Grain markets are looking for Mr. Good News

soybean harvest
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

OK, maybe I am starting out with something obscure. That is a reference to an old movie that I haven’t even watched. The subject was a little rough for my PG-13 mind.

But it was probably a little more interesting than the market I have been watching. I am looking for something to excite me in the market, and it just isn’t there.

I am the one who thought the corn crop was over-estimated, and we would have a pleasant surprise when harvest got going. I was wrong, and we keep having new corn life-of-contract lows to prove it.

The last one was at 3.46 1/2 March futures on Friday the 15th. That represents a 13 1/2-cent loss from the recent high on Dec. 6.

Soybeans, meanwhile, are drifting lower after being the commodity with some hope. We have been trading well above the lows most of the last two months, but that is changing.

We put in a recent low on January futures Monday, trading 9.57 1/4. That is nearly 58 cents below the Dec. 5 high, at 10.15.

Wheat, meanwhile, continues the trend that has lingered since the end of September high of 5.06 on March futures. We are now 4.47 1/2 on this Tuesday morning. The recent low was on the 12th, at 4.37. That was 69 cents below the high.

What’s next

The worst thing about these markets is that there is little reason to look for better prices. Better prices will come sometime, and we will look back and give reasons why it happened. We just can’t see a good reason right now why it should.

Frequently, we get a bounce out of harvest simply because the prices of harvest were so low. The cure for low prices is sometimes low prices.

Silver lining

Maybe the first hint of this trend comes as we had great exports of beans and wheat this week. We shipped 65.4 million bushels to foreign destinations according to USDA, well above the 51.4 that was the highest trade guess.

Wheat exports were an explosive 21.5 million bushels, versus expectations of 9.2 to 16.5 million. Corn was the disappointment, with only 23.8 million bushels exported, which was less than the previous week’s 28.3 million. That number was at the low end of the trade estimates.

Corn news is so hard to come by that our newsletter from our broker this morning reported the harvest in Bulgaria! I never saw that before.

(In case you are interested, they are 95.5 percent complete, with a yield up 10 percent from last year. Maybe someone just wanted to pile on with bad news. If you wondered why our prices are low for corn, just look no further than the huge crop in Bulgaria!)


Soybean prices continue to trade based on South American weather.

The Argentine weather is still too dry, and is limiting planting in a dry climate where they wait for a wet spell to get the beans out of the ground. The Brazilians now predict a slight decrease in soybean production, but still expect almost 115 mmt. USDA says the crop will be 108 mmt, so someone is way off.

The wheat markets are looking for news somewhere, since we are not currently killing the crop in the Plains, which is our normal winter sport.

Two items of note show that Russia expects to increase exports 40 mmt this year (yippee!), and the Ukraine crop condition is better than last year.

These are the kind of things market gurus write when the deadline is here, and there has to be a reason for crappy crop prices.


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