Global Ag News for Nov 21.22

TOP HEADLINES

China ships more rice, sugar and plastic bags to N. Korea as exports surge in Oct

China’s exports to North Korea surged in 46.3% October from a month earlier, with foodstuffs including rice and sugar among the main items, though it shipped less COVID-related items except for rubber gloves, Chinese customs data showed on Sunday.

Totaling $132.43 million in October, China’s exports to North Korea were 2.5 times more than a year ago. Rice, polyethylene bags, sugar, textile material and tobacco were the main exports.

Exports of milled long rice to North Korea for the month totaled 16,450 tonnes, valued at $7.3 million, while for sugar they stood at nearly 8,000 tonnes, worth $4.5 million.

North Korea imported 1.47 million pairs of medical rubber gloves in October, compared with 400,000 pairs in September, the data showed, though imports of other COVID-19 protection merchandise, such as facial masks and thermometers, fell.

North Korea has not confirmed how many people have caught COVID, apparently because it lacks the means to conduct widespread testing.

FUTURES & WEATHER

Wheat prices overnight are down 6 1/4 in SRW, down 1 1/4 in HRW, down 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 3 1/2; Soybeans down 8 1/4; Soymeal down $0.14; Soyoil down 0.36.

Markets finished last week with wheat prices down 22 1/2 in SRW, down 27 1/4 in HRW, down 15 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 7 1/4; Soybeans down 20 1/4; Soymeal up $0.25; Soyoil down 3.64.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 83 1/2 in SRW, down 51 3/4 in HRW, down 31 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 30 1/4; Soybeans up 1/2; Soymeal down $14.40; Soyoil down 0.36.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are up 3% in SRW, up 16% in HRW, down -3% in HRS; Corn is up 12%; Soybeans up 7%; Soymeal down -1%; Soyoil up 29%.

Chinese Ag futures (JAN 23) Soybeans down 59 yuan; Soymeal up 10; Soyoil down 110; Palm oil down 56; Corn up 28 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 5 ringgit (+0.13%) at 3855.

There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 3,056 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 0 Corn; 126 Soybeans; 39 Soyoil; 278 Soymeal; 5 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of November 18 were: SRW Wheat up 2,525 contracts, HRW Wheat up 124, Corn down 4,393, Soybeans up 7,002, Soymeal down 1,920, Soyoil down 2,522.

Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Scattered showers moved back into central areas with more coverage over the weekend. Showers will continue there as is typical for this time of year. Southern areas stayed dry but a cold front coming through Monday and Tuesday will bring another round of rain. The rain will move out but could come back next week. Precipitation has been below normal for the last month. Good rains earlier in the spring have set corn and soybeans in mostly good shape to start the season, but soil moisture is starting to fall and concerns are growing about increasing dryness where rains are disappointing as early-planted crops are getting closer to pollinating stages.

Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Isolated showers moved through this weekend, but were more concentrated in areas that were missed last weekend. Soil moisture is still not favorable and dryness is expected for the next week. The dryness and drought continue to be concerns until showers become more consistent.

Northern Plains Forecast: Some light snow moved through on Saturday but most areas were dry and cold. Temperatures are going to moderate this week and even go above normal, though snowpack could keep them down a bit in North Dakota. Very little precipitation is expected this week.

Central/Southern Plains Forecast: Outside of some light snow over southern areas Friday night into Saturday, most areas were dry and cold over the weekend. Temperatures will moderate this week and most areas will even go above normal by the end of the week. But very little precipitation is expected for the next week as drought conditions continue to be the focus through the winter for early spring.

Midwest Forecast: Cold air and heavy lake-effect snows over the weekend brought a winter feel to a mid-November weekend. Temperatures will moderate this week, but a storm system should spread scattered showers Thursday and Friday, which may include some snow in spots, mostly across the north.

The player sheet for Nov. 18 had funds: net sellers of 1,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 500 corn, sellers of 4,500 soybeans, buyers of 2,500 soymeal, and  buyers of 1,500 soyoil.

TENDERS

  • WHEAT PURCHASE: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, is believed to have bought 60,000 tonnes of wheat on Thursday via private talks with suppliers.
  • BARLEY PURCHASE: Tunisia’s state grains agency bought about 75,000 tonnes of barley in an import tender on Friday, less than initially thought, European traders said. Traders had earlier reported the agency had booked 100,000 tonnes, in line with what it had sought in the tender.
  • VEG OIL TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer said on Saturday it was seeking vegetable oils in an international purchasing tender for arrival Jan. 10-31, 2023.
  • FEED BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer has issued a new international tender to purchase 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley, traders said on Monday.
  • RICE TENDER: Turkey’s state grain board TMO has issued an international tender to purchase a total 40,000 tonnes of rice, traders said on Monday.

PENDING TENDERS

  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 50,500 tonnes of rice to be sourced from the United States, European traders said. The deadline for submissions was Nov. 9.
  • FOOD WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 94,687 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada in regular tenders that will close on Nov. 17.
  • WHEAT TENDER: A government agency in Pakistan has issued a new international tender to purchase and import 500,000 tonnes of wheat, European traders said on Thursday. The deadline for submission of price offers in the optional-origin tender from the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) is Nov. 28, they said.

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TODAY

US Cattle on Feed Fell to 11.71M Head on Nov. 1

Argentina to Re-Instate FX Devaluation for Soy in Dec.: Nacion

The government is working on a decree that would re-instate a measure from September that gave farmers a better FX rate for their soy sales, La Nacion reported, citing people in the government it didn’t name.

  • The government would implement the special FX rate from the start of December: Nacion
  • Officials are negotiating an FX rate of 215-225 pesos a dollar: Nacion
    • NOTE: The government-controlled rate that applies to international trade is 163 pesos a dollar

Argentina Wheat Exports Estimate Falls 7% to 6.5m Tons: Rosario

Argentina will export 6.5m metric tons of wheat in the 2022-23 trading season, the Rosario Board of Trade said in a weekly report.

  • The bourse’s estimate last week was 7m tons
  • Exports over the previous five seasons averaged 11.7m
  • NOTES:
    • The wheat harvest is 10% complete, according to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange
    • Shriveled Wheat Crop Wipes $2.2b >From Argentine Exports
    • Argentina OKs Traders to Delay Wheat Shipments Amid Drought
    • The drought means planting of soy and corn through Nov. 17 is the least in two decades

China’s October soybean imports from Brazil slide

China’s soybean imports from Brazil fell 15% in October from the same month last year, as high prices and a lack of crushing profits eroded appetite for purchases from the South American nation.

Imports from the United States were flat from a year earlier, data showed on Sunday.

China, the world’s biggest soybean buyer, imported 2.8 million tonnes of the oilseed from Brazil in October, down from 3.3 million tonnes a year earlier, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Overall soybean imports fell 19% in October from a year earlier to 4.14 million tonnes, the lowest for any month since 2014.

Extreme drought that reduced Brazil’s crop pushed up prices of the oilseed earlier this year and eroded profits for China’s oilseed crushers, who also faced weak demand from farmers in the first half.

Arrivals from the United States, China’s number two supplier, edged down to 772,938 tonnes from 775,331 tonnes a year earlier.

For the first 10 months of the year, China brought in 49.31 million tonnes of Brazilian beans, down from 52.75 million tonnes in the same period of 2021.

Imports from the United States for January to October came in at 20.1 million tonnes, down from 22.57 million tonnes the previous year.

Egypt’s GASC Wheat Purchases Reach at Least 3.55m Tons

Egypt’s state buyer bought 60,000 tons wheat in private negotiations late last week, bringing its total purchases of the grain for the 2022-23 season so far to at least 3.55 million tons.

  • NOTE: USDA forecasts Egypt to import 11 million tons during the season, and about half is typically booked by the government
  • The General Authority for Supply Commodities this year began booking some wheat in private talks with traders, marking a shift from its historical process of securing supply in tenders
  • By this time last year, GASC had booked about 2.93 million tons of wheat in tenders

Russia Wheat-Export Tax to Fall to 2,735 Rubles/Ton: Interfax

Russia’s wheat-export duty will fall next week to 2,735 rubles ($44.93) a ton from 2,922 rubles, Interfax reports, citing the agriculture ministry.

NOTE: Russia started calculating the export tax in rubles in July; previously, it was calculated in dollars, and the amount was markedly higher

IKAR Raises Russia 2022 Wheat Export Forecast to 44 Million Tons

Consultant IKAR boosts its Russian wheat export forecast to 44m tons from 42m tons, “with some reservations.”

  • Sees corn exports down at 2.5m tons; total grain exports seen at 53.5m tons, up by 1m tons
  • Wheat production estimate increased by 0.5m tons to 101.5m tons

China sells 40,152 tonnes of reserve wheat on Nov. 16 – trade center

China sold 40,152 tonnes of wheat, or 100% of the total offer, at an auction of its state reserves on Nov. 16, the National Grain Trade Center said on Monday.

The average selling price was 2,934 yuan ($409.52) per tonne.

China Buying More Australian Wheat Than Ever Despite Trade Row

China is buying more Australian wheat than ever even after diplomatic relations between the two countries frayed in recent years.

Australian shipments accounted for 63% of China’s wheat imports in the first 10 months of the year, compared with 28% over the whole of 2021 and just 15% the year before, according to Chinese customs data and Bloomberg calculations.

The booming trade stands out in the wake of deteriorating ties between the countries over issues including a clampdown on foreign investment and as Australia accused China of meddling in its domestic affairs. They took a nosedive in 2020 after Canberra called for a probe into the origins of Covid-19, infuriating Beijing. China responded with punitive trade penalties targeting Australian commodities from coal to barley, lobsters and wine.

Australia Learns There’s No Replacement for the Chinese Consumer

There are signs tensions are thawing after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and President Xi Jinping had the first face-to-face meeting between the countries’ leaders since 2019 last week. Even with some trade curbs in place, China is still Australia’s biggest export market, taking more than a third of total shipments.

In tonnage terms, China’s imports of Australian wheat more than doubled to 4.97 million tons in January through October from a year earlier. That’s the highest ever in data going back to 2004. Global wheat supplies have been constrained due to weather woes in major producing regions and as the war in Ukraine upended trade flows out of the Black Sea breadbasket region.

SOYBEAN/CEPEA: Prices move down, but pace of trades is firm

Soybean trades are moving at a good pace in Brazil, influenced by the firm demand, mainly from the international market, and by the need to sell. It is important to mention that the surplus of the 2021/22 crop is high and there is a projection of record production in the 2022/23 season.

Although liquidity has increased this week, export premiums dropped, pressing down domestic soybean prices. Moreover, producers extended the payment deadline, in some cases for the first quarter in 2023, reinforcing the downward trend.

Between November 10 and 17, the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Paranaguá (PR) Index dropped by 2%, closing at BRL 187.33 (USD 34.49) per 60-kilo bag on Nov. 17. The CEPEA/ESALQ Paraná Index decreased by 0.3% in the same comparison, to BRL 184.02 (USD 33.88)/bag. On the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, prices rose by 0.1% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers), but downed 0.5% in the wholesale market (deals between processors). The American currency upped by 0.6%, to BRL 5.431 on Nov. 17, limiting the downward trend.

BYPRODUCTS – Price drops for soybean and the lower demand for byproducts pressed down values of soybean meal and oil. In the last seven days, soybean oil quotations decreased by 2.1% in São Paulo (with 12% ICMS included), closing at BRL 7,890.79/ton on Nov. 17. As for soybean meal, on the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, values dropped by 0.1% between Nov. 10 and 17.

CROPS – Planting activities have finished in some regions in Brazil, such as north and west of Mato Grosso and west of Paraná.

Conab indicates that 66% of the 43.24 million hectares were planted in Brazil until Nov. 12, below the 77.5% registered in the same period of the crop before.

CORN/CEPEA: Due to firm international demand, sellers limit supply

Brazilian corn shipments remain moving at a good pace. Because of this and of attractive prices at ports, sellers have refrained from trades in the spot market in Brazil. Therefore, some purchasers are already claiming to have difficulties to buy new batches. However, it is important to note that domestic inventories are high, which ends up limiting sharp price rises or preventing quotations to move up. In this scenario, corn prices have registered different trends among regions surveyed by Cepea this week.

Players expect shipments to remain moving at a good pace. Conab estimates exports to hit 38.5 million tons up to January/23. From the beginning of the season, in February/22, until the partial of November/22, shipments totaled circa 32 million tons, according to Secex.

Shipments have totaled 2.28 million tons in the first weeks of November, with a daily average of 286 thousand tons – Secex data. In case this pace continues up to the end of this month, exports may total 5.7 million tons in November, the double of the volume registered in the same period in 2021.

Despite the good development of the summer crop and the fact that the harvesting is close to the end in the United States, the international demand has been boosted by logistical difficulties in the Black Sea and the production decrease in the European Union, because of the dry weather. This context has been sustaining quotations up to early 2023.

Cepea data indicate that trades for December/22 and January/23 delivery at Brazilian ports were closed this week at BRL 93.00 per 60-kilo bag, higher than the level in the domestic market and at B3. Comparing November 10-17, values rose by 2.5% in Paranaguá (PR) and 1.1% in Santos (SP). Dollar quotes increased by 0.6%, at BRL 5.431 on Nov. 17, which also pushed up prices at ports.

Corn prices registered different trends among Brazilian areas surveyed by Cepea in most part of the week. However, on Thursday, 17, the dollar increase resumed boosting quotes in several regions. In São Paulo, an important corn purchaser, buyers had been using the product in stocks and started to have difficulties to trade in the spot market. Therefore, they ended up increasing their bids. Still, many of these agents faced even higher asking prices.

Between November 10 and 17, on the average of the regions surveyed by Cepea, quotations upped by 0.2% in the wholesale market (deals between processors) and by 0.9% in the over-the-counter market (paid to farmers). In Campinas (SP), the ESALQ/BM&FBovespa Index for corn closed at BRL 84.06 (USD 15.48) per 60-kilo bag on Nov. 17, for a decrease of 0.5% compared to the previous Thursday.

Indonesia’s Sept. Palm Oil Exports Declines to 3.18M Tons: Gapki

Indonesia’s Sept. palm oil exports declined to 3.18m tons, from 4.33m tons in August, according to the Indonesian palm oil association, known as Gapki, in an emailed statement on Monday.

  • Total Sept. palm oil output rose 4.99m tons vs. 4.31m tons
    • Crude palm oil output at 4.55m tons, crude palm kernel oil production at 442,000 tons
  • Stockpiles in Sept. at 4.03m tons, vs 4.04m tons
    • Association saw falling shipments to India and EU in Sept.
  • Local consumption in Sept. dipped to 1.82m tons from 1.84m tons

Winter Weather Puts the Chill on Autumn Fertilizer Application

Farmers in the US Corn Belt were trying to apply fall fertilizers in mid-November, but winter weather stalled activity in northern areas of the Midwest. Ammonia continued to move to the field in other locations, along with potash and phosphates. CF is canceling its ammonia contract with Mosaic to capture higher prices.

Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash Drop at NOLA, Inland

Ammonia prices fell slightly in the Corn Belt as winter weather slowed fall application in some areas. Urea was also under pressure, with New Orleans (NOLA) barges falling to $505-$530 a short ton (st) vs. last week’s $520-$530 amid news on Nov. 16 of much lower prices in India’s latest urea tender. Urea prices dropped at inland US terminals as well, with lower levels also seen for urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) and ammonium sulfate in several locations. Phosphate and potash prices continued to slip, with NOLA phosphates falling $15-$25/st amid light trading activity due to low river levels and a slow fall application. NOLA potash fell $10/st vs. last week, with Corn Belt prices down $15-$30.

India is poised to take a million metric tons of urea in its latest tender, which could be the country’s last tender of the year.

Slow Demand, Delayed Planting to Reduce Nitrogen Usage

Brazil’s nitrogen-per-unit demand is estimated to drop 6.8% in 2022 due to delayed planting. Planting is off to a sluggish start, with estimates that 59% of Brazil’s expected crop area has been seeded vs. 66% at this time last year. Nitrogen prices are oscillating in Brazil as farmers step back from orders amid global supply uncertainties, a drop in consumption and a weak real. The delays are causing port inventories to build.

Ammonium sulfate and urea are the nitrogen fertilizers of choice for Brazilian growers, but urea’s price volatility this year has diverted buyers to the more stable and profitable ammonium sulfate. Brazilian urea imports for January-October dropped 7.5%, but ammonium sulfate imports were up 30%.

Discounts lift Russia’s fertilizer exports, becomes top supplier to India- sources

Russia for the first time became the biggest fertilizer supplier to India in the first half of the 2022/23 fiscal year by offering discounts over prevailing global prices, cornering more than a fifth of the market share, government and industry sources said.

India’s fertilizer imports from Russia surged 371% to a record 2.15 million tonnes in the first six months of the year started on April 1, a senior government official who was closely monitoring the imports, told Reuters.

He declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

In value terms, India’s imports during the period spiked 765% to $1.6 billion, he said. In the last entire fiscal year India imported 1.26 million tonnes from Russia.

“India was struggling to secure fertilizers at reasonable prices after conflict escalated between Russia and Ukraine. Russian supplies were timely and at reasonable prices. It helped us to avoid possible scarcity,” the official said.

Fertilizer prices jumped in the world market from March onwards after Western countries imposed sanctions on the fertilizer shipments from Russia and Belarus, key exporters, in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Combined, Russia and Belarus accounted for more than 40% of global exports of potash last year. Russia accounted for about 22% of global exports of ammonia, 14% of the world’s urea exports and about 14% of monoammonium phosphate (MAP) – all key kinds of fertilizers.

“It was a win-win situation for India and Russia,” said a senior industry official who negotiates with overseas suppliers on behalf of Indian buyers.

“India sometimes got discounts of more than $70 per tonne over global prices. Russia got a big buyer who can replace European buyers.”

In June, India secured di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) from Russia at $920-925 per tonne on a cost and freight basis (CFR), when other Asian buyers were paying more than $1,000, industry officials said.

The surge in Russian supplies halved China’s exports to India to 1.78 million tonnes in the first half of 2022/23.

Exports from other destinations such as Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also fell.

In the 2021/22 financial year Russia’s share in Indian imports was around 6%, while China cornered 24%.

Russia’s market share jumped to 21% in the first half of 2022/23, surpassing China as the biggest supplier to India, the official said.

Indian buying from Russia has not only helped local farmers, but also other import-dependent countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Malaysia, and Indonesia by curbing a rally in global prices, said another New Delhi-based industry official.

Global prices could have rallied more had India also moved away from Russia to other suppliers such as China and Morocco, which have limited supplies for exports, he said.

India’s total fertilizer imports in the first half of 2022/23 fell 2.4% from a year ago to 10.27 million tonnes, although in value terms imports during the period surged 59% to $7.4 billion, the government official said.

US Pork Production Up 4.3% This Week, Beef Rises: USDA

US federally inspected pork production rises to 560m pounds for the week ending Nov. 19 from 537m in the previous week, according to USDA estimates published on the agency’s website.

  • Hog slaughter up 4.1% from a week ago to 2.605m head
  • Beef production up 0.6% from a week ago, cattle slaughter rises 0.4%
  • For the year, beef production is 1.4% above last year’s level at this time, and pork is 2.4% below

LIVESTOCK: USDA Cattle and Hog Slaughter Estimates

The following is for week ending Saturday, Nov. 19:

  • Cattle slaughter estimate at 674k, down 0.9% from a year ago
  • Hog slaughter at 2.605m, down 1% y/y

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