Ukraine grain corridor signed today.
It’s been 60 days since the hint of a Ukrainian Safe Grain Corridor was first proposed by the UN, and spot wheat futures have declined by $5.00, soybeans $4.00, and corn $2.00 and are back to pre-Ukrainian invasion values. According to Turkish officials, the anticipated signing is at 8:30 a.m. CT time this morning, and the grain futures board is representing a “sell the rumor, buy the fact” mentality when one could have suspected a limit down feature.
Grain fundamentals are notoriously bearish presently with the easing of EU sanctions against Russia to get Nord Stream 1 online, confirmation that governments are working to free Ukrainian grain supplies, and some timely projected rainfalls which will occur over large swaths of the Eastern Midwest.
With index funds likely having the lowest length since the early fall of 2022 during the Covid panic, ownership is minimal. Index funds are short some estimated 13,000 contracts of wheat, which is now the largest since they were caught short before the invasion. The market will soon understand that it will be an arduous process to see Ukrainian grain start to move in the near term, and end-user demand has been on hold in hopes of lower prices. Like an auction sale, once that first bid sets the floor on a big sale, the market may find a stairstep appreciation as demand becomes more the focus rather than the availability of supplies which has been heavily overplayed over the past month.
The Central US forecast has heat and dryness sustaining crop stress for another 2-3 days before the pattern shifts. The upcoming duration of this pattern shift is still anticipated to be short-lived. Cooler and wetter air will drop into the Central US beginning Monday/Tuesday. Light with steady rain will impact the Eastern half of the corn belt next Tuesday-Friday, with the most significant amount favoring portions of IL, IN, OH and KY. Lesser totals in coverage are now forecasted farther west. Fortunately, the maximum temps will be more pleasant into the opening day of August, with highs forecasted in the 70s and 80s in all regions. The 11-15 day guidance remains concerning with ridging forecasted to resume his position aloft the Plains/W Midwest. This again shuts off Central US rainfall and fuel temps back into the low 100s across TX, OK, KS, NE, and W IA. August 1-10 outlooks will be watched closely for verification.
The cash cattle trade on Thursday was quoted at $136, and Kansas, which was off $1 from last week but steady with earlier week’s trade in Texas. Light sales were quoted in the Western Midwest at $232 dressed, $2 better than last week. Box beef values fell on Thursday, with the choice cutout dropping $2.77 and select lower by $1.72. The choice/select spread continues to contract but remains historically higher at $27.23. Yesterday’s July Livestock Slaughter report showed total cattle slaughter in June was 103% of last year while the average carcass week was down 5 pounds. June beef production was 102% of last year and record large. Fed cattle slaughter was 102% of last year and is in line with estimates for feedlot marketings.
The July COF report is out at 2:00 p.m. today with the guess of on feed at 100.3 percent, placed at 95%, and marketings at 102%. The semi-annual cattle inventory report should reflect a herd at 98% of year-ago levels.