Grain market stagnant on lack of news


I can only talk about the March 31 USDA Planting Intentions Report so many times. It will soon be old news, but it is still the market mover right now, which is to say that the market is not moving.

Corn futures are trading sideways in a lack of news, while soybeans show signs of life.

May Chicago corn futures bounced 15 cents off a low near the old contract low this month, but have trades sideways the last few days. The May contract hit a low of 3.61 1/2 March 11, just missing the 3.59 contract low of early February.

A quick bounce got us to three days at almost the same number fractionally above 3.76. We lost some of that Monday, and the overnight before the open Tuesday has us back to 3.70 3/4.

Acres and weather

The twin issues of acres and spring weather will make the market for a month or two.

As I said last week, we have to be afraid of more corn acres because of cheaper fertilizer (but higher seed) and because of extra acres available because all the wheat did not get planted.

Now, the market gurus still want to talk about wet weather delaying planting. This seems so wrong here where we have a month to go before we get serious about planting, but it may be a legitimate concern.

The areas of the Corn Belt farther south are not that far from planting on their calendar, and it is wet. Heavy rains across the region added to the problem this weekend. Still, at this point, the rain is filling up the soil, not delaying things.

Digging for news

This is a sign that the market is lacking in news. To fill the gap, writers are ginning up more ethanol news. DTN had two interesting stories this morning. They are legitimate, but a little ways off.

We are seeing serious consideration by the government to allow E15 at the pumps. Hindering the move to gasoline with 15 percent ethanol is the labeling problem of distinguishing it from #10. Also, retailers are worried about liability if some cars will not run on E15.

The good news is, the big goal of the ethanol industry was to produce enough so that all gas would be E10. Now we are looking beyond that goal.

Add to this the TN story about E85. GM has produced 4 million of the 7.5 million vehicles we have that will run on E85. So far the limited number of pumps keeps 90 percent of the vehicles running normal unleaded. GM is wondering if they should continue to produce them.

Beans climbing

Moving to soybeans, we see that they actually have an uptrend in place, both long-term and short.

The May soybean chart shows us a low at 8.87 3/4 in early October, a low of 9.11 in early February, and an Ides of March low of 9.21 3/4. Connect the dots and you have a strong long-term uptrend line.

The trend recently is also up, with a bounce of over 53 cents after that March 15 low, then a 4-cent break. We are trading now at 9.71 March futures.

Meanwhile March Chicago wheat futures traded down very close to the contract low, then bounced over 20 cents, keeping half of the bounce so far. The contract low was 4.72 back in October. We got to 4.75 1/2 on the 11th, bounced to 4.98 1/4 on St. Patrick’s Day (when I got up late and forgot to put on my orange clothes), and is now trading 4.86.


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