Global Ag News for Jan 3.24
US Agriculture Sentiment Weakens in December: Purdue Univ.
The Purdue University/CME Group’s agricultural sentiment index fell to 114 points in Dec. from 115 in Nov., according to a survey of 400 agricultural producers.
- Current conditions component declined by 1 point from Nov.
- Future expectations down by 1 point
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 2 3/4 in SRW, down 5 1/4 in HRW, down 1 1/2 in HRS; Corn is unchanged; Soybeans down 4 1/2; Soymeal down $0.40; Soyoil down 0.38.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 24 1/4 in SRW, down 18 1/4 in HRW, down 10 in HRS; Corn is down 7 1/2; Soybeans down 29; Soymeal down $6.80; Soyoil down 0.27.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 24) Soybeans down 73 yuan; Soymeal down 19; Soyoil down 88; Palm oil down 80; Corn up 13 — Malaysian Palm is down 36. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 36 ringgit (-0.98%) at 3624.
There were changes in registrations (220 Soybeans). Registration total: 1,295 SRW Wheat contracts; 159 Oats; 6 Corn; 916 Soybeans; 147 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 291 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of January 2 were: SRW Wheat up 6,626 contracts, HRW Wheat up 2,250, Corn up 22,524, Soybeans up 12,178, Soymeal down 5,250, Soyoil up 6,458.
Brazil: Widespread showers over the weekend for central Brazil should be overall helpful for filling soybeans. That same weather continues through this weekend and probably next week as well, especially from Mato Grosso to Minas Gerais. Southern areas will see rain early this week but then go drier until a system comes north from Argentina Sunday or Monday. Recent drier weather in the south has been overall favorable for draining excessive moisture in the region, but a return to seasonable rainfall would be preferred for developing to filling crops.
Argentina: Frequent rainfall over the last several weeks has put much of the corn and soybean crop in a good place, with some of the long-season corn reaching reproduction with full soil moisture. Rainfall will be light this week, but still occurring for limited areas. Rainfall is forecast to increase this weekend and should come at a regular clip for next week as well. Weather continues to favor both corn and soybeans.
Australia: Scattered showers moved across some areas in both western and eastern Australia over the long holiday weekend and continue across eastern areas this week as well. Western areas continue to be much drier, a large concern for cotton and sorghum. A stronger storm system may develop this weekend and bring widespread showers to southeastern areas that have not been nearly as wet as northeastern areas, helpful for cotton and sorghum there.
Northern Plains: It was relatively warm and quiet over the New Year’s weekend. Quiet conditions are likely for most of the week as well as systems miss off to the north and south. A strong system early next week will send temperatures falling below normal for mid-January. Snow chances are being worked out by models.
Central/Southern Plains: It was quiet over the long New Year’s weekend. But the storm track will set up over the region this week and next and bring a few of them through. A very weak system will go through southern areas Tuesday into Wednesday with limited showers. A stronger storm system looks to bring a mix of rain and snow to the region Thursday and Friday, and then an even larger system is forecast for early next week which may bring another blizzard through the region. Models are still working that out, but it could be another strong event with snow accumulation farther south than the Christmas storm. Much colder air is likely to follow that system.
Midwest: Some light snow moved through the region over the long holiday weekend but it was still mild for the end of December. A couple of systems may scrape into the region this week and weekend, with the most likely area to get precipitation in the far east on Saturday. Models are working that out, but appear to be favoring some significant snow accumulation. A storm system that goes through next week is forecast to be much more significant with impacts and bring colder temperatures into the region.
Delta: It was rather quiet over the long holiday weekend. But this week will show some life as the El Nino storm track brings two systems through this week. A much larger storm is expected next week as well. Water levels on the Mississippi River have been very up and down over the last several weeks with storm systems improving conditions for a while and then getting worse, but the coming active weather should be more helpful.
The player sheet for Jan. 2 had funds: net sellers of 10,500 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 6,000 corn, sellers of 10,000 soybeans, and sellers of 4,500 soymeal.
- SOYMEAL TENDER: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued an international tender to purchase up to 200,000 metric tons of soymeal.
- RICE TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), set a tender to import natural white wholly milled short-grain Indian rice, it said in a statement. GASC, on behalf of Egypt’s Holding Company for Food Industries, sought arrival of the rice from Feb. 1-19 and/or Feb. 20-March 10. The deadline for offers was Dec. 21 and they should be accompanied by three samples, of two kilograms each, GASC said.
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat sourced from optional origins.
- WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to buy an estimated 82,975 metric tons of grade 1 milling wheat sourced from the United States
US Inspected 570k Tons of Corn for Export, 962k of Soybeans
In week ending Dec. 28, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.
- Corn: 570k tons vs 1,227k the previous wk, 683k a yr ago
- Wheat: 274k tons vs 461k the previous wk, 86k a yr ago
- Soybeans: 962k tons vs 1,118k the previous wk, 1,477k a yr ago
US Soybean Crushings at 200M Bushels in November: USDA
USDA releases monthly oilseed report on website.
- Crushing 5.5% higher than same period last year
- Crude oil production 5.7% higher than same period last year
- Crude and once-refined oil stocks down 24.6% y/y
US Corn Used for Ethanol at 455M Bu in November
The following is a summary of US corn consumption for fuel and other products, according to the USDA.
- Corn for ethanol was 1% higher than in November 2022
- DDGS production rose to 1.797m tons
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Winter Wheat Crop Conditions Improve
The following shows the most current winter wheat conditions for selected states as of Dec. 31, according to the USDA’s state crop progress and conditions reports.
- Kansas good/excellent rating raised to 43% for the week ending Sunday vs 39% in the week ending Dec. 10
- Oklahoma conditions raised to 67% good/excellent vs 53% in the week ending Nov. 26
- Texas conditions raised by 3 percentage points to 49% good/excellent
- Figures show the percent of crops rated very poor, poor, fair, good or excellent:
StoneX scraps forecast for record Brazilian soybean crop
Agribusiness consultancy StoneX on Tuesday cut its estimate for Brazil’s soybean crop in 2023/24 due to lack of rain in key farmlands, now forecasting 152.8 million metric ton harvest, down from its previous estimate of 161.9 million tons.
The cut means StoneX no longer forecasts a record crop in Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter of soybeans, as output this season would come in below the 157.7 million tons reaped in 2022/23.
StoneX analysts said that last month showers remained irregular in most Brazil soybean fields, including top grain producing state Mato Grosso, where output is set to fall more than 14% from the previous season.
They said weather would continue to play a key role in coming months, as some states tend to plant soybean later than others and there were also some delays in sowing.
“In any case, the real size of the crop will only be known as the harvest progresses,” said the analysts, who also slashed their forecast for Brazil’s soybean exports this season to 95 million tons from 103 million previously, due to lower supply.
StoneX also reduced its forecast for Brazil’s total 2023/24 corn production to 124.6 million tons from 126.0 million, as lower production in northern and northeastern Brazil amid weather issues would affect overall output.
Brazil’s first corn crop would reach 25.8 million tons, 2.4% less than estimated in December, while the second crop was estimated at 96.6 million tons, down 0.8%.
“Due to the significant delay seen in soybean planting, there is a greater chance that a larger part of the second crop will be sown outside the ideal window,” the analysts noted.
The second crop represents about 75% of Brazil’s national corn output in a given year and is sowed after soybeans are harvested in the same areas.
WHEAT/CEPEA: 2024 starts with high volume, but low quality may increase imports
Production estimates for the 2023/24 season for both Brazil and the world are lower compared to the previous crop. Brazil may be the 16th biggest wheat producer in the 2023/24 season and the 10th largest exporter. The global wheat supply in the 2023/24 crop may reduce after four years of increases in a row.
In Brazil, after major price rises in 2022, the area planted with wheat increased in 2023. However, due to weather issues, productivity was lower, reducing production significantly. Conab indicates that production in Brazil may total 8.14 million tons in 2023/24, downing 22.8% compared to the record registered in the crop before (10.55 million tons). Still, it is the second biggest production in history.
2024 is starting with one of the biggest wheat volumes in Brazil. However, the quality of harvested grains was severely affected, which may encourage an increase of imports, to cover the wheat flour production for the domestic market. Conab projects imports of 6 million tons from August/23 to July/24, almost 33% more compared to that in the season before. Exports, in turn, are expected to drop to 2 million tons (from August/23 to July/24), for a decrease of 24.7% in relation to the previous crop.
This context may boost trades with Argentina, which is currently the major origin of the wheat imported by Brazil.
The projection of an increase of imports leads agents to focus on the exchange rate. According to the Focus Survey, released by Brazil’s Central Bank, dollar quotations may increase in 2024. Secex data indicate that, in 2023 (up to November), the average import price (Free on Board) was BRL 1,577.29 per ton, against BRL 1,872.67 per ton in 2022.
As for the next season, the wheat production in Brazil is expected to increase in 2024, if producers keep the area, which rose in 2023. As a result, if the weather is favorable for the crop, the national production may surpass the record in 2022. In case this scenario is confirmed, imports may reduce in the second semester.
India’s Dec palm oil imports hit 4-month high as sunoil doubles-dealers
India’s palm oil imports rose in December to their highest in four months as purchases of refined palmolein surged because of competitive prices, five dealers told Reuters on Wednesday.
Higher purchases by the world’s biggest importer of vegetable oils could help lower palm oil stocks in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia and support benchmark futures.
India’s December palm oil imports rose 1.9% from the previous month to 886,000 metric tons, estimates from dealers showed. Refined palm oil imports in the month surged 47% to 252,000 tons, they said.
The refining margin for crude palm oil was negative for Indian refiners, while exporting countries were offering refined palm oil at a cheaper price, making it lucrative for buyers, said Rajesh Patel, managing partner at edible oil trader and broker GGN Research.
Landed cost of refined bleached deodorized (RBD) palmolein at Mumbai port was around $25 per ton lower than crude palm oil, dealers said.
Industry body Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) is likely to publish its data on December imports by mid-January.
Sunflower oil imports in December more than doubled to stand at 263,000 tons, the highest in 3-months, dealers said.
Higher palm oil and sunflower oil imports lifted India’s total edible oil imports to 1.3 million metric tons, up 13.3% from a month earlier, dealers said.
“The crushing of sunflower seeds in the top-producing countries of Russia and Ukraine is in full swing. This increase in supply has made sunflower oil highly competitive, almost reaching the affordability of palm oil,” said Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage.
Soyoil imports in December rose 1.4% from a month earlier to 152,000 tons, but far below average imports of 306,000 tons in the last marketing year due to negative refining margins and a higher premium over rival oils, dealers estimated.
India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, while it imports soyoil and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
Palm Oil Stockpiles in Malaysia Seen Easing as Output Slides
- December inventories drop a second month to 2.37m tons: survey
- Red Sea tensions disrupted palm oil cargoes to EU, Middle East
Malaysia’s palm oil stockpiles likely shrank further in December after production in the world’s second-biggest grower tumbled, a survey of traders, analysts and plantation executives show.
Inventories declined about 2.1% from November to 2.37 million tons, according to the median of 11 estimates. That would be a second monthly drop, although stockpiles would still be around 8% higher than a year ago.
Crude palm oil output fell 10% to 1.61 million tons, the survey showed, which would be the biggest month-on-month drop since January 2023. That would take production for the year to 18.61 million tons, slightly higher than 2022.
Stockpiles could have dropped even further but lackluster exports prevented a bigger draw-down. Overseas shipments fell 5% to 1.33 million tons, the lowest since September, according to the survey.
Exports failed to meet expectations due to a seasonal slowdown and as shipments to the Middle East and European Union were disrupted after militant attacks in the Red Sea, said Sathia Varqa, a senior analyst at Fastmarkets Palm Oil Analytics.
Palm oil futures in Kuala Lumpur fell 1.2% to 3,617 ringgit a ton by the midday break, extending losses for a fourth day to trade at the lowest since October.
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