Afternoon report: Wheat faces mostly modest cuts, with corn prices mixed on Wednesday
Grain prices were mixed but mostly lower again on Wednesday. Nearby corn contracts represented the lone bright spot after trending nearly 0.75% higher today. Wheat prices also tested gains for much of today’s session but spilled into the red just before the close. Soybeans suffered through another round of cuts today, losing more than 1.5% on another round of technical selling.
More rain is expected to land on the Northern Plains and upper Midwest between Thursday and Sunday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. Some areas could see another 0.75″ or more during this time. NOAA’s newest 8-to-14-day outlook predicts below-average precipitation for the eastern Corn Belt between June 29 and July 5, with seasonally warm weather likely for much of the central U.S. Energy futures were mixed. Crude oil spilled more than 2% lower this afternoon to $106 per barrel. Diesel firmed 1% higher, in contrast, with gasoline up around 0.75%. The U.S. Dollar softened moderately.
On Wall St., the Dow rose 147 points in afternoon trading to 30,677 as investors tried to shake off bountiful bearish sentiment that has crept onto the scene in recent weeks. Some analysts are dismissing market moves yesterday and today as little more than a “relief rally,” however.
On Tuesday, commodity funds were net sellers of all major grain contracts, including corn (-21,000), soybeans (-12,000), soymeal (-4,000), soyoil (-2,000) and CBOT wheat (-15,500).
Corn prices wobbled their way to mixed results amid a choppy session after an uneven round of technical maneuvering today. July futures firmed 5.5 cents to $7.6625, while September futures faded 8.5 cents lower to $7.0075.
Corn basis bids were steady to mixed on Wednesday, moving as much as 10 cents higher at an Iowa river terminal and as much as 3 cents lower at an Ohio elevator today.
Corn conditions dropped two points last week, matching analyst expectations. Through June 19, USDA marked 70% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition. Another 24% was rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 6% rated poor or very poor (also up a point from last week). Pennsylvania has the highest quality ratings among the top 18 production states, with 91% rated in good-to-excellent condition. Physiologically, 95% of the crop is now emerged, up from 88% a week ago and mirroring the prior five-year average.
Brazil’s Anec is now estimating the country’s corn exports will reach 69.2 million bushels, which is slightly less than the group’s prediction from a week ago.
Meantime, Brazilian consultancy Agroconsult estimates that the country’s second corn crop this season could reach 3.516 billion bushels. That’s 1.9% higher than the prior projection Agroconsult offered in May. The group also expects Brazilian corn exports to reach 1.693 this marketing year.
Late June into early July often brings plenty of uncertainty in the corn market, according to Josh Green, an advisor with Advance Trading. “Weather patterns can tee up the U.S. for a robust crop, or significantly hurt production as we wait for a break in the heat and hope for rain,” he writes in today’s Ag Marketing IQ blog. “Throw in the June stocks report along with the final planting report at the end of June, and it can be difficult to navigate all the variables.” Click here to read additional analysis from Green.
Grain traveling the nation’s railways totaled 22,012 carloads last week. That brings cumulative volume for 2022 up to 547,007 carloads, which is 8.8% below last year’s pace so far.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 387,067 contracts, shifting moderately below Tuesday’s final count of 444,368.
Soybean prices eroded lower again today, as waning worries over U.S. crop production and quality spurred another round of technical selling. Falling crude oil prices generated additional headwinds. Prices are now at the lowest they’ve been in more than a month. July futures fell 26.75 cents to $16.5425, with August futures down 31.5 cents to $15.67.
Soybean basis bids were largely steady across the central U.S. on Wednesday but did tilt as much as 10 cents higher at an Iowa processor and as much as 10 cents lower at an Ohio river terminal today.
Soybean planting progress moved from 88% complete a week ago up to 94% through Sunday, which was one point lower than trade expectations. It’s also behind 2021’s pace of 97% but slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 93%. And 83% of the crop is now emerged, up from 70% a week ago and slightly behind the prior five-year average of 84%.
Soybean crop conditions fell two points, with 68% of the crop now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Another 26% is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 6% rated poor or very poor (also up a point from last week).
Brazil’s Anec projects the country will export 396.6 million bushels of soybeans in June, which is fractionally below is forecast from a week ago. Anec also expects to see soymeal exports will reach 2.271 million metric tons this month.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 248,869 contracts, rising moderately above Tuesday’s final count of 202,056.
Wheat prices were back in the red on Wednesday but losses were mostly minimized on late-breaking reports that a Russian missile strike hit the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv. Traders are still wrestling with how to balance the ongoing Russian invasion against an uptick of harvest progress across the Northern Hemisphere. July Chicago SRW futures eased 2 cents to $9.7325, July Kansas City HRW futures dropped 5.25 cents to $10.36, and July MGEX spring wheat futures fell 12 cents to $11.0575.
Spring wheat plantings are nearly complete, reaching 98% through Sunday. Compare that to 2021’s pace and the prior five-year average, which are both 100%. And 89% of the crop is now emerged, versus the prior five-year average of 97%. Spring wheat quality ratings took a big step forward, moving from 54% rated in good-to-excellent condition a week ago up to 59% as of June 19.
Winter wheat quality ratings didn’t fare as well, meantime. Thirty percent of the crop is now rated in good-to-excellent condition, sliding a point lower from last week. Another 27% is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 43% rated poor or very poor (up a point from last week). Twenty-five percent of the crop has been harvested, up from 10% a week ago.
Pakistan issued an international tender to purchase 18.4 million bushels of milling wheat from optional origins that closes on July 4 as the country continues to shore up supplies following widespread drought there. The grain is for shipment in August and September.
Tunisia purchased an estimated 3.7 million bushels of soft wheat and 2.3 million bushels of animal feed barley from optional origins in an international tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment in July and August.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 116,544 CBOT contracts, which was moderately below Tuesday’s final count of 147,636.
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