Projected grain prices continue to shift

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URBANA, Ill. – The USDA’s July update of projections of supply, consumption, and stocks of major commodities indicated smaller U.S. inventories of corn and soybeans but a more abundant supplies of U.S. wheat.
Some further tightening of world stocks of all three commodities was also indicated, said marketing specialist Darrel Good of the University of Illinois Extension.
Corn. For U.S. corn, the USDA increased the projection of domestic use during the current marketing year by 75 million bushels in response to the smaller-than-expected estimate of June 1 inventories released on June 30.
The projection of feed and residual use was increased by 150 million bushels and the projection of use of corn for production of ethanol was reduced by 75 million bushels, Good said.
“The large increase in expected feed and residual use likely represents an unusually large residual use, indicating that the 2004 crop was likely overestimated,” he said
Feed and residual use during the 2005-06 marketing year is expected to be 300 million bushels – nearly 5 percent – less than during the current year, he said.
Exports. Good added that the projection of exports during the current marketing year was increased by 25 million bushels, resulting in a 100 million bushel reduction in the projection of year-ending stocks.
“In the case of U.S. soybeans, the projection of domestic crush during the current year was increased by 15 million bushels, and the projection of residual use was increased by 15 million bushels in recognition that the 2004 crop was likely overestimated,” said Good.
Year-ending stocks are now projected at 290 million bushels, well below the early year projection of 460 million bushels.
For the 2005-06 marketing year, the USDA left the yield projection unchanged at 39.9 bushels.
This resulted in a 5 million bushel reduction in the production forecast due to smaller acreage revealed last month, Good said.
Stocks. Stocks at the end of the 2005-06 marketing year are projected at 210 million bushels, 80 million less than the first projection of two months ago.
For the 2005-06 marketing year, the estimate of beginning wheat stocks was increased by 13 million bushels, in line with the Grain Stocks report issued last month.
The projected size of the 2005 harvest, at 2.208 billion bushels, is 68 million larger than the June projection.
Wheat. “The production forecast contains the first survey-based yield estimate for spring wheat,” said Good.
“The estimate of harvested acreage of all classes of wheat was reduced by 839,000 acres from June, but the forecast of average yield was increased by two bushels per acre. At 43.8 bushels, the average yield projection is 0.6 bushels above the 2004 average,” he said
The projection of use of wheat during the current marketing year was unchanged from the June projection.
It resulted in a year-ending stocks projection of 700 million bushels, 81 million larger than last month’s projection.
For the 2005-06 corn marketing year, the USDA projects the average farm price in a range of $1.70 – $2.10, 15 cents higher than the June projection.
At the close of trade July 11, the futures market reflected an average farm price for 2005-06 of about $2.35.
“Based on current crop condition ratings, likely yield for the 2005 crop is below the USDA projection of 145 bushels,” said Good.
“All else equal, a yield of two bushels below the USDA projection would reduce year-ending stocks by nearly 150 million bushels and raise the price forecast by about five cents per bushel,” he said.
Soybeans. For soybeans, the USDA projects the 2005-06 marketing year average farm price in a range of $5.10 to $6.10 per bushel, 15 cents above the June projection.
At the close of trade on July 11, the futures market reflected an average marketing year farm price of about $6.70.
“In the case of soybeans, current crop ratings suggest an average yield very near that of the USDA projection,” said Good. “The market likely anticipates that crop ratings and yield potential will continue to decline.”
While part of the price premium in both the corn and soybean markets can be credited to production concerns, part may also reflect a difference of opinion about the fundamental value of corn and soybeans.
“That is, for a given level of production, consumption, and stocks, the market appears to value corn, and particularly soybeans, more highly than does the USDA,” said Good.

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