Category: Other News

04 Sep 2020

AG Market Update: August 29 – September 4

Corn saw slight loses on the week after trading in the low $3.60s despite strong export numbers and falling crop conditions. The crop conditions at this point usually fall as corn starts to get ready for harvest and lose its color as ratings come from looking at the fields rather than any testing. As China has continued to be a large buyer it looks like the market has factored in their purchases and will expect similar levels or purchases moving forward. The forecasts have some rain in much needed areas as we get closer to harvest to help hold on to what many expected to be a great crop a month ago but has seen stress as of late. Rain over the weekend is expected for much of the corn belt especially in areas of the WCB that have been the driest. Although the rain may be late to help out corn much it should give the beans in those areas help. Look for the trade to hold its breath and trade in the $3.50-$3.60 range as everyone holds their breath in anticipation of the USDA Report next Friday.

Soybeans continue its climb higher as exports continue to be huge. Despite a bearish change in the weather with widespread rain coming this weekend the demand continues to pull beans higher. The rain could be coming at just the right time in certain areas as yields can still be effected. One private yield estimate from StoneX pegged the US bean yield at 52.9 bushels. This would be a larger trend line yield but with the increased demand from China it would not crush prices moving forward. Keep an eye on other private estimates as we head into the USDA Report next Friday to hopefully get an idea what the USDA might come out with. Look for exports to continue their strong run as any pullback would hurt prices that have been drawing their strength from recently.

DOW Jones

After trading over 29,000 the Dow saw large losses on Thursday after a week of gains. After the large run-up the last few months the losses could be from profit taking or the start of a market correction but there is no way to tell after one day.

Vaccine News

The US Center for Disease Control announced that states should prepare for a potential vaccine on November 1st. This would be great news heading into the end of 2020 and also right before the election.

31 Jul 2020

Ag Markets Update: July 25 – 31

As weather across the country continues to be supportive for the crops corn prices have dropped. The past few weeks of timely rain and cooler temperatures has put a trend line or record national yield very much in view. From talking to farmers across the country many think this has potential to be one of their best crops and as great as that is everyone knows the larger the yields the lower the prices tend to be. With China well behind on their phase 1 trade agreement purchases, corn will need to get support elsewhere unless China decides to ramp up their purchases in the second half of 2020. Keep an eye on the flooding in China as they have lost over a million acres of farmland and will tighten their supplies. The higher crop conditions this week did not help prices either as they came as a surprise.

Soybeans and corn are in a similar situation where large yields are very much in play due to the weather of the past month and what looks to be coming. Soybean exports continue along at a good pace but nowhere near the Phase 1 agreement numbers that were expected. If China can ramp up their purchases in the coming months beans can get a boost that is unlikely to come without a weather problem. The good export news of late has been offset by good weather and higher expected yields which is frustrating seeing bullish news be uneventful for prices.

After a short term pull back from the near term highs markets bounced off a technical low and appear poised to give the highs another run.  Weather watchers will be tracking hurricane Isaias and it’s potential impact to the delta over the weekend.  In many cases the fear of hurricanes has been bigger than the actual punch.  In reality, following the storm days in advance does little good and is often a story of buy the rumor and sell the fact.  Look for prices to test the 65 cent level and be prepared to increase hedge protection above 63.50.

 

DOW Jones

The Dow continues its slight downtrend this week as Covid-19 cases remain high in many parts of the country. Despite good vaccine news coming out this week as several promising candidates move onto the next phase of trials, the Dow fell again. All eyes were on Capital Hill this week as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple’s CEOs were questioned by politicians looking at anti-trust issues. These were not huge market movers but something to keep an eye on as these companies have helped lead the charge up from the lows back in March along with other big tech companies.

Via Barchart.com

17 Jul 2020

Ag Markets Update: July 11 – 17

Despite one of the largest single export sales to China ever, prices for the week fell. After some welcome rains in the past week in areas that were dry, favorable outlook during pollination has the potential to help make this crop large. Ultimately, as yield potential continues to look high, big bumps in corn are looking slim unless there is a surprise in forecast changes or export sales. The crop conditions continue to look strong as you can see in the chart below. We are not near/at record conditions, but still have very strong numbers at this point in the year. A dip in condition would factor into price movement as well, but don’t don’t plan on that for a big boost towards the end of the month.


Soybeans had a flat week price-wise as steady sales continued to China and forecasts didn’t change too drastically. We started out the week with some prices drops, but a solid midweek bounce helped get back to flat as we head into the weekend. Look for any big forecast changes or unexpected purchases to be the only thing to move bean prices in the near future. As world demand has seen an uptick, the U.S. may find more buyers as South America has been so busy selling up to this point, they may have trouble fulfilling any additional large exports.

 

Large purchases from China gave Wheat a big boost halfway into the week. Wheat did have to give a good chunk of that boost back the following day due to a lack of confirmation on purchases, but any Chinese purchases at this point are beneficial to the markets as other Wheat growing countries are seeing lower yield numbers. As you can see below, markets are well off the lows that we set a few weeks back as Wheat has made a solid rebound. Just like with Soybeans, more confirmed purchases, or any purchases for that matter, would be beneficial to U.S. Wheat.

 

Dow Jones
The Dow saw positive numbers overall for the week with a few days of solid gains and small losses. Americans continue to keep their eyes on places that are reopening and spikes in major metropolitan areas. Retail spending was up +7.5% last month, but some experts think we may see that shrink as some states have rolled back their opening phases where cases have spiked. President Trump wants schools to open this fall as he sees that as a way to get more people back to work, so the rolling out of back-to-school plans be an important factor on the economy heading into election times.

02 Jul 2020

Ag Markets Update: June 27 – July 2

Corn finally got some positive news in the USDA report this week with planted acres coming in well below the March estimate and below the trade estimate. Planted acres came in 92.006 million which is about 5 million acres less than the estimate in March of 96.990 million. One thing of note from the USDA NASS Farm Labor survey that took place between May 30 and June 16, is that there was still 2.24 million acres of corn to be planted of the 92.006 million. This means that the acreage could still be lower if the entirety of that 2.24 million gets planted.  Even with the bullish acres news there was still some bearish news in the report when it came to the quarterly grain stocks report. Something that is also important to keep in mind that just because 92 million acres are planted does not mean there will be that many harvested. Even with a solid trend line yield north of 178, these acreage numbers should help. As always, keep an eye on exports and weather as the fundamental market movers in the short term.

Quickly touching on the weather outlook, there looks to be heat and dryness for the next couple of weeks in many areas. This will put some stress on the crop and this kind of forecast along with the USDA numbers from this week are the 2 catalyst moving corn higher.

Dec ’20 Chart

Via Barchart

Soybeans prices, like corn, saw a big bump from the NASS report, even though there wasn’t as much obvious bullish news from the acreage report. The acres did not change much from the March estimate of 83.510 million to 83.825 million acres. The trade estimate had it higher, trading at 84.716 million, which allowed for prices to jump up along with corn. Many people think that the acres are higher as a possible landing spot for those 5 million acres of corn that disappeared. Do not be surprised if we see more acres down the road. Soybeans in the long run still need as many exports to China as we can get going forward. The trend line yield of 50 bushels per acre is still in play with the start we have had but like mentioned above for corn the heat and dryness in the upcoming weeks could impact yield.

From speaking to farmers, it seems many farmers who planted in April and got washed out switched their acres from corn to soybeans. We are not sure how widespread this, is but don’t be surprised if soybean acres is higher when all is said and done.

Nov ’20 Chart

Via Barchart

Wheat got a boost out of the report just like corn and soybeans. Wheat’s gains came mostly as a result of following corn and beans higher as the report was not as bullish for wheat. Wheat acres were down 400,000 from the March estimates. It was welcome for wheat prices as they have been on a losing streak the last month as we look towards July for some help. If corn and soybeans continue to find support and prices go up look for wheat to be a benefactor of that as well.

Sep ’20 Chart

Via Barchart


The report was bullish for cotton as well as we have seen a rally because of it. Planted acres were down over 1.5 million acres from 13.703 million to 12.185 million acres. This is also down 11 percent from 2019. Cotton prices got a boost when these numbers came out as many acres were not planted due to a wet spring or prices being too low. Knowing the acreage number now moving forward weather in the major cotton areas will be important to keep an eye on. A tropical storm or drought, depending where, could cause cotton to jump like it has from this report.

Dec ’20 Chart

Via Barchart

Miscellaneous
Planted Acreage for principle crops dropped 7.2 million acres from the March report, 5 million of which came from corn. The big question is where did these acres go? We may see a lot go to prevent plant as only 3 million acres are estimated for PP but it is possible that a lot of acres were not planted because of depressed prices as a result of loses from the trade war the past couple years and the disruptions from COVID-19 pandemic all could be factors. Click here for the acreage report.

26 Jun 2020

AG Markets Update: June 22-26

 

Corn prices have taken a hit this week with Dec ’20 futures dipping below $3.30. Rains over the past week in the corn belt and warm temperatures will help support the crop along with rains and warm temps heading into the 4th of July. Exports continued their lackluster pace with no big sales to provide any supportive news. Tuesdays Stocks and Acreage report is the only place to look if you are looking for bullish news, but do not get your hopes up for a positive surprise from the USDA. The average trade estimate for US corn planted acres is sitting about 95 million acres which would be down from the March report of 96.99 million. With good weather forecast for pollination time keep an eye on if that changes as that would be a little supportive.

Via Barchart

 

Soybean prices took a hit this weak as no big sales were announced and growing tensions between the US and China. The administrations friction with China continues to escalate as Sec of State Pompeo is going on a full offensive to gather European support for more scrutiny of Chinese policies. The Soybean crop, like the corn, benefited from rains over the last week and will benefit from the forecast upcoming rains as well. Soybeans need the purchases from China to continue, if not accelerate, to have some bullish news. A mix of growing tensions with China and good US weather will continue to weigh on the market and should be the main things to keep an eye on going forward barring any surprises from the USDA report on Tuesday.

Via Barchart

 

DOW Jones

The Dow Jones took a big hit at the start of the week as cases begin to increase across the country in many states. As concerns of a larger “second wave” loom, markets may trade in this range until it seems we are out of the woods. The market will move on any vaccine news, news about US and China relations/trade war, and COVID-19 case numbers moving forward it seems unless the Fed comes out and does something.

Misc

As you can see from the prices below, aside from Corn, it was a relatively flat week for most other areas so the post is a little shorter this week. I wish there was more positive news out there about the markets but with everything that has happened this year and good weather there just isn’t much. It will be important to keep an eye on Sec Pompeo’s meetings with members of the EU as the week goes on.

 

Via Barchart

 

 

 

05 Jun 2020

Ag Markets Update: May 30- June 5

Planting is close to done in most parts of the country with over 90% of corn in the ground. Now the focus will turn to weather as early growing season is an important time. With a tropical depression in the gulf, it makes it difficult to predict future weather patterns as they are constantly changing. One model predicts for a drought type pattern in the southern plains and western corn belt as the tropical storm Cristobal pulls a lot of energy, so we’ll see how that pans out. Corn prices have been steady the past few weeks with few purchases to get excited about and no early problems to the U.S. corn crop. As long as yield estimates for U.S. corn stays high, there does not seem to be many reasons for a rally unless there is a weather event or we start to see large purchases. Ethanol production has remained steady as reserves are starting to go down, which will hopefully lead to more plants opening back up. The chart below is for July corn and you can see the change in the 20 day moving average as it has begun to tick up.

Soybean prices got a boost this week as Chinese buying continued, despite the government telling companies to quit buying many U.S. Ag products in retaliation to Trump’s comments and policies about Hong Kong last week. Despite what people thought would initially hurt Chinese purchases, tensions seem to be cooling between the two countries (for now). A huge week of soybean meal exports helped fund short covering that gave beans a big boost on Thursday. Continued buying from China would be very supportive for beans, but a decline could see a retreat after recent strength. Look for bean planting to continue its good progress over the next week.

Cotton traded above $.60/pound this week for the first time in the July contract since March 16. Rising futures prices with smaller open interest usually leads to a price reversal, which this price move has seemed to follow. With more open interest in the December contract month, look for more volatility moving forward as speculators will look there. We are barely into the start of hurricane season and already on hurricane number 3 forming in the gulf. A long and consistent hurricane season could do a great deal of damage to the southeast Cotton crop. Cotton has always been sensitive to the U.S. dollar, so a weakening dollar the last couple of weeks has been supportive to prices.

DOW Jones

The Dow Jones continues its climb as it topped 26,000 this week. The markets have recovered quicker than many expected to get to this point. As states across the country have opened back up investors have an optimistic outlook for the rest of 2020. Continuing progress on the Covid-19 vaccine and no spikes in positive test results are all good things for the market and overall economy of the US. This will help people get back to work quickly and hopefully minimize the damage of the long shutdowns.

Crude Oil

Crude continues its climb back to normal prices as OPEC is in discussions to continue production cuts for June. Even though the world is opening back up and oil demand will ramp up, drilling needs to happen at the same rate to not create an oversupply. This agreement being extended would be supportive for crude.

29 May 2020

AG MARKETS UPDATE: MAY 23-29

Planting is almost complete across the country as the final reported number was 88% planted this week. The weather outlook into early June is promising for many areas that were delayed in planting to still be able to get their crop in the ground in early June with the exception of parts of North Dakota that will be hard to catch up. With little news in the markets this month, trade has been pretty stagnant. July corn did trade at $3.30 in the July contract for the first time in over a month on Thursday before falling back to $3.27 ½ at the close. If July corn could close above $3.30 for the month of May it would be a very welcome sight after a month of very limited trading range.

(Barchart.com)

 

Soybean planting was estimated to be 65% complete this week, still well ahead of the average for this time of year. Like corn, the weather for the next week is promising for planting progress across most of the country. Purchases from China gave beans a boost early in the week but no follow up purchases have kept the news slow and prices steady. Any purchases from China, as has been the trend, would be helpful to prices along with an easing in political tensions. ASF news has been quiet as Covid-19 has been the big news story, but as China continues to replenish its hog populations that should help purchases in the future. November beans have been trading between $8.30 and $8.55 for most of the last month with $8.50 the current landing spot. While the bulls have been hopeful of size-able Chinese purchases, the reality has been small purchases with much of their purchases coming from Brazil.

(Barchart.com)

Crude Oil prices have had a great rally despite early worries that we would have another bottleneck problem like we did with the May crude contracts for July. As people around the country are going back to their daily lives, in some capacity they are driving again. The rest of this year should see increasing travel by car as people will look to drive to vacations rather than hoping on a plane. See the chart below to see the impressive rebound for the month of May.

(Barchart.com)

DOW Jones
The Dow Jones has continued its surge up as May will post another large gain despite record unemployment numbers. As states have begun reopening, traders are seeing this as promising for the markets as people will hopefully be returning to work. People continue to work from home in many major cities, or have the option to work from home, and will probably continue doing this as the summer goes on until the public feels safe to return to close to normal.

CFAP Relief Package
Enrollment for the CFAP Relief Package began this week on the 26th. If you have not already, reach out to your local FSA office to begin this process to make sure you do not miss out on any opportunity. The CFAP had scheduled payment of 32 cents per bushel from the original CARES Act and a CCC payment of 35 cents per bushel on the lower of 50% of last year’s production or 50% of your unpriced corn on January 15th. That works out to potentially receiving 67 cents on half of last year’s corn crop. The soybeans payment works the same with payments of 45 cents and 50 cents for a potential payment of 95 cents per bushel on 50% of last year’s bean crop. The math is not clear nor why January 15th was chosen, but those are the guidelines. Livestock is also covered in the payment and information on that from the USDA website can be found here. For more information on how to sign up for the CFAP Relief Package, check out this video.

30 Apr 2020

Ag Markets Update: April 22-30

Corn planting has accelerated in the last week with planted acres now at 27% complete. This is 7% ahead of the normal pace and well ahead of where we were at this time in 2019. Still ahead of last year’s pace, the acres planted in the Eastern Corn Belt is lagging behind the rest of the country as they are stuck in a wet and cool weather pattern slowing their efforts to get in the field. As you can see from RJO’Brien’s U.S. Corn Planting Progress, the leading corn planted states are:

      • MN at 40%
      • IA at 39%
      • IL at 37%
      • NE at 20%

 

With parts of the country set to reopen this week, it will be important to keep your eye on what happens in the oil markets. If consumers start buying more gas and getting back to normal travel, look for ethanol demand to crawl back. There is no quick fix to these markets, any positive COVID-19 news remains the biggest boosts for these markets.

 

The biggest news in beans is that there is little to no news. Outside of some sales to China and Mexico, beans have been at the mercy of COVID-19 and Brazil. Soybean planting progress came in at 8% this week (average is 4%) as weather in a lot of areas was good over the weekend. U.S. bean prices continue to be competitive with South America, however SA beans are higher quality, leading them to be the preferred option:

U.S. soybean sales last week of 1.078 MMT (39.6 million bushels) fell in line with market expectations of 700k-1.2 MMT, but were the highest in 19 weeks. This comes with the return of Chinese buying with purchases of 618k tonnes for the week giving beans a much welcome price boost.

 

Crude Oil is still feeling the effects of last week’s historic day. While it has rebounded from the lows and is now trading in the $15 range, the outlook is still grim. As U.S. and World stocks are getting close to capacity, there are oil tankers anchored in place around the world’s oceans as they await instructions on where to deliver. The best case for oil prices comes with the world economy opening and consumers reverting back to normal means of consumption and any positive COVID-19 treatment news would be bullish for crude moving forward.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on a number of critical U.S. industries, but none more strategically important than food production. In the livestock industry, the biggest concern is keeping processing plants staffed. Line speeds have slowed considerably, and in some cases, plants shuttered completely. U.S. beef production fell from 565 million pounds the week of March 23rd to 414 million pounds last week, down -27% from a month ago. Pork production is also dropping sharply with hog slaughter down nearly 650,000 head on a weekly basis. The backlog is forcing producers to destroy millions of market ready animals, break eggs, abort sows, and euthanize piglets. Meat supplies are contracting, pushing wholesale beef prices to record highs. Pork bellies that were being rendered a few weeks ago have tripled in price. Shortages in meat cases are imminent unless something changes quickly.

On April 28th, President Trump attempted to address this situation by invoking the Defense Production Act, which will require meat packing plants to remain open. A key component of the ACT releases packing plant owners (Tyson, Cargill, Smithfield, JBS et al) from liability if workers fall ill from COVID-19.  The announcement got immediate pushback from workers and labor unions representing 80% of the packing industry workforce.

 

Relief Package
The $19 Billion farm relief package that was announced a couple of weeks ago will touch most sectors of agriculture. Of the $19 Billion, $3.9 Billion will be direct payments for grain and soy growers, while the largest chunk of the money will be $9.6 Billion ($5.1 Billion for beef, $2.9 Billion for dairy and $1.6 Billion for hogs) to livestock producers that have been undercut by processing plant closures and logistic problems. Distribution of these funds will be made quickly according to various Senate sources.

“This aid will help keep food on Americans’ tables by providing a lifeline to farm families already hit by trade wars and severe weather.” – Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau (USA Today)

Dow Jones
The Dow is up again this week on news from the Fed promising support for the economy, while also pledging to keep interest rates near zero and possible treatments for COVID-19. After a miserable February and March, April has been a good month for the market as continued hope of a light at the end of the tunnel along with strong responses by the Fed have pushed markets higher.