Global Ag News for Apr 4.23

TOP HEADLINES

Fertilizer Fieldwork Window Is Narrowing as Cold Weather Lingers

Most nitrogen prices remain weak in the US as buyers defer purchases and wet weather delays application. A brisk spring season is still expected, however, with the USDA projecting 92 million planted corn acres in 2023. A 26% drop in Tampa ammonia’s price sent nutrient spreads near normal, portending only smaller price drops in 2Q.

growing crops

FUTURES & WEATHER

Wheat prices overnight are up 5 in SRW, up 10 1/4 in HRW, up 7 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 3 1/2; Soybeans down 1 1/4; Soymeal down $0.56; Soyoil up 0.39.

For the week so far wheat prices are up 7 1/2 in SRW, up 8 1/4 in HRW, up 6 in HRS; Corn is down 3 3/4; Soybeans up 17 3/4; Soymeal down $0.41; Soyoil up 1.51.

For the month to date wheat prices are up 6 1/4 in SRW, up 7 3/4 in HRW, up 3 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 6 1/4; Soybeans up 15 1/4; Soymeal down $7.40; Soyoil up 1.58.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 11.6% in SRW, down 0.2% in HRW, down 3.9% in HRS; Corn is down 3.2%; Soybeans up 0.3%; Soymeal down 3.5%; Soyoil down 10.7%.

Chinese Ag futures (JUL 23) Soybeans down 18 yuan; Soymeal up 72; Soyoil up 66; Palm oil up 76; Corn down 6 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 85 ringgit (+2.19%) at 3969.

There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 2,537 SRW Wheat contracts; 23 Oats; 29 Corn; 88 Soybeans; 613 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 37 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of April 3 were: SRW Wheat down 586 contracts, HRW Wheat down 111, Corn up 5,960, Soybeans up 7,019, Soymeal up 5,769, Soyoil down 108.

Eastern Midwest Forecast: Scattered showers through Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures above to well above normal through Wednesday, near to below normal Thursday-Friday. Outlook: Isolated showers Saturday-Monday. Mostly dry Tuesday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Wednesday.

Western Midwest Forecast: Scattered showers Tuesday. Isolated snow north Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal Tuesday, below normal Wednesday-Friday.

Northern Plains Forecast: Heavy snow Monday night-early Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures below to well below normal through Friday. Outlook: Isolated showers Saturday-Sunday. Mostly dry Monday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to below normal Saturday-Sunday, above normal Monday-Wednesday.

Central/Southern Plains Forecast: Isolated to scattered showers Tuesday. Mostly dry Wednesday-Thursday. Isolated showers south Friday. Temperatures below normal northwest and above normal southeast Tuesday, below normal Wednesday-Thursday, near to below normal Friday. Outlook: Mostly dry Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Wednesday.

Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Rio Grande do Sul and Parana:  Isolated to scattered showers Tuesday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Friday. Mato Grosso, MGDS and southern Goias:  Isolated showers through Wednesday. Scattered showers Thursday-Friday. Temperatures near normal through Friday.

Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Cordoba, Santa Fe, Northern Buenos Aires:  Mostly dry Tuesday-Friday. Temperatures near normal through Wednesday, above normal Thursday-Friday. La Pampa, Southern Buenos Aires:  solated showers Monday. Mostly dry Tuesday-Friday. Temperatures near normal through Wednesday, above normal Thursday-Friday.

The player sheet for 4/3 had funds: net buyers of 2,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 2,000 corn, buyers of 7,000 soybeans, sellers of 2,000 soymeal, and  buyers of 4,500 soyoil.

TENDERS

  • CORN SALE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed private sales of 150,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to Mexico for shipment in the 2023/24 marketing year.
  • SOYOIL SALE: The USDA confirmed private sales of 20,000 tonnes of U.S. soyoil to unknown destinations for shipment in the 2022/23 marketing year.

PENDING TENDERS

  • CORN TENDER: Algerian state agency ONAB issued an international tender to purchase up to 70,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from Argentina or Brazil
  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 121,800 tonnes of rice
  • WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 tonnes of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins.
  • FEED BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer has issued a new international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley.

 TODAY

US Corn Used for Ethanol at 399.8M Bu in February

The following is a summary of US corn consumption for fuel and other products, according to the USDA.

  • Corn for ethanol was 1.5% lower than in February 2022
  • DDGS production fell to 1.561m tons

US Inspected 1.098m Tons of Corn for Export, 499k of Soybean

In week ending March 30, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.

  • Corn: 1,098k tons vs 688k the previous wk, 1,541k a yr ago
  • Soybeans: 499k tons vs 892k the previous wk, 742k a yr ago
  • Wheat: 169k tons vs 404k the previous wk, 318k a yr ago

US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: March 30

Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending March 30 of corn, soybeans and wheat for export, from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA.

  • Soybeans for China-bound shipments made up 298k tons of the 499k total inspected
  • Mexico was the top destination for corn inspections, Philippines led in wheat

Brazil March Agriculture Exports by Volume: MDIC

Following is a summary of key Brazilian agriculture and mining exports by volume, from the Brazilian Trade Ministry.

  • Soybean exports rose 9% y/y
  • Cotton exports fell 59% y/y
  • Figures in thousands of tons

Brazil 2022/2023 Soybean Crop Seen At 157.7 Million Tns – Stonex

  • BRAZIL 2022/2023 SECOND CORN CROP SEEN AT 100.54 MILLION TNS VERSUS 100.8 MILLION TNS IN PREVIOUS FORECAST – STONEX
  • BRAZIL 2022/2023 SOYBEAN CROP SEEN AT 157.7 MILLION TNS VERSUS 154.7 MILLION TNS IN PREVIOUS FORECAST – STONEX
  • BRAZIL 2022/2023 TOTAL CORN CROP SEEN AT 131.34 MILLION TNS VERSUS 130.6 MILLION TNS IN PREVIOUS FORECAST – STONEX
  • STONEX RAISES BRAZIL 2022/2023 CORN EXPORTS TO 48 MILLION TNS VERSUS 46.63 MILLION TNS IN PREVIOUS CYCLE; DOMESTIC CORN USE SEEN AT 81 MILLION TNS VERSUS 76.50 MILLION TNS PREVIOUSLY
  • STONEX SEES BRAZIL 2022/2023 SOYBEAN EXPORTS AT 96 MILLION TONNES VERSUS 78.73 MILLION TNS IN PREVIOUS CYCLE; DOMESTIC SOYBEAN USE AT 54 MILLION TNS VERSUS 51.5 MILLION TNS PREVIOUSLY

USDA attaché sees India 2023/24 wheat crop at 108 million T

Following are selected highlights from a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) post in New Delhi:

“FAS New Delhi (Post) forecasts India’s market (MY) 2023/2024 (April-March) wheat production at 108 million metric tons (MMT) resulting from 31.9 million hectares. Crop performance is better compared to the MY 2022/2023 harvest of 100 MMT arising from 30.5 million hectares. Favorable weather conditions and sufficient soil moisture from the time of planting through the vegetative/reproductive stages buoyed record planting levels. MY 2023/2024 yields are forecast up at 3.39 MT/hectare compared to last year’s 3.28 MT/hectare. Post forecasts MY 2023/2024 rice production at 127 MMT, from a planted area of 46.5 million hectares, with yields of 4.09 MT/hectare. Despite an erratic 2022 monsoon, Indian farmers realized good returns from rice over other crops. Farmers benefited from high government MSP procurement for paddy (un-milled) rice and strong export demand. With the return of the El Niño phenomenon, bringing warmer weather in the latter part of 2023, there are concerns that rabi season plantings could suffer.”

EU crop monitor sees Ukraine 2023 wheat output down 6% on average

The European Union’s crop monitoring service MARS on Monday projected Ukraine’s total wheat production will shed in 2023 6% compared to the five-year average to 25.48 million tonnes.

Grain and oilseed production fell sharply last year in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters, after Russia occupied parts of Ukrainian territory following its full-scale February 2022 invasion.

In a report, MARS said it expects the average wheat yield in Ukraine to rise 6% this year compared to the five-year average, to 4.3 tonnes/hectare, but that would not compensate for a fall in area estimated 11% below average and 8% below the previous year.

“Mild temperatures combined with sufficient rainfall since the start of the 2022-2023 season currently maintain a fair-to-positive yield outlook for winter crops in a major part of Ukraine,” MARS said.

“However, (total) winter cereal production is forecast significantly below the 5-year average in both government-controlled and non-controlled areas due to reduced sown areas,” it said.

MARS pegged Ukraine’s winter barley output at 3.77 million tonnes, up 1% on the five-year average, while rapeseed production would rise 2% compared with the five-year average to 3.04 million tonnes, it said.

Yield forecasts for winter crops were following historical trends, and initial production forecasts will be revised depending on estimate adjustments and on updated yield forecasts during the remaining season, MARS said.

Ukraine’s Black Sea Crop Exports Up 6% W/w in Week to April 2

The volume of crops departing Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative totaled about 852,448 tons in the week to April 2, according to data posted by the Joint Coordination Centre.

  • That compares with about 804,197 tons in the prior week
  • TOTAL TONNAGE: About 26.8m tons of crops have been shipped since the initiative was established in late July
  • NOTE: The deal was renewed in mid-March; Russia said the extension is for 60 days, while Ukraine said it is for 120 days

Argentina pushes new ‘soy dollar’ rollout to Wednesday

Argentina will announce the details of a new effort to boost soy exports on Wednesday, two days later than first planned, government and industry sources told Reuters on Monday.

The government had planned to launch its latest “soy dollar” plan, which uses a preferential exchange rate to provide an incentive for exports, on Monday.

The plan, the third of its kind since mid-2022, comes as the worst drought in decades continues to aggravate Argentina’s already strained finances.

A government source told Reuters Monday that officials pushed the announcement to Wednesday as talks continue with the agro-export sector. According to the source, the soy plan will last until the end of May.

A source from the agro-export sector confirmed the information to Reuters.

The “soy dollar” plan aims to increase sales and exports of soybeans and their derivatives by offering producers an exchange rate higher than the official rate of 210 pesos per dollar.

A source close to the economy ministry with knowledge of the matter said the plan would go into effect next Monday.

Argentina’s government, which faces a challenging horizon ahead of general elections in October, is hoping the policy will spur $15 billion dollars in soy exports between the second and third quarter.

The South American country is the world’s top exporter of soy meal and soy oil, and the “soy dollar” in the past has spiked the influx of foreign currency to the cash-strapped central bank.

The worst drought in more than six decades has taken a steep toll on Argentine farmers.

While the government has not yet published its estimate for the 2022/23 soybean season, the major Buenos Aires grain exchange projects soybean production will reach just 25 million tonnes, which would be the worst result in 23 years.

Argentina crop export dollars drop nearly 59% in March

The value of dollars from Argentina’s drought-stricken farm exports fell by nearly 59% in March from the same month last year, an industry group said on Monday.

Last month, the value of dollars from farm exports reached $1.229 billion, down from $2.984 billion a year earlier, according to the combined oilseed industry and grains export chambers CIARA-CEC.

Argentina, the world’s top exporter of processed soy and No. 3 corn exporter, has suffered its worst drought in decades, which has strained an already ailing economy.

Declining soybean yields have deprived processors of the soybeans needed to make soybean meal, Argentina’s top export.

“The inflow of foreign currency in the month of March reflects a market affected by the extreme drought that has reduced production and led ports and grinding plants to operate with extremely high levels of idle capacity – the highest in years,” CIARA said in as statement.

Crop exports are a critical source of foreign currency for Argentina’s cash-strapped central bank.

The government said it would launch a preferential exchange rate this week to stimulate soybean exports.

Known as the “soy dollar”, such preferential rates were used twice last year to boost exports and increase the central bank’s reserves.

Brazil farmers harvest 76% of soybean-planted area -AgRural

Brazilian farmers have harvested 76% of the soybean area planted for 2022/23 through last Thursday, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, up six percentage points from the previous week.

At the same time last year, 81% of the Brazilian soy fields had been reaped, said AgRural.

India plans to relax wheat procurement norms to replenish stocks

India has been planning to relax norms to procure wheat from farmers amid untimely rainfall and hail which damaged the crop just before harvesting in key producing central and northern states, government officials and traders told Reuters.

The world’s second biggest wheat producer plans to buy 34.15 million tonnes of new-season wheat from local farmers to shore up state reserves after purchases dropped 53% last year to 18.8 million tonnes because of a poor harvest.

New season wheat has started arriving on the market, but the harvest has lost lustre in some districts because of the recent rainfall, said a senior government official, who declined to be named.

“We have allowed Madhya Pradesh state to procure wheat even with 10% loss in lustre. If required we would take call for other states and other parameters such as moisture,” the official said. The source didn’t wish to be identified in line with official rules.

The central state of Madhya Pradesh is the second biggest producer of wheat after the northern state of Punjab.

Wheat crop has also been damaged in Punjab and Haryana because of rainfall in the past few days and the government would be forced to make similar changes in the procurement rules for these states, said a New-Delhi-based trader with a global trade house.

Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh accounted for more than 98% of the total wheat procured in 2022.

Crop with lower lustre was getting sold at a big discount to good quality crop in the market and the government buying would stop this distress sale, the trader said.

The state-run agencies have procured 260,000 tonnes of wheat from farmers as on April 2, up from the last year’s 46,000 tonnes, another government official said.

“Buying would gain momentum in the next few weeks. It didn’t pick up desired momentum because of rainfall,” the official said.

The government-backed Food Corporation of India (FCI) buys wheat from farmers at state-set prices to run the world’s biggest food welfare programme.

WHEAT/CEPEA: Prices continue stable in Brazil, but move up in the international market

Wheat prices have registered small oscillations in Brazil, and only a few trades have been closed over the last days. Players from wheat mills surveyed by Cepea claim to have stocks, while many sellers are focused on finishing activities for both soybean and corn. In the international scenario, on the other hand, values have increased.

Cepea surveys show that, between March 24-31, the prices paid to wheat farmers dropped 0.89% in Paraná, but increased 0.04% in Santa Catarina and 0.19% in Rio Grande do Sul. In the wholesale market (deals between processors), values decreased 0.26% in São Paulo, 0.09% in PR and 0.39% in RS, but remained stable in SC. In the same period, the US dollar decreased 3.4%, to BRL 5.069 on March 31.

International price rises, in turn, were attributed to the dry weather in the US, to the devaluation of dollar quotations (which favors exports from the United States) and to the possibility of an interruption of Russian exports and/or that the country increases export tariff, in an attempt to boost prices.

According to data released last week by the USDA, wheat inventories in the US totaled 25.75 million tons by March 1st this year, 8% less compared to that in the same period of 2022, but higher than what the market expected. The area may total 20.19 million hectares in 2023/24, above that verified last season.

The USDA also says that, in the week of March 23, the volume exported by the United States was 151.7 thousand tons (2022/23 season), 21% higher compared to that in the week before.

Based on data from Conab (Brazil’s National Company for Food Supply), between March 20-24, the import parity price for the wheat from Argentina delivered to Paraná State was USD 356.37/ton. Considering the average of the US dollar in that period, at BRL 5.2616, the wheat imported was sold at BRL 1,875.10/ton, while for the Brazilian wheat traded in Paraná, the average was lower, at BRL 1,627.48/ton, according to data from Cepea. In Rio Grande do Sul, the price of the product from Argentina closed at USD 334.43/ton, which accounts for BRL 1,759.64/ton – against BRL 1,453.34/ton on the average of the State calculated by Cepea.

Brazil has imported 336 thousand tons of wheat until the fourth week of March, against 521.8 thousand tons in the same month last year – Secex data. Exports totaled 606.2 thousand tons in the same period, while the amount was 768.6 thousand tons in March 2022.

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