-Corn sharply higher on renewed Chinese buying
-HRW conditions mostly stable over last month, SRW remains strong
-Ukraine sets generous corn export limit
-Ag attache updates Australia/Argentine grain ideas
USDA reported the sale of 1.360 MMT of corn to China this morning for 2020/21 delivery, bringing their officially-reported total purchases to 13.1 MMT so far, and likely closer to 16+ MMT assuming sales to “unknown.” USDA also reported 103k tonnes of corn sold to unknown this morning, as well.
Major winter wheat producing states updated monthly crop conditions yesterday afternoon, with most HRW conditions little-changed from a month earlier. KS is now rated 43% good/excellent vs 46% at the end of Dec and 34% last year, NE 34% g/e vs 37% last month, 59% last year and SD 32% g/e vs 37% last month and 76% last year. The first update for TX since last fall showed 29% g/e vs 32% in late November and 20% last year at this time. OK did see a solid improvement over the last month to 61% g/e vs 46% a month ago and compares to 36% g/e last year. CO is 17% g/e vs 19% last month and 53% last year. SRW conditions in the few reporting states remain solid with IL at 65% g/e, up from 50% last month and 47% last year, while KY is 86% g/e vs 85% last month and 71% last year.
The USDA ag attaché in Argentina put the corn crop at 47.0 MMT, slightly below USDA’s latest official estimate of 47.5 MMT and down from last year’s 51.0 MMT. Despite the slightly lower crop estimate, their view on new crop corn exports is consistent with USDA at 34.0 MMT and would be down only modestly from last year’s 35.5 MMT. Using a modestly lower feed/residual usage assumption of 10.2 MMT vs USDA’s 11.0 MMT (9.5 MMT old crop), the attaché’s new crop ending stocks estimate of 2.975 MMT is comparable to USDA’s 2.877 MMT and down from last year’s 4.371 MMT. The attaché sees lower Argentine wheat exports this year at 11.3 MMT vs USDA’s 12.0 MMT estimate and last year’s 12.8 MMT (USDA 13.5 MMT).
The USDA ag attaché in Australia sees the wheat crop at 31.0 MMT, above USDA’s 30.0 MMT official estimate, the 2nd highest on record and more than double last year’s drought-ravaged 15.2 MMT. With the modestly higher crop estimate, they also see exports a bit higher at 21.0 MMT (Oct-Sep) vs USDA’s 20.0 MMT and, again, more than double last year’s 9.1 MMT. Exports are expected to rebound to the highest since 2016/17’s 22.6 MMT and the 3rd highest on record. Southeast Asian destinations likely will make up the vast majority of the sharply increased exports this year.
The first Brazilian soybean harvest progress update/estimate by Safras & Mercado showed 1% of the nationwide crop harvested vs 4% last year and 4% average, with Mato Grosso only 2% complete vs 13% last year and 11% average. Harvest will continue to run behind average in the weeks ahead given the slow early planting pace.
Ukraine set maximum allowable corn exports for 2020/21 at 24.0 MMT, above the livestock/feed industries’ request for a 22.0 MMT limit and a bit above the Econ Ministry’s latest official estimate of exports this year of 23.5 MMT. USDA is currently estimating their corn exports at 24.0 MMT vs 28.9 MMT last year.
Russia officially adopted the long-discussed wheat export tax plan which will increase the rate to 50 euros/tonne effective March 1 from the 25 euros/tonne rate to be in effect from Feb 15-March 1. Some sort of tax structure will remain in place as the new marketing year begins on July 1, but details are yet to be determined. A 25 euro/tonne tax on corn and 10 euro/tonne tax on barley will be in place from March 15-June 30.
Algeria tendered for an unspecified amount of wheat for March shipment (Feb if South American/Australian). They bought roughly 390k tonnes of wheat in their previous tender last week.
Brazil saw .25-.75” rains in around 90% growing regions, with the exception Minas Gerais which was dry yesterday. Rains of 2-4”+ are expected across RGDS and Santa Catarina, with totals of 1-2”+ seen for the rest of the Brazilian growing regions this week, except for Minas Gerais, which looks dry. Rains continue in the 6-10 day period with an additional 2-4”+ in RGDS, Santa Catarina and possibly into Parana, while 1-2” are expected elsewhere. Rains of .25-.75” fell across around 75% of the Argentine growing regions yesterday. Dry weather looks to continue across the southern 1/3 of Buenos Aries and La Pampa over the coming 5-day period, with rains of .60-1.5” falling in the rest of the Argentine growing regions. The 6-10 day
period shows .50-1” in all areas, a decline from yesterday’s ideas of 1-2”