Afternoon report: Corn and wheat prices mixed to start the week.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

July 3, 2023

6 Min Read
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Soybean prices were red-hot in overnight trading, and while they weren’t able to hold onto all of those gains as Monday’s session dragged on, they still finished firmly in the green. Corn and wheat prices were mixed following some uneven technical maneuvering today as traders squared their positions ahead of Tuesday’s federal Independence Day holiday.

A large portion of the Corn Belt could see rainfall totaling 0.5” to 1” between Tuesday and Friday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts more seasonally wet weather for most of the Midwest and Plains between July 10 and July 16, with cooler-than-normal conditions possible for the eastern Corn Belt and Great Lakes region.

On Wall St., the Dow inched 10 points higher in afternoon trading to 34,418 as investors hope to ultimately make the second half of 2023 as successful as the first one. Of particular note, the Nasdaq had its best first-half gains since 1983 after climbing 31.7% higher since the beginning of January. Energy futures shifted lower, with crude oil down 1% this afternoon to $70 per barrel. Diesel dropped 2.5%, with gasoline down around 3%. The U.S. Dollar firmed slightly.

On Friday, commodity funds were net buyers of soybeans (+21,000), soymeal (+7,000) and soyoil (+14,500) but were net sellers of corn (-26,000) and CBOT wheat (-6,000).

NOTE: We won’t be releasing any newsletters tomorrow because the grain markets will be closed in observance of Independence Day. Be sure to come back first thing Wednesday morning for a new round of agricultural news and grain marketing analysis.

Corn

Corn prices enjoyed moderate overnight gains that mostly evaporated by the close on Monday, finishing the session with narrowly mixed results. July futures picked up a penny to $5.5550, while September futures eased 1.25 cents lower to $4.8725.

Corn basis bids showed some variability on Monday after rising as much as 30 cents higher at a Nebraska processor and spilling as much as 15 cents lower at an Ohio elevator today.

Corn export inspections reached 25.3 million bushels last week. Analysts were generally expecting to see a higher tally, with trade guesses ranging between 19.7 million and 39.4 million bushels. Japan was the No. 1 destination, with 10.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2022/23 marketing year continue to trend severely below last year’s pace, meantime, with 1.304 billion bushels.

Ahead of this afternoon’s crop progress report from USDA, analysts expect the agency to serve up a one-point improvement for corn quality ratings, with 51% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition through July 2. Individual trade guesses ranged between 49% and 53%.

Grain market analyst Bryce Knorr notes that on average over the past 50 years, December corn and November soybean futures trended lower when traders return to work on July 5. And – with a few exceptions – prices continue to decline later in the week. “To be sure, that record doesn’t rule out rallies,” he adds. “In 2011 corn was 61.25 cents higher a week later, and almost matched those gains the following year during the big drought.” Knorr explores additional historical data in today’s Ag Marketing IQ blog – click here to learn more.

Brazilian consultancy AgRural noticeably upped its estimates for the country’s 2022/23 second corn crop to 4.051 billion bushels. That would push the country’s total corn production this season to a new record of 5.208 billion bushels, if realized.

South Korea’s top animal feed maker has purchased 5.4 million bushels of animal feed corn from optional origins in an international tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment in late November.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 340,556 contracts, which was less than half of Friday’s final count of 717,839.

Soybeans

Soybean prices were up more than 5% in overnight trading but weren’t able to keep a hold of all of those gains on Monday. Prices still stayed firmly in the red today, however. July futures added 4.75 cents to $15.62, while August futures climbed 28.25 cents to $14.7025.

The rest of the soy complex was mixed. Soymeal futures faded 0.5% lower, while soyoil futures raced more than 2.5% higher today.

Soybean basis bids were steady to mixed across the central U.S. after rising as much as 15 cents higher at an Illinois processor and falling as much as 25 cents lower at an Indiana processor on Monday.

Soybean export inspections increased to 9.2 million bushels last week. Still, that was a bit on the low end of trade estimates, which ranged between 5.5 million and 14.7 million bushels. Indonesia was the No. 1 destination, with 2.7 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2022/23 marketing year are still trending modestly below last year’s pace, with 1.816 billion bushels.

Prior to this afternoon’s crop progress report from USDA, analysts think the agency will show soybean quality ratings improving slightly, with 52% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition through Sunday. Individual trade guesses ranged between 50% and 54%.

Are there ways to evolve your employees’ “sweat equity” on your operation into additional value for them? Heather Schlesser, University of Wisconsin Extension agent, offers some novel ideas for compensation. For example, would it make sense in some situations to pay a portion of their salary in commodities? “Payment of grain allows the employee to make decisions about how to market the grain,” she says. “Market livestock can provide additional skill development as the employee makes management decisions to raise the animals. From the employer’s perspective, skill development can translate into a better employee who can be given more responsibilities.” Click here to for more details.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 327,696 contracts, tracking moderately below Friday’s final count of 421,799.

Wheat

Wheat prices were mixed but mostly lower following an uneven round of technical maneuvering on Monday. September Chicago SRW futures fell 11 cents to $6.40, September Kansas City HRW futures eased 1.5 cents to $7.9850, and September MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 4.5 cents to $8.1250.

Wheat export inspections were solid after reaching 12.4 million bushels last week. That was also toward the higher end of trade guesses, which ranged between 3.7 million and 14.7 million bushels. Brazil was the No. 1 destination, with 2.1 million bushels. Cumulative totals for the 2022/23 marketing year are off to a somewhat sluggish start, however, with 40.2 million bushels since the beginning of June.

Prior to this afternoon’s crop progress report from USDA, analysts expect to see winter wheat quality ratings hold steady, with 40% in good-to-excellent condition through July 2. Harvest progress could move from 24% a week ago up to 40% through Sunday. And spring wheat quality is expected to trend two points higher from a week ago, with 52% rated in good-to-excellent condition.

Russia is not optimistic that it will extend a critical Black Sea deal that allows for safe passage of shipping vessels. The country is asking for several additional concessions that include improved access to its grain and fertilizer exports to global markets. Russia also wants its primary agricultural bank to be readmitted to SWIFT (an international banking payment system). There’s still time for the deal to be extended, but it otherwise expires on July 18. Both Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s top wheat exports.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 88,671 CBOT contracts, which was moderately below Friday’s final count of 114,936.

 

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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