Global Ag News for May 11.23

TOP HEADLINES

Palm oil to rise above 4,000 ringgit on signs of El Niño – analyst Mistry

Malaysian palm oil prices can rise above 4,000 ringgit per tonne in the second half of 2023 as the El Niño weather pattern develops, industry analyst Dorab Mistry said on Wednesday.

Benchmark palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange fell to 3,740 ringgit ($843.29) a tonne on Wednesday afternoon.

“EL Niño is coming,” Mistry, the director of Indian consumer goods company Godrej International, said at an industry conference in Dubai.

Hot, dry weather as a result of the El Niño phenomenon will likely cut yields in main producers Indonesia and Malaysia and push up global prices of the edible oil.

The World Meteorological Organization last week forecast a 60% chance of the weather changing from the La Niña weather pattern to El Niño in May-July this year. That probability will increase to 70-80% between July and September, it said.

Mistry said that gives scope for palm oil prices to rise in the second half of 2023 unless there is a deep global recession and energy prices fall.

Another big factor to watch is the Black Sea export corridor between Russia and Ukraine, Mistry said.

If the Black Sea export corridor remains open, palm oil futures will struggle between 3,400 ringgit and 4,000 ringgit until a weather problem emerges, he said.

Mistry forecast top producer Indonesia’s production to rise by 1.5 million tonnes in 2023.

He pegged Malaysia’s 2023 production at 18.5 million tonnes, barely changed from 18.45 million tonnes last year.

China Expects Strong Wheat Harvest, Stable Prices This Summer

Wheat prices are unlikely to see any major fluctuations during the upcoming summer harvest, officials from the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said at a briefing on Thursday.

  • Domestic grain prices have been stable and supply has been sufficient despite global volatilities, according to Cong Liang, director of the administration
  • Expects summer harvest to be strong due to increased sowing this year: Cong
  • Low possibility of government buying crops to support prices this summer

FUTURES & WEATHER

Wheat prices overnight are down 5 in SRW, down 4 1/2 in HRW, down 7 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 2 3/4; Soybeans down 3 1/2; Soymeal up $1.50; Soyoil down 0.32.

For the week so far wheat prices are down 24 in SRW, up 17 3/4 in HRW, up 5 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 5 1/4; Soybeans down 36; Soymeal down $5.10; Soyoil down 2.60.

For the month to date wheat prices are up 2 1/2 in SRW, up 74 1/2 in HRW, up 38 in HRS; Corn is up 6 1/4; Soybeans down 18 3/4; Soymeal down $11.40; Soyoil up 0.06.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 20.7% in SRW, up 2.0% in HRW, down 11.0% in HRS; Corn is down 5.4%; Soybeans down 6.5%; Soymeal down 12.7%; Soyoil down 18.7%.

Chinese Ag futures (JUL 23) Soybeans down 36 yuan; Soymeal down 13; Soyoil down 128; Palm oil down 158; Corn down 28 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 82 ringgit (-2.21%) at 3627.

There were changes in registrations (9 HRW Wheat). Registration total: 2,389 SRW Wheat contracts; 22 Oats; 11 Corn; 0 Soybeans; 1,145 Soyoil; 130 Soymeal; 97 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of May 10 were: SRW Wheat up 640 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,700, Corn up 8,348, Soybeans up 7,077, Soymeal up 3,649, Soyoil up 9,636.

Northern Plains: Temperatures continue to be near or above normal in the Northern Plains for the next week, favoring planting. Scattered showers will continue in waves through the weekend, offering some increase in soil moisture for some of the dry areas.

Central/Southern Plains: Waves of showers will continue to develop across the Central and Southern Plains this week. They will be largely disorganized, which may leave some areas missed by the activity, but may still produce areas of severe weather. Despite the sporadic nature, the continued period of rainfall is favorable to some of the driest areas in the country, including those areas in the southwest. Heavier rain is forecast across the south this weekend before it gets drier next week.

Midwest: Another system in the Plains will bring more widespread showers to the Midwest for Friday through the weekend. Most areas yet to plant are getting an opportunity to get into the fields, while some of these showers will be beneficial. Showers will be disorganized, however, which will leave some areas dry. Temperatures will be warm until a front drops south through the region early next week, with cooler readings likely for eastern areas. Models have backed off on how cold it may be.

Delta: Wetter soils in the Delta are mostly favorable for developing crops. Disorganized areas of showers and thunderstorms will be possible through early next week, which may or may not hit most areas. Either way, conditions continue to be mostly favorable for crops in the ground.

Canadian Prairies: Mild temperatures in the Canadian Prairies continue to favor planting progress. Disorganized showers will be possible throughout the week, though may not hit very many areas with anything of significance, except areas in the southeast that may see some better rainfall Friday and Saturday. Temperatures are forecast to stay mild with a couple of weak fronts moving through next week. Some light showers may be possible with those fronts, but more is needed.

Argentina: It remains dry in Argentina, unfavorable for winter wheat planting and establishment. More rain is needed. However, it should remain drier for at least the next week. A front may go through with showers in the middle of next week, though forecasts are trending down with the amount of rain.

The player sheet for 5/10 had funds: net sellers of 1,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 2,000 corn, sellers of 5,500 soybeans, buyers of 1,000 soymeal, and  sellers of 3,000 soyoil.

TENDERS

  • MILLING WHEAT PURCHASE: Algerian state grains agency OAIC has bought milling wheat in an international tender which closed on Wednesday with about 500,000 tonnes to 600,000 tonnes believed to have been purchased
  • CORN PURCHASE: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group bought about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn expected to be sourced from Brazil in an international tender on Wednesday.
  • FEED BARLEY PURCHASE: Jordan’s state grain buyer has purchased about 50,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender which closed on Wednesday.
  • FEED WHEAT, BARLEY TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said on Wednesday that it will seek 60,000 tonnes of feed wheat and 20,000 tonnes of feed barley to be loaded by Aug. 31 and arrive in Japan by Oct. 26, via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that will be held on May 17.

PENDING TENDERS

  • SOYMEAL TENDER: Leading South Korean animal feed maker Nonghyup Feed Inc. (NOFI) has issued an international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of soymeal
  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 43,500 tonnes of rice
  • FOOD WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 125,974 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that will close on May 11.
  • VEGETABLE OIL TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, said on Tuesday it was seeking vegetable oils in an international purchasing tender for arrival June 25 – July 10. GASC said traders should submit bids for payment at sight and 180-day letters of credit, and it would choose between them. The deadline for offers is May 11.
  • LOCAL VEGETABLE OIL TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities, said on Tuesday it set a tender for local vegetable oils, seeking at least 1,000 tonnes of soyoil and 500 tonnes of sunflower oil for delivery July 1-20. The deadline for offers is May 11.

Argentine exchange cuts soybean crop forecast nearly 7% amid drought

Argentina’s Rosario Grains exchange cut its forecast for the country’s 2022/2023 soybean crop by 6.5% to 21.5 million tonnes compared to an earlier estimate of 23 million tonnes, it said on Wednesday, as lingering drought impacts hit the harvest.

Argentina soy forecast cut on bad weather outlook, wheat in danger

Argentina’s Rosario Grains exchange cut its forecast for the current soybean harvest again as a historic drought hit the country’s top crop, and scarce rains last month may also curtail wheat plantings, the exchange said on Wednesday.

In its monthly report, the exchange cut its estimate for the 2022/2023 soybean harvest by 6.5% to 21.5 million tonnes, compared to its previous soy crop forecast of 23 million tonnes.

While Argentina is one of the world’s leading exporters of processed soybeans, the current 2022/23 season has been impacted by a drought and other severe weather conditions that are causing major losses for both farmers as well as the cash-strapped government.

“The unprecedented frosts in February, the lack of water, as well as the heat, are showing up in the soy harvest,” the exchange wrote, referring in particular to the untimely frosts in the middle of the southern hemisphere’s summer.

So far, soybean farmers have harvested 54% of 16 million hectares (39.5 million acres) planted, according to the report.

In the previous 2021/2022 harvest, the soybean harvest reached 42.2 million tonnes, the exchange said, or nearly double the latest estimate.

The exchange’s forecast for the 2022/2023 corn crop remains at 32 million tonnes, but that is below the previous season’s harvest of 51 million tonnes.

The exchange also noted that below-normal rainfall last month is limiting the possible expansion of the area sown for the upcoming 2023/2024 wheat crop, weeks before it is set to begin.

“Planting intentions in much of the Pampas region is limited,” it warned, referring to the major wheat-growing area.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said the El Niño weather phenomenon is unlikely to bring heavy rains to Argentina’s main agricultural areas before September, meaning the drought-hit soil will likely be slow to recover.

Argentina’s agriculture to recover slowly despite El Niño -grains exchange

The El Niño weather phenomenon is unlikely to bring heavy rains to Argentina’s agricultural area before September, the Buenos Aires grains exchange said on Wednesday, meaning the drought-hit soil will likely see a slow recovery.

Argentina is one of the world’s top food producers, but dry conditions over much of the past year have taken a toll on its key agricultural regions, delaying its soy and corn crops and halving last season’s wheat output.

The El Niño phenomenon, which usually causes higher-than-usual rainfall in Argentina’s main agricultural provinces, is expected to begin in coming weeks, the exchange said.

However, its rains are unlikely to begin before the southern spring, which begins at the end of September, the exchange said.

El Niño’s heavier rains will help replacing the low levels of moisture in the soil caused by the drought.

“The replacement of soil moisture will be very slow in the area of greatest activity of the polar winds, affecting the west, the south and part of the center of Argentina,” the exchange said in its climate monthly report.

Argentina’s 2022/23 soybean crop is forecast at 22.5 million tonnes, almost half of what was produced in the previous season due to the lack of rain.

Wheat planting area for the 2023/24 season, whose sowing in Argentina begins in the second half of May, is expected at 6.7 million hectares, slightly up from the 6.1 million planted in the previous season, the exchange said.

India’s rapeseed farmers urge government to raise palm oil import tax

India’s oilseed growers have urged the government to raise the import tax on palm oil, the most widely used vegetable oil, to help support thousands of local farmers reeling from a crash in domestic rapeseed prices.

“We have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally look into the issue of falling oilseed prices and the need to raise palm oil import duty,” Rampal Jat, national president of the Kisan Mahapanchayat farmers’ council, told Reuters.

Last year India abolished the basic import tax on crude palm oil (CPO), but it continues with a 5% tax known as the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess on CPO imports.

India levies a 12.5% import tax on refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil.

The government also needs to instruct its agencies to buy rapeseed at guaranteed prices, which would provide immediate relief to farmers, Jat said.

Domestic rapeseed prices have dropped to 4,500 rupees ($55) to 4,700 Indian rupees per 100 kg, lower than the government-set minimum support price of 5,450 rupees per 100 kg.

“Only last year, most farmers received 8,000 rupees for their rapeseed crop, so the fall in prices is quite steep,” said Rameshwar Prasad Choudhary, a rapeseed grower from the western state of Rajasthan, which accounts for more than half of India’s rapeseed production.

Lower oilseed prices could force some farmers to switch to other crops, said Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Mumbai-based vegetable oil brokerage and consultancy Sunvin Group.

India’s vegetable oil imports cost around $18 billion annually, and Modi has often urged farmers to boost oilseed output to cut India’s rising import bill for the staple.

The Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, the top vegetable oil industry body, has pegged this year’s rapeseed output at a record 11.5 million tonnes.

Brazil’s total corn production to grow by 12% in 2022/2023, poll shows

Brazil’s total corn output will grow by 12% from the previous cycle, reaching a projected average of 126.7 million tonnes in 2022/2023, according to estimates from 13 forecasters in a Reuters poll on Wednesday.

Higher yields and favorable weather will likely continue to benefit farmers, even as some growers planted their second corn outside the ideal climate window this season, the data shows.

Second corn, also known as “safrinha” corn, represents 70-75% of production in a given year and farmers will begin to harvest it early next month.

“We increased the forecast for ‘safrinha’ corn at the beginning of the month by 2 million tonnes, reflecting very good crop conditions in the center-north of the country and in Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul, despite planting delays,” said Gabriel Faleiros, analyst at S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Flavio Roberto França Jr., head of Datagro Grains, said that there was a reduction of area planted with second corn in some states, leading it to cut estimates for total corn production.

“On the other hand, the general conditions of crops are good,” França Jr said.

AgRural’s Adriano Gomes said weather conditions in the final weeks of second corn cultivation season are not entire clear.

“Corn crops have excellent productive potential in all producing states. However, for forecasts to be confirmed or exceeded, it is necessary that rains continue to occur in May and until June in areas planted later,” Gomes said.

EU 2022/23 soybean imports at 10.66 mln T, rapeseed 6.73 mln T

European Union soybean imports in the 2022/23 season that started in July had reached 10.66 million tonnes by May 7, against 12.07 million a year earlier, data published by the European Commission showed on Wednesday.

EU rapeseed imports so far in 2022/23 had reached 6.73 million tonnes, compared with 4.62 million tonnes a year earlier.

Soymeal imports over the same period totalled 13.36 million tonnes, against 13.93 million tonnes the prior season, while palm oil imports stood at 3.39 million tonnes versus 4.26 million tonnes a year ago.

EU Soft-Wheat Exports Rise 11% Y/y in Season Through May 7

The European Union’s soft-wheat exports in the season that began July 1 reached 26.5m tons as of May 7, compared with 23.9m tons in a similar period a year earlier, the European Commission said on its website.

  • Leading destinations include Morocco (4.18m tons), Algeria (3.74m tons) and Nigeria (2.3m tons)
  • EU barley exports were 5.45m tons, compared with 6.72m tons
  • Corn imports stand at 23.2m tons, against 13.9m tons

EU Wheat Crop Outlook Raised, Barley Cut on Spain: Strategie

EU soft-wheat production in the 2023-24 season is now seen at 130m tons, versus a previous estimate of 128.9m tons, analysis firm Strategie Grains said in a report.

  • Harvest prospects so far look promising, aside from in Spain, where a persistent drought is curbing yields
    • Plus, EU wheat stockpiles could close 2022-23 at “an extremely high level”
    • Elsewhere, dryness is impacting spring-wheat sowing in Canada and central Russia
  • For barley, EU production is cut on Spain and bad weather in northern Europe that delayed spring plantings
  • Heavy rain also delayed corn sowing in eastern Europe

China to stabilize soybean imports, diversify sources – state official

China will stabilize and diversify its soybean imports, an official with the state’s grain reserve bureau said on Thursday, as the country continues to promote higher domestic production of the crop.

The world’s top soybean buyer significantly raised output of soybeans to 20 million tonnes last year, leaving a surplus of about 5 million tonnes after consumption, Lu Jingbo, deputy director at the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration, told a press conference.

Imported soybeans are crushed to produce cooking oil and soymeal for animal feed, while more expensive, homegrown soybeans are mainly used to make food for human consumption.

China has increased purchasing of domestic soybeans to support growers as part of its policy to raise output of oilseeds.

It had bought 4.18 million tonnes of new soybeans by the end of March, up 1.71 million tonnes from a year earlier, Lu added.

For imports, China will “develop new soybean source markets while stabilizing traditional soybean markets”, added Lu.

He did not say whether ‘stabilizing’ meant limiting or curbing growth in imports from traditional soybean markets.

Brazil and the United States are China’s top soybean suppliers and dominate supplies.

To help reduce its heavy reliance on soybean imports, the country issued a three-year action plan in April to reduce soymeal use in animal feed.

China is also expecting a good wheat crop this year, Cong Liang, head of the bureau, said at the same briefing.

Despite the recent sharp decline in the price of domestic wheat to around 2,800 yuan ($405.09) per tonne, it is still far above the price floor set by the state reserves that would trigger government support, he said.

Brazil Fertilizer Prices Under Pressure Amid Off-Season Lull

Slow off-season fertilizer orders in Brazil will likely pressure suppliers for discounts before corn demand improves in 3Q. As the next buying season approaches, a wave of pent-up demand might spur a turnaround in fertilizer prices in June. Still, strong inventories, supply competition and falling commodity prices could mitigate any upward pressure.

Brazil Fertilizer Prices Continue to Decline

Brazil urea prices fell to $320-$335 a metric ton (mt) cost-and-freight vs. last week’s $340-$345, with the low for non-sanctioned tons from the Arab Gulf. Urea bids were reported at around $295-$305 for new business. Ammonium sulfate slipped to a flat $180/mt vs. last week’s $180-$190. The Brazil MAP market dropped to $530-$550/mt vs. last week’s $555-$575, with bids reported at around $520. Brazil potash slipped to $350-$400/mt vs. last week’s $380-$400, with some sellers claiming that business was still being done at the high end of the range for non-Russian/Belarusian product. Market players expect further price declines for all products.

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