MMT, 4MMT less than the USDA. That is scary!

Even scarier is that the USDA still has Australia in for 13MMT of wheat exports based on their optimistic production number and an unrealistically high carry in figure of 5.4MMT. The iconic Australian movie “The Castle” comes to mind here as we think Darryl Kerrigan would have a few words of wisdom in this situation.

The surprises continued on the barley front with the Australian production and export estimates left unchanged month-on-month at 7.8MMT and 5.8MMT respectively. Locally, most in the industry would have production in the region of 6MMT (with 60% of that in Western Australia) and exports around 3MMT.

The USDA’s optimistic Australian theme continued into oilseeds with the Australian canola crop predicted to be 2.9MMT. If the Western Australian crop is 1.3MMT, South Australia 0.3MMT and New South Wales and Victoria 0.6MMT combined, that comes to only 2.2MMT. There is a lot of pain in those numbers for the east coast crusher.

Rain in parts of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales over the past week has sorghum on the lips of many growers, traders and consumers. Whilst the falls have been quite patchy, and not enough to see a widescale plant at this stage, we are now seeing some of the gaps filled in, particularly on the inner Darling Downs.

We have to remember that rainfall in the summer cropping regions of Queensland and northern New South Wales has been well below average since the bumper crop in 2016. As result, the soil was bone dry and most regions would require at least 100mm to provide enough certainty for a large planting program.

That said, rain, after such a long dry spell, always brings optimism and sorghum growers will certainly be getting prepared to plant as soon as they have an adequate soil moisture profile. Undoubtedly, some will go early and take a punt on a portion of their area as the first sorghum off in the New Year will most likely command a premium.

Last week’s grain prices also reflected the change in the weather pattern, particularly in southern Queensland, the biggest feed grain demand region in Australia. Wheat and sorghum values delivered Darling Downs for March 2019 dropped around $15 to $450 and $370 respectively. Barley fell around $5 and is trading around $15 under wheat.

The size of the sorghum crop is the critical question here. At this stage in the season, production in the vicinity of 2MMT would be realistic. However, the rains need to continue, and they need to be far more widespread. If they haven’t arrived by mid-November, and some of the crop does not get planted, then production estimates will start to fall.

Consumer reaction will also be interesting. The Queensland feedlots have preferred wheat over sorghum for a number of years now, with the poultry sector the biggest sorghum consumer. High wheat prices and a substantial sorghum discount will certainly provide plenty of incentive to switch, as long as there is supply certainty for an extended period of time. The problem is, we are not remotely close to that scenario at this early stage in the northern wet season. Your broker will continue to keep you posted as consumers react.

Peter McMeekin is a consultant to Grain Brokers Australia. Call 1300 946 544 to discuss your grain marketing needs.

Weekly Report 9/5/16

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July-16 Chicago soybean futures made strong gains as the market was boosted by further confirmation of crop damage in Argentina. Settling at 1034.6 US¢/bu.

Chart 160509

Canola futures followed soybeans closing CA$510.5/t for the week.

Chart 160509 WR1

The fallout from flooding in Argentina continues to buoy soybean markets. Soybean prices gained following further confirmation of crop losses in Argentina and the US reported strong soybean export sales for the time of year.

An estimated 0.79Mha of Argentine soybeans have been lost due to the heavy rain in April according to the Buenos Aries Grain Exchange (BAGE). On top of earlier losses of 0.75Mha caused by previous weather issues, over 7% of the planted area has now been lost. Though BAGE maintained its output forecast at 56Mt, the latest report did not rule out further adjustments, with quality and harvest concerns affecting a further 0.7Mha.

Drier weather last week allowed the Argentine soybean harvest to progress, with 42% of the area now harvested, up from 24% a week ago. However this is still behind the 69% complete a year ago (BAGE)

Canadian canola stocks were reported last week at 7.49 million mt, down 10% year on year, reflecting a smaller crop and positive exports. Planting of the 2016 crop is ahead of average in key provinces.

Chart 160509 WR2

Australian canola production could reach 3.3Mt in 2016/17. This would be 10% higher than the 2015/16 crop.

Chart 160509 WR3

To read the full report click the below link

Weekly Report 16_05_09

Weekly Report 26/4/16

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Wheat futures rallied last week, as funds extended technical short-covering and reports of firmer export demand helped futures to climb.

CBOT March 16 futures finished the week at 457 US¢/bu down 16.2 US¢/bu from the previous week.

After a period of dryness which provided support to US wheat futures, rains over the weekend and with more on the near horizon, has put pressure on prices.

The USDA released the first weekly crop progress report for 2016 – the report was bearish for wheat with 59% of US winter wheat crops were rated as in a good or excellent condition, well above last year’s 44% rating. The rating is the highest for this stage in the season since 2010, when 65% of crops were classed as being in a good/excellent condition. US spring wheat is now at 13% planted.

Early forecasts for the 2016 Russian and Ukrainian wheat crops have been released restating concerns for Black Sea production next season. However, these concerns alone do not appear to be large enough to be to have any real effect on pricing.

The Ukrainian state weather centre has reduced the crop forecast by 35% from 2015/16 at 17 million mt. This forecast is based on losing approx. 1 million ha of the winter wheat planted area due to insufficient snow cover over. UkrAgroConsult however are forecasting slightly higher production at 18.5 million mt due to favourable spring weather, this is still far below this season’s crop of 26.5 million mt

Russia has forecast their crop at 57 million mt from 62 million mt this season, a cold weather forecast is expected for April/May, and as a result some growers are expected to reduce the spring wheat area they sow.

US wheat was the cheapest in the latest Iraq tender at US$238/mt CNF (Aussie wheat offered at US$249.75/mt CNF and Canadian at higher levels still!).

To read the full report click the below link

Weekly Report 16_04_26

Weekly Report 8/4/16

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Unlike Wheat, Chicago May-16 corn futures closed up on the week. The increase is thought to be prices recovering from the previous week’s losses due to the USDA report release and poor US planting conditions.

Corn settled at 361.4 US¢/bu, up 10 US¢/bu for the week.

Chart160408 WR1

Argentina’s corn sowings for 2016/17 is forecast to increase to 4.2Mha in light of policy changes. The corn area is expected to have a year-on-year increase of 24%.

The change is due to farmers being more incentivised to plant corn, because of new policies and better returns. The changes in policy include the elimination of export taxes and limitations for corn and wheat. Also with better crop practices, i.e. Crop rotations after years of back to back plantings of soybeans and improved seed technology, yields are expected to be high.

Chart160408 WR2

Following on from last month’s announcement of China scrapping its 9 year corn stockpiling scheme, China’s ministry of agriculture is planning on reducing the area planted to corn by 3.3 million ha in favour of increased soybean plantings.

To read the full report click the below link.

Weekly Report 16_04_09

Weekly Report 2/4/16

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Wheat futures ended the month of March up, as dryness continues to build in the US southern states.

CBOT March 16 futures finished the week at 473.2US¢/bu up 10.2 US¢/bu from the previous week.Chart160402 WR1

Eyes continue to remain focused on the US weather. Parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas experienced low temperatures last week, raising concerns about potential damage to winter wheat crops. Conditions have also been drier than ideal, with incidence of drought increasing, 20% of Oklahoma was classed as experiencing some form of drought as at 29 March, up from 14% a week earlier Drier than usual conditions are also persisting in the northern spring wheat areas.

Chart160402 WR2

Last week the USDA released their prospective plantings report – This year’s total wheat area is estimated at 20.1 million ha, below the lowest trade and represents a 46 year low. The decline in the US wheat area has been driven by drops in both winter and spring wheat sowing – with spring plantings of 4.6 million ha, the lowest since 1972. The winter wheat area is expected to be 8% lower year-on-year (14.7 million ha).

French winter crops continue to be reported in good condition. Ratings as at 28 March are broadly comparable to 2015 and unchanged week-on-week for winter wheat at 92% rated good to excellent.

Russia is forecast to produce 61 million mt of wheat which would result in an export task of 23 million tonne and the Ukraine despite a rough start to their crop establishment in some regions is now forecast to produce a record 27.25 million tonne and to export a record 15.5 million tonne.

Chart160402 WR3

To read the full report click the below link.

Weekly Report 16_04_02

Weekly Report 12/3/16

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Chicago May-16 soybean rallied and settled at 889.2 US¢/bu on Friday, the sharp rise owing to strong soybean oil exports.

Chart 160316 WR1

Canola followed soybean over the week with ICE Canola March 16 finishing at CA$465.3 up CA$13/t for the week.

Chart 160316 WR2

Last week’s WASDE report saw US ending stocks at 12.5 million mt a 272,000t increase, on account of lower domestic demand. However on a global scale ending stocks were reduced to 79 million mt (still a record.)

The strength of the Brazilian real, as well as strong demand for US soybeans helped to support US soybean prices last week. On Friday, the Brazilian real rose to an over six month high against the dollar, reducing the relative competitiveness of Brazilian exports. A planned trucking strike in Brazil failed to materialize into anything meaningful. There were no reports of any disruptions. Another supporting factor has been delays faced by soybean shipments in Brazil, with ship line-ups of up to 57 days reported at southern Ports.

With Brazilian harvest now at 41% complete the Brazilian government crop supply agency Conab lifted its forecast for soybean production last week to a record 101.2Mt. The latest forecast is 250Kt higher than January’s forecast, on account of gains in area planted and yields.

Chart 160316 WR3

To read the full report please click the below link.

Weekly Report 16_03_12

Weekly Report 5/3/16

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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

Weekly Report 12/2/16

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The grain market was quiet on Friday, with the US market slowing down for the Presidents Day Holiday weekend.

CBOT March 16 futures finished the week lower at 457.2US¢/bu down 15.4 US¢/bu for the week.

Chart 160212 WR1

This week saw the release of a very bearish USDA report on Tuesday evening our time. The USDA added 6.8 million tonnes to global wheat ending stocks to a record 238.9 million tonnes. The increase in stocks mainly came from reduced demand from India and China. Wheat usage in China is estimated to be 4.7 million tonnes lower than January’s report as the governments internal economic food policies favour other grains. Global production was revised higher in Argentina (+0.5 million tonnes) and Ukraine (+0.3 million tonnes). Australian wheat remained unchanged in the report at 26 million tonnes – way too high!

Egypt tendered for wheat on Monday and received no offers to do uncertainty about quality restrictions. Egypt in an attempt to clear that up Egypt’s Supply Ministry and GASC have both confirmed that they will accept shipments with up to 0.05% of ergot, and reissued a tender and purchased one cargo of Romanian wheat at US$190.88/t (Cost and freight). It is reported that Bunge has launched legal proceedings to challenge the decision made by Egypt to reject the French Cargo.

India is predicted to harvest its smallest wheat crop in six years after two successive years of below-average monsoon rainfall. The Indian government estimate that Indian wheat production is at 93.8Mt. This figure is down from 95.9Mt last season (USDA) and below government targets of 94.8Mt. This potentially opens the door for wheat imports from Australia.

Attaché estimate, Canadian wheat plantings will fall to a 5 year low of 9.26 million hectares in 2016. This estimate is below the initial estimate from the International Grains Council which sits at 9.5 million hectares.

Russian Ukraine wheat crop at risk. Recent mild temperatures and rainfall has reduced snow cover across central and southern Russia and eastern Ukraine. With some regions of Ukraine are seeing problems of freezing with almost a third of the crops at risk. A close eye will be kept on what the weather does now as we enter that final period of winter as there are a couple of scenarios that could play out and result in elevated levels of winter kill this year.

Chart 160212 WR2

Chart 160212 WR3

To read the full report click the below link

Weekly Report 16_02_12

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