Cash basis bids for corn by processors, ethanol plants and exporters inched higher this past week as light farmer selling has depleted supplies in market channels, Midwest dealers said.
End users do have corn for immediate needs, but dealers said they will need to soon add coverage. Ethanol plants, which have seen profit margins improve, appear to have enough corn for December but will need to buy for January.
“Margins are even better today, but they have December coverage, so they will sit back and wait a bit,” an Illinois dealer said of the ethanol plants. The dealer sells to ethanol plants as well as to food processors and livestock producers.
A western Iowa grain dealer also said ethanol plants appear to have immediate needs covered, but the plants’ cash bids for corn remain competitive with those of other users.
Cash corn bids in the Southeast market improved and are now competitive with local users, which dealers attributed to the slowdown in farmer selling and to competitive bids from ethanol plants.
New-crop sales of soybeans have slowed since the surge of the past few weeks. Cash prices for next fall delivery have slipped under $10/bu. but remain profitable. However, farmers appear content with the percentage of 2017 soybeans sold and have backed away from the market.
“They saw $10 beans a couple of times now. We are now below that level at the elevator so they shut down,” said the central Illinois dealer, who was bidding about $9.90 Monday morning for new-crop soybeans.
Light snow fell across much of the Midwest during the weekend, but it had melted by Monday. The abundant snow that fell in the Chicago, Ill., area and around the Great Lakes did not make it too far south.
At the Quad Cities, river traffic has closed for the season, but grain dealers there continue to buy crops for users throughout eastern Iowa.
Shipments and fuel
Barge grain shipments during the week ended Dec. 3 totaled 1.059 million tons, down 15% from the prior week and up 20% from a year ago. In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 22,438 for the week ended Nov. 26, down 13% from the prior week and up 20% from a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s "Grain Transportation Report."
For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price was up 6 cents in the latest week to $2.48/gal. That also is up 10 cents from a year ago.
In USDA’s latest weekly grain inspections, corn shipments of 33.9 million bu. were down 26% from a week ago and missed trade forecasts. Soybean shipments of 67.5 million bu. were down 4% from a week ago and topped forecasts. Wheat shipments of 16.2 million bu. were down 19% from a week ago but matched trade forecasts.