Global Ag News for Sept 22.23
Russia temporarily bans fuel exports to most countries in response to shortages
- Russia suffering fuel crunch due to combination of factors
- Fuel export ban does not apply to Moscow-led economic union
Russia has temporarily banned exports of gasoline and diesel to all countries outside a circle of four ex-Soviet states with immediate effect in order to stabilise the domestic market, the government said on Thursday.
It said the ban did not apply to fuel supplied under inter-governmental agreements to members of the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
“Temporary restrictions will help saturate the fuel market, which in turn will reduce prices for consumers,” the government said in a statement.
The energy ministry said the measure would prevent unauthorised “grey” exports of motor fuels.
The ban is indefinite and further actions will depend on the saturation of the market, according to Russian First Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin.
“We expect that the market will feel the effect quickly enough. But then it will depend on the saturation of the market and the results,” Sorokin said.
Russia in recent months has suffered shortages of gasoline and diesel. Wholesale fuel prices have spiked, although retail prices are capped to try to curb them in line with official inflation.
The crunch has been especially painful in some parts of Russia’s southern breadbasket, where fuel is crucial for gathering the harvest. A serious crisis could be awkward for the Kremlin as a presidential election looms in March.
Traders say the fuel market has been hit by factors including maintenance at oil refineries, bottlenecks on railways and the weakness of the rouble, which incentivises fuel exports.
Russia has already cut its seaborne diesel and gasoil exports by nearly 30% to about 1.7 million metric tons in the first 20 days of September compared to the same period in August, according to traders and LSEG data.
The government statement added: “Previously, to stabilise the situation on the fuel market, the government raised the mandatory supply volumes of motor gasoline and diesel fuel to the commodity exchange.
“Daily monitoring of fuel purchases for the needs of agricultural producers with prompt adjustment of volumes has also been set up.”
Russia exported 4.817 million tons of gasoline and almost 35 million tons of diesel last year.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are unchanged in SRW, up 2 1/4 in HRW, up 2 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 1/4; Soybeans up 4 3/4; Soymeal up $1.20; Soyoil up 0.14.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 29 1/2 in SRW, down 34 3/4 in HRW, down 19 in HRS; Corn is down 1/2; Soybeans down 42; Soymeal down $1.90; Soyoil down 3.66.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 26 1/4 in SRW, down 14 1/2 in HRW, up 3 in HRS; Corn is down 3 1/4; Soybeans down 70 1/4; Soymeal down $14.70; Soyoil down 3.94.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 27.4% in SRW, down 19.8% in HRW, down 18.0% in HRS; Corn is down 29.9%; Soybeans down 14.5%; Soymeal down 18.1%; Soyoil down 6.3%.
Chinese Ag futures (NOV 23) Soybeans down 39 yuan; Soymeal down 19; Soyoil down 74; Palm oil down 40; Corn down 2 — Malaysian Palm is up 2. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 2 ringgit (+0.05%) at 3680.
There were changes in registrations (-35 Soymeal). Registration total: 3,005 SRW Wheat contracts; 741 Oats; 4 Corn; 220 Soybeans; 67 Soyoil; 24 Soymeal; 402 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of September 21 were: SRW Wheat up 1,701 contracts, HRW Wheat up 896, Corn up 8,512, Soybeans down 2,854, Soymeal up 4,318, Soyoil up 2,395.
Northern Plains: A system will continue to produce areas of scattered showers through the weekend. Some areas of heavy rain will be possible, which may have some benefit for late-filling corn and soybeans, but will delay harvest.
Central/Southern Plains: The system that moved into the region on Thursday will be slow to move east with multiple rounds of precipitation through the weekend before it leaves. Areas of heavy rain will be beneficial for winter wheat establishment, but not corn and soybean harvest. Western areas are more likely to be dry, which will allow for more winter wheat planting to occur.
Midwest: Waves of showers will move through western areas as a storm system slowly moves into the region through the weekend. Showers should diminish early next week as the system slowly fades away to the east or south. Rain is largely too late to be a benefit and will delay early harvest plans in some areas instead.
Delta: A front will move through the region with potential for limited rain Sunday and Monday. Some showers may occur ahead of the front on Friday. Cotton is running out of time for rainfall to be helpful and the coming rains may be heavy enough to disrupt harvest progress for soybeans.
Brazil: A front in the south will continue with periods of showers into next week, shifting northward late next week. There could be additional flooding concerns for Rio Grande do Sul. Early soybean and full-season corn planting should otherwise continue to go well. The rainfall farther north may be the kicker to the start of the wet season rains, which would be on time.
Argentina: A front will produce areas of showers for northern areas at various points going into next week. Southern areas may get in on some rainfall Friday through Monday. Recent and forecast rain is improving soil moisture for winter wheat and early corn planting.
The player sheet for Sept. 21 had funds: net sellers of 6,000 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 6,000 corn, sellers of 12,000 soybeans, sellers of 5,500 soymeal, and sellers of 3,500 soyoil.
- CORN PURCHASE: Algerian state agency ONAB is believed to have bought around 30,000 metric tons of animal feed corn in an international tender for up to 60,000 tons, European traders said.
- WHEAT PURCHASE: A group of South Korean flour mills bought an estimated 94,400 metric tons of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States in an international tender on Thursday, European traders said.
- WHEAT PURCHASE: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 89,940 metric tons of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender.
- VEGETABLE OIL OFFERS: The lowest offer presented at an Egyptian state purchasing tender for vegetable oils was $918 per metric ton c&f for 12,000 tons of sunflower oil, traders said.
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 21,700 metric tonnes of rice all to be sourced from China, European traders said. The deadline for submissions of price offers in the tender was Sept. 12.
- WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 93,125 metric tons of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States. The deadline for submission of price offers is Sept. 22.
US Sold 434K Tons of Soybeans Last Week; 567K of Corn: USDA
USDA releases net export sales report on website for week ending Sept. 14.
- Soybean sales fell to 434k tons vs 704k in the previous week
- Corn sales fell to 567k tons vs 779k in the previous week
- All wheat sales fell to 322k tons vs 438k in the previous week
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 Sept. 14, according to data on the USDA’s website.
- China was the top buyer of soybeans in the week with 209k tons
- Japan was the top buyer of corn and Philippines led in wheat
Argentina soy planting to cover 16 mln hectares this season -govt
Argentina’s 2023/24 soy planting area will be an estimated 16 million hectares (39.54 million acres), the government said on Thursday, the same as the previous drought-hit season in one of the world’s top exporters of processed soy oil and meal.
While the soy planting area forecast matches the area planted last season, the government trimmed its estimate for the 2023/24 wheat planting area to 5.6 million hectares, from a previous forecast of 5.8 million.
“A drop in the area estimate was decided given the lack of adequate rainfall and the prevalent drought conditions in the previous period,” Argentina’s agriculture secretariat said in its monthly grain report.
For 2023/24 corn, the government kept its area estimate stable at 10.5 million hectares.
Meanwhile the Buenos Aires grains exchange said in its weekly crop report on Thursday some wheat producers had decided to bring forward the current wheat harvest in northern Argentina, due to high temperatures that have affected crop yields.
The exchange estimates the current wheat harvest at 16.5 million metric tons from a planting area of 5.9 million hectares.
Argentine Corn Production Estimate Sept. 21: Exchange
The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange releases weekly report on website.
- 2023-24 corn planted area est. held at 7.3m ha
- Planting 5% complete
IGC Raises World Wheat and Corn Stockpile Estimates; Rice Cut
World grain stockpiles at the end of the 2023-24 season are now seen at 588m tons, up from an August estimate for 584m tons, the International Grains Council says in a report.
Production kept steady as better crops in Russia and Ukraine are countered by downgrades in Australia, Canada and Argentina
- Stockpiles estimate raised to 263m tons, from 261m tons
- Declining harvest offset by weaker consumption
- Still, inventory remains about 20m tons lower y/y
- Stockpiles forecast edged up to 289m tons, from 288m tons, amid better production
- Stockpiles cut to 168m tons, from 170m tons
- That would put them steady y/y
Ukraine’s Grain Exports Fall 17% to Period Through Sept. 22
Ukraine’s grain exports from the start of season on July 1 are down 17% compared with last year, Agriculture Ministry says on its website.
Total of more than 6m tons includes:
- 2.5m tons of corn, down 39% from last year
- 2.9m tons of wheat, down 19%
- 596,000 tons of barley, down 4.2%
Second Grain Ship Leaves Ukrainian Black Sea Port for Egypt
- Aroyat loaded almost 18,000 tons of wheat, minister says on X
- Russia last month opened fire on a vessel to stop for checks
The second ship to load Ukrainian grain at the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk has departed, as Kyiv defies a de-facto maritime blockade following the collapse of a safe-passage agreement in July.
The Aroyat is heading toward Egypt after loading almost 18,000 tons of wheat, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The vessel follows Resilient Africa, which has passed through the Bosphorus after loading wheat at Chornomorsk, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The ships arrived at the port over the weekend.
The ships are using a temporary corridor, Kubrakov said in his post, but the passage is fraught with risks. Russia has previously said it would treat any vessels headed to Ukraine’s ports as potential carriers of weapons, and last month opened fire on a ship to force it to stop for checks.
Three More Cargo Ships Heading to Ukrainian Ports, Minister Says
Three more ships are on their way to Ukraine’s Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi ports for loading, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a post on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter and renamed X.
The bulk carriers will ship 127,000 tons of agricultural products and iron ore to China, Egypt and Spain along the temporary corridor established by the Ukrainian Navy
Ukraine’s Grain Harvest Advances 14% from Last Year: Ministry
Grain harvest was 29.8m tons as of Sept. 22 for the season that started on July 1, Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry says in a statement on website.
- Total includes:
- 22.19m tons of wheat, up 16% y/y
- 5.9m tons of barley, up 7% y/y
- 182,500 tons of corn, twice as much as previous season
- Sunflower seed harvest almost doubled from same period a year ago to 2.4m tons
- Soybean harvest is so far 1.3m tons vs 228,000 year ago
Rains Prevent Deeper Cut to Western Australia’s Wheat Outlook
- Industry group trims wheat output estimate to 8.5 million tons
- Weather bureau forecasts warmer and drier conditions ahead
Western Australia’s wheat production is expected to be even lower this season, but recent rains have softened the blow for some farmers, according to a monthly report from the state’s grain association.
The estimate for overall grain output for the upcoming harvest has declined by nearly 1.5 million tons, but it would have dropped even further without a one-off rainfall event last week, the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia said. The state is the nation’s biggest wheat exporter.
For many farmers, rain has changed their prospects from a year of losses to breakeven or a slight profit, according to the industry group. Crops in the south of the state will be vulnerable to frost damage over the next few weeks, which could push production estimates lower, the association said.
Climate models continue to indicate warmer and drier conditions for much of Australia over the next three months, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, which declared an El Niño weather event earlier this week.
Ethanol groups slam US EPA advisors for report on fuel’s ‘minimal’ climate benefit
The ethanol and corn industries on Thursday slammed an advisory board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a draft report that found there could be little climate benefit to using corn-starch ethanol as a fuel, compared with gasoline.
The question of exactly how much ethanol cuts emissions over gasoline has divided academics and has created a split in the administrationof President Joe Biden over implementation of a tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel.
A working group of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) concluded in an August draft report that there is “a reasonable chance there are minimal or no climate benefits from substituting corn ethanol for gasoline or diesel.”
At a public meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, the full SAB discussed the report and took public comments, including from industry groups.
“We adamantly disagree,” said Geoff Cooper, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, citing findings by the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory that ethanol is 44% lower in emissions than gasoline.
“We encourage the SAB to conduct a more expansive and inclusive examination.”
Chris Bliley, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy, a biofuels lobby group, said the draft comment “cherry picks certain data from a few anti-ethanol critics.”
Neil Caskey, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, said the science showing ethanol’s climate benefits over gasoline is settled.
Members of the SAB working group said new studies suggest ethanol may be less climate-friendly than previously thought and EPA should conduct further research.
“This is not a settled issue in my mind,” said Peter Thorne, professor of public health at the University of Iowa and a member of the working group.
The full board voted to accept the draft report pending revisions. Some suggested revisions included softening the report’s language and clarifying specific uncertainties in the scientific literature.
Biden’s IRA drives surge in US imports of Chinese used cooking oil
U.S. incentives to boost consumption of more environmentally friendly fuel has created a new market for used Chinese cooking oil, worth almost $390 million in the last 12 months and growing rapidly, China’s customs data shows.
China has been shipping more waste oil to the U.S. since October 2022, two months after the Biden administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to promote clean energy, which included tax credits for production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and extended incentives for biodiesel.
In the first eight months of 2023, Chinese exports of used cooking oil (UCO) to the U.S. totalled almost 384,000 metric tons, customs data shows. That accounted for around 65% of U.S. imports through August, data from shiptracking firm Kpler showed.
Used cooking oil can be refined into fuels such as biodiesel and SAF, which can be blended with conventional fuels to reduce carbon emissions. It is also a feedstock for renewable diesel, which is chemically equivalent to petroleum-based diesel.
The growth in the trade is “basically economically driven because of the funding of these programs and also the growth in these new facilities that have been invested into in the U.S. starting to come online and ramp up production,” said Sophie Byron, global head of biofuels pricing at S&P Global Commodity Insights.
In the U.S., renewable diesel is mostly used in California because of its Low Carbon Fuel Standard that allows producers to generate tradable credits for using low-carbon feedstocks such as UCO.
State-run Chinese oil majors Sinopec and PetroChina, which are among those shipping UCO cargoes to the U.S., according to Kpler, did not respond to requests for comment.
Under the IRA, biodiesel producers are eligible for a $1 per gallon tax credit. A new tax credit for SAF producers offers up to $1.75 per gallon, with additional credits for fuel achieving a lifecycle carbon reduction of greater than 50%.
Used cooking oil can be one-third the price of fresh vegetable oil, and has lower carbon intensity than non-waste feedstocks such as palm or canola oil.
Biodiesel produced from UCO has slightly lower energy content than petroleum diesel but cuts greenhouse gas pollution by as much as 83%, according to a 2022 study by the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S.
China is the world’s largest producer of UCO, generating around 11.4 billion litres annually, according to data cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but the lack of domestic policy support has limited its use in the country.
Powered by incentives, U.S. demand for UCO has displaced European purchases. Exports to Europe from China in the first eight months of 2023 fell by almost 56% from a year earlier, customs data shows.
In June, Germany asked the European Commission to investigate the flow of possibly mislabelled Chinese biofuels into the European Union.
These concerns have “made some of the EU buyers potentially a bit more nervous, so you might see the U.S. jumping on that opportunity as well,” S&P Global’s Byron said.
As of February, there are 72 U.S. plants that can produce biodiesel using UCO as a feedstock, according to the USDA.
LIVESTOCK: US Red Meat Production Fell 3.2% Y/y in August
Commercial beef and pork production fell to 4.67b pounds in Aug., according to the USDA’s monthly livestock slaughter report.
- Beef production down 5.7% y/y to 2.36b pounds
- Aug. cattle slaughter totaled 2.89m head, a 6.1% decline from a year ago
- Avg live weight rose by 3 pounds from last year to 1,351 pounds
- Pork production down 0.4% y/y to 2.29b pounds
- Hog slaughter increased 1.2% y/y to 11,123m head
- Avg live weight was 278 pounds vs 282 pounds a year ago
US Corn and Soybean Crops Increase Drought Exposure: Sept. 19
The following table shows the percent of US agricultural production within an area that experienced drought for the week ending Sept. 19, according to the USDA’s weekly drought report.
- Corn crops experiencing moderate to intense drought rose by 4 percentage points from the previous week to 58%
- Drought exposure at this time last year was 34%
- Soybean crops in drought rose by 5 points, reaching 53%
US Miss. River Grain Shipments Fall, Barge Rates Increase: USDA
Barge shipments down the Mississippi river declined to 130k tons in the week ending Sept. 16 from 173k tons the previous week, according to the USDA’s weekly grain transportation report.
- Barge shipments of corn rose 12.1% from the previous week
- Soybean shipments down 5% w/w
- St. Louis barge rates were $38.34 per short ton, an increase of $9.58 from the previous week
THE WARM NORTH AMERICA AUTUMN IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE IN MOST AREAS THROUGHOUT OCTOBER – Refinitiv Commodities Research
What to Watch:
- Temperatures are expected to remain warm for another month from the northern U.S. through the Canadian Prairies, with cool temperatures confined to the southern U.S.
- High rainfall is likely be focused along a south/central U.S. frontal zone in October, with dry conditions to the north
- Corn/soybean harvest progress should proceed without issues under warm and quiet conditions next month, while wheat plantings could experience more active weather
OCTOBER WEATHER OUTLOOK
Crop Impacts (corn/soybeans/wheat): Crop impacts will be entirely focused on the corn/soybean harvest, and winter wheat plantings in October. The potential for warm temperatures spanning the U.S. Corn Belt will be favorable for the corn/soybean harvest pace, especially since high rainfall is likely to be limited to the southern Midwest. On that note, the main winter wheat belts are located along a potentially active storm track in October, which would have mixed results. On one hand, cool/wet weather at times could slow planting progress for wheat, but it will also boost soil moisture levels that are still suffering from regional drought. Therefore, the October outlook should benefit corn/soybean harvest progress while having a neutral impact on wheat plantings overall.
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