Global Ag News for Jan 26.24
Citi Sticks to Bearish Grains Outlook for 2024
Citi Research maintains its neutral-to-bearish stance on grains in 1Q, and bearish outlook for the second half of the year. “We expect 2024 to continue to be a year of staple grains price deflation and for prices to generally grind lower into 2H,” they say in a report. “Robust U.S. field crop plantings, a flip to ENSO [El Niño] neutral conditions in 2Q, and Argentina export growth should keep prices trending lower amid a weak global growth outlook,” they say. Grains are mostly lower, led by soybeans which are down 1.5% after an export-sales miss, while corn is off 0.4% and wheat gains 0.3%.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 6 1/4 in SRW, down 3 in HRW, down 2 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 3; Soybeans down 1 3/4; Soymeal down $1.60; Soyoil up 0.08.
For the week so far wheat prices are up 12 3/4 in SRW, up 26 in HRW, up 10 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 3 1/4; Soybeans up 8; Soymeal up $0.10; Soyoil down 0.29.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 22 in SRW, down 8 in HRW, down 17 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 22 1/2; Soybeans down 76 3/4; Soymeal down $29.40; Soyoil down 1.57.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 3.5% in SRW, down 1.2% in HRW, down 2.4% in HRS; Corn is down 4.8%; Soybeans down 5.6%; Soymeal down 7.6%; Soyoil down 2.6%.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 24) Soybeans down 90 yuan; Soymeal down 42; Soyoil down 70; Palm oil down 6; Corn unchanged — Malaysian Palm is up 27. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 27 ringgit (+0.68%) at 4021.
There were changes in registrations (-82 Soybeans). Registration total: 849 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 6 Corn; 495 Soybeans; 125 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 214 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of January 25 were: SRW Wheat down 6,111 contracts, HRW Wheat up 4,390, Corn down 5,766, Soybeans down 2,920, Soymeal down 979, Soyoil up 8,126.
Brazil: While showers have been a bit more widespread across central Brazil over the past few days, they may become more isolated through the second half of this week and into early next week as the widespread showers shift farther north. The more isolated showers may allow for harvest progress to continue but for soybeans that are still maturing, more rainfall would be beneficial. Any rain showers will also benefit soil moisture for safrinha corn planting which should start up shortly. Precipitation is trending to be below normal for central and southern Brazil next week as heavier rain showers stay in northern Brazil.
Argentina: An extended dry period will continue across the main growing areas through at least early next week as any notable precipitation will stay off to the west and south. Corn and soybean conditions are likely to fall toward the end of the month as soil moisture may deplete across some of the cropland. The next chance for any notable precipitation may return by the middle of next week.
Europe: Precipitation has been limited across Spain and Italy for vegetative wheat this week as most of the precipitation has remained confined to northern Europe. The drier conditions will persist into early next week and the vegetative wheat could use more precipitation. Temperatures are expected to be above normal across much of the continent through next week.
Australia: Recent rains in the east have been favorable for developing cotton and sorghum. Tropical Cyclone Kirrily will make landfall in eastern Queensland on Thursday. Heavy rainfall may accompany the tropical cyclone and lead to areas of flooding in eastern and northern areas. Meanwhile, southern parts of Australia will continue to see scattered showers through Thursday before turning drier by the end of this week and into early next week.
Northern Plains: Mostly dry conditions will continue through the middle of next week as systems largely pass by to the south and east of the region. Above normal temperatures will also continue through the end of January which will lend to mild conditions for livestock. The warmer temperatures will likely reduce the snowpack through the next week as well.
Central/Southern Plains: Above normal temperatures will continue across the Central Plains through the middle of next week, but temperatures could trend slightly cooler across Texas through early next week. The warmer temperatures will likely reduce any snowpack in Kansas and Nebraska. Recent areas of heavy rainfall in eastern Texas have helped improve soil moisture in the region. The rainfall is also favorable for winter wheat. One more round of rain is possible by the end of this week and into early this weekend before conditions dry out for early next week.
Midwest: Multiple rounds of precipitation have impacted eastern areas through the first half of this week. Additional rainfall is expected through Thursday before a brief period of mostly dry conditions returns Friday. The next round of precipitation will tag eastern areas later this weekend before mostly dry conditions return early next week. Above to well above normal temperatures are expected through the middle of next week and northern areas could see temperatures rise up to 20-25 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Warm temperatures and rainfall will likely lead to a reduction in snowpack for many areas.
Delta: Several rounds of rain remain likely through this weekend, melting any snow. Heavy rain remains likely through Thursday and some areas of flooding are possible in southern areas. Water levels along the Mississippi River will receive a boost and increase transportation for at least a little while. Temperatures will continue to be above normal throughout the rest of this week and by next week, well above normal temperatures are expected in northern areas. Drier conditions will finally return across the region by late this weekend into early next week.
The player sheet for Jan. 25 had funds: net buyers of 500 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 1,500 corn, buyers of 7,000 soybeans, sellers of 2,000 soymeal, and sellers of 1,000 soyoil.
- FOOD WHEAT PURCHASE: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 88,710 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada in a regular tender that closed on Thursday, Jan. 25.
- WHEAT TENDER: Two importer groups in the Philippines have issued two separate tenders each seeking to purchase between 45,000 to 48,000 metric tons of animal feed wheat
- CORN, BARLEY TENDERS: Algerian state agency ONAB issued international tenders to purchase around 160,000 metric tons of animal feed corn and 30,000 metric tons of feed barley
- CORN TENDER: Algerian state agency ONAB has issued an international tender to purchase up to 240,000 metric tons of animal feed corn
- RICE TENDER: Indonesian state purchasing agency BULOG has issued an international tender to buy 500,000 metric tons of rice
- WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer has issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat
- WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 89,650 metric tons of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States.
US Export Sales of Soybeans, Corn and Wheat by Country
The following shows US export sales of soybeans, corn and wheat by biggest net buyers for week ending Jan. 18, according to data on the USDA’s website.
- Top buyer of soybeans: China with 563k tons
- Top buyer of corn: Mexico with 601k tons
- Top buyer of wheat: Mexico with 181k tons
- Biggest cancellation: 236k tons of soybeans from Unknown Buyers
US Export Sales of Pork and Beef by Country
The following shows US export sales of pork and beef product by biggest net buyers for week ending Jan. 18, according to data on the USDA’s website.
- Mexico bought 9.7k tons of the 24.1k tons of pork sold in the week
- South Korea led in beef purchases
Argentine Soy, Corn, Wheat Estimates Jan. 25: Exchange
The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange releases weekly report on website.
- 2023-24 corn production est. raised to 56.5m tons from 55m tons last week
- Planting area at 7.2m ha vs 7.1m ha
- 2023-24 soybean production est. raised to 52.5m tons vs 50m tons
Brazil domestic ethanol sales soar amid high inventories
Sales of ethanol in the Brazilian market increased sharply in January according to industry data released on Thursday with mills very active in the selling side as they are apparently running out of storage space due to a bumper crop.
Total ethanol sales in the domestic market in the first half of January rose 44% year-on-year, said industry group UNICA, to 1.27 billion liters (335.5 million gallons). Sales of hydrous ethanol, the type that competes with gasoline at pumps for the preference of car owners, rose even more, up 83%.
Mills are selling large volumes despite low current prices. Hydrous ethanol prices in January hit the lowest for the last two years according to Cepea Esalq, a research center at the University of Sao Paulo (USP).
Very high stocks of ethanol following a record sugarcane crop in Brazil in the 2023/24 season are driving mills to sell the product even at low prices, said Filipi Cardoso, a sugar and ethanol analyst at broker StoneX.
He added that fuel distributors are active in the buying as they build inventories before an expected change in state taxes in February that would make gasoline more expensive, potentially benefiting ethanol sales.
Brazil’s center-south sugarcane crushing totaled 1.11 million metric tons in the first half of January, UNICA said, up 152.3% from a year ago as the current season nears its end.
UNICA said in a report that sugar production totaled 48,000 tons in the period, up 148.6% year-on-year, while total ethanol output rose 62.4% to 338 million liters.
Russia Wheat Price Clarity Is a Challenge for Market: LDC Trader
“There is no doubt that the challenge for the ABCDs is to properly define the price of Russian wheat,” since top Western traders stopped sourcing grain for export from Russia, Guillermo Benedit, senior grains merchant for Middle East & Africa at Louis Dreyfus Co. said at the Argus Agritel Paris Grain conference.
- NOTE: Agricultural trading giants Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Bunge, Cargill Inc. and Louis Dreyfus are known as “ABCD” companies in the industry
- NOTE: Top Western grain traders exited Russia in 2023
- They were “replaced by new local companies who started to compete like for like with the existing Russian companies.”
- “Russia is the price setter for global wheat throughout the season,” and prices there have big implications for French, Argentine origin, Benedit says
China’s pig herd at end-2023 shrinks 4.1% from a year ago
China’s pig herd at the end of 2023 fell 4.1% from a year ago to 434.22 million heads, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.
Sow herd fell 5.7% from a year ago to 41.42 million heads.
US Ethanol Output 10% Below Last Year on Natgas Disruption: RFA
Production of US ethanol is about 10% below year-ago levels as makers of the corn-based biofuel grapple with disruptions in natural gas service amid bitter cold temperatures, says Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper.
- “While the situation has definitely improved from a week ago, there are a number of facilities that are still idling or operating far below capacity as the natural gas situation continues to unwind,” Cooper says via email
Macron Makes Last-Ditch Bid to Stop Farmers Blockading Paris
- Government is due to present new measures later Friday
- Protests spread as some unions threaten to cut off capital
Emmanuel Macron’s government will try to defuse French farmers’ fury over falling incomes and stringent European regulations, in an attempt to stop demonstrations from escalating into a blockade of Paris.
Protests that began in the south of France have spread through the week, as farmers blocked major roads and snarled traffic around the country with go-slow processions. Some unions have urged their members to cut off the main routes into Paris on Friday afternoon.
Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who was appointed less than a month ago to inject fresh impetus into a government torn by disagreements on immigration, is due to unveil the administration’s response later Friday. France is tackling protests which mirror dissent in European countries including Germany and Poland.
The government is expected to announce measures to cut red tape and offset the impact of shrinking subsidies on non-road diesel. It may also pledge to speed up financial handouts for farmers who have been affected by floods or cattle disease.
“There’s a real risk of a general flare-up,” said Hortense de Padirac, a Paris-based political scientist who teaches at the Sciences Po university. “Attal will have to show he’s up to the mission he’s been assigned to by the president. It’s Attal’s credibility that is at stake.”
Many of the farmers’ complaints have focused on what they see as a tangle of ever-shifting regulations that have pushed many of them to the brink of bankruptcy. The European Union began a so-called strategic dialog Thursday to address growing divisions over agriculture across the bloc. But the effort is a slow-moving process and it’s unclear how much the EU can do soon to ease the protests.
US Red Meat Production Rose 1.7% Y/y in December
Commercial beef and pork production rose to 4.55b pounds in Dec., according to the USDA’s monthly livestock slaughter report.
- Beef production down 1.6% y/y to 2.19b pounds
- Dec. cattle slaughter totaled 2.59m head, a 3.4% decline from a year ago
- Avg live weight rose by 17 pounds from last year to 1,401 pounds
- Pork production up 5% y/y to 2.34b pounds
- Hog slaughter increased 5.1% y/y to 10,826m head
- Avg live weight was 291 pounds vs 292 pounds a year ago
US Poultry Slaughter Fell 5.9% Y/y in December: USDA
Slaughter fell to 5.36 billion pounds, according to the USDA’s monthly poultry slaughter report released on the agency’s website.
- Chicken live weight fell 6.1% in December from year ago
- Chickens condemned post-mortem down 14.6% y/y
- Condemned ante-mortem down 15.4% y/y
World 2023-24 Orange Production Seen Rising by 2%: USDA
World production est. seen rising to 48.82m tons from 47.96m tons in 2022-23, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report on its website.
- Significant gains in Turkey, Argentina and US crops seen outweighing declines in Brazil and European Union crops
- US crop seen rising by 12% after dropping last season to a 56-year low
- Global orange-juice production seen rising by 1% to 1.5m tons
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