Category: Market Updates

14 Jan 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JANUARY 6 – 13

The USDA report was met with a mixed reaction on Wednesday as markets traded both higher and lower immediately following the report. Thursday brought on large selling though, as rain in the dryer parts of South America took the headlines after the USDA Report ultimately did not provide any major changes. The USDA did not change the U.S. yield for corn as it stayed at 177 BPA while raising total crop size to 15.115 billion bushels and 1.540 billion bushels for ending stocks. World stocks were lowered along with smaller yield numbers expected in South America. The rain will do little to alleviate the stress on the crop as more will be needed before we feel better about less yield loss. Several private estimates   believe the Brazil and Argentinian losses are larger than the USDA updated. However, there is still plenty of time before the crop comes out of the ground to rebound.

Via Barchart

Soybeans fell on the week for the same reasons as corn. The USDA Report was slightly more bearish for beans as they raised the U.S. yield 0.2 BPA to 51.4. They slightly increased total production and raised U.S. ending stocks by 10 million bushels to 350 million. A good amount was cut from World-ending stocks due to the issues in South America, but the market had already priced that in, if not more so than was reported. Exports were within expectations, so no surprises there. One wild card still out there is that China is $16 billion behind their Phase 1 trade agreement commitments. Obviously, not all of this is soybeans, but they are far off their soybean numbers. It is unlikely the Biden administration will press them to get to their commitments, but if South America’s troubles are worse than expected, they have to go buy them from somewhere.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow fell slightly on the week but bounced back off its lows from Monday. The markets are looking for direction following 4 days of loses straight. With repositioning for the year ahead and profit taking after a historic year the volatility could be around for a while.

Wheat

Wheat has taken it on the chin the last couple of weeks as you can see in the chart below. Wheat sold off following the other markets after the report. The drought in the winter wheat belt is concerning and if it does not improve, we should see prices move higher in the next month or two. The drought is not a big problem right now, but if it continues into February, it would be concerning. This week saw the lowest close in KC Wheat since October.

Via Barchart

Podcast

The 2021 U.S. grain crop has the potential to be one of the largest on record. Where did all the yield come from, what areas were the hardest hit, and why on God’s green earth are grain prices still so high?

Today, we are joined by several RCM Ag Services grain markets experts from around the country to catch up on a post-harvest update and share an outlook for production and marketing in each of their respective regions for the remainder of the 2021 marketing season and the upcoming 22 crops.

 

 

Via Barchart.com

12 Jan 2022

The Leonard Lumber Report: January 10

It’s hard to believe that this market has reentered the hyperbole dynamic we saw last year when the market lacked any restraint in upward pricing. The market bottomed on November 2nd at $606 and has gone straight up since. On Friday, the March contract made a new high of $1,250. That is a run of over 100% during the holidays. So, what are the issues causing these spikes? First is the massive contraction of this industry, creating a buy pattern that is out of balance. There are fewer players in the pipeline, making it consistently tight. The other is the new two-week to 30-day pricing that keeps everyone in the market almost daily. A quick summary of today’s dynamic is that when demand is good, there is a constant need to buy, and when demand slows, there is no need to buy under the current model. We started with the latter this time.

The need to buy throughout the 3rd quarter dropped nearly 60%. The new model of only buying when needed and only buying an item that will ship caught the market short. The previous models always had a buying program in place as prices fell, and these guys don’t. If the market slowly turns, there should be enough inventory at the mill side to keep costs balanced. As we saw in November, the slowing of production and shipment issues caused a bottleneck overnight. The market now needs to settle to ease the pressure on prices. 

Today, the issue in front of the industry is that they bought great at $700 then added to the pile at $1,000 but are still averaged well. The next time they step up to the trough price will be $1,200, which is off their charts for breakeven.

Let’s Get Technical: 

This type of market doesn’t relate well to momentum indicators. That said, March made a new contract high at $1,250 with an RSI of 76.70%. There is a lot of room to the upside. The math keeps bringing the value (volume) areas into focus. The two areas are $1,250 and $1,550. A good indicator on the last run was the Fib extensions. Today the 1.38% move in March is $1497. The technicals are building for a push to that level, and there isn’t much pushback from the trade. It will take a lot of energy to get there, so a pullback in some fashion would be efficient at this point of the cycle.

Weekly Round-Up: 

You heard it here first… Because of global economics, if this market goes up to the $1,500 level, it will take out the historic highs, and the momentum build-up will be too great to cool. So, there should be minor issues out there of prices going higher. If you asked us if we would buy it today, we’d say, “I wouldn’t buy it with all of Doug’s money.” You can’t discount the ease of producing this commodity. There is no fundamental cause for this commodity to be over $1,000, and we just have an incredibly inefficient marketplace today.

Open Interest and Commitment of Traders

https://www.cmegroup.com/daily_bulletin/current/Section23_Lumber_Options.pdf

https://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/deacmesf.htm

About The Leonard Report

The Leonard Lumber Report is a new column that focuses on the lumber futures market’s highs and lows and everything else in between. Our very own, Brian Leonard, risk analyst, will provide weekly commentary on the industry’s wood product sectors.

Before You Go…

The 2021 U.S. grain crop has the potential to be one of the largest on record. Where did all the yield come from, what areas were the hardest hit, and why on God’s green earth are grain prices still so high?

07 Jan 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: DECEMBER 29 – JANUARY 6

Happy New Year! Volatility has been the main storyline in the first week of 2022. There was enough surprise rainfall in the dry areas of South America to spook the markets right before the New Year before a slight bounce. This week’s ethanol production numbers were slightly below last week. Compared to the previous year, monthly ethanol production is running 9% over last year, but ethanol stocks are 8.3% below last year. Ethanol margins are still profitable as gas has rallied since Thanksgiving. The dryness and heat in Southern Brazil and Argentina remain in the forecast while northern Brazil continues to get too much rain. For reference, this time of the year in Argentina is the equivalent to June. If the forecasts prove true in the next couple of weeks, they will continue to stress the crop. Exports this week were nothing to write home about as the USDA described them as the “Marketing year low.” If South America’s crops continue to struggle, we could see an increase in exports, but the opposite could be true if the weather improves.

Via Barchart

Soybeans have experienced the same volatility as corn but remain at its highs, as seen in the chart below. The story is the same as corn being driven by weather problems in South America. Barchart estimated Brazilian soybean production at 137 million tonnes, with Argentina production at 45 million tonnes. The last USDA projection had 144 million tonnes in Brazil and 49.5 million tonnes in Argentina, showing that the private sector believes the crop has gotten worse and is trending in the wrong direction. The chart below is interesting because you can see the top at $14 this week and back in July. That will be an important number to close above to keep the momentum going.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow has had quite a volatile week following a week of the Santa Claus rally. The Fed may increase the rate at which they raise rates which worries some investors, but at this point with the Fed, many investors are waiting until they see the plan. As a new year starts, especially following the impressive year that was 2021, many investors try to predict the story for the year ahead. If we have learned to expect anything while Covid is in the markets, we can’t predict much for the year ahead.

Via Barchart

January USDA Report

The January USDA Report is Tuesday and should be a market mover. All eyes will be on the report as everyone positions themselves ahead. If the volatility of late shows up, it could be a big market mover.

Podcast

The 2021 U.S. grain crop has the potential to be one of the largest on record. Where did all the yield come from, what areas were the hardest hit, and why on God’s green earth are grain prices still so high?

Today, we are joined by several RCM Ag Services grain markets experts from around the country to catch up on a post-harvest update and share an outlook for production and marketing in each of their respective regions for the remainder of the 2021 marketing season and the upcoming 22 crops.

 

Via Barchart.com

05 Jan 2022

The Leonard Lumber Report: 2022 Outlook

What a year. The housing industry plowed through 2021 with record disruptions and record sales. Once a pipeline issue was resolved, another would pop up. We are coming into 2022 with a tight supply and high demand for this commodity. Big dollars continue to flow into the economy, and now a house has reappeared as a valuable asset. There is also roaring inflation which is a double-edged sword for this commodity. 

The fact is the housing market is exceptional, and lumber prices are trending higher. The positives are firmly in place, while the negatives will need a dramatic economic shift to come into play. The black swan could be rates or inflation or a greater covid blitz. In any case, it would have to be dramatic. Let us dive into the key factors controlling this industry. Our gut instinct is to rehash the past, and we’ll attempt not to bring up the obvious. 

2021 — Year in Review

We came into 2021 at a futures price of $870. While we saw $1,000 the year before, this was much too high for the industry. The refusal to buy put an industry, seeing increasing volume in construction, critically underbought. From there, a panic ensued, and the market went parabolic.

The biggest takeaway from 2021 is that the trade was willing to pay unheard-of prices for wood and passed along the cost. No price level slows buying, and there is no longer too high. What higher prices do is generate a greater supply at a quicker pace. When there is a disruption in the chain, prices go straight up. Today we are either in the middle of that cycle or near the end.  

Many would build a plan around the “bookends” of that year’s trade in the past. This is a critical drill for the industry in 2022. The need is to create a value area. We need to look at some of the economics out there to look at the value of this commodity.  

Housing starts average in 2021 was 1.586 million. The consensus is projecting a 1.6 number in 2022. That number could be far greater if there were the ability to build. As we said back in 2018, there is only so much capacity to go around. This year, many builders have chosen to scale back building plans so as not to get overextended. Others are adding numbers with lofty goals. Profitability drives their planning, and with the lack of availability still present, profits will stay high.  

Where should value sit at 1.6 million starts? 

The cost of production is skyrocketing in this industry as in all the rest. The last report showed wages up 9.2%. Yes, that is correct. That means the person who changes the oil in the logger’s truck to the people who do the final cleaning on the home before closing makes about 10% more. And that is if you can find a person to hire. 

In the United States, the average monthly job offerings number is around 6 million — The December 1st number was 11 million. The stat that shows the mood of labor is the “quit” rate. This is usually a sub 1% number, and it was a whopping 3% in November. 3% of workings are quitting. These numbers are unsustainable, but many of these costs will not come off. 

The best indicator today of the economic issue is the current inflation rate, and in November, it recorded 6.8% with an upward trajectory.  

All this is a result of flooding the system with cash. That is flooding a system that was already building strength, and that was not the case in 2009 when the economy was headed lower. We must remember that many funds are circulating in a small economic space today. At this point, it will have to inflate itself out of the problem, which will end the housing run. 

We talked earlier this year about how the housing market reacts to a cash-infused accelerating economy. With a better economy, expectations were for the first-time homebuyers to jump into the market after the “lost decade.” We have seen that increase, but more than expected went to the multi-sector. Under these dynamics, an increase in rates will not cause a slowdown in home buying. The norm has been about 38% of first-timers buying new homes, which is now closer to 20%. The troubling statistic is that the 38% group are investors. We do not need to review what happened the last time it was that high.  

Projection: 

Usually, most outlooks are a counter-trend analysis. Today we see only roses. This industry is highly complicated because of the various amounts of input at all levels. One factor could be bullish at one point and bearish at another. Today, we have numerous positive inputs that will lead to higher prices. At the same time, those factors have a shelf life. The tightness factors are slowing. Last year once those factors were finished, others crept into the equation. The next correction will indicate if that repeats or not. In the meantime, expect the 2021 swings again. It will also look remarkably familiar to the old-time seasonals that would make a top in the first quarter, do the sell in May and go away for the summer, followed by the fall buy starting the cycle all over again. 

2022 will show owning lumber products will be a sound investment. Also, owning some type of downside risk management will soften the blow of the wide swings, especially when it is down. It is no longer a “time the buy” market; it is an opportunistic buy market.     

About The Leonard Report

The Leonard Lumber Report is a new column that focuses on the lumber futures market’s highs and lows and everything else in between. Our very own, Brian Leonard, risk analyst, will provide weekly commentary on the industry’s wood product sectors.

Before You Go…

The 2021 U.S. grain crop has the potential to be one of the largest on record. Where did all the yield come from, what areas were the hardest hit, and why on God’s green earth are grain prices still so high?

 

30 Dec 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: DECEMBER 22 – 29

Corn continued its rally until it faced some selling on Tuesday. The dip on Tuesday should be expected when a market starts running this hot and people like to take their profits. The South American weather has not changed and remains hot and dry in southern Brazil and Argentina. Northern Brazil may have the opposite problem as they are expected to see heavy rains that could lead to flooding delaying the start of harvest in the region. The weekly ethanol grind was good again this week as we are 17 mbu above the weekly pace needed to meet the USDA’s corn used for ethanol projection. As Americans continue to travel despite the new wave of Omicron, we can expect an increase in corn use in the January USDA update. The air has not been let out of the market, despite what “the sky is falling” people said after Tuesday’s dip, as there is still a lot that can happen in the coming weeks and months.

Via Barchart

Soybeans saw a big boost the first trading day after Christmas as the weekend weather did nothing the alleviate the concerns for South America’s production. Beans saw the same profit-taking on Tuesday but are still seeing its best levels since August. The same factors affecting corn in South America have the same effect on soybeans. With inflation looking to continue into 2022, we could see higher values in many commodities along with grains. Rising world vegetable oil prices have helped beans during their run along with wide crush margins. As we said last week, corn and beans seem to be on the same boat for now unless something significant happens. Any unexpected rain to help the crop would probably result in a panic selloff as usual.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow had a good week as we have seen a good rally around Christmas and into the New Year’s holiday. The Omicron variant continues to rip through the U.S. and the world as events are canceled, and restrictions are placed back. With the rate of this new wave spreading, it will be interesting to see how long the rules stay if the virus runs its course faster than usual. The CDC changing the quarantine requirement from 10 to 5 days is also welcome news to the market as it appears we may be getting closer to fewer restrictions across the board and workers getting back quicker. At the close on Wednesday, the Dow is up over 19% for the year (wow!).

Podcast

The 2021 U.S. grain crop has the potential to be one of the largest on record. Where did all the yield come from, what areas were the hardest hit, and why on God’s green earth are grain prices still so high?

Today, we are joined by several RCM Ag Services grain markets experts from around the country to catch up on a post-harvest update and share an outlook for production and marketing in each of their respective regions for the remainder of the 2021 marketing season and the upcoming 22 crops.

 

 

Via Barchart.com

27 Dec 2021

The Leonard Lumber Report: A Quiet Holiday-Shortened Week

It was a quiet holiday-shortened week with the roll being the feature. The market broke $100 and rallied back $60 by the end of the session Thursday. All said the weakness in the market was only via futures, and the cash market held steady or gained for the week. 

The Christmas holiday keeps giving. Next week there are more holidays to contend with — that’s why we saw the big push before the Christmas week. The question is if the push was sufficient for a while or not. Surprisingly, the cash market demand remained in place last week, so this thing could be off to the races again once the holidays are over. It looks like the aggressive cash buying is to keep the flow going. That will start to ease at some point, but it’s a positive for today.

Let’s Get Technical:

To keep it simple, the market left a gap last week between 990.20 and 979.30. With another quiet week in front of us, we would look for a test of that area. The one caveat is that lumber is famous for leaving a gap partially filled. If that is the case, the 61.70% RSI gives the market a lot of room to go back to the $1,200 area. There are two possibilities next week. Either it back and fills the gap and then trades sideways, or it off to the races dragging cash up with it.

Weekly Round-Up: 

The entire market psyche is one of a trade that is range-bound and manageable. This one isn’t ready for that, and it feels like setting itself up for another run-up. Cash is still king but hedging up here is a must. 

Open Interest and Commitment of Traders:

https://www.cmegroup.com/daily_bulletin/current/Section23_Lumber_Options.pdf

https://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/other_lf.htm

About The Leonard Report

The Leonard Lumber Report is a new column that focuses on the lumber futures market’s highs and lows and everything else in between. Our very own, Brian Leonard, risk analyst, will provide weekly commentary on the industry’s wood product sectors.

Before You Go…

The 2021 U.S. grain crop has the potential to be one of the largest on record. Where did all the yield come from, what areas were the hardest hit, and why on God’s green earth are grain prices still so high?

23 Dec 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: DECEMBER 9 – 22

Since early December, corn has had a great run as South America’s dryness continues and delays planting in some areas. The corn crop is only about 60% planted in Argentina, which is the slowest pace on record for late December. Anything planted after January 10th will probably experience some yield drag. Their planting rate is on par with last year, but the weather has been far dryer and looks to continue going forward. As you can see in the chart below, March corn has rallied 90+ cents since early September. With continued strong basis and raises at prices, farmers have been given a gift but when the farmers choose to claim the gift and how long the gift stays available is another question. If Argentina and Brazil stay dry, this rally could continue, and we could retest the summer’s highs. Ethanol margins shrunk, and crude fell but remain at much higher than average levels, which will also support corn.

Via Barchart

Soybeans, like corn, have enjoyed a nice rally as South American weather issues cause some worry.  This week, Brazil’s bean crop had its production estimate lowered by 3 million metric tons by Parana’s crop analysis firm, Deral. While Brazil is still on pace to produce a record crop, it is not expected to be as large. They increased planting this year, so a larger crop is expected in Brazil, even with some headwinds.  The basis is holding steady around the country for beans as we head into the new year. Beans and corn are likely to move together leading up to the January USDA report.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow had a flat week and a half with volatility due to the Omicron variant having it all over the place with several large down days followed by a good bounce. The Omicron variant’s spread has been worrisome as restrictions start to come back into play in major cities. It will be important to keep an eye on this around the holidays as we also hope to see the “Santa Clause rally.” Senator Manchin also stopped President Biden’s BBB plan as he will not vote to approve it in its current form.

Podcast

Commodity prices have perpetually soared for the past year and continue to trend higher. We’re diving into the fertilizer forecast with a unique guest, Billy Dale Strader, a branch manager for Helena Agri-Enterprises in Russellville, KY., who is truly at the epicenter of the rising fertilizer prices.

Billy Dale planted his agriculture roots on his family-owned farm and has managed regional seed and chemical sales at Helena for the past decade. In this week’s pod, we tackle the big question for farmers and ultimately end-users — is the impact of higher-priced inputs, like seeds, chemicals, and fertilizer, on the supply and demand for the major U.S. crops? Listen or watch to find out!

 

 

Via Barchart.com

20 Dec 2021

The Leonard Lumber Report: The Three “C’s” of the Industry

Introducing the Three “C’s” of the Industry: 

The best way to recap the market is to look at its tone. To sum it up, we will introduce the 3 “C’s” or confusion, congestion, and consternation. We’ve heard repeatedly, “how could this have happened so fast?” The trade was not looking for an early start to the yearend run. It also believed that there was enough supply. That proved to be incorrect. Most of the supply issues are related to the congestion at transportation points caused by COVID and weather. Things are fluid but at a pace that allows shipping to stay fluid. That is not at a pace to fill in the needs. 

This leads us to the third “C,” or consternation. Concern and anxiety about future wood deliveries have trickled back into the marketplace. All have been caught in that nightmare this year and the nightmare that followed. Most are now working towards not being there again in 2022. So, we are ending the year with a more aggressive buy pattern than usual at a time when things are moving slow. 

The issue plaguing this industry is its overall weakness in defining value. At $600, 50% of the industry went hand to mouth. At $900, 80% of the industry is hand to mouth. There is no investment in between. The buy-side has to scale into the market as it falls, and that will take the volatility out of the market. Waiting for the bottom is not a business strategy. We think we are seeing more of that today, but after the fact. When everyone owns $1,200, it will be a long way down again. This commodity fits well between $650 and $750.

Let’s Get Technical:

There is a lot of noise between here and 1,000 in January. Trying to gauge the trend during the holidays is fruitless. We’ll say that January futures were up $20 for the week, but the RSI fell 13%. The market is technically very friendly, but trading during the quiet holidays with some big gaps below takes some enthusiasm away from the long side. The Fibonacci points below could be the range to finish out the year:

38% 929.80

50% 1079.00

61.8% 1228.20

 Weekly Round-Up:

This push higher had a lot of energy, and in this industry, the earlier the energy, the quicker the end. We think this market needs to cool some for the holidays, but we, including Rick Santelli, Kramer, the Fed, and everyone else, have never been here before. Today the consumer is accepting higher prices as the norm. There isn’t any pushback; builders are paying up, multifamily guys are paying up, homebuyers are paying up. Next year, we have no actual data to track for possible outcomes. Buying futures here could be the best trade of 2022.

 Open Interest:

https://www.cmegroup.com/daily_bulletin/current/Section23_Lumber_Options.pdf

Commitment of Traders:

 https://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/other_lf.htm

03 Dec 2021

AG MARKET UPDATE: NOVEMBER 18 – DECEMBER 2

Volatility was the name of the game this week as every market experienced it from, grains to equities. Corn partook in the excitement, as you can see from the chart below. Important to note is following the small rally in the past couple of days to get back to the levels we saw before Thanksgiving. Wheat was a big winner Thursday and pulled corn with it on the intensifying issues with Russia and Ukraine. If wheat rallies, expect it to pull corn with it even on limited corn news. The La Nina pattern continues to form in South America as southern Brazil remains dry, and forecasts have that continuing. Another non-corn-specific factor to keep an eye on will be energy prices, as ethanol production will depend on how the omicron variant will/could affect US travel into the winter and holiday season.

Via Barchart

Soybeans, like corn, saw a bounce the last couple of days to get back to close to the range we were in pre-Thanksgiving. The bounce has brought us back in the range we were trading for most of October, which seems like a good place for the market to hang around when there is a lack of news. Exports continued but were on the lower end of expectations this week, while soybean meal and oil were as expected. If beans could close this week over the 20-day moving average, that would be supportive for bulls who are looking for good news. As harvest is wrapped up, all eyes turn to South American weather and their crops this year.

Via Barchart

Crude oil has sank following the Thanksgiving holiday as concern over the new Omicron variant, and its impact on demand hit the market. While these concerns are valid as much is still unknown, the largest problem that seems immediate to demand will be air travel and international travel causing, less jet fuel demand. As of right now, it does not appear to be worrying many Americans, but as more cases are found, we will see how it will affect demand. OPEC+ countries also announced they might cut output if demand falls due to the virus, leading prices back higher.

Natural Gas prices have also faltered this week as a warmer U.S. winter is expected to occur, requiring less NG for heating. Diesel prices have also fallen a lot this week following the Omicron variant news and presents farmers with an opportunity to hedge their fuel needs for next year.

Via Barchart

Dow Jones

The Dow experienced a lot of volatility this week as news of the Omicron variant in the U.S. and more places worldwide spooked some investors. The reports are that it only has caused mild symptoms, which is good, but the reaction was not of fear of the virus itself but how the governments will respond with potential lockdowns and travel bans soon. On Thursday, the strong bounce-back shows that investors are still eager to get in the market, so any large pullbacks will be met with buying if it is seen as a jerk reaction, but any longer lasting weakness could be seen as a correction. The down-trend of the last week has made some investors worried and moved some to the sidelines while we see what happens. Powell will stay as head of the Fed and said they might start tapering and raising interest rates sooner rather than later as inflation does not appear to be transitory.

Via Barchart

Podcast

For the past year, commodity prices have perpetually soared and continue to trend higher. We’re diving into the fertilizer forecast with a unique guest, Billy Dale Strader, a branch manager for Helena Agri-Enterprises in Russellville, KY., who is truly at the epicenter of the rising fertilizer prices.

Billy Dale planted his agriculture roots on his family-owned farm and has managed regional seed and chemical sales at Helena for the past decade. In this week’s pod, we tackle the big question for farmers and ultimately end-users — is the impact of higher-priced inputs, like seeds, chemicals, and fertilizer, on the supply and demand for the major U.S. crops? Listen or watch to find out!

 

 

Via Barchart.com

29 Nov 2021

THE LEONARD LUMBER REPORT: Futures Were Off $35.70 for the Week

Futures Were Off $35.70 for the Week

The weeks are starting to look the same. Each one has numerous undefined potential threats. Unlike most commodities, this industry has so many working parts that it is hard to rank them from least to most. Let’s look at a few. 

The futures market continues to act top heavy every time it breaks through the $800 mark. A combination of speculative profit-taking and basis trades weigh on the run. Most of last week saw a positive market as the BC shipping issues grew. But the COVID talk on Friday changed the focus from worries of undersupplied to concerns of being oversupplied. Unlike most other commodities, housing is affected more by stock market moves, so Friday was tough. 

The Facts are in Front of Us

The facts in front of us are that business is excellent, but shipping has slowed. What we are having an issue with is the value of the commodity. If the marketplace stays at 1.6 and shipping remains at a slower pace, then most would agree that the high end of the cash trade is around the $700 mark, and with a typical $100 premium, the futures will be sitting at $800. If supply starts to move freely, cash could rest around $550 and futures closer to $600. This is a fair analysis and would challenge others to set it up differently. 

The Sleeper Out There is the Industry’s Psyche 

In the futures market, 70% of the industry was bearish back at $500. Today 80 to 90% are bearish at $800. That big negative push keeps the market underbought. Monday, the focus will be on any potential COVID disruptions. Tuesday, we should be back to transportation issues.

Let’s Get Technical:

The futures market is forming a volume area in the mid $ 700’s. If the market starts to rerun upside, that volume area measures up to the 38% retracement point of $924.85. If the market can get to the 38% mark — a good enough base was built, and the futures are on their way to the 61% mark of $1,225. That should be food for thought when developing a basis or general hedging strategy. Using calls would be prudent. On the other side, generally, if a market builds a volume area without a follow-through push, it is a very defined top to focus on. The overall structure of the recent trade in both cash and futures leads me to believe that the chart pattern is trying to build the top end of the trading range. 

Weekly Round-Up: 

The smartest strategy for those who need a product is to stay in front of it. Owning enough wood or having a derivative positioned for a run-up will keep you out of the middle of the noise. There is no way to navigate the issues thrown at us daily. The only way is to be proactive for those who like all the noise trade the spread. It’s a good buy -20 and a good sell +20. What I do see happening is that those in the middle will have a much harder time staying out of those whips back and forth. 

Open Interest and Commitment of Traders

https://www.cmegroup.com/daily_bulletin/current/Section23_Lumber_Options.pdf 

https://www.cftc.gov/dea/futures/other_lf.htm

About The Leonard Report

The Leonard Lumber Report is a new column that focuses on the lumber futures market’s highs and lows and everything else in between. Our very own, Brian Leonard, risk analyst, will provide weekly commentary on the industry’s wood product sectors.

Before You Go…

For the past year, commodity prices have perpetually soared and continue to trend higher. We’re diving into the fertilizer forecast with a unique guest, Billy Dale Strader, a branch manager for Helena Agri-Enterprises in Russellville, KY., who is truly at the epicenter of the rising fertilizer prices.