One thing grain markets have done the last few months is exhaust the supply of superlatives used to describe them. What do you use after “record,” “all-time record,” “blow-off,” or “amazing?”
What do you do after you predict the top three or four times, only to have prices blow through it? What comes after the column I wrote last week evoking the apocalyptic vision of the prophet predicting that “The end is near?” And, then it wasn’t.
Well, welcome to the Jose Cuervo market!
You know the one: After four rounds of Jose Cuervo, the market was showing moves never seen before!
The moves shown off this amazing (should have dipped into the thesaurus) week were especially notable (going back to ordinary words — superlatives all used up) in the wheat markets.
Find me a word to describe the action and then the emotion when Chicago wheat futures go up 60 cents one day, up 90 cents the next, then down $1.35 in the overnight, then close up $1.00 1/2.
What are the feelings when wheat futures move from 10.49 1/2 to $13 and back to 10.93 in seven trading sessions?
Granted, this is in March futures, and they moved into the delivery period during that time, resulting in at least one odd day not reflected in the May futures.
Still, “confusion” is the word that most comes to mind. “Fear” and “loathing” come close behind.
The old saw is that it is an ill wind that brings nobody good. That may be true, but it is hard to find the good right now.
What we have is the frustration of borrowing against the kids’ college funds to pay the margin calls while grain buyers like me have to explain to everybody wanting to price grain about the limits of making margin calls and why we are not buying wheat right now.
What is they gave a record rally, and nobody came to sell grain? (I’m showing my age. If that doesn’t remind you of a certain Vietnam era protest slogan, then maybe that ugly time is fading from memory, and that is probably good.
Remember fighting for peace is like — no, I will skip that one, too. It was not true then, it just had a certain indecent edge to it.)
Well, I used up my superlatives, my annual quota of parenthetical remarks, and more than my total knowledge of what the heck is going on right now in Chicago.
I have not even mentioned corn and beans. OK, so they made new record prices, too.
Does it matter if the price is over $5 for new crop — yes, new crop corn — if you can’t find a buyer?
For the record, March corn spent the last few days going from 5.17 to 5.61. December futures gained at the same time nearly 42 cents to Monday’s high of 5.82 1/2.
March soybeans were 14.26 Feb. 26. They had a Monday high of 15.70, up 1.44 for the period. November soybeans hit a new high of 14.59 Monday.
(Marlin Clark trades producer and elevator grain for Keystone Commodities in their Andover, Ohio, office. He invites readers’ comments at 866-293-4433.)