- Corn futures battle off session lows to close higher on the day. December corn gained 4 cents on the session as bull spreading (buying the front month versus selling the deferred) and short covering supported the market.
- On Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report, managed money was holding a net short position of nearly 145,000 contracts. This was one of the largest short positions in the last handful of years.
- Export demand is a concern, but Mexico stepped into the market with an announcement of a large flash sale. USDA announced that Mexico bought 1.661 mmt (65.4 mb) of US corn. Of that total, 1.049 mmt (41.3 MB) was for the current marketing year with the rest for 2024-25.
- Corn harvest continues to ramp up with early yield results being extremely variable based on the weather for the past growing season. Harvest pressure will likely affect the cash basis. Corn harvest was 9% complete last week. Analysts are looking for the crop to be 17% harvested in this week’s crop progress report.
- Weekly Corn Exports inspections are improving, totaling 26 mb for the week ending Thursday, September 21, 2023. Total inspections in 2023-24 are now at 77 mb, up 16% from last year at this time frame. USDA is estimating corn exports at 2.050 bb in 2023-24, up 23% from the previous year. The total overall pace of corn exports is still lacking the pace for USDA targets.
- Soybeans ended the day higher after rebounding from lows earlier in the day. Soybean meal ended higher, while soybean oil traded lower near support at the 200-day moving average. Soybeans are under pressure from the start of US harvest and the new Brazilian supplies.
- The Crop Progress report will be released later this afternoon, and expectations are that 10 to 12% of the crop will be reported as harvested with conditions expected to remain unchanged at 52% good to excellent. Weather is expected to be mostly dry apart from the eastern Corn Belt, which should speed up harvest.
- In Brazil, conditions remain very dry in central and northern Brazil with above average temperatures where soybeans were recently planted, but there have been indications that the country’s wet season could begin by the end of the week. In the US, dry conditions have some analysts convinced that yields could come in closer to 49 bpa.
- Crude oil has rallied by 30% since the end of June which has made biodiesel production more profitable. Crush margins have been significantly more attractive to processors lately as soybeans have lost more value than soy products.
- Weekly wheat inspections at 16.6 mb were decent and brought the total 23/24 inspections to 207 mb. However, inspections are still running behind the pace needed to meet the 700 mb export goal.
- According to the CFTC’s Commitments of Traders report on Friday, funds were net short about 97,000 contracts of Chicago wheat as of September 19. Factoring in all three futures classes brings that short position to about 125,000 contracts.
- This Friday traders will receive the quarterly Grain Stocks report, as well as the small grains summary report. With funds holding such a large short position, the wheat market could be primed for a short covering rally if those reports are friendly.
- Globally, weather is a concern for the wheat market, especially in Australia. With their drought expected to get worse, some analysts are forecasting their wheat exports to drop as low as 17 mmt as compared to the record 32.5 mmt last year.
- Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said that grain exports between September 1 and 24 totaled just 1.57 mmt. That corresponds to a 51% decrease from a year’s 3.21 mmt. While they gave no official explanation, many believe that blocked or damaged ports, and Russian attacks on the Danube River terminals are to blame.
- According to India’s food secretary, their nation does not have a shortage of wheat, but may sell from their reserves to control domestic prices. This is despite curbing exports and the fact that as of September 24, India’s monsoon rains are 6% below normal.
- Spot butter closed another 4c higher on Monday and finished at $3.04/lb. This is its highest price since October 2022.
- As butter is soaring, the cheese market is still struggling. On Monday, no loads traded as blocks held steady and barrels fell 1.75c to $1.5825/lb.
- The whey market found an aggressive buyer who took the market up 2.25c to $0.3250/lb, but that buyer wasn’t able to purchase any inventory as no loads traded.
- The Class IV market was quiet, despite another day of bidding for butter. The nearby contracts still hold over the $20.00 handle.
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