-China grain imports continue at very strong pace
-Cattle on Feed report this afternoon
-Argentine wheat crop ideas cut further
-Renewed Malaysian palm oil production concerns amid new COVID restrictions
-Egypt tenders for wheat
-Solid South African corn area increase expected
USDA will release the monthly Cattle on Feed report today at 2:00 PM CT. The average estimate of cattle on feed as of October 1 is 103.2% of last year (11.649 mil head), with a range of ideas of 102.7-103.9 and follow’s August at 103.8. The average estimate of September placements is 102.5 (98.9-106.5 range) vs 109.2 in August, while September marketings are estimated at 105.8 (104.9-106.7 range), vs 96.9 in August.
China imported 1.08 MMT of corn in September, according to official Customs data, vs 1.02 MMT in August 140k tonnes last year Sept, putting calendar year to date total imports at 6.67 MMT vs 3.87 MMT last year. They imported 1.07 MMT of wheat in Sept vs 700k tonnes in August and 160k tonnes last year, bringing 2020 total imports to 6.06 MMT vs 2.26 MMT last year. They also imported 1.34 MMT of barley and 570k tonnes of sorghum in Sept, putting calendar year to date imports at 4.64 MMT (4.6 MMT last year) and 3.5 MMT (620k tonnes last year), respectively.
On that topic, the market awaits further developments in rising expectations for China to issue additional TRQs for corn imports. The standard 7.2 MMT quota has already been accounted for, while the supplemental 5 MMT quota to COFCO is already fully accounted for, as well, with purchases on the books. China officially has 10.5 MMT of U.S. corn on the books, with a good portion of the 3.7 MMT in sales to unknown likely Chinese, as well. In addition, it is believed China has bought at least 5 MMT of corn from additional sources, including Ukraine, for import this year. The USDA ag attaché, among others in the industry, indicate the issuing of additional TRQs is quite likely, with as much as 20 MMT being discussed.
The return of rains to Argentina’s grain belt came too late to help the wheat crop with the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange further cutting their estimate of this year’s crop to 16.8 MMT from 17.5 MMT previously and sharply below early-season ideas of 21+ MMT. The USDA still has their crop at 19.0 MMT vs 19.8 MMT last year.
After the close yesterday, Egypt tendered for an unspecified amount of wheat for Dec 1-20 shipment periods. Russian wheat was the lowest offer at $262.97/tonne fob.
USDA reported the sale of 100k tonnes of corn to unknown this morning.
French wheat planting accelerated quickly this week as conditions dried out after the wet start to fall, with 45% of the crop now planted vs only 12% a week earlier and compares to 27% last year. The jump this week allowed planting to catch up to the average pace. Winter barley planting surged to 60% complete from 17% last week and is back in line with average, as well.
New coronavirus-related restrictions in Malaysia’s largest palm oil producing state of Sabah are expected to significantly impact near-term production rates during peak season. Palm oil mills will be restricted to daily 12-hour operation limits vs typical 22-hour days in the peak season from Sept-Jan, potentially reducing palm oil production by as much as 300k tonnes/month in the state. Sabah produces around 5 MMT of crude palm oil annually, accounting for roughly 25% of Malaysia’s total.
South Africa will release their first estimate of expected new crop corn planted area on October 28. Expectations are for a solid increase to around 2.64 million hectares (6.52 mil acres) from 2.4 mil hectares (5.93 mil acres) last year as farmers react to strong prices and expectations for above normal precip during the upcoming growing season.
South Korea bought 130k tonnes of feed wheat, 65k U.S. and 65k optional-origin, priced at $266.45-$266.60/tonne c&f. The U.S. purchase is for March 25-April 25 shipment, while the optional-origin is for April 16-May 15 shipment. South Korea also bought 117k tonnes of South American soybean meal, with 58k tonnes priced at $470.95/tonne c&f for Jan 23-Feb 2 shipment and 59k tonnes at $441.49/tonne c&f for March 8-April 6 shipment. Iran passed on their latest tender for 200k tonnes of corn and 200k tonnes of barley.