Global Ag News for Oct 5.22
U.S. barge backlog swells on parched Mississippi River
Commercial barge traffic on southern stretches of the Mississippi River was at a standstill on Tuesday as low water levels halted shipments of grain, fertilizer and other commodities on the critical waterway, shipping sources said.
The supply chain snarl comes just as harvesting of corn and soybeans, the largest U.S. cash crops, is ramping up and as tight global supplies and strong demand for food and fuel have sent inflation soaring. (Full Story)
Around 100 tow boats hauling some 1,600 barges were lined up for miles waiting to pass through one trouble spot near Lake Providence, Louisiana, that has been largely closed since late last week, shipping sources said.
At least two other sections of the lower Mississippi have also been closed at times, disrupting the flow of grain to U.S. Gulf Coast export terminals, where some 60% of U.S. corn, soybean and wheat exports exit the country, they said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dredging the river to deepen the shipping channel to allow some cargo to pass. But shippers fear that without substantial rain the jam will persist well into the busiest grain export period of the year. Products such as road salt are also hauled north ahead of winter.
“Mother Nature hasn’t been very helpful, and there’s not a lot of relief in sight in the weather forecast,” said Merritt Lane, president and chief executive of barge operator Canal Barge Company.
Shippers have been loading less cargo per barge so vessels sit higher on the water, and towing companies have reduced the number of barges per tow by nearly 40% as the low water conditions narrowed the navigable channel.
Many U.S. Gulf exporters have pulled offers for corn and soybeans loaded in October and November as it is unclear if they can source enough grain, threatening already sluggish export sales.
“We can’t commit to new sales right now,” one exporter said.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 4 in SRW, down 2 1/2 in HRW, down 4 3/4 in HRS; Corn is down 1 3/4; Soybeans down 7; Soymeal down $0.07; Soyoil down 0.55.
For the week so far wheat prices are down 22 1/2 in SRW, down 5 1/4 in HRW, down 10 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3 3/4; Soybeans up 11 3/4; Soymeal down $0.22; Soyoil up 2.91.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 22 1/2 in SRW, down 5 1/4 in HRW, down 10 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3 3/4; Soybeans up 11 3/4; Soymeal down $2.20; Soyoil up 2.91.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are up 17% in SRW, up 23% in HRW, down -1% in HRS; Corn is up 15%; Soybeans up 4%; Soymeal down -1%; Soyoil up 22%.. Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 55 ringgit (+1.52%) at 3669.
China’s markets remain closed for holiday.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 3,084 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 0 Corn; 5 Soybeans; 46 Soyoil; 222 Soymeal; 40 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of October 4 were: SRW Wheat down 3,465 contracts, HRW Wheat up 95, Corn up 8,966, Soybeans up 7,602, Soymeal down 4,729, Soyoil up 2,947.
The player sheet for Oct. 4 had funds: net sellers of 2,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 4,000 corn, sellers of 5,000 soybeans, sellers of 3,000 soymeal, and buyers of 3,500 soyoil.
- FEED WHEAT SALE: South Korea’s Major Feedmill Group (MFG) purchased about 65,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from Australia in a private deal on Tuesday without issuing an international tender, European traders said.
- VEGOIL SALE: Egypt’s state grains buyer GASC said on Tuesday it had bought 38,000 tonnes of vegetable oils in an international tender. The purchase comprised of 11,000 tonnes of sunflower oil and 27,000 tonnes of soyoil, the state buyer added.
- WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 97,343 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States and Canada in regular tenders that will close on Oct. 6.
- WHEAT TENDER UPDATE: A tender from Iraq’s state grains buyer to buy a nominal 50,000 tonnes of milling wheat will close on Oct. 5, traders said. The deadline for submission of price offers had previously been reported by traders as Oct. 10. No reason was given for the change.
- WHEAT, BARLEY, DURUM TENDER: Tunisia’s state grains agency has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 150,000 tonnes of soft wheat, 100,000 tonnes of durum wheat and 100,000 tonnes of animal feed barley, European traders said. The deadline for submissions of price offers in the tender is Oct. 5.
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan is seeking 120,000 tonnes of wheat in an international purchasing tender with a deadline for offers on Oct. 11, a government source told Reuters.
- DURUM TENDER: Algeria’s state grains agency OAIC has issued an international tender to purchase a nominal 50,000 tonnes of durum wheat, European traders said. The deadline for submissions of price offers in the tender is Oct. 6, with offers having to remain valid until Oct. 7, they said.
ETHANOL: US Weekly Production Survey Before EIA Report
Output and stockpile projections for the week ending Sept. 30 are based on five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
- Production seen higher than last week at 874k b/d
- Stockpile avg est. 22.641m bbl vs 22.691m a week ago
EU Soft-Wheat Exports Fall 3.5% Y/y; Corn Imports Almost Double
EU soft-wheat exports during the season that began July 1 reached 9.15m tons as of Oct. 2, compared with 9.48m tons in a similar period a year earlier, the European Commission said on its website.
- Leading destinations are Algeria (1.26m tons), Morocco (1.13m tons) and Egypt (837k tons)
- EU barley exports are at 2.11m tons, compared with 3.44m tons a year earlier
- EU corn imports at 7.37m tons, against 3.77m tons a year earlier
Manitoba Says Canola Harvest Advances After Delays
58% of canola harvested, up from 30% a week ago, the province’s agriculture ministry says Tuesday in a report.
- Harvest of all crops 63%, about three weeks behind five-year average
- Some unharvested cereals seeing quality decline from recent wet weather
Much-Needed Grain Piles Up in Canada Due to Overwhelmed Railways
- Disruptions come amid supply uncertainty from Ukraine war
- Canada farmers harvest the third biggest wheat crop on record
The world sorely needs more grains, and Canada has a bin-busting harvest this year. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough rail cars to transport it all.
There were almost 2,400 outstanding grain-car orders for the nation’s two major carriers, Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. in the latest data from Ag Transport Coalition.
“We have to make up these orders,” Wade Sobkowich, the executive director of the Winnipeg-based Western Grain Elevator Association, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “We were concerned going into this year and unfortunately it feels like our concerns are founded.”
Shippers are worried about the railways’ ability to haul grain as Canadian farmers are harvesting the nation’s third biggest wheat crop on record and 42% more canola than a year ago. Canadian Pacific has fallen behind orders for three weeks and grain companies will have to defer sales if the trend continues, Sobkowich said.
Canada’s harvest rebound comes as world grain supplies have been uncertain following the war in Ukraine. Transport woes are also hampering the US crop as drought is drying up the Mississippi River, resulting in fewer barges to move corn and soybeans.
Malaysia Palm Oil Stockpiles May Surge to Largest in Three Years
- September inventories seen rising 8% from prior month: survey
- Prices may stay volatile amid rising supplies, macro headwinds
Palm oil inventories in Malaysia likely climbed to their biggest in nearly three years after rising production in the world’s second-largest grower outpaced a recovery in export demand.
Stockpiles jumped about 8% in September from a month earlier to 2.26 million tons, according to the median of 10 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of analysts, traders and plantation executives. That would be the fourth straight monthly increase, lifting reserves to their highest since October 2019.
Bulging inventories and accelerating production have overshadowed robust shipments from Malaysia, spurring the worst quarterly slump in prices since 2008 and providing some relief for world food inflation. Mounting concerns that a global recession will curb edible oil demand are also pressuring futures, even as the weak ringgit makes the oil more attractive to price-sensitive buyers.
Malaysia’s production rose about 2.3% in September to a two-year high of 1.77 million tons, the survey showed, slowing from a 10% increase in August. Exports were seen jumping 7.7% to 1.40 million tons, the strongest since December.
Palm oil will remain volatile, said Sathia Varqa, owner of Palm Oil Analytics in Singapore. “Rising supplies and macro headwinds are stacked against favorable export conditions of low cash offers, palm’s wide discount to rival vegetable oils, the weak ringgit and declining freight rates,” he said. Prices may swing between 3,300 ringgit ($710) and 3,700 ringgit a ton in October. Futures for December delivery traded at 3,596 ringgit on Tuesday.
Ukraine Grain Deal Talks Continue, Zelenskiy Aide Podolyak Says
Grain talks are “complicated,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff says in Bloomberg TV interview.
- Ukraine and Russia don’t negotiate with each other directly, but instead talks take place in subgroups that also include Turkey, UN
- “We hope for prolongation of mandate to bring the grain out of Ukrainian ports,” Podolyak says without elaborating on time line
SovEcon Raises Russia Wheat-Export Outlook After Sluggish Start
Russian wheat exports in the 2022-23 season are now seen at a record 43.4m tons, an increase from the prior outlook of 43.1m tons, consultant SovEcon says in a note.
- Higher estimate based on a growing harvest and rising import demand
- Russian wheat prices have regained competitive edge versus other origins
- Still, exports from July through September were about 14% below the five-year average
Nearly 70% of Argentina’s soybean crop sold so far -government
Argentina’s farmers have sold 69% of the 2021/2022 soybean harvest so far, according to agriculture ministry data released on Tuesday, following a push to accelerate sales by a government policy that sought to attract much-needed U.S. dollars.
The portion of the soybean crop sold to date slightly surpasses the 67% sold during the same period in the previous 2020/2021 season.
The 2021/2022 soybean harvest totaled 44 million tonnes, down from 46 million tonnes in the previous cycle.
Soybean sales were encouraged during most of September with a policy that allowed farmers to tap a preferential exchange rate for transactions of the grain.
Argentina’s agricultural sector is the world’s leading exporter of soymeal, as well as a major supplier of corn, wheat and beef.
Between Sept. 22-28 farmers sold 1.7 million tonnes of soybeans from the 2021/2022 crop, according to ministry data.
The pace of soybean sales is expected to slow down in October, after the special exchange rate policy ended.
Meanwhile, slightly more than 68% of the 2021/2022 corn crop, which was 59 million tonnes, has been sold to date, up from nearly 62% of the crop sold in the same period during the 2020/2021 cycle.
Corn sowing for the 2022/2023 corn cycle is underway amid an expectation of less rainfall than normal during the last quarter of the year, according to the national meteorological service, citing the continuity of the La Nina weather phenomenon as the main factor.
Farmers have also sold 5.2 million tonnes of wheat from the 2022/23 harvesting season, or about one third of the 16.5 million tonnes estimated by the Rosario grains exchange.
Egypt’s private sector wheat imports stall due to dollar shortage
The price of wheat and flour used to make unsubsidised bread has spiked in Egypt as importers struggle to pay for wheat stuck at ports amid a dollar shortage, traders and the country’s chamber of cereals told Reuters this week.
Around 700,000 tonnes of wheat haven’t been released from customs, causing around 80% of mills producing commercially sold bread, pasta, and other goods to “cease activity completely”, according to a Sept. 26 letter from the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Chamber of Cereals to the supply minister.
While global wheat prices have fallen to their levels before Russia-Ukraine war, prices in Egypt have risen due to depleting stocks, said Hussein Boudy, the chamber’s deputy head.
Egypt’s importers can no longer replenish their wheat stocks amid a dollar shortage caused by a rising import bill and decreasing tourism revenues from two of its largest markets – Ukraine and Russia. Loss of confidence in the Egyptian pound by investors also contributed to the shortage.
Wheat prices rose by around 10% to EGP 9,000 ($458.02) per tonne in the last two weeks, Boudy said, while some traders reported steeper rises of up to 15%. Flour also rose by 18% to EGP 11,500 ($585.24) per tonne, traders said.
“Bigger mills .. used to store for a month and a half or two, but today some mills have stocks for seven to five days.” said Walid Diab, managing director of the Egyptian Millers Company. “We are in the red zone.”
Boudy added that one company had requested to purchase from the state grains buyer’s strategic reserves.
The government “will work on the issue” of declining private sector wheat stocks, Egypt’s supply minister told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on Sunday.
New soybean yield record set in NE China
A new national soybean yield record has been set in a high-yield soybean production competition in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, which was assessed by an expert panel authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
According to the assessment results made available on Sunday, the 854 Farm Co., Ltd. of the Beidahuang Group achieved 311.2 kg of soybean yield per mu (0.07 hectares) on a contiguous 100-mu field, taking first place in the provincial contest.
The farm planted “Kennong 34,” a soybean variety developed by Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University.
Li Kun, an agricultural technician on the farm, said that the weather this year was suitable for soybean growth, with sufficient rainfall. Meanwhile, the company’s unified supply of agricultural materials and the application of technical measures such as inoculation of rhizobia and the use of organic fertilizer also contributed to the bumper harvest.
Heilongjiang organized the competition in order to fully tap the potential of soybean production, attracting growers from 619 farming plots covering 385,600 mu of soybean plantation.
The province is China’s main soybean production base, contributing to more than 40 percent of the country’s total soybean planting area. It has achieved its target of adding 10 million mu of soybean plantation this year, with its total soybean growing area exceeding 68.5 million mu.
According to the provincial department of agriculture and rural affairs, as of Sunday, soybeans have been harvested on more than 34 million mu
Drought slashes maize crop in Hungary, could be a net importer -govt
Hungary, a major grains producer on the European Union’s eastern flank, could end up being a net maize importer in the current season after this year’s drought slashed yields, the Agriculture Ministry told Reuters.
It said the 2022 maize crop was seen at about 3 million tonnes compared with a usual 7 million to 9 million tonnes harvested under normal circumstances. Normally Hungary exports some 3 million to 4 million tonnes, with minimal imports.
USDA attaché sees China 2022/23 corn crop at 270 million T
Following are selected highlights from a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) post in Beijing:
“Post forecasts China’s MY (marketing year) 2022/23 feed and residual to decrease 1 percent from MY2021/22. Corn production for MY2022/23 is forecast at 270 MMT (million metric tons), 4 MMT lower than USDA’s official forecast and 2.5 MMT lower than MY2021/22 due to lower planting area and yield losses caused by excessive rains in the northeast. Post forecasts MY2022/23 corn imports at 18 MMT and estimates MY2021/22 corn imports at 23 MMT, the same as USDA’s official estimate. Brazil will be eligible to ship corn to China before the end of the calendar year, earlier than previously rumored, following the signing of a phytosanitary protocol. MY2022/23 rice production is reduced 2 MMT to 147 MMT from Post’s June estimate, due to the effects of drought and heat on mid and late-season crops. China’s broken rice imports are forecast down due to India’s export ban and a greater availability of domestic broken rice this season.”
Fall in fertilizer price stirs up Brazil farmer buying, analyst says
A recent fall in fertilizer prices while soybean quotes remain high has favored Brazilian farmers and even enticed them to buy crop nutrients for the 2023/2024 cycle, which is one year away, an analyst with Agrinvest told Reuters on Tuesday.
In April, farmers needed the equivalent of 20.4 bags of soybeans to buy 1 tonne of a fertilizer known as SSP. That ratio has dropped to 10 bags now, Agrinvest analyst Jeferson Souza said.
“There has been a big price reduction and this encouraged some purchases for the 2023/2024 crop,” Souza said.
In the 30 days through the end of September, the price of KCl, MAP and urea fertilizers fell respectively by 13%, 12% and 7% on a cost-and-freight (CFR) basis, according to Souza’s calculations.
The current drop in price also favors purchase of fertilizers by Brazilian growers of second corn, which is planted after soybeans are harvested in the same areas, Souza said.
Brazilian farmers, who are currently sowing their 2022/2023 soybeans, are poised to reap a record crop above 150 million tonnes this season, according to the government and private forecasters.
Brazil is a heavy importer of fertilizer.
In spite of Western sanctions on key suppliers like Russia and Belarus, Brazilian imports reached a new record high in the nine months through September, owing in part to additional supplies coming from countries like Canada
According to government trade data compiled by Agrinvest, Brazil, the world’s biggest soy producer, imported some 30.77 million tonnes of fertilizer in the period, an increase of 4.6% compared with the first nine months of 2021.
US Agriculture Sentiment Fell in September: Purdue Univ.
The Purdue University/CME Group’s agricultural sentiment index fell to 112 points in Sept. from 117 in Aug., according to a survey of 400 agricultural producers.
- Current conditions component declined by 9 points from Aug.
- Future expectations down by 3 points
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