Global Ag News for Feb 13.24
Fuel Retailers Push Key US Senator to Back Corn Ethanol Boost
Major fuel retailers are urging retiring US Senator Tom Carper to back year-round sales of higher ethanol fuel blends, telling the environment committee chairman that his legacy on fighting climate change is on the line.
- Carper, who isn’t running for reelection this year, is the “primary roadblock” to bills that would permit sales of motor gasoline blended with 15% corn ethanol, known as E15, during the summer months, according to a letter viewed by Bloomberg News that will be sent to the Delaware Democrat on Tuesday from groups representing fuel retailers, truck stops and convenience stores
- “Such legislation would allow for more environmentally friendly fuel to be sold at a lower cost to consumers. As importantly, it would signal to the market that long-term investments in lower carbon transportation energy – including biofuels and EV charging stations – will be rewarded rather than punished,” the groups said in the letter
- Allowing sales of E15 year round would “avoid unnecessary disruption, complexity, and price-increases in US gasoline markets this coming summer,” the groups said
- “It’s getting increasingly challenging to reconcile Senator Carper’s legacy championing climate causes with his office’s continued opposition to legislation allowing E15 to be sold year-round,” David Fialkov, who oversees government affairs for truck stop group NATSO and fuel marketer SIGMA, said in an interview
- Spokespeople for Carper didn’t immediately respond to emails and a phone call seeking comment
- NOTE: Many independent refiners do not support E15 legislation and are pushing for broader changes to the nation’s renewable fuel mandate as part of any bill; Carper has shown himself sympathetic to the needs of independent refiners
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 4 3/4 in SRW, down 4 1/4 in HRW, down 6 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 1/2; Soybeans down 3 1/4; Soymeal down $2.80; Soyoil up 0.50.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 4 in SRW, down 6 3/4 in HRW, down 8 1/4 in HRS; Corn is up 1; Soybeans up 6 1/4; Soymeal down $0.40; Soyoil up 0.15.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 2 1/2 in SRW, down 27 1/2 in HRW, down 16 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 18 1/4; Soybeans down 32 1/2; Soymeal down $24.00; Soyoil up 1.36.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 5.6% in SRW, down 7.4% in HRW, down 6.6% in HRS; Corn is down 8.8%; Soybeans down 8.0%; Soymeal down 10.4%; Soyoil down 0.9%.
Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 17 ringgit (+0.44%) at 3901. China’s markets remain closed for holiday.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 772 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 6 Corn; 468 Soybeans; 125 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 104 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of February 9 were: SRW Wheat down 5,171 contracts, HRW Wheat down 1,065, Corn up 3,521, Soybeans down 2,636, Soymeal down 210, Soyoil down 13,169.
Brazil: Scattered showers continued across central Brazil over the weekend while being very isolated across the south. This week that will flip as showers become isolated in central Brazil and fronts moving north from Argentina bring heavier rain to southern areas. The south has been too dry for several weeks and needs the rain. By the weekend, showers are forecast to be widespread and heavy for much of the country, beneficial for everything but fieldwork as soybeans are still being harvest and safrinha corn is still being planted. Southern areas will not be wet for long as it gets unfavorably dry again next week.
Argentina: Heavy rain fell last week and continued over the weekend as well, putting an end to the hot and dry conditions that caused corn and soybeans to suffer from mid-January. Another front will move through Monday into Tuesday with another round of widespread heavy rain. Another system is forecast to move into the country next weekend, keeping the moisture coming that could turn conditions back around and make them favorable again.
Northern Plains: Some isolated snow showers flew around over the weekend, but most areas stayed dry. Several small systems will move through over the next couple of weeks. They may not bring much precipitation, though some streaks of heavier snow will be possible. But they will also have a tendency to bring down some colder air starting on Wednesday.
Central/Southern Plains: A system developed over the weekend and brought some moderate to heavy snow across the south and west. Precipitation ends early Monday. A clipper will move off to the north on Wednesday and could bring some showers to northern areas. Another could do something similar on Thursday and Friday. But that one may be able to tap into more moisture from the south going into the weekend. Clippers are likely to move through the area next week as well. Temperatures could vary wildly between these systems.
Midwest: A band of showers and thunderstorms went across the southern end of the region over the weekend and another storm is going to bring more showers to the south Monday into early Tuesday. It may be just cold enough for some snow in some sections. A clipper will move through Wednesday and Thursday and bring more scattered showers but also some colder air. Clippers will be common then through next week and temperatures could vary significantly from day to day as systems come and go.
Delta: Heavy rain and thunderstorms went through over the weekend and continue in northern areas on Monday, which includes some accumulating snow. The heavy rain continues to ease drought conditions and flooding has been more significant recently. Another system will come through on Friday and Saturday with more potential for rain.
The player sheet for Feb. 12 had funds: buyers of 1,500 corn, sellers of 3,500 soybeans, buyers of 2,000 soymeal, and sellers of 1,500 soyoil.
- CORN PURCHASE: The Korea Feed Association (KFA) in South Korea purchased about 68,000 metric tons of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from South America or South Africa in a private deal on Feb. 8 without issuing an international tender
- CORN TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, said it was seeking at least 50,000 metric tons of imported yellow corn in a tender for shipment Mar. 15-25 and/or Mar. 26 – Apr. 5. The deadline for offers is Feb. 13.
- WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is looking to buy a total of 115,035 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that will close on Thursday.
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat that can be sourced from optional origins
- BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to purchase up to 120,000 metric tons of animal feed barley
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 88,800 metric tons of rice to be sourced from the United States and China.
- WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat.
US Inspected 880k Tons of Corn for Export, 1.326m of Soybeans
In week ending Feb. 8, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.
- Corn: 880k tons vs 645k the previous wk, 563k a yr ago
- Wheat: 407k tons vs 296k the previous wk, 472k a yr ago
- Soybeans: 1,326k tons vs 1,751k the previous wk, 1,693k a yr ago
US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: Feb. 8
Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending Feb. 8 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 814k tons of the 1.33m total inspected
- Mexico was the top destination for corn inspections, and also led in wheat
Texas Winter Wheat Crop Downgraded to 42% Good/Excellent: USDA
The USDA posts Texas winter wheat conditions data on its website for week ending Feb. 11,
- Crop conditions declined by 4 percentage points from the previous week
- Crops rated poor or very poor declined to 19% from 20%
- Texas is the second-biggest producer of winter wheat in the US measured by area planted
- More states are scheduled to release data at the end of the month
Brazil second-corn output forecast raised as ideal sowing window widened, AgRural says
Brazil’s 2023/24 second-corn production projection was raised by nearly 5 million metric tons to 91.2 million tons from 86.3 million tons, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, citing evidence of farmers planting an area larger than initially estimated.
Brazil’s second-corn is sowed after soybeans are harvested in the same fields, and an acceleration of the soy cycle changed the consultancy’s expectations in relation to the second-corn crop, AgRural said.
AgRural now predicts the second-corn being sowed on 16.376 million hectares (40.4 million acres), 4.7% smaller than last season’s area based on data from Brazilian crop agency Conab.
In December, however, the consultancy had expected a 9.4% drop in the area to be planted with second-corn and production of 86.3 million metric tons.
This season, hot and dry weather caused crop failure on many Mato Grosso soybean farms. Such a process accelerated the soy cycle in Brazil’s biggest farm state, widening the ideal planting window for second-corn, AgRural said.
The consultancy firm said on Monday Brazil’s 2023/24 soybean harvest hit 23% of planted area as of last Thursday, compared to 17% in the same period a year earlier. According to analysts, farmers ought to plant their second-corn by late February or face higher climate risk if they do it in early March.
“Back in December, a tighter window for corn planting was expected. But with the anticipation of soybeans and an accelerated harvest in Mato Grosso, space was freed up for corn sowing to take place within the ideal window,” said AgRural’s analyst Adriano Gomes.
AgRural also highlighted better price expectations for corn, starting at the end of last year, as favoring a decision to risk planting more of it this season. Second-corn represents 70%-80% of national corn output in a given year. Brazil’s second-corn, harvested in the middle of the year, competes with U.S. corn in global export markets.
Strong 2024/25 Crop Outlook Expected From USDA
Analysts are expecting the USDA in its Agricultural Forum this week to forecast 2024/25 crops to be similar in size to what was seen last year. Analysts say they are expecting smaller corn production, but still an output that exceeds 15 billion bushels. Soybean and wheat production is expected to rise, leaving current fundamentals intact for the marketing year. For all three grains, that means an extension of the pressure on grain futures, which have come on strong harvesting out of South America as well as decreased export demand for U.S. crops. That is, unless the weather throws farmers a curveball. “Farmers are just waiting till the spring planting season and hoping for a weather rally,” Brian Hoops of Midwest Market Solutions says.
Malaysia end-Jan palm oil stocks fall 11.83%, says MPOB
Malaysia’s palm oil stocks at the end of January fell 11.83% from the previous month to 2.02 million metric tons, data from industry regulator the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) showed on Tuesday.
Crude palm oil production declined 9.59% from December to 1.40 million tons in January, while palm oil exports dropped 0.85% to 1.35 million tons, MPOB said.
A Reuters survey forecast January’s inventories at 2.14 million tons, a 6.62% decline from the previous month, with output at 1.37 million tons and exports at 1.22 million tons.
Russia’s Agriculture Ministry proposes raising quota on grain exports to 28 mln tonnes in 2024 – draft resolution
Russia’s Agriculture Ministry proposes raising the quota on grain exports to 28 million tonnes in 2024, according to a draft government resolution posted at regulation.gov.ru.
The Agriculture Ministry proposes implementing a separate quota for 2024 for exporting wheat and meslin (Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Foreign Economic Activity Commodity Nomenclature (FEACN) code 1001 99 000 0), rye (EAEU FEACN code 1002 90 000 0), barley (EAEU FEACN code 1003 90 000 0), and corn (EAEU FEACN code 1005 90 000 0) totaling 4 million tonnes outside the EAEU.
The approved quota volume is currently 24 million tonnes.
Egypt Wheat Stocks Enough for Over 4.4 Months: Supply Ministry
Sugar inventories sufficient for five months, the Supply Ministry says.
French Winter-Grain Plantings for 2024 Fall 7.5% Y/y: Ministry
French farmers planted 6.2 million hectares of winter-grain crops for the 2024 harvest as of Feb. 1, the Agriculture Ministry said in a report on Tuesday.
- That’s down 7.5% from a year earlier, and 6.1% below the five-year average
- Soft winter-wheat area at 4.4m hectares; down 7.7% y/y and 7.5% below the five-year average
- Durum wheat area at 210k hectares, down 8.3% y/y
- Barley area was 1.3m hectares, down 6.6% y/y
- Rapeseed area seen at 1.3m hectares, down 0.6% y/y
- NOTE: The majority of French wheat plantings happen over winter
- Bad weather disrupted field work, leading farmers to postpone sowing in favor of spring crops
India police use tear gas on farmers demanding higher crop prices
Police in India on Tuesday fired tear gas at hundreds of farmers and their supporters who were marching to New Delhi to pressure the government to honour a 2021 promise to pay them more for crops.
Security in the capital was tightened after farm unions from northern breadbasket states called for protests a day after talks with ministers aimed at securing minimum prices for a range of crops failed.
At midday, police fired teargas to disperse marchers at Shambhu, a border crossing between Punjab and Haryana states, about 230 km (143 miles) north of Delhi and where many had joined the march.
The march is latest in a series of similar protests which began more than two years ago and comes months ahead of national elections in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek a third term, with farmers forming an influential voting bloc.
Farm unions are seeking guarantees, backed by law, to provide more state support or buy crops at a minimum price. They also want the government to honour a promise to double their income.
US Spring Fertilizer Season Starts Early as Imports Rise Broadly
Ammonia prices were steady last week as warm weather kicked off spring ammonia applications early. US fertilizer imports tracked above last year for all products. US phosphate affordability deteriorated to the worst in 10 years. Moroccan phosphate trade with the US fell in 4Q even after duties on the African county’s imports were revised lower.
Urea, Ammonium Sulfate Prices Stay Strong; Ammonia Weakens
The New Orleans (NOLA) urea market took a breather this week — after consecutive periods of gains — settling at $345-$350 a short ton (st) vs. last week’s $345-$355 range. Urea continued to climb in the Middle East, China and Brazil on reports of a tight market, while also inching up in several inland US regions. Ammonium sulfate rode urea’s coattails, with US prices moving up in the wake of higher postings from producers AdvanSix and Interoceanic. Ammonia was the only nitrogen fertilizer experiencing downward pressure, with softer US and offshore prices suggesting another potential drop in Tampa ammonia for March.
Phosphates were stable at NOLA and inland, while potash dipped slightly at NOLA following reports of new barge trades at $310/st, down from last week’s $315-$320.
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