Category: Corn

14 May 2021

Ag Market Update: May 7-14

Corn finally had a day with a major pullback as it tested the new expanded limits on Thursday. This move comes after a slightly bearish crop report along with a lackluster trade following it. After the impressive run to this point it makes sense why speculators would take profits and hedgers would begin to manage their risk for this year as we begin to get better picture from the planting starts data. For the bulls, much of Brazil’s safrinha crop will go another 10-14 days without rain continuing to stress the crop. This week the US’ corn crop was seen as being 67% planted with more progress being made thanks to favorable weather. How the week finishes will be important for the bulls and bears to keep momentum on their side. In this week’s USDA report the 21/22 US ending stocks came in at 1.507 billion bushels (estimates were around 1.36 billion) and world 21/22 ending stocks at 292.3 million metric tons. The USDA and WASDE think demand rationing is coming as it cut US exports and increased ending stocks despite a record export and shipping pace.

Via Barchart

 

 

Soybeans, despite the big losses suffered on Thursday, finished the week above where they were last week. Beans were down over 80 cents at one point during trading on Thursday before large end user demand rallied prices 30 cents of the lows to show some support. We knew that expanding the daily limits would allow for more volatility but that does not make what has happened this week any easier to get comfortable with. In this week’s USDA report the 21/22 US ending stocks came in at 140 million bushels, slightly above estimates, with world ending stocks coming in at 91.1 million metric tonnes. The 20/21 US bean stocks were 120 million bushels, by starting at 140 million bushels there is not much room for error to be adjusted down without being tight on ending stocks. To finish at these levels export cuts are expected to come in.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow was down on the week along with other major averages as a correction has hit the market this week. The Nasdaq, S&P 500, and Russell 2000 were all down along with the DOW this week showing widespread market weakness and selling hitting all sectors.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out our recent podcast with Dr. Greg Willoughby: We’re talking with Greg in the new episode about being a “plant doctor”, weather patterns, GMO & organic produce, crop history, technical advances, level 201 education on agronomy, the agronomy equation, Helena Agri, soil biology, American v European agriculture, Greg’s early background in livestock, and the advancement of native plants to modern produce.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

Other News

A major bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis, TN was shut down this week for traffic both over and under it as a major crack/break in the structure was discovered. This backed up hundreds of barges in the Mississippi with no alternate route until it reopened Friday morning.

The CDC announced this week that vaccinated Americans can go about most activities without having to wear a mask or social distance in a welcome announcement for people who have been wanting to get back out and about like normal times.

The Colonial Pipeline hack had many Americans scrambling desperately to fill up their cars and spare tanks, because if there is one thing Americans are great at it is over reacting. The hack caused a disruption in the distribution to many states but was opened back up after only a couple days but the shortages will persist for a little bit of time in some areas.

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows this week’s drought conditions across the US. Some areas have gotten rain this week that will help relieve some of the areas highlighted below.

Via Barchart.com

 

 

07 May 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: MAY 1-7


Corn continued it’s hot run this month with a great week in both old crop and new crop prices. As Brazil’s safrinha crop keeps facing a dry outlook, pressure is mounting on the US to produce a great crop to fulfill world demand. The US forecast is turning wetter for many major growing areas but remains cool for this time of year. The cool weather is not ideal for early growth, but the rain will be welcome in areas facing drought conditions (see map at bottom). There is a rumor of more Chinese interest in new crop which helped propel old crop to end the week. Despite poor exports this week, this news, along with South America’s troubles, have been the market moving news this week. The US corn crop is seen at 44% planted at the start of the week beginning May 3.

Via Barchart

 


Soybeans followed Corn this week as they also saw strong gains. China’s ASF news has slowed as of late which is good for export expectations to China. The world demand has continued to be strong and helpful to prices in both South America and the US, while US beans remain competitive in the world market even at these levels. The recent wet and colder weather across much of the US is not expected to cause any issues for the soybean crop except maybe pushing planting back in some areas where farmers also must wait to plant corn. 25% of the US soybean crop is seen as being planted for the week beginning May 3.

Via Barchart

 


The big question right now: What is going on with cotton? Cotton has not enjoyed in the rally in 2021 that other commodities have. The demand has been there, but there are already worries about the 2021 cotton crop. Normally these are a recipe for higher prices, right? The fundamentals would agree as higher comparative prices for other commodities may take away some cotton acres by the end of planting season. The technical side has been cotton’s enemy as of late as they have not been able to make new contract highs, unlike the grains. The world shipping bottleneck does not appear to be getting any better and as the US continues to come out of lockdowns along with other countries demand will only make it worse. This problem needs to be solved sooner rather than later.

Via Barchart

 


Dow Jones
The Dow was up this week while other indexes were mixed with the Nasdaq and Russel falling. As earnings continue to be reported many of the winners of the last year have posted strong quarters but it appears the momentum behind them have slowed as good earnings have sometimes been followed by selling.

Lumber
Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast
Check out or recent podcasts with guests Elaine Kub and Kyle Little. Elaine and Jeff discuss grain markets and trading grains while Kyle helps give insight into the Lumber markets and what has been going on.

Listen with Kyle:

Listen now with Elaine

CME
CME Group announced this week that it will not re-open its trading pits that were closed last March at the start of the pandemic. The Eurodollar Options pit will remain open. See the full press release here.

US Drought Monitor
The map below shows the current drought conditions throughout the US as planting continues across the country.

 

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com

 

 

30 Apr 2021

AG Market Update: April 24-30

Volatility was the name of the game this week as many days saw wide trading ranges on both sides of unchanged. Looking at the chart below you can just how wide ranges the last few days have been.  Despite the volatlity, the May contract settled squarely within the range as of Thursday.  This volatility came about as we’ve faced a short squeeze on the front month May contract.  Coming into the week, there were nearly 200,000 open contracts, as of this morning there are only 12,500 – presumably many were on the short side and needed to cover.

Regardless of what has caused the rally – higher prices is GREAT for the American Farmer!

For the July contract and new crop Dec, the markets followed the May higher this week and most April as South America’s struggles with drought conditions begin to be seen in yield estimates.  Any rain after May 10th probably won’t be able to add must help this late in the game. As expected, exports were good this week but that has become the new normal. The epanded limits coming next week along with higher prices means we should probably expect volatility to hang around.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had small gains on the week as they also traded in wide ranges in the May contract in addition to future months. The short squeeze has end users scrambling with physical delivery coming up. Along with beans rallying, we have seen basis improve in many areas as buyers try get what is left out of farmers bins. A growing consensus among traders is that continued strong US cash bids indicate that the stock numbers are lower than the USDA reports.  Will the USDA adjust in the June report is a major question?  Bean meal and oil have also rallied in the past couple weeks aiding to soybeans rise. The fundamental news around the market was less in focus this week with the May contract expiration causing for most of the volatility.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow was up slightly on the week as more news about reopenings continue to roll in and President Biden gave his first speech to Congress. Vaccination rates continue to be strong in many cities and New York City announced this week they will lift all restrictions for reopening July 1st.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

Podcast

Check out or recent podcasts with guests Elaine Kub and Kyle Little. Elaine and Jeff discuss grain markets and trading grains while Kyle helps give insight into the Lumber markets and what has been going on.

https://rcmagservices.com/the-hedged-edge/

 

Other News

On Monday, daily trading limits will expand for our major markets with corn increased from 25 cents to 40 cents, beans from 70 to $1.00 and wheat from 40 to 45.  The CBOT is not tipping their hand that they expect volatility this summer, the daily limit increases are largely due to the high prices to keep daily ranges in line with historic percentages of price.

 

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows what areas are currently experiencing drought conditions across the US. Not much changed from last week. The rains in Texas will help alleviate some dryness in the area but will not solve their moisture issues. Some dryness has crept into Illinois and Indiana but nothing to worry about right now.

 

Weekly prices

Via Barchart.com

23 Apr 2021

Ag Markets Update: April 17 – 23

Off to the races? Corn was limit up Thursday as prices for May corn topped $6.50 for the first time since 2013 continuing its impressive weekly run. The May option expiration occurring Friday has traders scrambling to cover short call option positions by buying futures and positioning themselves for next week’s first notice day. As we have been seeing in the cash market for a while with improving basis, it seems the futures market is catching up and realizing the market needs corn and it needs it now. Any farmers with old crop remaining has the cards in their hands looking to get prices high enough for them to make any sales. The cold weather/snow across much of the country this week is not expected to cause many issues except delaying planting a little longer in some areas as we wait for soil temperatures to get back up. Brazil’s dry outlook has not changed and will continue to put stress on a crop that does not need anymore problems. Continue to monitor the dryness in South America as problems there will transition to gains in our new crop markets as the world will need the US to produce a large crop.

Via Barchart

 

Soybeans gained on the week as they followed corn for similar reasons. The South American weather issues will not effect the soybean market like corn but as we have seen good news for one has been good news for the other. The may option expiration came into play as beans saw a strong rise on Thursday even though they were not limit up. Exports this week were nothing to write home about but still within expectations and well ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA estimates. With world demand high, the US needs to have a great crop to meet it and not cause issues in the world pipeline. As volume begins to pick up in the November contract it will be important to have a plan for marketing your crop this year as volatility is always around.

Via Barchart

 

Cotton did not enjoy the rally the grains had this week as they continue to trail the other markets in price competitiveness. Weekly exports are expected to decline going forward, not from a lack of demand, but from a lack of supply left in the US, which should be seen as bullish despite lower export numbers appearing bearish. The big head scratcher is why cotton prices are lagging the grain market so much when prices need to be competitive just to get all the acres in the ground. With corn and soybeans taking their next leg up this week, December cotton equivalent price should be about $1.11 vs. the current $.84. What is needed to get to this level? We could see what is currently playing out in the grain markets on option expiration causing a big boost when the next one comes up, but cotton needs a boost to get it all in the ground.

Via Barchart

 

Dow Jones

The Dow had been trading fairly evenly on the week with some down and up days until Thursday’s losses following the Biden administration stating their plans to increase the capital gains tax to over 40% for high earners. A number that high will face headwinds from the house and senate and is unlikely to come to fruition but the Biden administration did campaign on raising those and a raise should be expected.

Lumber

Check out our recent post about the lumber market and what all has been going on.

 

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows what areas are currently experiencing drought conditions across the US. Not much changed from last week.

 

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com

 

19 Apr 2021

Ag Markets Updates: April 10-16

Corn had a good week as we reach new contract highs in May for old crop. As you can see in the 1 year chart below after trading in the $5.30-$5.60 range for a couple months corn has seen a strong response since the Projected Plantings report came out. The export numbers this week were not great, yet corn was still able to post a positive day following the report as the number was still 10 million bushels above the weekly total needed to meet USDA estimates. Analysts are expecting Brazil’s safrinha crop to potentially lose 5 million metric tonnes due to the late planting and stress from the drought conditions that have been present for a while. Ethanol stocks are the lowest mid-April they have been since 2014 showing that demand has ramped back up as re-openings continue. Some corn planting has started in areas across the country but this week’s cold weather will bring it to a stop as many areas will have to wait for it to warm back up to continue planting.

Via Barchart                                                               

Soybeans saw small gains on the week, but for the most part it was a quiet week for beans after a slight dip then gains. The news in the market around soybeans has been limited which is why the corn and bean chart are starting to look different. The cold weather that will delay/pause planting in some areas will not have much, if any, effect on soybean planting as they usually begin later anyway. Beans are now well off their contract highs for old crop and until we get back to those levels do not expect any strengthening look from the charts. Soybean’s will continue to move with exports and if anything crazy happens in South America but will probably slowly follow corn just how corn followed soybeans until now for the short term.

Via Barchart      

Cotton continues its rebound from the recent lows as world demand continues to increase and consumer spending rebounds. The dollar has also weakened recently supporting commodities as well. Retail sales for the month of March were reported this week climbing 9.8% as stimulus checks were spent and consumers get back out in the market. With cotton prices where they are compared to other crops many farmers are stuck with a difficult decision on which to plant. In some cases, farmers in areas such as west Texas, currently suffering from bad drought conditions, may elect to plant sorghum (milo) as a cheaper to produce alternative that has a much wider planting window. The drought conditions are a problem (see map below) in many areas, but when 40% of the cotton crop is expected to be planted in Texas the supply and demand story come the fall comes into play.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow gained on the week despite the news that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution will be put on hold after 6 cases of a rare blood clot after giving out over 7 million doses. The reopening strength has still been playing in the markets as many consumers are out and about again after receiving stimulus checks.

Lumber

In case you have not been paying attention to it, lumber prices have been high for a while now but continue to climb. In the cash market any wood that is for sale is bought immediately and this is also being reflected in the futures market with it now trading over $1,200. This plays out in the cost to build houses in a real estate market that has been hot the last year in the US despite the pandemic.

US Drought Monitor

The map below shows what areas of the US are currently suffering from drought conditions and as you can see it is widespread. As planting begins in many areas some areas will be delayed as they wait for a good rain to help them get in the field. The drought in Texas will have the biggest effect on Cotton as over 40% of the US cotton crop is expected to be planted there.

Weekly Prices

09 Apr 2021

AG MARKET UPDATES: APRIL 3 – 9


The grains have started to separate themselves from each other as they begin to have their own trades tied to the US growing season coming into view. After last week’s plantings intention report, corn had a couple down days but has climbed back to the post report level heading into Friday’s USDA April report. Corn’s exports this week were better than expected along with news that China may buy up to 80 million bushels into late summer (bullish news for old crop corn). Basis is showing us that supplies are tightening despite the lagging data from the USDA stocks report.   Even if Friday’s report does not show this expected change, will the market believe the USDA or the cash market? Brazil’s safrinha crop is under stress as it continues to be dry with no immediate relief which is expected to cause even more damage to a crop that has had its issues coming down the home stretch. Brazil’s corn production according to this week’s CONAB report is still expected to be a record 4.29 billion bushels despite the stress. The US forecast is dry in many areas as early planting looks to be available across multiple regions.

Via Barchart

 


Soybeans had a tough week following last week’s rally post acreage announcement. World vegetable oil prices have been falling and have pulled beans down with it. The markets are trying to figure out how to price beans.  ASF in China is still a problem while world demand continues to rise outside of hog feed. US consumer demand coming out of Covid-19 lockdowns has been supportive to bean prices, despite the reopening issues in other parts of the world. Looking at new crop beans, they continue the slow climb higher, as the US crop is expected to play a major role in meeting the post lockdown demand towards the end of 2021. The USDA report on Friday will show the updated stocks and, like corn, soybean demand should be higher than the last report based off continued exports since the last report.

Via Barchart

 

Dow Jones
The Dow gained on the week as interest rate anxiety is calming down and funds reposition themselves away from tech and into more cyclical sectors following tech’s run to end 2020. The Biden administration announced their plan for a $2+ trillion-dollar infrastructure plan this week that covers many different areas. Investors will keep their eye on the implementation of the plan and what sectors will be the best benefactors.

Basis
Cash basis levels in many areas continue to move higher even on days when futures prices rally. The cash market is reminding us that demand is still strong and many farmers have sold most of their old crop, so finding corn and beans is not as easy since farmers have sold with the rally of the last several months.

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com

 

 

07 Apr 2021

Mastering the Grain Markets with the Grain Market Master Elaine Kub

If you’ve taken an ag econ class, been in the industry on the producer or investor side, or just have a general interest in the ag space, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across Mastering the Grain Markets by Elaine Kub. It’s the perfect intro to understanding ways that could help you make money trading grain, and we’re lucky to be joined by the author herself to talk about her books, designer contracts, crop opportunities, market outlook, what the next “game changers” in the ag business are going to be and more.

 

Listen to the entire episode on your preferred platform:

 

 

Follow Elaine on Twitter, and buy her book Mastering the Grain Markets here.

And last but not least, don’t forget to subscribe to The Hedged Edge on your preferred platform, and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Disclaimer: This podcast is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, business, or tax advice. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of RCM Ag Services, their affiliates, or companies featured. Due to industry regulations, participants on this podcast are instructed not to make specific trade recommendations, nor reference past or potential profits. And listeners are reminded that managed futures, commodity trading, and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors. For more information, visit www.rcmalternatives.com/disclaimer

 

05 Apr 2021

March 2021 Quarterly Stocks and Planting Intentions Report: The Hedged Edge

The USDA came out with a bullish report???!!!! It’s fair to say that many in the industry (us included) were left speechless. We know that 2020 was a crazy ride for commodities, but it looks like we may be in for an even WILDER ride on the opposite end for 2021. To discuss this bullish report, we’re joined by our two favorite RCM Ag Services Cotton and Grain experts, Jody Lawrence and Ron Lawson, to discuss how this recent report is bound to affect the markets/insurance premiums/loan opportunities and much more in the coming months.

Find the full episode links for The Derivative below:

 

And last but not least, don’t forget to subscribe to The Hedged Edge on your preferred platform, and follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Disclaimer: This podcast is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, business, or tax advice. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of RCM Alternatives, their affiliates, or companies featured. Due to industry regulations, participants on this podcast are instructed not to make specific trade recommendations, nor reference past or potential profits. And listeners are reminded that managed futures, commodity trading, and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors. For more information, visit www.rcmalternatives.com/disclaimer

01 Apr 2021

Ag Market Updates: March 27 – April 1

Watch our corn and grain experts talk through this new report in our podcast The Hedged Edge. Or you can continue on below and read our analysis on the corn, soybean, and wheat markets.

 

 

The USDA coming out with a bullish report? 2021 is due to have some crazy things happen after how 2020 went. The Prospective Plantings Report that came out this week pegged the US corn crop at 91.144 million acres when the average trade estimate was 93.208 million acres. The USDA lowered their numbers from the USDA Ag Forum earlier in the year that projected 92 million acres. Along with the acreage coming in below expectations, the Stocks report was lowered from the March 1 number of 7.952 billion bushels to 7.701 billion. So, what does all this mean? It means that an already tight world supply has to meet the needs of a world coming out of a year of lockdowns where demand is expected to ramp back up to pre-pandemic levels. The US crop is always important in the world supply but any major weather issues in the US with this acreage could cause major issues in the world supply while also boosting prices. These numbers could still change as farmers can always decide to plant more but until the summer report of actual acres planted these will be the numbers to go off of.

Via Barchart

 

Soybeans, like corn, had a bullish report with prospective plantings coming in at 87.600 million acres. The average trade estimate was 89.996 million acres and the USDA Ag Forum had estimated it at 90 million acres. This led to a limit-up day following the report as the demand for beans is expected to continue to be strong as the world reopens and the US will need to meet that demand as South America did not blow their growing season out of the water. As we have continued to see the problems with ASF in China that is the current cloud still over this market even with the report. Even with the limit up move you can see in the chart below that it came after a long losing streak to get it back in the higher side of the range of the last 2 months. Thursday beans gave back a good chunk of their gains following the report as the market digests the report and all other information in the market right now. If this acreage number is accurate for the year and the crop isn’t trend line or better then prices should continue to be strong and go up from here. If there is a great growing season and the ASF outbreak in China gets out of control it could put some pressure on this market.

Via Barchart

 

The report for wheat came out bearish but was pulled up after the report by corn and beans. All wheat acres came in at 46.358 million acres when the average trade estimate had it at 44.971 million acres and the USDA Ag Forum had it at 45 million acres. Wheat appears to have taken some of the 1.4 million acres from corn and soybean estimates. The stocks came in above estimates to pushing more bearish news into the market. It will be interesting to see if this weekend’s freeze for the winter wheat areas changes some minds on abandoning acres. As you can see from the chart below wheat has had a more volatile run but is still much higher than it was over last summer despite the last few weeks of losses.

Via Barchart

 

Dow Jones

The Dow gained on the week as markets calm down following the spike in interest rates as their rise has slowed. President Biden rolled out his plan for over $2 trillion in infrastructure improvements this week and still has more spending plans to go. With the money that has been pumped into the economy through stimulus and reopening continuing in the US, there are many questions ahead but one thing we know is that Biden plans to raise taxes to help pay for these plans which will be important to pay attention to.

 

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com

 

 

26 Mar 2021

Ag Market Updates: March 20 – 26

Corn struggled to get any momentum going this week, despite having better than expected exports. Corn, like other commodities, has struggled as funds begin to reposition in a “rising interest rates” environment and a strengthening US dollar. There has not been any news out of South America that is either bullish or bearish for corn and it is likely to stay that way into next week. The prospective plantings report on Wednesday is  major and we expect the market news to be relatively calm as everyone holds their breath for next week. This report always has the potential to pull the rug out from under the market, so positioning yourself ahead of it will be important as well as considering some new crop sales as prices are still very good in case the report is bearish.

Via Barchart

 

Soybeans had slight gains on the week as they continue to trade in the same range of the last few weeks. Even though it looks like beans have flattened out on the chart, we are still about 50 cents better than we were on Feb 1st . So even though beans have slowed down compared to Aug-Jan, we still have seen a good last 2 months even if it looks like the momentum is slowing down. Exports were good again this week and there was little changed in the world weather outlook, so beans have been at the mercy of traders and not the fundamental news moving the markets. Wednesday’s report, like with all markets, will be an important measuring stick on beans as we see the acres as well. As it is expected, the USDA will lower ending stocks as exports continue to be strong and ahead of the USDA predicted pace. As always, the USDA can surprise everyone so be prepared for the unexpected and plan accordingly.

Via Barchart

The cotton market got hammered this week capped off by a limit-down movement on Thursday. The cotton market is being moved by the funds and quants as what we are seeing in all other markets is affecting cotton. The fundamental news about cotton is rather bullish as pressure continues to be put on the CCP and cotton coming out of Xinjiang. The exports this week were higher than anticipated as well as large sales going to Vietnam, China, and Turkey pushing cotton higher. With the acreage report next week it is expected that about 40% of the US cotton crop will be planted in West Texas (which is suffering from very bad drought conditions) which will affect planting unless there is a major shift in weather. Cotton will also likely lose some acres to other crops in areas that can grow variety as December soybean and corn prices are much more attractive. The increase in demand coming to the US market along with what could be a very challenging growing season for many areas could lead to a high demand low supply environment.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones
The Dow suffered some losses on the week as the markets leaked lower after a couple of weeks of gains. The vaccination problems in Europe mixed with uncertainty about rates continue to hover over the market. All major indexes were down this week with the Dow as all eyes turn to what the Biden administration has planned in their infrastructure and tax plan.

Prospective Plantings Report March 31st
This report will be a big market mover as it will set the tone for what we have to plan for in the year ahead. This report contains the expected plantings and last year’s harvest for principal crops and tobacco presented on a state basis. Principal crops are as follows: corn, all wheat, winter wheat, durum wheat, other spring wheat, oats, barley, flaxseed, cotton, rice, all sorghum, sweet potatoes, dry edible beans, soybeans, sunflower, peanuts, sugarbeets, canola, and proso millet.

Weekly Prices

Via Barchart.com