September 17: Grain Prices Slide Thanks to Harvest Pressures

Grain prices pushed lower Monday thanks to ongoing harvest pressures and underwhelming numbers from the monthly NOPA Crush Report.

In addition, traders continue to feel jitters thanks to President Trump’s threat over the weekend to slap tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods. However, the announcement has been delayed for public comment.

The new tariffs could arrive as soon as Friday. Here’s what else you need to know from the Chicago Board of Trade

Soybean Prices Fall Despite Large Export Order

This afternoon, November soybean prices slumped 7 cents to close the day at $8.235. The January 2019 contract lost 7 cents as well and finished the day a tick above $8.37 per bushel. Markets shrugged off news that the USDA had reported a private export sale of 241,000 MT to unknown destinations for current marketing year delivery.

This afternoon, the USDA said that 6% of the U.S. soybean harvest is complete. That figure is 2 points ahead of last year’s pace and 3 points ahead of the 5-year average.

The agency also said that 67% of the soybean crop is rated G/E. That figure is 1 point below last year’s pace and 8 points ahead of the 5-year average.

As Brennan noted in this morning’s Breakfast Brief, the NOPA crush report was the highlight of the day.

The August NOPA crush figure hit a new record for the month of August at 158.89 million bushels. That figure fell short of members’ estimates.

Analysts projected that the August crush would be 163.87 million bushels. While a record for the month, the crush figure fell short of 167.7 million bushels in July.

It’s important to note, however, that the August figure was 11.5% higher than in August 2017.

Meanwhile, oil stocks at the end of August came in at 1.623 billion pounds. That was more than 100 million pounds short of expectations. Oil stocks were expected at 1.762 billion pounds.

This morning, the USDA also announced that export inspections for the week ending September 13 came in at 784,752 MT. That figure was more than 15% lower than the same period last year and the week prior.

Corn Prices Fall on Harvest Pressures

Corn prices retreated thanks to ongoing harvest pressures across the U.S. Corn Belt. This afternoon, the USDA reported that 9% of the crop has been harvested. That figure is 2 percentage points ahead of last year’s pace, and 3 points ahead of the 5-year average.

The December contract closed the day off 3.75 cents to close the day at $3.48 per bushel. The March 2019 contract shed 3.75 cents and ended the day at $3.60.

This morning, the USDA released its weekly Export Inspections report. According to the data, the U.S. shipped 1.03 MMT for the week ending September 13. That figure was almost 50% higher than the same period in 2017. The figure also surpassed the previous week by more than 31%.

As noted above, the USDA reported both weekly crop progress and quality. The agency says that 93% of the U.S. corn crop is dented. That figure is 9 points ahead of last year’s pace, and 7 points ahead of the 5-year average.

The agency also said that 68% of the corn crop is rated G/E. That figure is 7 points ahead of last year, and the same rating as last week.

Wheat Prices Slide on Weak Export Report

This afternoon, SRW contracts in Chicago closed down 5.25 cents to end the day just above $5.06. The March 2019 contract lost 5 cents to finish the day a tick above $5.25 per bushel.

In Kansas City, HRW contracts didn’t fare any better. The December contract closed off 3.5 cents to end the day just under 5.13. The March 2019 contract closed off 3 cents to finish at $5.34 per bushel.

This morning, the USDA said that weekly Export Inspections came in at 406,004 MT. That was a 5.5% drop from the previous week. The figure was also off more than 13% from the same period in 2017.

The USDA also said today that the Winter Wheat Plant is 13% complete. That figure is 1 point behind the 5-year average, but 1 point ahead of the pace last year.

In Minneapolis, spring wheat prices fared better. The December MGEX contract ended the day up 3 cents to finish just above $5.75 per bushel. The March 2019 contract added 2.5 cents to close the day at $5.90 per bushel.

This afternoon, the USDA said that the spring wheat harvest is 97% complete. That figure is 5 points ahead of the 5-year average, and 1 point behind the pace last year.

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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin

Garrett Baldwin is a content strategist and editor at FarmLead. He covers the global grain markets and public policy issues related to the agricultural industry. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from The Johns Hopkins University, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and an MBA in Finance from Indiana University.

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