Global Ag News for Jan 9.23

TOP HEADLINES

Expect Some Relief From Soaring Egg Prices as US Demand Softens

  • Prices for a Midwest dozen soared to historic high last month
  • Bird flu destablized supply chains, causing some egg shortages

Relief from skyrocketing egg prices is coming even as consumers in some parts of the country still see shortages as a lingering effect of an historic avian flu outbreak.

Midwest large eggs, the commodity’s benchmark price, fell to $4.63 a dozen on Friday, according to commodity researcher Urner Barry. That’s down from a record high of $5.46 a dozen in December.

“The rally is definitely over — at least for the time being,” said Karyn Rispoli, an egg market reporter at Urner Barry. “While some suppliers continue to note pretty strong retail demand, orders for many have started to slow.”

Egg prices soared last year to record highs after the worst global bird flu outbreak on record ravaged flocks, and consumers are feeling the pinch, with some areas having trouble finding eggs at all.

Though prices could rise again if there are more major outbreaks, distributors are currently buying only to meet their immediate needs as they watch prices fall.

FUTURES & WEATHER

Wheat prices overnight are up 3 3/4 in SRW, up 4 1/4 in HRW, up 3 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 1/2; Soybeans up 4 3/4; Soymeal down $0.49; Soyoil up 1.07.

Markets finished last week with wheat prices down 44 1/2 in SRW, down 51 in HRW, down 34 in HRS; Corn is down 22 1/2; Soybeans down 24 1/4; Soymeal up $0.35; Soyoil up 0.15.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 44 3/4 in SRW, down 51 3/4 in HRW, down 33 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 24; Soybeans down 26 3/4; Soymeal up $1.70; Soyoil up 0.17.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 5.6% in SRW, down 5.7% in HRW, down 3.6% in HRS; Corn is down 3.3%; Soybeans down 1.1%; Soymeal up 4.4%; Soyoil down 0.1%.

Chinese Ag futures (MAR 23) Soybeans up 43 yuan; Soymeal up 10; Soyoil down 42; Palm oil down 52; Corn up 8 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 66 ringgit (+1.63%) at 4118.

There were changes in registrations (132 Soybeans, -15 Soyoil). Registration total: 2,788 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 154 Corn; 830 Soybeans; 479 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 280 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of January 6 were: SRW Wheat down 1,011 contracts, HRW Wheat up 2,876, Corn down 3,400, Soybeans down 116, Soymeal up 5,062, Soyoil down 1,458.

Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Outside of a few showers, dry weather continues across southern areas until a front moves through with scattered showers Thursday and Friday. Some showers may linger next week, though that is not guaranteed. Showers have been somewhat disappointing across the south, which is causing concerns for reproductive to filling corn and soybeans. Otherwise, conditions over central and northern Brazil continue to be favorable for filling soybeans.

Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Heat and dryness over the weekend will finally be replaced by some cooler temperatures behind a front moving through Tuesday and Wednesday. That front will only bring isolated showers with it, unhelpful for developing corn and soybeans. Some models linger showers this weekend and next week, but that is not guaranteed to be helpful even if they occur due to recent drought and heat stress. The prospect for production is still low.

Northern Plains Forecast: A weak system may bring scattered snow to the region early this week but the pattern remains relatively dry going into next week. Temperatures will be above normal for this time of year, reducing stress and feed requirements for livestock.

Central/Southern Plains Forecast: A weak system will bring showers through in the middle of the week, though will likely miss the drought areas in the west with any of the meaningful showers. A similar situation should occur with a system early next week. Temperatures will remain warm for January outside of the snowpack across the north.

Midwest Forecast: A system moved through this weekend with scattered showers across the south. Two quick-hitting systems will bring more showers this week in rapid succession with heavier precipitation across the east. Temperatures remain above normal for this time of year.

The player sheet for Jan. 6 had funds: net sellers of 2,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 500 corn, sellers of 6,000 soybeans, buyers of 4,500 soymeal, and  buyers of 2,500 soyoil.

TENDERS

  • CORN SALE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed private sales of 112,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to Mexico, including 89,600 tonnes for shipment in the 2022/23 marketing year and 22,400 tonnes for shipment in the 2023/24 marketing year.
  • SOYBEAN SALE: The USDA confirmed private sales of 132,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans for shipment to unknown destinations in the 2022/23 marketing year.
  • WHEAT TENDER: Turkey’s state grain board TMO has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 565,000 tonnes of milling wheat.
  • WHEAT TENDER: Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities announced a tender note for the purchase of wheat within the framework of the Food Security and Resilience Support Program funded by the World Bank. The deadline for offers is Jan. 10.
  • WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to purchase 45,200 tonnes of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States.
  • CORN TENDER: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group has issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn which can be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa
  • FAILED WHEAT TENDER: A group of importers in the Philippines is believed to have rejected all offers and made no purchase in a tender for about 110,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat which closed on Thursday.

PENDING TENDERS

  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 113,460 tonnes of rice to be sourced from the United States. The deadline for submissions of price offers was Dec. 29.

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TODAY

US Sold 872K Tons of Soybeans Last Week; 319K of Corn: USDA

USDA releases net export sales report on website for week ending Dec. 29.

  • Corn sales fell to 319k tons vs 952k in previous week
  • All wheat sales fell to 144k tons vs 511k in previous week
  • Soybean sales rose to 872k tons vs 706k in previous week

Swaths of Argentina Soy Struggling Because of Drought: Rosario

More than 3m hectares (7.4m acres) of soybeans on a key strip of the Argentine Pampas known as “zona nucleo” are in a poor-to-very-poor condition, the Rosario Board of Trade said in a report.

  • NOTE: The soy plants in this condition grew by a fourth from a week ago
  • NOTE: Rosario’s nationwide soy planting estimate is 17.1m ha, though it has warned the number could get slashed in a report next week
  • 2.5m ha of soy in zona nucleo are in poor condition; 600,000 ha are very poor
  • La Nina isn’t fading as quickly as forecast, meaning January is likely to be drier than normal
  • Some corn is also struggling

Brazil Soy Crop Est. Cut By 0.8% on Southern Dryness: Safras

Output is seen at 153.4m tons in 2022/2023, down from previous forecast of 154.5m on lower yields expected in Rio Grande do Sul state, Safras & Mercado says in report.

  • Dry conditions reported since November have curbed yield potential in some areas of Brazil’s southernmost state
  • Brazil’s soy output seen rising 20% from 127.4m tons past season
  • Avg yield seen at 3,523 kg/ha, up from 3,038 kg/ha past season
  • Planted area seen rising 3.8% y/y to 43.75m ha

China Gets Major Brazil Corn Shipment as It Diversifies Imports

A bulk carrier carrying 68,000 tons of corn from Brazil arrived at a port in southern China’s Guangdong Province on Saturday, marking the start of the Asian giant’s increased imports of the grain from South America.

The 68,000 tons of corn, the first-ever bulk corn shipment between the countries, was imported by China’s state-owned agricultural giant Cofco Corp. and will be soon distributed to animal feed manufacturers after clearing through customs, state news agency Xinhua reported Sunday.

The cargo’s arrival marks the beginning of a growing trade relationship between China and Brazil that threatens to displace US farmers in one of their key markets. China has historically bought most of its corn from the US and Ukraine, but decided last year to start importing the grain from Brazil, its main soybean and beef supplier, in an effort to lessen its dependence on the US.

Cofco has invested more than $2.3 billion in Brazil and has set up stable trade corridors with the world’s major grain-producing regions across the world, according to Xinhua.

Increasing corn shipments from Brazil is seen as safeguarding the stability of the global agricultural supply chain, as drought and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacted 2022 shipments.

Brazil’s record corn harvest last year came just in time for consumers facing surging inflation after the war in Ukraine and low-water levels on the Mississippi River that pinched US exports. Corn futures have fallen steadily since Brazil’s crop began to hit the market at the start of last summer.

CORN/CEPEA: Production, consumption and exports may hit a record in 2023

Although current corn prices are at lower levels compared to those observed in early 2022, the limited global supply, the good pace of Brazilian exports and low ending stocks have been sustaining quotations in the domestic market since the second semester of 2022.

The sector is now focused on the productivity losses estimated for the first crop, especially in the Southern Brazil, but also on the possible record for the second crop. Despite the record consumption, a high surplus is expected, which, in turn, may keep corn exports at historical levels in 2023.

Concerning the first crop, low rainfall and high temperatures in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina have been affecting the development of crops. For the time being, Conab indicates production at 27.22 million tons, 9% more than in the season before, despite the 3% area decrease – however, these numbers may be adjusted.

The consumption is estimated at 80.8 million tons in the 2022/23 season, 7.7% up compared to the previous, and a record. The domestic demand has been boosted by the animal consumption and the processing to produce ethanol. Adding the summer crop and ending stocks, forecast by Conab at 7.18 million tons by late January/23, the total is 34.4 million tons, which would represent 43% of the domestic consumption, the same percentage of the season before.

In regard of the second crop, Conab estimates increases of 5% for the area and 6.3% for the productivity in 2022/23, which would result in production of 96.27 million tons, 10.37 million tons more compared to the season before. As for the third crop, the area is expected to total 660 thousand hectares (Conab) and the productivity may be 6% higher, which can increase the production to 2.33 million tons. Therefore, the 2022/23 total production may amount 125.82 million tons.

Considering initial stocks, imports and total production, the domestic availability in 2022/23 would be higher than 135 million tons, according to Conab. From this total, 80.8 million tons may be consumed in the domestic market. Thus, the domestic surplus would surpass 50 million tons, the highest over the last years.

This scenario of high availability, along with competitive prices of the Brazilian product in the international market, may continue to favor shipments – they are expected to total 45 million tons, 8% more than in 2021/22 and a record.

SOYBEAN/CEPEA: Supply may increase more than demand

The good development of crops in South America is important to confirm current estimates for an increase of the global supply in 2022/23 at higher intensity compared to demand, which, in turn, favors the partial recovery of inventories. The relation stock/consumption may complete four seasons between 26.3% and 27.5%, which is considered low, after being at 30%, on average, for three crops in a row (2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19). Therefore, any supply reduction in South America may affect inventories significantly.

In Brazil, the 2022/23 season has started among uncertainties. Producers are unwilling to trade the 2022/23 crop in advance, because of low stocks. Players surveyed by Cepea say that roughly 20% of the crop has been traded, which can lead to a higher availability in the spot market, as the harvest advances.

The unfavorable weather in Argentina and Paraguay has been leading to optimism among Brazilian players, who expect higher global demand for soybean byproducts from Brazil. For the time being, Conab estimates the crop at the record of 153.47 million tons.

Also according to Conab, 50.67 million tons of soybean may be allocated to crushing activities in Brazil, resulting in increases of 3.7% for the productions of both soybean meal (38.88 million tons) and soybean oil (10.26 million tons). Conab also estimates increases of 4.4% in the domestic consumption of soybean meal and 13.6% for soybean oil. The higher domestic demand for soybean oil is related to the possible increase of the biodiesel blended to diesel oil – the ratio is currently at 10, but the sector expects it to change to 15% from March onwards.

Brazil is likely to export 96.58 million tons of soybean in 2023, almost 22% more compared to 2022 (Conab data). As for byproducts, Conab expects a 4.8% decrease for soybean meal shipments (at 19 million tons) and a reduction of 28.9% for soybean oil exports (totaling 1.8 million tons).

Ending stocks are estimated at 6 million tons by December/23, 88.1% higher than in December/22 – Conab.

Indonesia, Malaysia to Cooperate Against Palm Oil Discrimination

The world’s top two palm oil producing countries agree to fight against discrimination on the vegetable oil, says Indonesian President Joko Widodo after a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in Bogor, West Java, on Monday.

  • Malaysian firms signed 11 letters of intent to invest in Indonesia’s new capital including in healthcare, waste management and construction
  • In addition, firms also sign MoUs on shipping, green energy and battery industries, among others
  • Malaysia, Indonesia agree to sign MoU on land and maritime borders this year

Fertilizer Prices Mixed in Brazil as Soybean Demand Rises

Nitrogen prices extended a downtrend in Brazil as domestic demand slows and the corn winter season approaches. Demand for the soybean summer season drove phosphates higher, while the potash market remains balanced by healthy inventories.

Brazil Nitrogen Prices Drop; Phosphates Rise for Soybean Season

Nitrogen demand stalled in Brazil’s main producing region as the corn winter season approaches, pushing urea prices down $25 a metric ton (mt) amid weakening global prices and further delays in India’s next tender call. Mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) prices moved up $15/mt, however, as demand accelerates for the soybean season, with additional increases likely. Potash seasonal demand is expected to rise as well, though inland inventories remain high and prices fell $10/mt this week.

Estimates for 2022 year-end fertilizer inventories suggest a record level vs. the last four years, with inventories anticipated to be up 8-10 million mt from 7.27 million mt in 2021. Those figures could drive a drop in imports amid national production improvements.

Traffic in Suez Canal normal after ship breakdown dealt with- SCA

Shipping traffic in the Suez Canal was proceeding normally on Monday after tugs towed a cargo vessel that broke down during its passage through the waterway, the Canal Authority said.

The breakdown was expected to cause only minor delays, with convoys of ships resuming regular transit by 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT), shipping agent Leth said.

The M/V Glory, which was sailing to China, suffered a technical fault when it was 38km into its passage southward through the canal, before being towed by four tugs to a repair area, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said in a statement.

The Suez Canal is one of the world’s busiest waterways and the shortest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

In 2021, a huge container ship, the Ever Given, became stuck in high winds across a southern section of the canal, blocking traffic for six days before it could be dislodged.

The M/V Glory is a Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier, data from trackers VesselFinder and MarineTraffic showed.

It departed Ukraine’s Chornomorsk port on Dec. 25 bound for China with 65,970 metric tonnes of corn, according to the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) overseeing Ukraine grain exports.

The JCC, which includes representatives from the United Nations, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, said the ship had been cleared to carry on its journey from Istanbul after an inspection on Jan. 3.

Philippines Eyes Onion Imports as Price Tops Chicken, Beef

The Philippines’ agriculture department is planning to import 22,000 tons of onions to boost domestic supply as surging prices of the cooking ingredient, possibly the most expensive in the world, helped push inflation to a 14-year high.

The import proposal was arrived at during a meeting of the department’s executive committee and will be recommended to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for approval, its assistant secretary Rex Estoperez said in a phone interview Sunday. Marcos is also the agriculture secretary.

The proposed purchase “will be good for a month and to pull down prices,” Estoperez said. “We can’t sit idly because one of the drivers of inflation is the price of onions.”

The purchase would be a “temporary solution” and there are no further plans to import for now, he said. The Southeast Asian nation consumes around 17,000 tons of onions a month, Estoperez said. The agriculture department expects the planned imports, once approved, would arrive no later than the first week of February, he said.

Gates-Backed Agritech Startup Raises Fresh Funding From Google

Agriculture technology provider Cropin Technology Solutions Pvt. raised 1.13 billion rupees ($14 million) from investors including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, defying a strained funding climate globally.

The Indian startup, which has built a cloud-computing service for farmers and other agriculture stakeholders, said in a statement Monday that Japan’s JSR Corp. also joined as a new backer. Existing investors including ABC Impact and Chiratae Ventures participated in the pre-Series D funding round too.

Cropin will use the funds to expand its cloud platform as demand increases for predictive intelligence in agriculture. Agritech startups are starting to garner investor attention as population growth, supply chain snarls, climate change and crises including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impact the farming industry.

The startup, whose earlier backers include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, operates a service that helps governments, development agencies and businesses build sustainable farming practices and address food security challenges. The service helps farmers improve productivity, manage environmental changes and curb food wastage.

“Sustainability, climate change and carbon emissions are going to be the three big areas of focus for Cropin,” Chief Executive Officer Krishna Kumar, a former General Electric Co. engineer who co-founded the startup in 2010, said in a phone interview. “Google aligned with us as they are looking to partner with startups that define the tech revolution in agriculture.”

Bangalore-based Cropin’s more than 250 business customers include seed giant Syngenta AG, consumer goods company Unilever Plc, the governments of India and Nigeria, and agencies such as the World Bank. The company’s predictive technology tools encompass 500 crops and 10,000 varieties in 92 countries.

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