Grains are soft ahead of a weather uncertain weekend.
Grain futures had a firm opening last night, with corn and beans exceeding Thursday’s high before weakening in the night session as it was announced that three ships have finally left today after Monday’s departure of grain from Ukraine, with more corn on board. There were three small vessels, and the total quantities between them were just over 60,000 MTs. Nonetheless, the reminder of something happening continues to have the grain market more focused on the potential of future Ukrainian exports rather than the fear that Russia will not allow Ukraine unfettered exports of grain and other goods that could bring them hard currency to stabilize their economy.
The UN’s World Food Price Index fell in July to 140.9 versus 154.2 in June. Obviously, the fall was due to the large slide in grain and veg oil prices in the hopes of Ukraine restarting grain exports from their three ports along with Indonesia’s enhanced export policy for palm oil. The fall in the food index was the largest since 2008. However, the index remains elevated with numerous future risks due to weather and geopolitical events.
The French ag ministry lowered its wheat and corn projections overnight, the ministry placed the 2022 French total grain crop at 62.5 MMTs which was down 7.6% from last year’s 67.6 MMTs. The French corn crop was cut to 12.65 MMTs, down 18.5% from last year’s 15.3 MMT production. Private analysts believe the corn crop is still much lower to the ongoing worsening drought and looks to continue well into mid-August. The wheat production was down 4.4% at 33.87 MMTs.
US jobs number for July came out this morning, double the expectations. A total of 528,000 jobs grew in July on an estimate of 250,000. This has the US dollar up by over a full point this morning at 106.59, creating commodity headwinds.
The primary weather models still have a disagreement rolling in the next week for IA/NE/MN rain amounts. This has been the case for most of the week and is still not clarified for the Sunday through Wednesday trend for precipitation. The GFS has limited rain of .1-.7” while the euro model has expectations of .4-1.50” for the NW corn belt. Most think it’s a blend of the two models this close. Rain will aid the Iowa crop, where some areas of gone without rain for over 30 days. Following this rain, an arid weather pattern returns, which means these locations and amounts be closely scrutinized. The models agree that Central US heat and temps in the Plains and W Midwest will range from the lower 90s to the lower 100s. This heat continues to push crop maturity threatening yield potential. The E Midwest is expected to see highs in the 80s to mid-90s which are more seasonal, with the prospects of continual rains in August for the Eastern Midwest.