November 29: Here’s Where Grain Prices Moved Wednesday

A light day of economic data fueled a lackluster day for soybean traders. However, corn and wheat prices saw some gains as bargain buyers stepped in and swooped up contracts. Here’s your daily grain prices recap from the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn Prices Bounce Higher

Corn prices pushed higher on a round of bullish news. Yesterday’s report from the USDA indicated that soybean acreage and corn acreage will come in at the same level. Time to start looking at those December 2018 contract prices and see how much change comes in the next time the agency makes another estimate.

December corn futures contracts gained 2.75 cents to finish the day at $3.39 per bushel. The March futures contract gained 3.75 cents to finish at $3.535.

What pushed prices higher? We’ll, there wasn’t a whole lot. Basically, there was a downturn in daily ethanol production last week. But don’t get your hopes up… we’re still cooking the second-highest amount of ethanol in history.

There was a 3.9-million-bushel sale by private exporters to unknown destinations. Not sure that I could not write a sentence shrouded in more secrecy.

If you think you can, please send me a note.

Tomorrow, we’re looking for weekly export numbers. We’re seeing estimates range as high as 47.2 million bushels. Stay tuned, as this could be a key report with harvest coming to a close

Soybean Prices Retreat

It wasn’t all great news here in Chicago. Soybean prices for January slipped 0.5 cents and closed the day at $9.925. The March contract shed 0.5 cents to finish just above $10.04.

The down tick came despite news of another order from China totaling 9.7 million bushels.

It was that kind of day when it came to data. The one thing worth noting is the first estimates by the USDA on soybean acreage for the coming year. FarmLead President and CEO Brennan Turner recapped the numbers in this morning’s Breakfast Brief:

“For soybeans, the USDA is expecting yields to be average 48.4 bushels per acre in 2018 (49.5 this year in 2017). This means production should hit 4.36 Billion bushels (versus 4.43 Billion this year), but carry out would tighten to 376 million bushels (the current 2017/18 carryout estimate is for 425 million bushels). From a demand perspective, there are some who think that the ethanol number may be too low for corn. But they think that the USDA’s expectations for soybean demand are right on the money.”

Brennan noted an important distinction about these figures. Total soybean export sales are running behind last year’s pace by 17%. As he explained, the fourth quarter is when more than half of U.S. soybean exports are shipped. So, we’ve got a long six weeks ahead of us if the country is going to hit the full-year targets. Be sure to read the rest of Brennan’s insights each morning at

Today’s price downturn could not break the spirit of canola traders up in Winnipeg. Today, January contracts for canola added CAD $1.70 to close at CAD $510.40. The March contract added CAD $2.00 to finish at CAD $519.40.

Tomorrow, we’re going to be breaking down the export totals for the week.

Wheat Prices Rebound Wednesday

Tuesday afternoon’s slump across the country created a round of buying opportunities.

That was especially true after the USDA reported the lowest number of U.S. wheat acres since 1919. All told, we’re looking at 45 million acres, but we aren’t going to see anything official until February. At face value, what would you expect… wheat prices are bouncing off contract lows, and with Russia set for record production and exports, the question is whether we’re looking at a bottom… or a break before more pain.

In other news from the Black Sea, Ukraine has shipped 358.2 million bushels of wheat since July. They’re expecting total shipments for the year to tip 1.6167 billion bushels, a figure that would top last year’s record.

Today, December Chicago SRW contracts gained 5.75 cents and finished at $4.165. The March 2018 contract added 5.5 cents and closed just under $4.35.

Down in Kansas City, HRW contracts for December gained 4 cents. The contract finished just a tick above $4.13. In Minneapolis, traders of the December Spring Wheat contract could have stayed home. The price was unchanged and closed at $6.035.

Tomorrow, we’ll be looking for weekly export numbers and hope for some positive orders from across the world.

Today, Algeria announced it was buying 20.9 million bushels, and they’re asking for delivery in February. They did however say that anyone except Argentina can be the source of origination.

Guess someone is still mad they didn’t get a holiday card from Buenos Aires last year.

Bitcoin Prices or Grain Prices?

This afternoon, while we were in the elevator, an older gentleman was staring at his phone, when he suddenly started screaming that he “can’t stand” this country. It was as if he were about to have a breakdown. The reason for his rage… “Bitcoin.”

The cryptocurrency has absolutely dominated the financial press over the last week thanks to a surge above $10,000.

Here in Chicago, the speculation and chatter about it has amplified so much that it’s overshadowing the grain prices and other commodities at the Board of Trade.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange will introduce a Bitcoin contract next month, and this announcement has certainly fueled a lot of speculation.

Don’t worry about Bitcoin… we’re not going to mention it again. But be aware that it’s going to suck a lot of oxygen out of the room over the next month.

We’ll be hard at work delivering insight on grain prices.

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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