Tag: Ag Commodities

29 Jul 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JULY 21 – 28

Corn bounced back this week as hot and dry August forecasts returned across the western corn belt, and eventually are forecasted to move east right in the middle of pollination.  To be clear – hot and dry while pollinating is less than ideal.  In addition, the weekly crop ratings came in lower with the national good/excellent ratings estimates at 61%. Ratings have lowered 6% in the last month, and with the current forecast this trend is likely to continue. All these factors together, along with a weaker US dollar, helped the rebound for the week. While this turnaround has been nice on prices, the yields are a concern, and it will continue to be important to monitor pricing into the weekend and start of trade on Sunday.

Via Barchart

The forecast change has also been supportive of bean prices as August is an important month for yield development. Soybean supply and demand has been tighter over the years and if we lose 1 or 2 bushels in national yield it will result in a big hit to world supply. September beans traded over the $15 mark for the first time in a month with this week’s gains. The November contract has the potential to reach back over $15 with the current momentum, assuming no new bearish forecast changes over the weekend. Soybeans good/excellent ratings came in at 59% nationally, following the worsening trend that corn has had, losing 4% g/e in July.

Via Barchart

Russia and Ukraine

Reports were that Russia and Ukraine had agreed to a safe export corridor, and then…. Russia bombed another port (imagine that)… so that did not last long. Russia wants any obstacles to Russian agriculture exports to be eliminated, which seems unlikely. White House spokesman John Kirby either majorly misspoke or lied this week claiming that there were 80 ships ready to leave the ports with 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain. The largest grain shipping vessels can only hold about 60,000 tons so if there are 80 ships.  Quick math here = they will only be able to ship 4-5 million tons. Luckily this did not spook the markets as traders knew this to be the case with SovEcon saying there are no more than 10 such ships ready to ship grain. The mines remain in the shipping corridors and this conflict will continue to drag out through the summer.

Equity Markets

The equity markets had a good week following a few down days with some strong earnings and some misses. The Fed unsurprisingly raised rates 75 points this week leaving what comes in the next rate hike up in the air. The 2nd quarter GDP posted another negative number after posting a negative first quarter. Historically 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth signals a recession. There are lots of challenges right now with inflation still a major problem but with companies lowering guidance for the rest of the year the current economic slowdown may continue.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

Are the Fed’s hikes starting to dampen inflation? Oil, grains, and metals have all fallen from their highs. But the rarely spoken of Cotton market was one of the first to crack…falling from 1.58/lb to 0.95/lb in just a few short days. We’re digging into this sharp drop and just why and how Cotton is involved in seemingly everything with RCM’s very own cotton king, LOGIC advisors Ron Lawson.

In this episode, Ron is giving us the low down on how and why he believes it’s not Dr. Copper which acts as the global economic barometer, but how Cotton is the real Canary and leading indicator on global demand. In between those talks, we’re covering all things Cotton including crop insurance, irrigated vs dry land, the scam that was Pima and Egyptian Cotton, the process of cotton – which countries have it, which want it, ginning it, spinning it, dyeing it, global commodity merchant co’s pushing it around, and even micro-plastics, climate change, and how Cotton always flows to the cheapest labor source. Finally, we’re walking in some high Cotton putting Ron in the hot seat. Will we ever get the growth back? Tune in to get these critical hot takes — SEND IT!

 

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

 

 

22 Jul 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JULY 14 – 21

Despite a brutal stretch of hot and dry conditions, Corn prices have continued to struggle, tied in with ever changing forecasts looking at favorable conditions ahead. In total, the trend is clearly down with the cooler forecast for the corn belt and a potential for trade in the Black Sea to resume. Energy prices have also fallen pulling other commodities with it as Russia re-opened the Nord Stream pipeline into Europe (at less than 50% capacity). While prices have retreated to pre-Russia invasion of Ukraine, the potential for a sub trend line corn crop in the US remains. Basis is still strong in many areas showing that there is a disconnect and some areas are very worried about potential yield loss.  Weather during the first half of August will be huge for this crop – as forecasts change so will prices.  Expect more volatility ahead!

Via Barchart

Patterns in Soybeans have been almost identical to Corn – ever changing weather conditions along with uncertainty in global demand are driving prices lower.  26% of soybean production is in areas currently experiencing moderate to severe drought. The weather coming up is important for beans as well; if the cooler forecasts do not come to pass and hot and dry conditions continue beans should see a bump in price. Old crop exports were strong this week while new crop fell in the expected range.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets rallied this week stringing together several positive days despite all the concerns of recession and inflation remaining in the market. This appears to be an area that is tradable as many equities are off their lows on the year but still well below the highs. Q2 Earnings have also given some guidance as companies have taken inflation and other rising costs into account for what to expect ahead. Tech stocks have also gotten a big boost this week along with crypto.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

Are the Fed’s hikes starting to dampen inflation? Oil, grains, and metals have all fallen from their highs. But the rarely spoken of Cotton market was one of the first to crack…falling from 1.58/lb to 0.95/lb in just a few short days. We’re digging into this sharp drop and just why and how Cotton is involved in seemingly everything with RCM’s very own cotton king, LOGIC advisors Ron Lawson.

In this episode, Ron is giving us the low down on how and why he believes it’s not Dr. Copper which acts as the global economic barometer, but how Cotton is the real Canary and leading indicator on global demand. In between those talks, we’re covering all things Cotton including crop insurance, irrigated vs dry land, the scam that was Pima and Egyptian Cotton, the process of cotton – which countries have it, which want it, ginning it, spinning it, dyeing it, global commodity merchant co’s pushing it around, and even micro-plastics, climate change, and how Cotton always flows to the cheapest labor source. Finally, we’re walking in some high Cotton putting Ron in the hot seat. Will we ever get the growth back? Tune in to get these critical hot takes — SEND IT!

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

 

20 Jul 2022

IS BETTER LUMBER LIQUIDITY HERE?

Lumber has long been known as a quite illiquid futures market. We talked about it on the RCM blog here, on the Hedged Edge podcast here, and Derivative podcast here.

But changes are afoot which may solve the main issues that lead to the illiquid nature of lumber futures, with the CME Group getting ready to launch a new lumber futures and options contract that will be smaller and have more delivery options, which we believe will allow for more effective risk management. The CME said it plans to launch the new contract early in August. The current contract that expires in May 2023 will be the last month under current specifications. This has caused some buzz in the industry, so let’s take some time to check it out.

The two big new key features as far as we’re concerns are:

• Small contract size for precise hedging
• Participation from throughout the lumber supply chain

The smaller contract size is very welcome in the industry as the current lumber contract is for 110,000 board feet (1 rail carload), whereas the new contract will trade in lengths of 27,500 feet (1 truckload). This will allow for more precise and accurate hedging while allowing for more participation in the market from smaller traders. Smaller traders had been pushed out in the past with the requirements and contracts not fitting their needs. This will allow for greater liquidity in the market that currently only sees a couple hundred contracts traded a day.

The new contract also allows eastern mills to deliver, where the current contract only allowed western mill delivery. This expands the accessibility to producers to accommodate the changing landscape and needs of the market. Delivery will now be in Chicago and allow for eastern species of spruce, pine and fir, instead of just species grown in the west (southern yellow pine is still not a deliverable species). This will make the market more accessible and will increase participation and provide more risk management options.

Now, the CME is a publicly traded company and they’re doing this to generate more volumes and interest in this market. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing. We think it will definitely create better liquidity for the lumber market, by both increasing volumes from current market participants and bringing new participants to the market.

By making deliverable contracts for both east and west mills while lowering the contract size, you attract new participants from all along the supply chain from producers of wood, to mills, on through to home builders. And as those commercial groups increase their footprint, the hope is that speculative trade flow (i.e hedge funds, ETF’s, and retail traders) also begin to increase interest in the market; creating a flywheel effect adding to the liquidity for the physical market participants.

The contract is ¼ the size of the old one meaning if you want to hedge or trade the same amount of board feet it will require 4 contracts instead of 1, creating more contracts to trade across the market (more liquid). The length also allows for more accurate hedging needs by making it easier to accurately manage your risk (think now you can protect 165,000 board feet vs either 110,000 or 220,000 feet). Traders will also be able to spread across the two markets for a short time creating new trade/arbitrage opportunities as they are not the same contract and specs, so they will not trade perfectly in tandem.

Ultimately homebuilders and speculators will be welcomed back into the market with these contracts being much more friendly. Builders will be able to hedge the price of lumber on a couple houses (or one large one) instead of having to hedge several at once that may not be under contract.

Our team as well as many others in the lumber industry are fired up after years of wanting a better lumber contract…LETS DO THIS!


As the contract progresses and ultimately receives approval, we will update this article to reflect new information provided from the CME and CFTC.

Contact an Ag Specialist Today
Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact RCM Ag Services today for more information on how this new contract could fit your business.
agsupport@rcmam.com

08 Jul 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JULY 1 – 8

Corn bounced back to end the week after a brutal start. Corn was pressured to start the week with rain this week across large areas and recession fears that would lower demand for fuel and ethanol as energy prices started the week off poorly. Funds over the past couple weeks were unloading some positions as well but that looks to have slowed to end the week with some getting back in.  The bounce back to end the week looks to be partly driven by hot and dry weather expecting to get back to the western corn belt next week and slowly continue east. The July USDA report will be released Tuesday July 12th and will be the next major news that could affect the market.

Via Barchart

Soybeans have traded like corn and on relatively the same news of weather and fund liquidation. The rain in the Midwest to start the week pressured beans lower while Chinese purchases were rumored to switch to Brazil. The drier outlook over the next couple weeks after this weekend will pressure beans after the last USDA report lowered acres considerably. The move after the last couple weeks following the report that lowered acres by over 2 million did not really match up and left many scratching their heads. Tuesday’s report may shed some light on the direction moving forward and what we need to keep an eye on.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets had a fairly level week with some up and down days. The Fed minutes were close to a nonevent as the markets didn’t react. The Fed will probably raise rates by 75 points again in July but their guidance on what will happen after will be important to help recession and inflation fears.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

There is an agriculture tug of war happening across the nation, impacting America’s farmland. Fertilizer prices are continuously fluctuating, and it has us taking a page the “The Clash” should we stay, or should we go?! And we aren’t the only ones. Many farmers are asking their agronomist and chemical salespeople, “what will fertilizer cost me the rest of the season, and what are my options if I don’t want to go all-in on my typical fertilizer treatment plan?”

In this episode of the Hedged Edge, we are joined by a special guest who needs no introduction in his local circle, Dick Stiltz. Dick is a 50-year veteran of the fertilizer and chemical industry and is the current Agronomy Marketing Manager of Procurement fertilizer and crop protection at Prairieland FS, Inc in Jacksonville, IL. He is at the pulse of the current struggle and here to discuss the topic at hand.

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

01 Jul 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JUNE 23 – JULY 1

Corn reacted negatively to the Stocks and Acreage report this week despite there not being any surprises and the numbers coming out close to pre-report estimates. Planted acres came in at 89.921 million acres (89.861 million estimate) and June 1 stocks were 4.346 billion bushels (4.343 billion estimate). The bearish news is improving weather after the 4th of July with rains expected across most of the corn belt. The concern over the wet spring causing prevent plant acres in ND and MN does not appear to have come to fruition with high prices motivating farmers to get the crop in the ground. Trading resumes Tuesday morning after the long weekend so any change in weather or world news could lead to a volatile opening after another kick in the teeth on Friday.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had a good week making solid gains before dipping after the report and then getting crushed today (Friday). The bean planted acres was 88.325 million acres (90.446 million estimate) and June 1 stocks was 971 million bushels (965 estimate). The acres number was surprising as it came in 2.121 million acres below pre-report estimates. While the favorable weather for corn is also favorable to beans, they have a different story than corn to follow. Chinese demand needs to return to the market but 2+ million acres of production is a lot to be off by. The inability for Soybeans to break out higher following the report shows that they still have a fight ahead of them and that outside market risks likely have an impact on prices. Friday’s trade hit beans hard and the long weekend holds uncertainties.

Via Barchart

Wheat moved lower on the week pre-report and continued lower after it with no surprises only to get crushed on Friday. All wheat planted acres were 47.092 million acres (47.017 million estimate) and 660 million bushels in June 1st stocks (655 million estimate). After a tough Friday, wheat has plenty of non US weather related news to follow and any developments over the 4th of July weekend will be seen on Tuesday.

Via Barchart

As you can see in the chart below cotton has had a rough 2 weeks. With demand expected to decrease with the possibility of a recession coming, this reaction is clear and puts fiber prices at the mercy of the economy’s future. The other side to this is that US production will likely be lower than expected with so much dryland in west Texas and other serious drought areas (see map below) expected to not produce a crop. Growers planted 12.5 million acres in 2022, up 11% from last year.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets were relatively flat on the week after a few up and down days. The market headlines keep being “market rallies as fear of recession lessens” or “market falls as recession fears remain” so the market is still looking for guidance as it continues lower. July’s news will be similar to June with inflation and the Fed being the main drivers.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

There is an agriculture tug of war happening across the nation, impacting America’s farmland. Fertilizer prices are continuously fluctuating, and it has us taking a page the “The Clash” should we stay, or should we go?! And we aren’t the only ones. Many farmers are asking their agronomist and chemical salespeople, “what will fertilizer cost me the rest of the season, and what are my options if I don’t want to go all-in on my typical fertilizer treatment plan?”

In this episode of the Hedged Edge, we are joined by a special guest who needs no introduction in his local circle, Dick Stiltz. Dick is a 50-year veteran of the fertilizer and chemical industry and is the current Agronomy Marketing Manager of Procurement fertilizer and crop protection at Prairieland FS, Inc in Jacksonville, IL. He is at the pulse of the current struggle and here to discuss the topic at hand.

 

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

24 Jun 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JUNE 9 – 23

Corn had a rough week along with the overall commodity selloff the past few days. While the weather forecast has become cooler it is still going to be hot, and a lack of rain remains across much of the corn belt for the next week with higher chances in the 2-week forecast.  Do not be mistaken – we are in a “weather market” where positions will change along with the forecasts.

Outside of weather, it has been the funds who have helped propel the move higher over the past year – naturally, when funds liquidate their large long position, you get a gut punch like we’ve seen this week.

With unknown weather, a potential recession looming, and fund profit taking the current market condition are flat out tough to speculate on and require the utmost discipline and focus on profit margin management.

The Planted Acreage and Quarterly Stocks report comes out next week followed by a 3-day weekend for the 4th of July.

Give us a call today to get your plan set for tomorrow (i.e next week!) 312-858-4049.

Via Barchart

Soybeans suffered like corn from the cooler forecast and long liquidation this week. Collapsing world veg oil prices added pressure with the forecast change. Chinese Covid lockdowns and continued political friction will be in and out of the news but will always spook the markets. Beans and corn will be weather sensitive going forward but have suffered from outside forces like potential recession and lockdowns as well. The planted acres and stocks report will be important next week as well as weather over the 3 day 4th of July weekend.

Via Barchart

Wheat suffered along with other commodities with indications that Ukraine may be able to export more wheat than originally expected (not sure if this will come to fruition as the destruction of ports and shipping paths is continuing). Russian production estimates have risen, adding to the questions about what will be produced in Russia and Ukraine to be exported. The losses in wheat in recent weeks is confusing as the US yields are not spectacular, war continuing in Ukraine, and India is still in a drought, none of these are bearish factors yet we have come well off the highs.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

It has been a bad past couple weeks for the equity markets as they fell lower following the Fed raising rates 75 points and lots of debate of a recession in the future. While the Fed tries to make up for late moves and inflation continues to affect the country it is important to look what has gotten us here. As companies are likely to lower future earnings expectations, it will be important for markets to figure out fair value after the last 2 years of staggering valuations.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

There is an agriculture tug of war happening across the nation, impacting America’s farmland. Fertilizer prices are continuously fluctuating, and it has us taking a page the “The Clash” should we stay, or should we go?! And we aren’t the only ones. Many farmers are asking their agronomist and chemical salespeople, “what will fertilizer cost me the rest of the season, and what are my options if I don’t want to go all-in on my typical fertilizer treatment plan?”

In this episode of the Hedged Edge, we are joined by a special guest who needs no introduction in his local circle, Dick Stiltz. Dick is a 50-year veteran of the fertilizer and chemical industry and is the current Agronomy Marketing Manager of Procurement fertilizer and crop protection at Prairieland FS, Inc in Jacksonville, IL. He is at the pulse of the current struggle and here to discuss the topic at hand.

 

 

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

 

10 Jun 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: JUNE 2 – 10

Corn had a good week with solid gains as there has still been no conclusive progress on an open trade corridor for Ukraine to export grain. The US weather outlook for late June remains hot and dry for many areas. While this is not too worrisome yet, if that pattern continues for the summer it could lead to the long-term weather problems the world supply does not need. The cash market remains hot with positive basis for corn pushing corn up over $8 in many areas in the corn belt. The USDA Report Friday did not include many surprises but had a reduction in old crop corn exports. This led to a rise in expected ending stocks for 22/23 to 1.400 billion bushels for the US. World supplies were risen as well on a bigger Ukraine crop expected (up 5.5 mmt from the May estimate).

Via Barchart

Soybeans had a good week with strong exports and higher bean oil prices. While there has not been much soybean specific news, the same supportive factors of the last few weeks remain. The high-pressure ridge that may move into the Midwest is providing support, like for corn, but whether that ends up happening will be a wait and see. The high crude prices will continue to help, and they may stick around for the summer as demand picks up. In Friday’s USDA report, Soybeans ending stocks were lowered to 280 million bushels for 22/23 for the US. World ending stocks were raised to 100.46 million tonnes, slightly higher than May.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

The equity markets had been trading sideways for the last couple weeks but took it on the chin Thursday and Friday. While the market tries to pick a direction to go, the inflation number on Friday did not help as it rose to 8.6%. Markets tumbled on Thursday as the ECB said it would end asset purchases and begin to raise interest rates, pushing global bond yields higher. Hopes were that inflation had peaked, that was not the case, and the market reacted as expected to a 8.6% inflation number and record low consumer sentiment.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

There is an agriculture tug of war happening across the nation, impacting America’s farmland. Fertilizer prices are continuously fluctuating, and it has us taking a page the “The Clash” should we stay, or should we go?! And we aren’t the only ones. Many farmers are asking their agronomist and chemical salespeople, “what will fertilizer cost me the rest of the season, and what are my options if I don’t want to go all-in on my typical fertilizer treatment plan?”

In this episode of the Hedged Edge, we are joined by a special guest who needs no introduction in his local circle, Dick Stiltz. Dick is a 50-year veteran of the fertilizer and chemical industry and is the current Agronomy Marketing Manager of Procurement fertilizer and crop protection at Prairieland FS, Inc in Jacksonville, IL. He is at the pulse of the current struggle and here to discuss the topic at hand.

 

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

 

13 May 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: APRIL 28 – MAY 12

The May USDA report was mixed but the most bullish news out of it was lowering expected yield to 177 bu/acre from 181. This adjustment trumped the other numbers as US and world stocks were higher than expected. The USDA appears to think demand rationing is in the future but is also aware the late panted US crop will not achieve record yield.  The USDA did not change their estimates for Brazil’s safrinha crop, their estimates remain a few hundred million bushels over private estimates. Corn planting was seen as being 22% complete to start the week with more progress being made. The US is well behind its normal pace and there are still places that have yet to start, the longer planting drags out the lower that yield is expected to go.

Via Barchart

Soybeans have struggled the last few weeks as it has fallen to the low $16s. The USDA report was relatively neutral with a mixed bag of numbers that offset each other. They kept the US yield estimates at 51.5 bu/acre as the slow planting pace has not gotten to the end of the soybean window yet. One important thing to note is the USDA’s acreage already had a large shift to beans from corn. If the wet areas do not dry in time for corn to get in so beans get planted instead, we could see an even larger bean vs corn gap in acreage. The slower corn gets planted the more eyes will turn to soybeans and could make for an interesting year.

Via Barchart

Wheat has seen a good rally over the past 2 weeks, lead by a big day after the USDA report. World wheat supplies are at record low stocks to use ratios and moving deeper into 2022. Replacing lost Ukrainian and Russian bushels is a challenge for the USDA balance sheets. World wheat stocks are at 991 million bushels below expectations from the May report in 2021. With the continued war in Ukraine and troubles with wheat crops all over the world, including here in the US, wheat has several bullish factors behind it heading into the summer.

Via Barchart

Equity Markets

There really is not much to say as the markets continue lower with inflation posting 8.3% this week. The Fed raised rates last week another 50 points, this was expected, and the markets actually immediately responded favorably before continuing the loses of the last few months. Several rounds of earnings happened this week with few winners and Apple continues its fall as it falls below $150. Apple is always one to keep an eye on as it is no longer the most valuable company in the world. The S&P and NASDAQ are getting hit just as hard (NASDAQ the worst down over 30% from its record highs in November).

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

There is an agriculture tug of war happening across the nation, impacting America’s farmland. Fertilizer prices are continuously fluctuating, and it has us taking a page the “The Clash” should we stay or should we go?! And we aren’t the only ones. Many farmers are asking their agronomist and chemical salespeople, “what will fertilizer cost me the rest of the season, and what are my options if I don’t want to go all-in on my typical fertilizer treatment plan?”

 

In this episode of the Hedged Edge we are joined by a special guest who needs no introduction in his local circle, Dick Stiltz. Dick is a 50 year veteran of the fertilizer and chemical industry and is the current Agronomy Marketing Manager of Procurement fertilizer and crop protection at Prairieland FS, Inc in Jacksonville, IL. He is at the pulse of the current struggle and here to discuss the topic at hand.

 

 

Via Barchart.com

 

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

 

29 Apr 2022

AG MARKET UPDATE: APRIL 21 – 28

Corn continues to move higher as planting has gotten off to a slow start in the US and Brazil’s safrinha crop is facing drought conditions, shrinking their crop. The wet and cool forecasts remain into May for the north and eastern corn belt which will make it unlikely to see much planting progress in those areas. The rain will be welcome in the western corn belt that has been dry and making slow progress in planting, but the rain will be welcome for the soil even if it slows planting for a day or two. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to decimate their infrastructure as Russia destroys ports and has seized stored corn to sell as their own. China was a buyer of corn this week and will hopefully continue to show up on exports as demand from other buyers has slowed. Limits have been increased at the CBOT for some commodities and corn will now have a 50 cent limit starting May 1 from the current 35 cent limit.

Via Barchart

Soybeans had a small dip this week after its nice run higher from the previous dip at the end of March. Soyoil prices continue their move higher pulling beans with it while meal struggles. Indonesia placed a palm oil ban on both refined and unrefined product. The slow start to planting will ultimately roll into affecting soybeans like corn but we aren’t at panic mode yet. The start to the year has been less than ideal when the world stocks need a great year. Beans daily trading limit will move up to $1.15 effective May 1st.

Via Barchart

Cotton

July cotton traded limit up (7 cents) on Thursday to set a new contract high at $1.4768. Export data from last week was better than the last few weeks. Cotton’s problem appears to be a lack of world supply mixed with (so far) not ideal growing conditions in Texas. Forecasts for rain in Texas are very welcome but will need to be widespread and a large amount to help the drought. (See drought map below)

Dow Jones

The Dow was down this week as volatility continues to be in the markets as earnings continue to come across with some large companies getting crushed and others posting solid numbers. Tech companies have had a good week after getting run over the past couple months. This may not be the bottom for tech but it is nice to see some good numbers and some support.

Via Barchart

Drought Monitor

The drought monitor below shows where we stand week to week.

Podcast

RCM Ag Services put a unique spin on National Agriculture Day by going international. That’s right, we jumped right into international waters with Maria Dorsett from USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Services for an interesting discussion about linking U.S. agriculture to the rest of the world.

Each year, March 22 represents a special day to increase public awareness of the U.S.’s agricultural role in society, so why not take it one step further by bringing in a global component? As the world population soars, there’s an even greater demand for producing food, fiber, and renewable resources. That’s why we’re taking a deeper dive into the USDA’s trade finance programs, like the GSM-102, which supports sales of U.S. agricultural products in overseas markets and supports export growth in areas of the world that are seeing some of the fastest population growth.

So, jump aboard (no passport needed), as Maria discusses how U.S. companies use GSM-102, what the program features, and the benefits that it offers!

Via Barchart.com

Contact an Ag Specialist Today

Whether you’re a producer, end-user, commercial operator, RCM AG Services helps protect revenues and control costs through its suite of hedging tools and network of buyers/sellers — Contact Ag Specialist Brady Lawrence today at 312-858-4049 or blawrence@rcmam.com.

10 Mar 2022

The Leonard Lumber Report: The Commodity Index’s Hit Decades Highs

Last week the commodity funds saw a massive influx of capital as the investment community tried to take advantage of a booming commodity cycle. The commodity index’s hit decades highs. How will this affect lumber futures? I’ll try to navigate all the features of the industry today. I’m pretty sure you can take the word lumber out and insert a different commodity because the issues look the same. Keep that in mind.

Factors pressuring the lumber market:

First is transportation, especially rail. Not only does it cause the jobsite supply to be late, but it is also complicating the whole process from logging to production. This organic slowdown in production will create shortfalls.

Next is COVID and labor. A labor shortage has been the industry’s nemesis for years now. Now COVID has placed a limit on how many days an entire crew is in place. Add to that a shrinking labor pool and the fact that production now looks different, and you get a builder that can’t get the production curve past 70%. It has kept the completion numbers down and the backlogs growing. 

Another factor is the new 2-week pricing and the just-in-time inventory management. There was a major shift in inventory management after 2018’s run-up that has now grown to the number one choice of the distribution chain: contracts and VMI’s. A bullish demand cycle creates a large void in the chain, and many are forced into the market more often, creating bottlenecks.

These are the three dominant economic reasons for the lack of supply. A few others are:

  • Current demand and a 1.9 building permit number
  • The fact that another 700,000 workings were added to the economy
  • A push to buy as rates begin to rise

If you alleviate any of those factors, you will not solve the shortage issue. Only the lessening of demand will turn the market. Again, only the lessening of demand will turn the market.

 

Today, the marketplace is micro-focused on each factor, and any change will lead to selling. The market saw the result of that selling back in late January. We expect transportation to get better, and that change will take it from a horrible situation to bad. This will add some relief but not solve the problem. So, the mess continues. 

 

An eventual pullback:

Where it can pull back to is a tough call. The first factor to look at is the new quarterly pricing. That will be a high number. This last quarter was manageable because the trade was able to mix in $600 cars with the new $1,200 cars making the number look good. This time the trade is paying the high of the year with nowhere to hide. Those same traders that were willing buyers on the last break at $800 are now at higher levels. It will create an artificial bottom again. The other issue is the trade refusing to pay up, thus sitting short in a rising market. That hasn’t been a good strategy and ends up bottoming any sell-off. 

 

Factors to watch:

The appalling devastation Russia is causing in Ukraine adds to the logistics mess throughout Asia and Europe. Those issues will continue to disrupt the flow of lumber, bullish in a tight market. It also could be the tipping point to turn consumer sentiment down. We are already fighting massive increases in the cost of a home and major inflation on a personal level. We know the Fed has to push the economy into a recession to slow it. They have been reluctant to do that, causing even more pressure. The stock market is losing some steam. Those buying the second home with a loan from their portfolio are starting to push back. Any one of these factors can change the demand picture drastically. But each one has its own very slow-moving dynamics. There is no flip of the switch item there.

What could be a “flip the switch cause” is the drastic rise in limits, and historically that stopped a market trend which was its purpose.

 

Final word: 

Only J. Powell and the old-timers think this market is going back to $300. It isn’t, and in fact, this market will be a tough go in the 1,000s for some time. Sell-offs will push the market lower, but buyers can’t wait on that today. If the funds start to show up down here, futures will hit $2,000. If they don’t, $400 up and $400 down will be the norm. Buy cash and buy a put… 

 

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…

A special guest joins us for this episode of The Hedged Edge, who is well known for his many titles, which include Doctor, Editor-in-Chief, Dean, and Chief Academic Officer, just to name a few. Dr. Channa S. Prakash, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Tuskegee University, has served as faculty since 1989 and is a professor of crop genetics, biotechnology, and genomics. He is also well recognized for mentoring underrepresented minority students.

Tune in as biotech guru Dr. Prakash discusses everything from Alabama football, genetics as one of the most extensive agricultural advancements, the most significant risk factors to feeding the world over the next 30-50 years, plus everything in between. And as a bonus, we find out what sport he would be interested in playing if he went professional.

 

What-It-Takes-To-Feed-The-W

Did you know that by 2050, the world is expected to feed almost 2 billion more people than we do today? As the global population continuously rises, a significant amount of food will need to be produced over the next 30 years.