Corn, soybeans and wheat suffer heavy losses in Tuesday’s session
Mounting concerns that the newest covid variant could spark a global economic slowdown led to a broad selloff Tuesday that affected everything from stocks and energy prices to grain and livestock futures. Wheat prices were hit the hardest, with some contracts losing more than 4% today. Corn prices faded 2.25% lower, with soybeans down around 1.75%.
Not much rain or snow is expected to fall in the central U.S. between Wednesday and Saturday, but parts of the eastern Corn Belt and Great Lakes region could see some measurable moisture during that time, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s 8-to-14-day outlook predicts warmer-than-normal conditions for the entire country between December 7 and December 13, with some seasonally wet weather returning to parts of the Northern Plains and upper Midwest.
On Wall St., the Dow stumbled 498 points lower in afternoon trading to 34,637 as investors wrestle with possible economic implications from the latest Covid variant, omicron. There’s also mounting anxiety that the Federal Reserve may still speed up the tapering of its monthly bond purchases. The Fed’s next meeting is December 14-15.
Energy futures plummeted on concerns that the omicron variant could trigger a drop in global demand. Crude oil fell more than 5% lower to fall below $67 per barrel. Diesel dropped nearly 4%, with gasoline down 4.5%. The U.S. Dollar softened moderately.
On Monday, commodity funds were net sellers of all major grain contracts, including corn (-15,000), soybeans (-8,000), soymeal (-6,000), soyoil (-2,000) and CBOT wheat (-12,000).
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Corn prices followed a broad range of other commodities lower in Tuesday’s massive selloff, losing around 2.25% by the close. December futures dropped 13 cents to $5.68, with March futures down 13.5 cents to $5.6875.
Corn basis bids were mostly steady to firm after ticking 2 to 5 cents higher at four Midwestern locations on Tuesday. An Illinois ethanol plant bucked the overall trend after sinking 6 cents lower today.
USDA released its final weekly crop progress report of 2021 yesterday afternoon. The agency did not include additional updates to the corn and soybean harvests, which are virtually complete. It did note that NASS will be surveying more than 80,000 producers over the first two weeks of December. Results of these surveys will be available beginning on January 12, when USDA releases its Annual Crop Production Summary.
The European Commission reports that EU corn imports for the 2021/22 marketing year have reached 203.5 million bushels through November 28. That’s a year-over-year decline of 27% so far.
Brazil’s Anec predicts that the country’s corn exports will total 113.9 million bushels in November, which is a decrease of 3.6% from its forecast a week ago.
Will the omicron variant wreak a bit more havoc on grain prices moving forward? It’s possible, especially because “ag markets face a light calendar until January’s big data dump on grain stocks and production,” notes grain market analyst Bryce Knorr, who adds that December’s WASDE report “typically doesn’t make many headlines.” Catch up on Knorr’s latest batch of market analysis in today’s Ag Marketing IQ blog – click here to learn more.
In USDA’s latest quarterly report, Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, the agency projects fiscal year grain exports at $175.5 billion, falling $2 billion from its August forecast. That will still be a record, if realized. Of that total, corn exports are at an estimated value of $17 billion, with soybeans at $28.4 billion.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 398,992 contracts, trending 11% below Monday’s final count of 445,948.
Soybean prices faded nearly 1.75% lower after a round of technical selling largely spurred by spillover weakness from a broad range of other commodities. Soyoil futures were hit even harder, tumbling 5% lower. Soymeal futures were relatively spared, closing with narrowly mixed results. January soybean futures dropped 20.75 cents to $12.2075, while March futures fell 22 cents to $12.30.
Soybean basis bids were mostly steady across the central U.S. on Tuesday but did firm 2 cents higher at an Ohio elevator and tilt 3 to 5 cents lower at two other Midwestern locations today.
Private exporters announced to USDA the sale of 4.9 million bushels of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2021/22 marketing year, which began September 1.
Brazil’s Anec expects the country’s soybean exports to reach 84.0 million bushels in November. That’s well below its forecast from a week ago, which predicted sales totaling 95.5 million bushels this month.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 224,399 contracts, shifting well above Monday’s final count of 136,255.
Wheat prices faced substantial losses in Tuesday’s selloff, incurring even bigger cuts than corn and soybeans. Most contracts fell between 3% and 4% by the close today. December Chicago SRW futures fell 33.75 cents to $7.7375, December Kansas City HRW futures tumbled 35.75 cents to $8.1825, and December MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 22.25 cents to $10.20.
Overseas markets also saw significant cuts today. Paris wheat futures tumbled 4% lower as worries over the Omicron variant opened the door to some technical selling and profit-taking after climbing to record highs last week.
Monday afternoon, USDA reported that 92% of the 2021/22 winter wheat crop is now emerged through November 28, up from 86% a week ago and slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 91%.
Winter wheat quality ratings saw some minor shifts. Forty-four percent of the crop is still rated in good-to-excellent condition, steady from a week ago. Another 33% of the crop is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 23% rated poor or very poor (up a point from last week).
European Union soft wheat exports during the 2021/22 marketing year have reached 427.0 million bushels through November 28, a year-over-year increase of 11.2%. Traders continue to express frustrations that data coming out of France is incomplete.
Egypt purchased 22.0 million bushels of wheat from Russia, Romania and Ukraine in an international tender that closed yesterday. The grain is for shipment between January 9 and January 20.
Preliminary volume estimates were for 134,475 CBOT contracts, moving moderately above Monday’s final count of 114,890.
|Settlement Prices for Key Commodities|
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|Lean Hogs cents/lb|
|Crude Oil $/barrel||*Energy prices may not represent final settlements|
|Unleaded Gasoline $/gallon|
|U.S. Dollar Index|
|Fertilizer Swaps||(as of 11/26)|
|UAN (32%) New Orleans||617.3||0|
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