- The corn market added weather and war premium as wheat futures traded limit higher, fueling strong double-digit gains in the corn market.
- Russian attacks of Ukraine ports on the Danube River triggered a short covering rally in the corn and wheat markets, and the market added war premium on the potential of additional escalation in the Black Sea region.
- Demand remains a concern. Weekly export inspections for corn were within expectations at 300,000 MT. Overall export shipment pace is still disappointing and trending down 33% below last year’s levels with the marketing year ending on August 30.
- Above-average temperatures and limited rainfall supported the corn market, but the market may shift its focus to the early August weather forecast, which is looking toward overall cooler temperatures and average rainfall for the majority of the Corn Belt.
- The USDA is expected to see weekly crop ratings improve to 58% good/excellent for corn on this week’s crop ratings, up 1% from last week’s estimates. This will make four consecutive weeks of improved corn crop ratings as July weather has been more favorable.
- The soybean complex traded higher today, led by a strong meal and sharply higher soybean oil, as the market priced in additional weather and war premium to prices.
- US export inspections released this morning for the week ending July 20 were on the high side of expectations at 283,000 mt, and 77% higher than last week, though still behind the pace needed to reach the USDA’s goal. This brings the annual total to 50,177 mt, which is down 5% from the same time last year.
- Adding further support to the market, the USDA reported a flash sale to China totaling 121,000 tonnes of soybeans for the 23/24 marketing year. The last reported sale of soybeans to China was June 30, nearly one month ago.
- There were reports of a Russian drone attack on Ukrainian Danube River ports. The attack reportedly lasted over 4 hours, destroying one grain storage facility, and injuring 4 workers. The Danube River remains a key artery for grain exports following the closure of the Black Sea corridor, and reports of the attack likely added bullish support to world veg oil prices and soybean oil, because Ukraine is a key sunflower meal and oil exporter.
- Weather is also a factor for soybeans, and this week warm dry temperatures will continue to stress the crop throughout much of the Midwest. There are better rain chances in the 6-10 day forecast, however.
- Seasonal maintenance for crush facilities has slowed crush pace somewhat, which has tightened soybean meal supplies and been supportive to meal basis values and prices.
- September Chicago wheat closed limit up (60 cents higher) today after headlines reported that Russia attacked the Danube River area in Ukraine. Destruction of grain and infrastructure was significant; after the closure of the Black Sea corridor, this was one of the key remaining methods for Ukraine to export grain. Reportedly, they planned for 2-3 mmt of grain exports per month via the Danube River, but that amount may now be severely limited, if possible.
- Weekly wheat inspections of 13.2 mb bring the 23/24 total inspections to 79 mb, still down 17% from last year. So far, wheat inspections are behind the pace needed to meet the USDA’s 725 mb export goal.
- Paris milling wheat futures also settled sharply higher, with the front month September gaining 17.50 Euros per ton. This contract is approaching the 200-day moving average, around 267, which it has not traded above since November of 2022.
- Though it has taken a back seat to the war news, the US Dollar Index continues to claw back from the recent low. At this week’s FOMC meeting, the Fed is expected to issue a 25 basis point interest rate increase; this could affect the US Dollar, which may in turn, affect wheat.
- The Taiwan Flour Miller’s Association is tendering for 108,000 mt of wheat to be sourced from the US.
- After gaining 28.25 cents last week, the block/barrel average tacked on another 12.75 cents today to close at $1.84625/lb.
- This push to a four-month high on cheese had August, September, October, and November Class III futures closing limit up.
- Unfortunately, as July futures near expiration, the Class III contract remains stuck under $14.00 and more than $4.50 cwt under July Class IV futures.
- Spot butter and powder were both 3 cents higher today, a new 2023 high for butter and a four-week high for powder.
- Class IV futures all held double-digit gains beyond the front month with November and December popping back over $19.00.
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