October 30: SRW Wheat Prices Fall for Fourth Straight Day

It was another tough day for SRW wheat prices at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Was the selloff tied to gamblers betting money on the Los Angeles Dodgers last night, or are we focusing again on the slew of bearish factors across the grain complex?

While I wouldn’t put it past some of my friends in the grain markets on the first one, it’s clear that supply is outpacing demand at this critical point of the year. That was especially true in the soybean and wheat complex

Today’s downturn came before Monday afternoon’s crop progress report.

Let’s dive into today’s numbers.

Corn Prices Go Nowhere

We’ll start with corn prices since nothing happened…

The December contract was unchanged and closed the day a tick under $3.49. We’re still keeping a close eye on that psychological $3.50 level. Today’s export numbers didn’t offer any bullish sentiment.

Meanwhile, March 2018 corn contracts added 0.25 cents to finish at $3.6275.

This morning, the USDA announced exports fell by 18.61% compared to the previous week. The roughly 517,000 metric tonnes (20.4 million bushels) for the week ending October 26 was off 41.27% from the same time last year.

These weren’t good numbers. However, we did see an uptick in ethanol futures on the day. They helped offer some support to corn prices. [1]

At 4 p.m. EST, the USDA released its weekly crop progress report. Analysts had pegged the U.S. corn harvest in a range of 50% to 55%. With an official number of 54%, there was no surprise.

Though the harvest accelerated 18 percentage points over the last week, we are still 18 points behind the five-year average.

On the quality side, the agency says that corn rated good-to-excellent is at 66%. That figure was unchanged for the week, and eight percentage points behind last year.

Soybean Prices Slide on Brazilian Rains

The soybean harvest is back one percentage point of the five-year average. At 83%, farmers are entering the home stretch and have been cutting away all across the country. Louisiana is at 100%, while North Dakota and South Dakota are both sitting at 96%.

The laggards are North Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. All four states are under 63%. While one might think that farmers in these states have been watching too much college football, their numbers are within range of the five-year average.

Before the report, Brazilian rains battered prices on the Chicago Board. November soybean contracts dropped 2.5 cents and closed a tick under $9.73.

That January contract was off 2 cents and finished at $9.845.

Planting in South America has been incredibly slow this year. Just 30% of the crop has been seeded, well below last year’s pace of 41%. While we’ve been keeping an eye on that November contract, the heavy rains in Central Brazil have many traders expecting that the planting pace will accelerate.

Three weeks ago, after the October WASDE, the USDA surprised traders with a slight cut in yields. Combining that cut with the delayed harvest in the US and the dry weather in Brazil helped push that November contract above $10.00.

But in less than three weeks, that contract has shed more than 27 cents, and there doesn’t appear to be much bullish news on the horizon.

The wet weather in South America overshadowed a positive export number from last week. The USDA said that export inspections hit 92.1 million bushels. That was above the high end of trade estimates.

However, that figure was also below last week’s pace of 95.0 million bushels. It also lags last year’s pace and raises concerns that we might not reach the same level of exports as 2016. 

SRW Wheat Prices Continue Woes

Another day, another downturn in wheat prices.

SRW wheat prices saw the fourth-straight trading session of declines.

Supply and demand. Supply and demand.

SRW contracts for December hit $4.2475.

In Kansas City, HRW contract had a similar downturn. Prices for the December contract shed 3.5 cents despite news that the International Grains Council has slashed its U.S. winter wheat acreage projection to its lowest level ever. The forecast comes in at 46 million acres. [2]

Tomorrow, Brennan will talk about what is in store for winter wheat prices in the Breakfast Brief. Do farmers have any incentives to grow another crop or should they expand their winter wheat acreage?

The USDA progress report showed that farmers continued the winter wheat seeding campaign, which is three points back of the five-year average. The agency said that winter wheat planted is 84% complete. That figure was slightly below analysts’ expectations by a single point.

Condition wise, the numbers don’t look spectacular. In the 18 states that comprised 90% of the crop last year, 52% of the winter wheat is rated G-E. That number could offer a boost to prices tomorrow, as trade expectations ranged from 58% to 62%.

That figure fell behind the 58% listed in the first weekly winter wheat condition table in the USDA report of last year.

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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