Global Ag News for Mar 23.23
Crop Damage Due to Rains to Impact India Wheat Prices: Crisil
Prices of a range of crops, including wheat, paddy, onion and tomato, are expected to rise in India after untimely rains in various parts of the country damaged crops, according to ratings agency Crisil Ltd.
- In major grain-producing states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat drenching could lead to 3%-5% decline in yields of wheat crop, which can result in prices to “increase marginally” during the marketing year 2023 over a high base of last year, Crisil said
- Rains lashed paddy crops in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, potentially causing a yield loss
- As much as 10% of the onion crop currently in the harvesting stage has been damaged in Nashik, Maharashtra, the biggest producing region, according to the report
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are up 4 1/4 in SRW, up 7 1/4 in HRW, up 9 1/4 in HRS; Corn is up 2 1/4; Soybeans down 3/4; Soymeal up $0.05; Soyoil down 0.54.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 41 in SRW, down 16 1/2 in HRW, down 21 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 3 1/4; Soybeans down 24 1/4; Soymeal down $1.33; Soyoil down 2.93.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 37 3/4 in SRW, up 5 3/4 in HRW, down 23 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 5 1/2; Soybeans down 31 1/4; Soymeal down $15.00; Soyoil down 5.94.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 15.5% in SRW, down 7.7% in HRW, down 10.6% in HRS; Corn is down 6.0%; Soybeans down 4.4%; Soymeal down 5.4%; Soyoil down 14.5%.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 23) Soybeans up 20 yuan; Soymeal down 51; Soyoil down 120; Palm oil down 156; Corn up 1 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 91 ringgit (-2.48%) at 3573.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 2,537 SRW Wheat contracts; 23 Oats; 73 Corn; 188 Soybeans; 613 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 88 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of March 22 were: SRW Wheat up 11,208 contracts, HRW Wheat up 883, Corn up 9,066, Soybeans up 7,799, Soymeal down 1,531, Soyoil down 978.
Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Scattered showers are continuing over the interior of Brazil on Wednesday and Thursday, but will become much more isolated moving forward as the wet season starts to draw to an end fairly early. The dryness will help to increase the remaining safrinha corn planting. Soil moisture is good for the corn in the ground for now. But the coming dryness is not a good outlook if that continues into April without returning.
Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: A front continues to bring scattered showers, sometimes heavy, to northern Argentina over the next several days. Rain this week is likely too late for much of the damaged corn and soybean crops. However, stabilization will likely occur if the showers are as heavy as forecast. Temperatures will remain above normal until a cold front moves through later next week.
Northern Plains Forecast: Temperatures remain below normal in the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies for the next couple of weeks, requiring higher inputs than normal for livestock, and limiting snow melt. The main storm track will be to the south, with only isolated showers going into next week.
Central/Southern Plains Forecast: A cold front continues to be slowly pushed southward through the Central and Southern Plains over the next few days by a couple of storm systems. These systems will produce scattered precipitation across the region with the strongest storm in the series occurring Thursday into Friday, which has the best chance at bringing precipitation to the southwestern drought areas. There may be another over the weekend that could do so as well, but chances are low for meaningful precipitation outside of Kansas and Colorado’s winter wheat areas.
Midwest Forecast: A string of systems will continue to push a cold front through the Midwest through Saturday, bringing widespread precipitation through the region yet again. Another may come through Sunday and Monday as well. A wet end to March is likely to lead to some delays for early fieldwork heading into April. Temperatures will be waffling heading into the new month as well.
The player sheet for 3/22 had funds: net sellers of 6,500 contracts of SRW wheat, sellers of 1,000 corn, sellers of 11,000 soybeans, sellers of 4,000 soymeal, and sellers of 6,500 soyoil.
- CORN SALES: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 178,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to China for delivery in the 2022/23 marketing year that began Sept. 1, 2022. The announcement was the USDA’s sixth in the last seven business days, bringing the total amount of corn sales to China confirmed since mid-March to 2.425 million tonnes.
- WHEAT TENDER: Turkey’s state grain board TMO issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 695,000 tonnes of milling wheat
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 tonnes of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins.
- BARLEY PURCHASE: Jordan’s state grain buyer purchased about 110,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Wednesday.
- 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: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 56,300 tonnes of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States.
DOE: US Ethanol Stocks Fall 0.8% to 26.188M Bbl
According to the US Department of Energy’s weekly petroleum report.
- Analysts were expecting 25.994 mln bbl
- Plant production at 0.997m b/d, compared to survey avg of 1.022m
GRAIN EXPORT SURVEY: Corn, Soy, Wheat Sales Before USDA Report
Estimate ranges are based on a Bloomberg survey of six analysts; the USDA is scheduled to release its export sales report on Thursday for week ending March 16.
- Corn est. range 2,200k – 3,500k tons, with avg of 2,810k
- Soybean est. range 400k – 1,000k tons, with avg of 620k
USDA attache sees Mexico 2023/24 corn imports at 17.9 million tonnes
Following are selected highlights from a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) post in Mexico City:
“Due to continued elevated agricultural input costs, Mexico’s corn production in marketing year (MY) 2023/24 is forecast at 27.4 million metric tons (MMT), unchanged from the year prior. Lower than expected planting intentions data accounts for slightly lower rice and wheat production forecasts. Sorghum production is forecast to remain steady based on consistent demand from the feed and beverage sectors. Mexico’s MY 2022/23 corn imports are estimated to decrease following a January 2023 Decree which places export tariffs on white corn, and a February 2023 Decree which restricts the use of genetically engineered (GE) corn in the tortilla industry … Driven by increased demand from the livestock and starch sectors, corn imports are forecast at 17.9 MMT in MY 2023/24, a 3% increase over the previous year. On the other hand, Mexico’s corn imports are estimated down to 17.4 MMT in MY 2022/23.”
2023/24 U.S. SOYBEAN PRODUCTION: 121 [114–129] MILLION TONS, UP 4% FROM LAST SEASON
Strong domestic/external demand, increased consumption expectations, and favorable price dynamics set initial 2023/24 U.S. soybean planted area at 88.1 million acres, up 1% from last season, despite its comparative disadvantage against other competing crops and the current unfavorable export market environment. While preliminary, soy production is estimated to increase by 4.3% year-on-year to 4.46 [4.20-4.73] billion bushels given the area projection, assuming normal planting progress and growing season weather. Our current area and production estimates are slightly above (vs. 87.5 million acres)/below (vs. 4.51 billion bushels) the earlier projections released in USDA’s Grain and Oilseeds Outlook presented during the Agricultural Outlook Forum (23-24 February, 2023).
Coming off a very dry year where early season delays greatly hampered the crop development and eventually the output, U.S. farmers are poised to increase soybean acreage this season, encouraged by brighter demand prospects and profitability outlooks, despite its price disadvantage over corn and losing competitiveness in the global export market. While prices have been overall on a downward trend since February, they remain high relative to historical averages over the past five years. The current cost dynamics are favorable for summer crops as well, as most fertilizer prices have stabilized and gone down back to the pre-Russia-Ukraine war levels, following a tremendous volatility around this time last year which eventually led to a low soy area. Domestic demand is likely to continue to rise amid steady crush levels, supported by the overall growth of soymeal production and high soyoil prices. Argentina’s dire crop season devastated by a historic drought is another factor driving up the demand for the U.S. soy by-product, as the world’ leading meal exporter is operating its crushing plants at the lowest capacity in history. The area increase of soybeans in the U.S. this season will likely be limited, however, as corn is expected to expand as well and likely to take away much of other competing crops’ acreage shares. The current export market climate is not very favorable for U.S. soybeans either, with a record harvest underway in Brazil (in spite of late season delays), whose massive soy volumes should arrive over the coming months. A strong dollar environment is also limiting the U.S. export potential, making it less competitive in the global market and failing to fully take advantage of China’s great demand recovery.
One important variable for acreage estimation is planting progress. Early corn planting normally begins during early April and ends in May, while soybean planting windows tend to be from May through June, offering U.S. farmers more time/room for acreage decisions. The latest ENSO outlook by Refinitiv’s weather research team (15 March) suggests that key forecast indicators consistently point towards increased risks in North America, warranting attention. Hot and dry conditions lingering across the Plains could result in low yields across the western parts of the central Soy Belt. Yield and percent harvested can still vary greatly in response to forward weather, but under normal conditions should reach 51.4 bushels per acre (bpa) and 98% harvested, respectively. Anomalous dryness coupled with hot temperatures might lower yield and production to 48.4 bpa and 114 million tons. On the other hand, yield and production could rise to 54.5 bpa and 129 million tons, assuming ideal growing conditions without extreme weather occurrences.
Brazil’s Abiove raises 2023 soybean crop, export view
Brazil’s soybean output and exports in 2023 will be higher than expected, Brazilian oilseed lobby Abiove said on Wednesday, as local farmers harvest a bumper crop, Chinese demand remains strong and Argentine growers grapple with weather issues.
Abiove now estimates Brazil’s soy production at a record 153.6 million tonnes, 1 million more than the last projection in January.
The new forecast comes as farmers have reaped more than 50% of the country’s fields, and shows an 18.2% increase if compared to the previous cycle, when the crop was hit by a drought in southern states.
“The projections for the current cycle remain optimistic, pointing to a record production of 153.6 million tonnes of soybeans, mainly due to the recovery of the historical trend in yields, in addition to the expansion of the cultivated area,” Abiove said in a statement.
The forecast for Brazilian soybean exports in 2023 has also been increased by 300,000 tonnes to a record 92.3 million tonnes, Abiove said, 17.2% above the 78.7 million tonnes seen in 2022.
Abiove kept the projection for domestic soy processing at the unprecedented level of 52.5 million tonnes for 2023, 1.6 million-tonne more than in 2022.
It also raised the expectation for soyoil and soymeal exports as Argentina, the world’s biggest supplier of both, faces a sharp drought-related soy supply reduction, paving the way for Brazil to sell more byproducts.
Abiove said soyoil exports may reach 2.15 million tonnes, up from 1.75 million tonnes in January’s projection. For soymeal, Abiove raised the forecast for exports to 20.7 million tonnes, compared with 20 million tonnes.
2022/23 ARGENTINA CORN PRODUCTION: 39.5 [36.1–43.0] MILLION TONS, DOWN 5% FROM LAST UPDATE
2022/23 Argentina corn production is slashed by 5% to 39.5 [36.1–43.0] million tons, reflecting record-low/plummeting vegetation density levels throughout the main Pampas despite better weather prospects compared to recent weeks. Our current estimate puts planted area at 7.65 million hectares, above 7.1 million hectares reported by Bolsa de Cereales in Buenos Aires, but below the Bolsa de Comercio in Rosario’s 7.9 million hectares. In March’s WASDE (08 March), USDA placed Argentina corn production at 40 million tons, down from its previous estimate of 47 million tons. Bolsa de Cereales in Buenos Aires and Bolsa de Comercio in Rosario currently forecast production at 36 and 35 million tons, respectively.
No core crop regions in the eastern Pampas experienced above-normal precipitation nor below average temperature over the past two weeks. Argentina’s corn production remains under severe threat as a historic drought continues to exert downward pressure on yield late in the growing season. Much of the main Pampas region is likely to see a continuation of warm and dry weather through the end of the month, though its intensity should diminish compared to recent weeks. Crops are moving through the growth phases behind schedule – most of early planted corn in the grain fill stage is not ready to be harvested, while virtually none of later planted corn has reached the milk/dough stage yet. Vegetation densities derived from satellite imagery remain below historical median levels across most major production regions in the Pampas, reflecting poor crop developments owing to early season delays and a subsequent growth curve shift causing crops to miss their ideal growing windows. Santa Fe and Entre Ríos in particular, are having arguably the toughest growing season in history, supported by their record low and plummeting vegetations density levels. The odds of a meaningful yield recovery in these two key provinces appear to be slim to none while there definitely is more room to the downside.
Russian Wheat Production Expected to Plunge
Russia’s wheat output is expected to plunge in its next growing season, SovEcon says in a note. The firm projects that Russia’s output next season will be 85.3M metric tons, which is down nearly 19M tons from the current season’s output. Reduction in acreage is seen as the primary reason for the slide, SovEcon says. However, the firm adds that next year’s crop will be back close to the five-year average for the Russian crop size, and sizable ending stocks being carried over into next year are expected to keep world wheat prices low. CBOT wheat futures are leading grains lower, with the most active contract down 2.5%.
Cold Weather Delays Spring Fieldwork; US Fertilizer Prices Slide
Most nitrogen prices remain weak in the US as buyers delay spring purchases, with ammonia dropping again to spur sales. Application is underway in the South, while the Corn Belt awaits warmer weather and the Western US battles incessant rains. China’s domestic stockpiles and urea production rates are rising as the world’s marginal producer pins hopes on a big crop.
NOLA Market Mixed, Most Inland Prices Weak
Though New Orleans (NOLA) urea traded at the upper end of last week’s range, urea terminal prices continued to fall in the Western US and Canada. Urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) was mixed, with prices down in the Western US and Canada, flat at NOLA and inching higher in the Corn Belt and Southern Plains. NOLA phosphates were also steady from last week, but monoammonium phosphate (MAP) prices were dropping in Western Canada and Brazil. The NOLA potash market was active, with barge prices moving up as demand increases, even though inland warehouses were largely unchanged. Sulfate of potash (SOP) prices showed significant declines in the Western US, however.
Brazil Continues to Attract Fertilizer Despite Off-Season Timing
Traders and producers are still seeking liquidity in Brazil’s off-season market, with reports of multiple suppliers unloading large quantities of phosphates and potash in bonded warehouses even as buyers remain on the sidelines.
Fertilizer Price Decline Continues in Brazil
Urea fell slightly in Brazil, to $310-$325 a metric ton (mt) vs. last week’s $315-$325. With bidding reported in the $300-$320 range and a positive barter ratio, some believe the market might be close to a price floor. Ammonium sulfate dropped to $185-$195/mt, down $20 from last week in the wake of the softer urea market. Monoammonium phosphate (MAP) in Brazil slipped to $620-$640/mt vs. last week’s $630-$645, with most bids from buyers falling under the $600 level, reflecting the nutrient prices that other phosphate fertilizers have traded at. Potash in Brazil was stable at $440-$470/mt, but expectations are for another drop amid reports of large volumes in bonded warehouses.
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