"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe." … Frederic Bastiat

Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God. – Archbishop Chaput


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

USDA Reports - Focus shifts to Global Supply Numbers

USDA issued its December Supply and Demand report today and as usual, it set off some expected reactions across the grain floor.

About the only surprise in the report that I can see at this time came in the corn numbers. The trade was looking for a corn carryover near last month's numbers of 2.008 billion bushels. Instead USDA upped usage reducing the amount of corn leftover to 1.998 billion bushels. However, they also raised the expected GLOBAL stockpiles to 192.2 million metric tons from last month's 191.5 million.
Apparently, corn sweeteners will find the cheap corn prices attractive and as a result use more of the stuff in making HFCS. They came up with an additional 10 million bushels worth of demand from that sector ( note that it includes the feed sector but based on what I can see, USDA had already factored in the livestock and poultry industry numbers last month.

Strangely enough, they also RAISED the US export numbers by 10 million bushels. That makes ZERO sense to me since corn exports thus far this year have been lagging behind expectations in the trade. With the projected increase in global supplies increasing combined with the US Dollar as strong as it has been, (and with the greenback expected to resume its uptrend next year,) I have no idea why USDA would expect US exports to increase given the fact that corn is plentiful and cheap globally. The US is not the only game in town anymore when it comes to corn and currency differentials make a big deal when it comes to sourcing grain by foreign buyers.
On the bean front, everyone and their dog was expecting USDA to lower the projected marketing-year end supplies. They got that. The trade has been looking at the recent spate of huge bean inspections and export numbers ( CHINA, CHINA, and more CHINA) and had guessed that the initial export number estimates from USDA were too low.
I guess USDA did as well since they raised the export numbers by 40 million bushels. That is where the drop in the carryout came from as it was reduced from 450 million bushels to 410 million bushels.
Beans did sell off on the data however as the market has already priced this in due to the huge rally off the lows that we have been seeing which began back in October. However, what USDA did do was to lower the total global carryover from 90.28 million metric tons to 89.9 million. That would be friendly as well on the surface but the trade was expecting a smaller S. American crop as thus a smaller number on that global carryover than USDA gave it.

Also today, and I think it is significant, the Brazilian equivalent of our USDA released some data which has somehow managed to get completely lost in all the hoopla surrounding the USDA numbers. They raised the current year crop in Brazil to an expected 95.8 million metric tons. That is a WHOPPER. The agency cited improved weather conditions and a larger acreage number. Last month, that same agency, had expected a crop in the range between 89.3 - 91.7 million metric tons. Depending on which end of that range one wants to start from, that is an increase of either 6.5 million metric tons - 4.1 million metric tons! WOW!
Here is the thing - USDA also plugged some numbers into today's global supply report for Brazil but they used a 94 million metric ton number. CONAB came in nearly 2 million metric tons higher.
If the trade really comes to grips with this ( and it needs to be kept in mind that it is still very early in the growing season down there and we have to deal with weather for a while longer ), this CONAB number implies a greater global carryover than today's USDA report suggests.

Also, the soybean/corn ratio remains too high in my view and that is going to encourage more US farmers making the move to beans next year for their planting intentions unless the ratio corrects significantly from current levels. Translation - bean prices are too high in relation to corn and the market needs to do something to either lower the price of beans or raise the price of corn for next year to encourage more acreage going to corn. If not, we will be awash in beans at the expense of corn.
More on this later... I have to get back to some other markets... The Yen carry trade unwind is on full display today with the Forex markets now being thrown into convulsions as the price of crude oil falls, alongside of equities.

it never ends....