April 30: Wheat Prices Whip Higher Ahead of Progress Report

In Chicago, wheat prices ripped higher, while soybean prices retreated. We’ve got plenty of analysis and plenty of charts to tell you what happened in the grain markets.

Let’s recap in our daily analysis of U.S. grain trading from Chicago.

Wheat Prices Rally More than 3% 

May SRW wheat prices in Chicago added 17 cents to close the day up 17 cents. The contract ended the day at $5.125 per bushel. The July contract added 12 cents to close at $5.105.

In Kansas City, the May HRW contract added 6.25 cents to end the day at $5.185 per bushel. The July HRW contract closed at $5.375 after adding 7 cents on the day.

What pushed prices higher?

Well, it wasn’t the export numbers.

The USDA reported that inspections fell by 41.5% week-over-week. And that the 376,256 MT reported was 36% lower than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, managed money reduced their short position in Chicago by 4,575 contracts to 54,713 contracts.

But they also hiked their net long position in Kansas City to 40,698 contracts. The 4,773 contracts added represented a 13.3% jump on the week.

The simple answer – is the weather.

We might see a pullback in tomorrow’s trading session after today’s crop progress report. The USDA reported that winter wheat rated “good to excellent” came in at 33%. That figure represented a 2-percentage point increase from last week and topped average expectations by a point.

Here’s a breakdown of winter wheat quality in the top producing states.

However, it’s still well behind last year’s rating of 54% G-E at this time in the marketing calendar.

Spring wheat prices also found gains on the day. The May contract gained 11.5 cents and finished the day a tick under $6.18 per bushel. July contracts added 7.5 cents and ended the day at $6.155.

Analysts anticipated that 13% to 15% of the spring wheat crop would be planted as of Sunday.

But as you can see below, the number fell short of expectations.

The USDA reported that just 10% of the spring wheat crop has been planted. That number is 26 points back of the 5-year average and 20 points back from last year’s pace.


Soybean Prices Slump

It was a tough day in the soybean complex. The May contract shed 7.25 cents to close the day just under $10.38 per bushel. The July contract shed 7.75 cents and ended at $10.485.

The simple answer to the downturn was “profit taking.”

Prices had been pushing higher at one point in the day, particularly as markets digested a bit order out of Argentina for new crop. The country purchased another 120,000 MT of new crop soybeans from the U.S.

In addition, the U.S. report stronger export inspections. The weekly export figure indicated inspections for the week ending April 26 at more than 679,000 MT. That figure was about 44% higher than the previous week’s export total. It also bested last year’s period by 22.5%.

This afternoon, the USDA offered its weekly crop progress report. An update on U.S. soybean planting indicated that farmers have seeded 5% of soybean acres through Sunday.

The chart below offers a glimpse into farmer progress across the top planting states.

Even though this week’s progress was 4 percentage points behind last year’s figure, the number was in-line with analysts’ expectations and matched the five-year average.

The other big news today was the shift of managed money. Managed money reduced their long position on soybean contracts by more than 22,800 contracts. The 11.9% decline brought the position to a little more than 170,000 contracts, as noted in the chart below.

Corn Prices Find Gains 

It was a good say for corn prices as more rain is expected to delay the “already behind” planting for this year’s crop. The May contract added 3 cents to close the day a tick above $3.92 per bushel. The July contract popped back above $4.00 after adding 2.25 cents on the day.

This week, U.S. export inspections came in smaller than the report from the week prior. The 1.645 MMT reported for the week ending April 26 was 15.7% behind the report from April 19. That said, the figure was largely in-line with expectations ahead of the report.

Markets also digested sentiment out of the managed money world. Speculative funds cutmore than 15,300 contracts to their net long position. However, funds still remain long almost 123,000 contracts in Chicago.

Today’s crop progress report will certainly weigh on prices in Tuesday’s trading session. This afternoon, the USDA reported that farmers have planted 17% of corn acres. The chart below provides a glimpse into crop progress in the top producing states.

The report was bullish for corn prices, as trade expectations ranged from 18% to 20%. However, it’s worth noting that farmers made up a lot of progress from last week. For the week ending April 22, just 5% of the crop had been planted.

The 17% figure is still 10 percentage points behind the 5-year average.

Wheat Prices Move After StatsCan Reports

In case you missed it, we took the time on Friday to breakdown all of the acreage updates from Statistics Canada. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers, with a link to this Sunday’s digest in GrainCents:

Corn: a new record of 3.76 million acres (+5% year-over-year, +8% from 5-year average)

Soybeans: 6.45 million acres (-11% from last year’s record acres, +13% from 5-year average)

Canola: 21.38 million acres (-7%, +1%)

Flax: 989,200 acres (-5%, -21%)

Spring Wheat: 18.24 million acres (+15%, +7%)

Winter Wheat: 1.38 million acres (-11%, -24%)

Durum: 5.78 million acres (+11%, +8%)

All Wheat: 25.26 million acres (+13%, +4%)

Barley: 6.06 million acres (+5%, -6%)

Oats: 3.15 million acres (-2%, unchanged)

Peas: 3.87 million acres (-5%, -1%)

Lentils: 4.05 million acres (-8%, +2%)

Chickpeas: 346,200 acres (+116%, +125%)

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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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