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.
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.
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.
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.
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.