Global Ag News for Mar 17.23
Argentina Soy Crop Forecast Slashed to Smallest on Record
A drought of biblical proportions in Argentina is showing no signs of letup, with soybean plants getting baked to a crisp on the Pampas growing belt.
The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange slashed its forecast for the crop by another 14% on Thursday to 25 million metric tons, which would be the smallest harvest since it began keeping records in 2001.
The tiny crop has grave implications for Argentina’s struggling economy at a time when the country already is on the road to recession and in desperate need of export dollars.
Argentina is the biggest exporter of soy meal for livestock feed and soy oil for cooking and biofuels, and analysts at JPMorgan already were warning that the situation on the Pampas is causing “major gaps in the global trade matrix.”
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are up 6 1/2 in SRW, up 8 1/2 in HRW, up 6 in HRS; Corn is up 5 1/2; Soybeans up 5; Soymeal up $0.08; Soyoil down 0.24.
For the week so far wheat prices are up 27 1/2 in SRW, up 30 1/2 in HRW, up 30 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 20; Soybeans down 13 1/4; Soymeal down $1.23; Soyoil up 1.02.
For the month to date wheat prices are unchanged in SRW, up 15 1/2 in HRW, down 11 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 8; Soybeans up 17 1/2; Soymeal up $7.70; Soyoil down 2.55.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 10.8% in SRW, down 6.7% in HRW, down 8.9% in HRS; Corn is down 6.1%; Soybeans down 1.7%; Soymeal down 1.0%; Soyoil down 9.7%.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 23) Soybeans down 30 yuan; Soymeal down 21; Soyoil down 70; Palm oil up 34; Corn up 5 -Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 12 ringgit (-0.31%) at 3921.
There were changes in registrations (-20 Oats, -39 Soyoil). Registration total: 2,587 SRW Wheat contracts; 23 Oats; 73 Corn; 256 Soybeans; 613 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 88 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of March 16 were: SRW Wheat down 3,636 contracts, HRW Wheat down 818, Corn up 6,003, Soybeans up 1,005, Soymeal up 209, Soyoil down 10,393.
Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Scattered showers continue for much of Brazil’s growing regions through the weekend but will continue in the middle of the country next week as well. Drier conditions next week in Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul will help these areas increase their safrinha corn planting, but much of the crop is well behind schedule. A lot of that crop will be exposed to the dry season in about a month’s time and also potential frosts in June. Corn in the ground now is benefiting from good soil moisture.
Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: In Argentina, isolated showers this week, while heavy in some key areas, are too late to have much of an impact to corn and soybeans in various late stages of development. Rainfall next week could be more significant for central areas, too. Heat that has been around for the first half of March continues into next week as well. The combination of heat and relative dryness continues to damage both crops.
Northern Plains Forecast: A system continues in the Northern Plains Thursday with some scattered snow, mostly for eastern South Dakota. Temperatures are falling well below normal again to close out the week with higher inputs than normal for livestock. Another storm system is slated to move through in the middle of next week with more scattered showers, followed by another round of colder air.
Central/Southern Plains Forecast: A system will continue to move through the Central and Southern Plains Thursday, bringing scattered showers, areas of breezy winds, and colder temperatures. The cold may be damaging to more developed wheat in the far south. Below-normal temperatures are likely to stick around through next week as well, though we may see a warm day ahead of the next system later next week. Precipitation will be lighter in the southwestern Plains, though next week’s system does provide a chance at some thunderstorms.
Midwest Forecast: A system will bring widespread precipitation to the Midwest Thursday and Friday, including a band of heavier snow in the northwest and some breezy winds behind the system as well. Below-normal temperatures will follow the system and, outside of a couple of warmer days ahead of a system next week, will trend downward again for the rest of the month.
The player sheet for 3/16 had funds: net sellers of 1,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 4,000 corn, sellers of 2,000 soybeans, sellers of 3,000 soymeal, and buyers of 5,000 soyoil.
- WHEAT PURCHASE: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said on Thursday it bought 120,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat in an international tender for shipment April 15-25.
- CORN PURCHASE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 641,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to China for shipment in the 2022/23 marketing year.
- WHEAT PURCHASE: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) bought a total of 73,518 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that closed on Thursday.
- BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer has issued an international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley
- FAILED CORN TENDER: Algerian state agency ONAB is believed to have rejected all offers and made no purchase in a tender on Wednesday for 35,000 tonnes of corn to be sourced from Argentina
- FAILED BARLEY TENDER: An importer group in Thailand is believed to have made no purchase in a tender seeking 21,000 tonnes of animal feed barley which closed on Wednesday
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 tonnes of milling wheat, which can be sourced from optional origins.
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 121,800 tonnes of rice.
US Export Sales of Soybeans, Corn and Wheat by Country
The following shows US export sales of soybeans, corn and wheat by biggest net buyers for week ending March 9, according to data on the USDA’s website.
- China bought 208k tons of the 731k tons of soybeans sold in the week
- Japan was the top buyer of corn and countries listed as ‘Unknown’ led in wheat
US Export Sales of Pork and Beef by Country
The following shows US export sales of pork and beef product by biggest net buyers for week ending March 9, according to data on the USDA’s website.
- Mexico bought 9.9k tons of the 35.6k tons of pork sold in the week
- South Korea led in beef purchases
IGC Sees World Grain Stocks at Nine-Year Low in 2023-24
International Grains Council sees world grain stockpiles in the 2023-24 season at 580m tons, it said in a report on Thursday.
- That would be the lowest stockpiles since the 2014-15 season, according to data on IGC’s website
- Wheat stockpiles seen falling in 2023-24, while corn stockpiles are seen rising
- World grain production in the 2023-24 season is seen rising 1% to 2.28b tons
- “While this would boost overall supply, comparatively larger consumption gains could result in smaller end-season inventories,”
- World grain production in the 2022-23 season is now seen at 2.25b tons, up from a February outlook for 2.248b tons,
- Grain stockpiles outlook raised to 586m tons, up from 579m tons
Ban on Wheat Exports Should Continue, Indian Flour Millers Say
Flour millers in the world’s second-biggest wheat grower are in favor of keeping restrictions on shipments of the grain and its flour in 2023-24, according to an industry group.
- Prices have fallen after the govt announced in January to sell wheat from reserves maintained by state-run Food Corp., said S. Pramod Kumar, president of the Roller Flour Millers’ Federation of India
- However, supplies are still tight, he told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday
- NOTE: Harvesting of new wheat crop will peak in early April; any move to lift the ban on shipments now could tighten the market further and boost domestic prices
- NOTE: Heat in India Boosts Modi’s Case for Keeping Wheat Export Curbs
- Wheat flour is selling at 26-30 rupees/kg at present, compared with 34-38 rupees in mid-January, Kumar said
- India’s wheat production may total 106m-110m tons in 2022-23 despite an early onset of summer
- Government’s purchases for the state food program may total 34m tons
- NOTE: The farm ministry estimates wheat production at a record 112m tons in 2022-23
- NOTE: The Food Corp. has sold about 3.38m tons of wheat in the open market since Feb. 1
- NOTE: India to Sell More Wheat in Open Market to Control Local Prices
Egypt’s GASC Wheat Purchases Reach at Least 5.2M Tons
Egypt’s state buyer bought 120,000 tons of wheat in a tender this week, bringing its total purchases of the grain for the 2022-23 season so far to at least 5.2 million tons.
- That marks the first tender purchase in a year that hasn’t included Russian wheat
- NOTE: The USDA forecasts that Egypt will import 11 million tons during the season, and about half is typically booked by the government
- The General Authority for Supply Commodities this year began booking some wheat in private talks with traders, marking a shift from its historical process of securing supply in tenders
- Near this time last year, GASC had booked about 4.4 million tons of wheat in tenders
India Feb. Oilmeals Exports Fall to 471,771 Tons
India’s oilmeals exports fell to 471,771 tons in February from 472,438 tons in January, according to the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.
- Rapeseed meal exports fell to 141,401 tons from 238,476 tons in January
- Soymeal exports rose to 230,317 tons from 110,139 tons in January
- Rice-bran extract exports fell to 68,383 tons from 78,956 tons in January
- Castorseed meal exports fell to 29,697 tons from 38,847 tons in January
Indonesia’s Feb. Palm Oil Exports Fall to 2M Tons: Intertek
Exports dropped to 2 million tons in Feb, from 2.24 million tons shipped in the previous month, according to cargo surveyor Intertek Testing Services in an emailed statement.
- Feb. vs Jan. shipment by grade:
- Crude palm oil at 101,792 tons vs 253,015 tons
- RBD palm olein at 900,360 tons vs 821,194 tons
- RBD palm oil at 372,310 tons vs 485,853 tons
- Feb. vs Jan. sales by destination:
- India and subcontinent at 378,883 tons vs 636,485 tons
- China at 442,850 tons vs 375,659 tons
- European Union at 383,426 tons vs 459,992 tons
Indonesia Oks GMO drought-tolerant wheat from Argentina’s Bioceres
The Indonesian government has approved a variety of GMO wheat for human consumption designed to better resist drought, leading Argentine biotech firm Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp BIOX.O and developer of the HB4 wheat told Reuters on Thursday.
The latest HB4 wheat authorization moves beyond the genetically modified grain’s approved use in animal feed, and comes at a time when a large swath of Argentina’s most-productive farmland has been hard hit by historic drought conditions.
The authorization by the Asian country marks a milestone for GMO wheat, which was considered taboo among many consumers until just a few years ago, but has gained more acceptance due in part to concerns about food security and climate change.
Indonesia is the largest global wheat importer along with Egypt, while Argentina is one of the world’s top grains suppliers.
According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast, Indonesian buyers are expected to purchase 11 million tonnes of wheat in the current 2022/2023 harvesting season.
Indonesia has become Argentina’s second largest wheat importer, behind Brazil, with Argentine wheat exports to the Asian country reaching 1.34 million tonnes last year, according to official data.
The GMO authorization follows a market approval by Brazil earlier this month.
Bioceres Chief Executive Federico Trucco told Reuters last week that the company plans to increase production of its proprietary HB4 variety in Argentina, adding the company plans to mainly focus on working with “seed multipliers” to increase seed reserves.
China to buy more homegrown soybeans for reserves
China will step up buying of domestic soybeans by state reserves to encourage farmers to keep planting the crop, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday, as Beijing continues to push for greater self-sufficiency in oilseed.
China started to increase soybean planting a year ago amid worries about its heavy reliance on imports of protein-rich beans to feed its huge herd of livestock.
But after boosting planting by 22% last year, farmers struggled to sell their crop, which is priced higher than genetically modified imported soybeans and predominantly sold for food use.
China will guide its state stockpiler to plan new purchases of domestically produced soybeans in the producing regions of Heilongjiang province and Inner Mongolia, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement.
The stockpiler should “increase the intensity of purchase and storage, release positive signals, and make use of the role of market guidance” it said.
State-owned companies such as COFCO Group should also prioritise the procurement, processing and use of domestic soybeans, while clear soybean production targets should be set for local governments.
China will also increase subsidies for soybean and corn producers and guide regions in its northeastern breadbasket to to stabilise production.
Other policies include to increasing incentives for major grain-producing counties, focussing on raising yields, and to develop coordination between production and sales.
The measures are aimed at “sending a clear signal” to stabilize soybean production this year, and ensuring the reasonable income of soybean farmers, the statement said.
China Encourages More Soybean Planting by Boosting Subsidies
China, the world’s biggest soybean buyer, will provide more subsidies to domestic farmers this year to encourage higher production of the oilseed as a way to cut its reliance on imports.
The country’s top leadership announced a raft of measures aimed at expanding soybean production ahead of a major spring planting season. This includes boosting subsidies, loans and insurance to growers, as well as expanding planting areas, the agriculture ministry said in a statement late Thursday.
Food security is top of Beijing’s agenda as Chinese imports of corn, soybeans and wheat soared to record levels in recent years, increasing its vulnerability to trade tensions and supply shocks. The move to bolster soybean output could curb the acreage for corn, which competes with the oilseed for land in the main northeast region. However, demand for domestic beans has been pretty weak.
China is the top consumer of soybeans, which are processed into food and animal feed. It relies on foreign supplies, mainly from Brazil and the US, for more than 80% of its needs.
The country will launch a campaign to improve soybean yields in 100 key producing areas. Large processors including state-owned COFCO Group and national stockpiler Sinograin are also urged to purchase and store the beans.
U.S. generated fewer renewable fuel credits in February, EPA says
The United States generated fewer renewable fuel blending credits in February versus the month prior, data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed on Thursday.
About 1.13 billion ethanol (D6) blending credits were generated last month versus 1.22 billion in January, according to the data.
About 514 million biodiesel (D4) blending credits were generated in February versus 523 million in the month prior.
The credits are used by oil refiners and importers to show compliance with EPA-mandated ethanol blending quotas for petroleum-based fuels. They are generated with every gallon of biofuel produced.
US Miss. River Grain Shipments Rise, Barge Rates Increase: USDA
Barge shipments down the Mississippi river increased to 438k tons in the week ending March 11 from 403k tons the previous week, according to the USDA’s weekly grain transportation report.
- Barge shipments of corn rose 59% from the previous week
- Soybean shipments down 23% w/w
- St. Louis barge rates were $15.63 per short ton, an increase of $1.54 from the previous week
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