Global Ag News for Dec 6.22

TOP HEADLINES

India’s Palm Oil Imports Seen Jumping 30% in November: GGN

India’s palm oil imports probably surged in November from a month earlier as traders preferred the tropical oil over costlier soybean and sunflower oils, according to Rajesh Patel, managing partner of GGN Research.

  • Inbound cargoes climbed about 30% to 1.16 million tons from 886,594 tons in October; that was just short of the 1.17 million tons in September, which was the highest in a year
  • Shipments in November last year were 539,639 tons
  • NOTE: Soybean oil’s premium over palm hit a record $782 a ton early last month, more than double the 12-month average prevailing at the time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg
  • Shipments last month comprised 967,000 tons of crude palm oil and 194,000 tons of RBD palm olein
  • Soybean oil cargoes fell to 219,000 tons from 334,467 tons a month earlier; sunflower shipments were 158,000 tons vs 144,934 tons
  • Total edible oil imports were 1.54 million tons vs 1.37 million
  • As of Dec. 1, vessels carrying 350,000 tons of edible oils, comprising 234,000 tons of palm oil, 74,000 tons of soybean oil and 42,000 tons of sunflower oil, were waiting at ports, or scheduled to arrive in the next few days, Patel said
  • NOTE: The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India will release its vegetable oil import data for November in the middle of December

FUTURES & HEADLINES

Wheat prices overnight are up 1 1/4 in SRW, down 1/2 in HRW, down 1 in HRS; Corn is up 2 1/2; Soybeans up 10; Soymeal up $0.19; Soyoil up 0.49.

For the week so far wheat prices are down 20 3/4 in SRW, down 29 1/4 in HRW, down 20 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 3; Soybeans up 11; Soymeal up $1.03; Soyoil down 1.49.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 55 1/4 in SRW, down 58 1/2 in HRW, down 42 in HRS; Corn is down 24; Soybeans down 21 3/4; Soymeal up $16.20; Soyoil down 7.52.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down -7% in SRW, up 6% in HRW, down -7% in HRS; Corn is up 7%; Soybeans up 9%; Soymeal up 5%; Soyoil up 15%.

Chinese Ag futures (MAR 23) Soybeans up 9 yuan; Soymeal down 6; Soyoil down 20; Palm oil down 192; Corn down 20 –Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 127 ringgit (+3.20%) at 4094.

There were changes in registrations (-42 Oats). Registration total: 3,056 SRW Wheat contracts; 4 Oats; 308 Corn; 121 Soybeans; 689 Soyoil; 291 Soymeal; 505 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of December 5 were: SRW Wheat up 5,558 contracts, HRW Wheat down 958, Corn down 7,753, Soybeans up 1,875, Soymeal up 3,292, Soyoil up 2,266.

Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Rio Grande do Sul and Parana: Scattered showers north Tuesday. Mostly dry Wednesday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Tuesday, above normal Wednesday-Friday. Mato Grosso, MGDS and southern Goias: Scattered showers through Friday. Temperatures near normal through Friday.

Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Cordoba, Santa Fe, Northern Buenos Aires: Mostly dry Tuesday. Isolated showers Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday. Isolated showers Friday. Temperatures well above normal through Friday. La Pampa, Southern Buenos Aires: Mostly dry Tuesday. Isolated showers Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures above to well above normal through Friday.

Northern Plains Forecast: Scattered snow through Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures near to below normal through Tuesday, below to well below normal Wednesday, near to below normal Thursday-Friday. Outlook: Isolated snow Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to below normal Saturday-Wednesday.

Central/Southern Plains Forecast: Isolated showers Tuesday. Scattered showers Wednesday-Thursday. Mostly dry Friday. Temperatures near to below normal north and above normal south Tuesday-Friday. Outlook: Isolated showers Saturday. Scattered showers Sunday-Monday. Mostly dry Tuesday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Sunday, near to below normal Monday-Wednesday.

Western Midwest Forecast: Isolated showers through Wednesday. Scattered showers Thursday into Friday. Temperatures near to below normal north and above normal south Tuesday-Thursday, near to above normal Friday.

Eastern Midwest Forecast: Isolated showers through Wednesday. Scattered showers Thursday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Friday. Outlook: Mostly dry Saturday. Scattered showers Sunday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Monday, near to below normal Tuesday-Wednesday.

The player sheet for Dec. 5 had funds: net sellers of 7,000 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 4,000 corn, sellers of 500 soybeans, buyers of 3,500 soymeal, and  sellers of 7,500 soyoil.

TENDERS

  • WHEAT PURCHASE: A group of South Korean flour mills bought around 50,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in an international tender on Tuesday
  • WHEAT PURCHASE: South Korea’s Feed Leaders Committee (FLC) purchased about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America in an international tender on Tuesday
  • WHEAT PURCHASE: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group has issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa
  • WHEAT PURCHASE: A government agency in Pakistan is believed to have bought about 500,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender for the same volume which closed last week. The Trading Corporation of Pakistan bought the 500,000 tonnes all at $372 a tonne c&f
  • WHEAT PURCHASE: Pakistan’s finance ministry said it approved the import of 450,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia ahead of the next crop season. The Russian wheat will be purchased on a government-to-government basis in the February to March period, the ministry said in a statement. It said the ministry’s Economic Coordination Committee approved the offer from the Russian state firm Prodintorg at $372 per tonne.
  • SOYBEAN SALES: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 130,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2022/23 marketing year that began Sept. 1.
  • WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 154,957 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in regular tenders that will close on Thursday.

PENDING TENDERS

  • RICE TENDER: Turkey’s state grain board TMO issued an international tender to purchase a total 40,000 tonnes of rice.

cargo ships on waterways

TODAY

US Inspected 524k Tons of Corn for Export, 1.722m of Soybean

In week ending Dec. 1, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.

  • Corn: 524k tons vs 312k the previous wk, 787k a yr ago
  • Soybeans: 1,722k tons vs 2,227k the previous wk, 2,369k a yr ago
  • Wheat: 335k tons vs 284k the previous wk, 249k a yr ago

US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: Dec. 1

Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending Dec. 1 of corn, soybeans and wheat for export, from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA.

  • Soybeans for China-bound shipments made up 1.23m tons of the 1.72m total inspected
  • China was the top destination for corn inspections, Philippines led in wheat

Brazil 2022/23 Soy Planting at 91% as of Dec. 1: AgRural

Compares with 87% a week earlier and 94% a year ago, according to an emailed report from consulting firm AgRural.

  • Dry, hot weather in the Southern region is a concern for the region’s farmers, where planting is delayed
  • Summer corn planting is 93% done in the Center-South, compared with 88% a week earlier and 94% a year ago

Australia Heads for Record Wheat Crop Even as Rains Hurt Yields

  • Harvest estimate increased almost 14% from September
  • Canola output is also likely to be a new record this year

Australia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, is poised to harvest another record crop this season even as heavy rains hurt yields in the eastern states, according to the government forecaster.

Farmers are set to gather 36.6 million tons in 2022-23, an increase of 1% from the previous all-time high last season, Abares said. That’s also a jump of almost 14% from its September forecast, driven by spring rains which helped areas in Western Australia and South Australia. Canola production is estimated at 7.3 million tons, the highest ever and 4% more than last season.

More wheat from Australia should help ease concerns over tight global supplies, though quality downgrades in the eastern states will reduce the availability of high-grade milling wheat. Worries are deepening over the impact of drought on the crop in Argentina, while lingering dryness in the US and Europe, and lower Black Sea exports will keep world grain prices elevated, Abares said.

Supply pressure may last for some time even when La Nina conditions subside, as it will take more than one season to replenish inventories, Abares said.

Rains, Floods

Predictions of bumper production in Australia won’t be experienced evenly, Abares said. Widespread flooding in the eastern states has resulted in a mixed picture for growers there who have been battling crop losses, waterlogged machinery and damaged roads which are hampering the harvest.

Washed-Out Roads Are Next Hurdle For Australia’s Wheat Farmers

Crop abandonment in the eastern states due to flooding and extreme rainfall over spring is estimated to total around 16% of planted area in New South Wales, 7% in Victoria and 5% in Queensland, according to the forecaster.

“Considerable uncertainty remains over winter crop harvest progress and grain quality in New South Wales and Victoria given ongoing high rainfall, which could lead to downgrades in production value,” said Jared Greenville, Abares executive director. Harvests are likely to run well into the summer, he said.

La Nina To Continue into Summer: Australia’s BoM

The Indian Ocean Dipole has returned to neutral and La Nina will continue into summer, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.

  • La Niña continues in the tropical Pacific
    • Atmospheric and oceanic indicators of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation reflect a mature La Nina
    • Models suggest a return to ENSO-neutral in Jan. or Feb. 2023
    • During summer, La Nina typically increases the chance of above average rainfall for northern and eastern Australia, and the chance of cooler days and nights for north-east Australia
  • Weekly values of the IOD index have been in the neutral range for five consecutive weeks with the most recent value being −0.16 °C
    • The ending of the 2022 negative IOD event is consistent with the seasonal cycle
    • IOD has little influence on Australian climate while the monsoon trough is in the southern hemisphere typically Dec. to April

China Ramps Up Corn Purchases From Brazil, as US Exports Decline

  • Brazil’s shipments may exceed 1 million tons of corn this year
  • First Brazilian corn cargo departed for China in November

China is ramping up imports of Brazilian corn, replacing imports of the more expensive US grain.

Four vessels loaded with Brazilian corn are currently en route to China and five more should sail to China soon, according to the shipping agency Alphamar Agencia Maritima. Additional vessels waiting to load may also head there, pushing total Brazilian corn shipments to China past 1 million tons for the year.

Shipments to date already exceed 280,000 tons, just a month after the first cargo of Brazilian corn headed to China. Historically an importer of American and Ukrainian corn, China’s appetite for cheaper and abundant Brazilian supplies are taking a toll on US sales. Export inspections of American corn of 6.3 million tons are down 33% so far this year, pressured by a dry Mississippi River that is raising logistics costs and helping to keep supplies too expensive for importers.

There are other four vessels that could potentially leave for China soon, given their similar cargo patterns, although final destinations can change, said the commercial director for Alphamar, Arthur Neto. “These confirmations are happening at the last minute. From our knowledge, other fixtures are already in place and their nominations shall follow shortly.” If all vessels alongside head to China, Brazil’s total corn sales to the Asian nation could surpass 1 million tons this year.

Brazil exported a record 6 million tons of corn in November, bringing the year-to-date total to 38 million tons, almost twice as much as the 20.6 million tons shipped in 2021. Brazil is expected to harvest a record 126 million tons of corn, according to the USDA.

European crop losses due to excessive heat and flash-droughts have left the region competing with China for supplies. Lineup and waiting times in Santos port, the biggest in South America, are increasing.

Vessels waiting to load outside of Santos Port, Brazil

In Ukraine, corn exports are up 63% from a year ago, while total row crop exports declined over 30%. These grains are expected to be sold within Europe, which has doubled its corn imports this year.

Reduced export demand for US supplies was weighing on futures, with Chicago slumping Monday to the lowest since August.

Ukraine’s Black Sea Crop Exports Rose 39% W/w in Week to Dec. 4

Crop exports from Ukraine’s ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative totaled 838,054 tons in the week to Dec. 4, according to data posted by the Joint Coordination Centre.

  • That compares to 601,486 tons the prior week
  • QUEUE: 91 inbound and outbound vessels were waiting in Turkish territorial waters for inspection as of Sunday, JCC said by email
    • Compares to 98 the prior week
    • 5 to 8 ships passed inspection daily
  • TOTAL TONNAGE: More than 13m tons of crops have shipped since the initiative was agreed in late July

Indonesia govt to create a mechanism for rollout of B35 biodiesel policy

Indonesia’s president has asked the government to create a mechanism next year to ensure the rollout of B35 biodiesel, a senior minister said on Tuesday.

B35 is a fuel containing a 35% mix of palm oil-based fuel.

Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, currently has a mandatory 30% mix of palm oil fuel in biodiesel, known as B30.

“With the implementation of B35, it will reduce our dependency on (oil) imports,” Chief Economics Minister Airlangga Hartarto said.

He did not provide further detail on plans for B35 implementation or give any timetable.

Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is currently finalising trials on biodiesel containing 40% palm oil-based fuel known as B40.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Airlangga also said that the government expects headline inflation at the end of 2022 to be between 5.34% and 5.5%.

Indonesia’s annual headline inflation last month eased to 5.42% from 5.71% in October.

“We will monitor the global geopolitical environment, extreme weather and the scarring effects on inflation,” Airlangga said.

Oil Trader Wellbred Starts Geneva Biofuels Business

Commodities trader Wellbred is building a renewable energy team out of the company’s Geneva office, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

  • The desk to be led by Jerome Lunot, who previously held roles at Phibro, Trafigura and Cargill
  • The trading book will initially focus on the Scandinavian market, primarily Norway and Sweden, before a planned expansion to supply feedstocks in Asia
  • Wellbred is also looking at supplying biofuels to the shipping industry
  • NOTE: Wellbred has offices in Singapore, Dubai and Geneva. It also trades oil products across the Middle East, East Asia and Africa

Labor Crunch to Cost Billions for Malaysia Palm Sector

  • Growers hired just 20% of labor needed so far this year: group
  • Industry seeks steps like chartered planes to bring in workers

A chronic shortage of plantation workers in Malaysia may cost palm oil producers about 20 billion ringgit ($4.6 billion) this year, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Association, curbing supply and potentially boosting global prices.

Palm growers hired around 14,000 foreign workers this year through November, just a fifth of the industry’s needs and about half of the number approved by the authorities, according to a survey of top 10 planters by the association. The country is the biggest producer of the tropical oil after Indonesia.

Malaysia’s palm oil sector is reliant on overseas labor, and has struggled to bring in more workers as movement curbs due to the virus were relaxed. The government assured the industry it would accelerate worker approval, but planters say progress is too slow and that’s leading to crop losses. Without enough boots on the ground, many farmers had to leave ripened fruit rotting on trees.

The number of foreign workers coming in is “trifling” compared with the amount needed, said Joseph Tek, chief executive of the association that represents 40% of the country’s planted palm area. While there have been efforts by various agencies to facilitate worker arrivals, bottlenecks still persist, he said.

Malaysian output of palm oil, used in everything from food and cosmetics to biofuels, is forecast to drop for a third year, to 18 million tons in 2022, the association said in September.

Concerns over weaker production may support prices of the oil. Palm oil jumped earlier in the year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but then declined as the supply situation improved and Indonesia ramped up exports. They’ve turned upward again, however, rising about 20% since late September.

The palm oil sector is seeking help from Malaysia’s new government to expedite the process of bringing in more plantation workers, Tek said. This includes taking steps like chartering planes and renewing agreements with governments in source countries to bring in more workers, he added.

World’s Biggest Fertilizer Market Steps Back

Brazilian farmers are resisting costly fertilizers, pulling back on imports as prices slide. The Southern Hemisphere is key to crop-nutrient demand in 4Q, and without India or Brazil buying, prices seasonally fall. Year-to-date Brazilian urea imports are down 8.6% at 6.5 million metric tons through November. Potash and phosphate imports are down 18% and 4.5% from last year, respectively. A pullback in Brazil has freed up lower-cost tons for India — where government subsidies keep urea prices at the farm level unchanged. Northern Hemisphere farmers will provide direction for fertilizer pricing when they resume buying — though unlikely before February.

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