Global Ag News for Jan 9.24
Scientists Are Already Bracing for Record-Breaking Heat in 2024
If history is any guide, the second year of an El Niño is usually warmer than the first.
This year will be hot. Very hot. So hot that some experts are already predicting it may beat 2023 as the hottest year in recorded history.
Climate change is, of course, primarily responsible. Burning fossil fuels is increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, causing the global average temperature to rise. In 2023, the average was about 1.4C higher than the pre-industrial era; early estimates suggest this year will be up 1.3C to 1.6C.
But what makes scientists even more secure in their 2024 predictions is El Niño, one of three phases of a multi-year climate cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. El Niño is defined by hotter waters in the tropical Pacific, while La Niña is its cooler counterpart. (There’s also a neutral phase.) When sea surface temperatures heat up during El Niño, so does the air above the water due to changes in ocean circulation and weather patterns.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are up 3 3/4 in SRW, up 5 1/2 in HRW, up 4 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 1; Soybeans up 3; Soymeal up $0.10; Soyoil up 0.51.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 16 in SRW, down 7 1/4 in HRW, down 5 in HRS; Corn is down 4 3/4; Soybeans down 7 3/4; Soymeal down $0.80; Soyoil up 0.69.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 28 in SRW, down 21 1/4 in HRW, down 16 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 15 1/4; Soybeans down 49 1/2; Soymeal down $17.40; Soyoil up 0.14.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 24) Soybeans up 2 yuan; Soymeal down 20; Soyoil down 16; Palm oil down 38; Corn down 12 — Malaysian Palm is up 41. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 41 ringgit (+1.11%) at 3734.
There were changes in registrations (-12 Soybeans, -11 HRW Wheat). Registration total: 1,295 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 6 Corn; 705 Soybeans; 147 Soyoil; 100 Soymeal; 262 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of January 8 were: SRW Wheat up 9,838 contracts, HRW Wheat up 2,219, Corn up 19,887, Soybeans up 5,553, Soymeal up 4,825, Soyoil up 2,215.
Brazil: Widespread heavy rain has fell over central Brazil this weekend, continuing the trend of heavy rainfall for the region over the past week. Scattered showers will continue in this area all week long, though the coverage and intensity are forecast to lessen later in the week. Those showers will still be in the region, however. Across the south, it was dry over the weekend but a front coming up from Argentina should set off waves of showers in the region this week, favorable for filling soybeans and developing other crops. Some of the areas like Mato Grosso do Sul and Sao Paulo that were dry last week will see much better rainfall this week.
Argentina: Widespread scattered showers developed over the country this weekend as a front slowly slid northward. The widespread rainfall continues to favor developing corn and soybeans. The front will be somewhat stalled over northern areas through Thursday where heavy rain is forecast. Otherwise, scattered showers will continue to move through the country going into next week.
Europe: Scattered showers went through southern areas over the weekend and continue with another storm system this week as well, favorable for vegetative winter wheat in Spain and Italy that had been drier lately. The pattern going forward favors these southern areas with more storm systems next week as well.
Northern Plains: It was quiet for most of the weekend with just some light snows in some areas. A large system will miss off to the south early this week but clip southeast South Dakota with some heavy snow. Another storm moving through midweek will bring lighter snow, but a blast of arctic air. Forecasts continue the harsh cold for about a week before starting to moderate it late next week and weekend. It still looks to be cold and below-normal, however, leading to issues for livestock and needing increased feed.
Central/Southern Plains: A storm system left on Friday, but brought widespread snow to much of the region. A monster storm system is developing Monday and will bring potential blizzard conditions to some areas and heavy snow from the Panhandles northeast into eastern Nebraska and northwest Missouri. Yet another large storm is forecast to close out the week and could have large impacts. It will also bring in a blast of arctic air that will cause a need for increase feed for livestock and could cause damage to any uncovered wheat. The exact intensity of the cold is still being determined but could last for a week, though it may be hard to get into Texas for a long period of time.
Midwest: A storm system scraped through the region Friday into Saturday, and brought pockets of moderate snow across the south. A much larger storm will go barreling through the region Monday through Wednesday with widespread impacts including heavy rain and snow and potential blizzard conditions. Another large storm will follow a similar path for the end of the week, which could hit the same areas again, and/or hit new ones with risks for more heavy snow and blizzard conditions Thursday night through Saturday. That system will bring a blast of arctic air into the region.
Delta: A storm brought scattered showers through the region over the weekend, being heavy in some spots and reducing drought. Two large systems will bring similarly heavy precipitation through the region this week, favorable for further reducing drought and building up water levels in the Mississippi River system.
The player sheet for Jan. 8 had funds: net sellers of 7,500 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 3,000 corn, sellers of 4,500 soybeans, sellers of 500 soymeal.
- WHEAT TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), is seeking wheat in an international purchasing tender. The deadline for offers is Jan. 9. Suppliers should submit offers for payment via both 270-day letters of credit and 180-day letters of credit and GASC will choose between them.
- WHEAT TENDER: Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC issued an international tender to purchase a nominal 50,000 metric tonnes of durum wheat.
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 metric tons of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins.
- CORN TENDER: Leading South Korean feedmaker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has issued an international tender to purchase up to 138,000 metric tons of animal feed corn
- SOYMEAL TENDER: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL issued an international tender to purchase up to 200,000 metric tons of soymeal.
- CORN TENDER: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 metric tons of animal feed corn, which can be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa.
US Inspected 857k Tons of Corn for Export, 675k of Soybeans
In week ending Jan. 4, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.
- Wheat: 491k tons vs 276k the previous wk, 210k a yr ago
- Corn: 857k tons vs 570k the previous wk, 402k a yr ago
- Soybeans: 675k tons vs 969k the previous wk, 1,461k a yr ago
Brazil Soy Harvest 0.6% Done, C-S Summer Corn at 3.3%: AgRural
Soy harvest compares with 0.4% a year before, according to an emailed report from consulting firm AgRural.
- Mato Grosso state led soy harvest
- Consulting firm will revise its forecast for 2023/2024 harvest, according to the statement
- Summer corn seeding is 3.3% complete in Brazil’s Center South region vs 2.3% a year before, led by Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina states
Brazil 2023-24 Soybean Output Seen at 155.4M Tons
Brazil soybean production seen 4.8m metric tons below the national forecast agency’s previous est., according to the avg in a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts.
- The range of estimates varied from 150.1m tons to 159.1m tons
- Brazil’s corn crop seen 3.4m tons higher at 122m tons
- Conab, the Brazilian national supply company, is scheduled to release its latest estimates on Jan. 10 at 9am local time
Brazil 2023/2024 Soybean Crop Seen At 155.24 Million Tns Versus 160 Million Tns In Previous Forecast – Cogo Consultancy
BRAZIL 2023/2024 SOYBEAN CROP SEEN AT 155.24 MILLION TNS VERSUS 160 MILLION TNS IN PREVIOUS FORECAST – COGO CONSULTANCY
WHEAT/CEPEA: Due to low supply of high-quality wheat, 2024 starts with high prices
Wheat prices have started 2024 moving up in Brazil, due to the low volume of high-quality wheat (PH 78). Trades, in turn, are moving at a slow pace, since many wheat mills are returning to their activities after the holidays and producers are focused on summer crop activities.
According to data from Cepea, between December 28 and January 5, the prices paid to wheat farmers (over-the-counter market) rose 1.05% in Santa Catarina and 2.05% in Rio Grande do Sul; however, they decreased 1.12% in Paraná. In the wholesale market (deals between processors), values moved up 0.98% in Paraná, 0.37% in Santa Catarina and 1.28% in Rio Grande do Sul. In the same comparison, dollar quotations increased 0.4% against Real, closing at BRL 4.872 on Jan. 5.
Based on data from Conab (Brazil’s National Company for Food Supply), between December 25 and 29, the import parity price for the wheat from Argentina delivered to Paraná state was at USD 250.92/ton. Considering the average of the US dollar in that period, at BRL 4.8369, the wheat imported was sold at BRL 1,213.67/ton, while for the Brazilian wheat traded in Paraná, the average was higher, at BRL 1,259.76/ton, according to data from Cepea. In Rio Grande do Sul, the price of the product from Argentina closed at USD 234.59/ton, which accounts for BRL 1,134.67/ton – against BRL 1,230.58/ton on the average of the state calculated by Cepea.
In December, the average wheat price in Paraná was BRL 1,281.86/ton, 1.5% up compared to that in November, but downing 27.5% against December/22, in nominal terms. In Rio Grande do Sul, the average in December was BRL 1,226.52/ton, for an increase of 1.8% in relation to November, but moving down 21% in one year.
According to data from Secex, 395.75 thousand tons of wheat were imported in December, for an increase of 23.1% in relation to November, but 20.6% less compared to December/22. Exports, in turn, totaled 295.79 thousand tons in the last month of 2023, more than the volume verified in November (1.14 ton), but below the total shipped in December/22 (534.19 thousand tons).
Bunge says Indiana soy plant now fully operational
A soybean processing facility in Decatur, Indiana, operated by grain handler Bunge Global that was damaged last week, was back to being fully operational from Sunday, the company said in a statement to Reuters on Monday.
The Decatur plant outage last week was a result of a damage to a natural gas pipeline that feeds the site, and was estimated to resume operations by the weekend.
The Decatur facility is one of the nine soy processing plants operated by Bunge in the United States and one of the two that the world’s largest oilseed processor owns in Indiana.
Brazil Dec. Beef, Pork and Poultry Exports by Country: MDIC
The following is from the Brazilian Trade Ministry’s website.
- China led all other destinations in December for beef and pork exports
- Pork shipments to China were down 53% from a year ago
Floods Strand Cows, Damage Crops as Wild Weather Hits Australia
- Recent rains have led to flood warnings across Victoria state
- Farmers expecting impact on fruit and grain crops, livestock
Heavy rains and flooding across Australia’s southern state of Victoria has damaged crops and stranded cattle as a months-long run of wild weather on the nation’s east coast leaves a trail of destruction.
Severe storms have lashed Victoria since October, with parts of Queensland and New South Wales impacted over the following months, including a cyclone that damaged sugar crops in the country’s far north. The latest deluge has inundated fruit orchards and continues to delay the harvest of wheat and barley.
Simon McKenry, a livestock and wheat farmer in western Victoria, said he has already downgraded some of his crop to animal feed after multiple rain events, and has only been able to harvest just over a day each week due to the wet conditions. Growers typically start harvesting their grains from November.
The persistent rain has come even after the onset of the El Niño weather pattern, which usually brings hotter and drier conditions to Australia and prompts authorities to prepare for an uptick of wildfires.
Recent heavy rains has triggered flood warnings across parts of Victoria, leading to evacuation orders and floodwaters inundating homes, including in the small rural of Seymour on the banks of the Goulburn River.
“I know one farmer just out of Seymour who’s had to hire a boat so he can get out to feed his cattle,” said Victorian Farmers Federation President Emma Germano. “The water is over three meters at its deepest point, and there was some concern that some of his cows might have even been swept away.”
Cattle standing in water for long periods are also at risk of developing infection issues with their hooves, she added.
Some plum and peach farmers in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley have been forced to let damaged fruit drop to the ground and rot after rain over the weekend and Monday, said Michael Crisera, grower services manager at industry group Fruit Growers Victoria. That follows a devastating hailstorm a week ago which damaged 500 hectares of apple, pear and plum trees in the same area, he added.
China’s status in Brazilian exports to remain intact
Brazilian exports to China passed the hundred billion mark for the first time in 2023 and the bilateral trade surplus with the Asian country reached a record $51.1 billion. The figure was equivalent to more than half of Brazil’s total trade balance in 2023, which also reached a historic mark of $98.8 billion. In 2024, the expected scenario is for the Asian country to slow down. Even so, China is expected to remain a major trading partner for Brazil, according to experts.
The result of trade between Brazil and China last year far exceeded the balance of $28.7 billion in 2022. The increase in the surplus with the Chinese resulted from a rise in exports to the Asian country, but also from a drop in Brazilian imports. Exports to China grew 16.6% in 2023 compared to the previous year and totaled $104.3 billion. This performance was well above the 1.7% increase in total Brazilian foreign sales. As a result, China’s share of Brazilian exports rose to 30.7% last year from 26.8% in 2022.
Brazilian imports of Chinese products totaled $53.2 billion in 2023, down 12.5% on the previous year, in a variation close to that of total imports, which fell 11.7%. China is still Brazil’s main supplier, with 22.1% of imports.
Lucas Barbosa, an economist with AZ Quest, highlights the recent evolution of shipments to China. Exports, he said0, rose to over $100 billion in 2023 from $89.4 billion in 2022 and $63.4 billion in 2019. “The trend is upwards, and not just because of the price effect resulting from the shocks of the pandemic and geopolitical conflicts. Brazil is exporting more and more to China and in a more diverse way than a few years ago. Soybeans, oil and iron ore are expected to continue to lead the way and account for more than 70% of total exports, but some items have stood out in recent years,” said Mr. Barbosa, citing animal proteins, including beef, pork and poultry, and corn.
Last year, China bought $38.9 billion worth of soybeans, 22.5% more than in 2022. The Asian country absorbed 73.1% of the soybeans exported by Brazil in 2023. China also bought $19.8 billion in crude oil and $19.6 billion in iron ore from Brazil in 2023. The three products together accounted for 75% of everything Brazil sold to the Chinese last year.
José Augusto de Castro, president of the Brazilian Foreign Trade Association, recalls that soybean exports in 2023 were boosted by Brazil’s extraordinary grain harvest, something that is unlikely to be repeated this year, although production is expected to remain significant. The higher grain shipments to the Chinese, said Mr. Castro, are also partly the result of the trade conflict between the country and the United States. Since 2018, the Chinese have been giving preference to Brazilian supplies.
According to Juliano Condi, an economist with AZ Quest, the Chinese government is likely to maintain a growth target of around 5%, which suggests that the country will work to achieve this figure. The challenges, he said, are expected to be the same for 2023: to continue the transition to an economy less dependent on the real estate sector and, at the same time, to support the sector for a smooth transition, without bankruptcies and cascading effects. Other challenges, he mentioned, are lower global demand for Chinese products, due to a slowdown in global activity and geopolitical retaliation, mainly from the United States.
Mosaic sees Brazil fertilizer demand at 46 mln tons in 2024
Mosaic expects the total demand for fertilizer in Brazil to reach 46 million metric tons this year, backed by optimism with the country’s second corn crop as rains return to some producing regions, an executive said on Monday.
The figure would be above the record 45.8 million tons registered in 2021, as well as the 45 million tons estimated for last year.
“We’re going for a record in 2024,” said the fertilizer producer’s country manager in Brazil, Eduardo de Souza Monteiro, in an interview.
He explained that the mood of corn producers has improved as some rain returns to producing areas in the country, like the midwest and in the Matopiba region.
Analysts had estimated a smaller planting area of the country’s second corn crop after a lack of adequate rainfall and intense heat delayed soybean planting in parts of the country.
“I don’t see any reason for the 5% to 10% reduction in the second corn crop planted area, which had been estimated, to materialize,” he said.
Planting a larger corn crop in a larger area than projected would also raise demand for fertilizers.
US Ammonia Buyers Waiting as 2Q Pricing On Tap
The US ammonia market remains subdued, countering the region’s usual 1Q increase, as buyers watch global prices fall. US spring programs, offered in November at $600 a short ton, normally set the tone for 1H ammonia pricing. But with global benchmark Tampa priced equivalent to $476 a short ton, we expect US buyers to pivot to cheaper imports instead of domestic producers. Ammonia normally rises into 2Q, but this year pricing will likely follow the 2023 pattern as increased Russian material goes to market despite sanctions, Gulf Coast Ammonia comes online in 1Q — boosting maritime capacity — and natural gas prices fall as winter heating demand recedes sooner than normal.
Sizable Urea Price Cut Could Lure India Back to Market for More
India’s lowest bids in its Jan. 4 urea tender, at $316 a metric ton cost and freight, were down 20% from previous offers. Global nitrogen purchasing normally slumps in 1Q as buyers wait for the Northern Hemisphere spring, seasonally crimping the sales of CF Industries, Yara and Nutrien, the largest publicly traded producers.
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