To end the month, spring wheat prices sank lower.
This month, front-month spring wheat prices were 3% lower than where August ended. They’re also 8% below this time a year ago, and below the 5-year average.
Spring wheat prices in Q3 were up 3% since Q2.
The headline this month centered on Russia, where the USDA projected a hike in production by 3 MMT. This uptick to 71 MMT has quelled concerns that Russia may limit exports.
The USDA also pegged total spring wheat production at 583 million bushels. The USDA also said that hard red spring wheat stocks would decrease from its estimate of 262 million bushels in August to 252 million bushels. Domestic stock estimates have declined by 31 million bushels since July.
In that same report, the USDA said that U.S. ending stocks will be 935 million bushels, an increase of 2% year-over-year. That said, the figure was actually below analysts’ expectations of 941 million bushels.
Meanwhile, StatsCan updated wheat yields of all types in the Great White North to 49.5 bushels per acre. This is up from the 46.6 reported a few weeks ago in their first estimates of Canadian spring wheat production.
This would put Canadian total spring wheat yields 2.5 bushels per acre less than last year’s 52 bushels per acre (-4.8%) and 0.4% better than the 5-year average of 49.3 bushels per acre.
Australia remains a key factor for the spring wheat market. Poor weather conditions abroad have been supportive as the recent cold weather in Australia may lead to crop losses and offer U.S. wheat producers possible export opportunities.
The USDA recently cut Australia’s production output by 2 MMT to 19.2 MMT but also slashed its expectations for Aussie exports to 14 MMT.
Finally, we’ve been keeping a close eye on developments for the crop in the European Union.
Recently, Coceral cut its wheat yields for the EU to their second-lowest levels in five years. The group projects that wheat output will come in at 129.9 MMT. That figure was about a 9 MMT cut from the group’s previous estimate. That figure is also well below the 141.9 MMT produced last year.
For our GrainCents readers, we’re watching a variety of factors that might affect spring wheat prices: 2 are bearish, 4 are bullish, and 5 are noise.
(If you’re not familiar with what “noise” is, then we recommend you check out our GrainCents risk management process towards spring wheat prices.)
This month, for GrainCents readers, we delved deeper into topics such as:
- Declining spring wheat production in Canada,
- Low spring wheat ending stocks (seen in the September WASDE), and
- A shrinking spring wheat crop in Australia.
Hedge fund managers turned more bearish on spring wheat prices by the end of September. As of September 25, money managers had a net short position on spring wheat of 28,760 contracts in Minneapolis.
As we head into October, out attention will focus on export levels out of the Black Sea, weather conditions in Australia and Argentina, Europe’s need for quality wheat, and price premiums for high-protein content.
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