All about the national and international grain market and how grain contributes to farm inputs and costs.
International and national summary
National background comments: report for the week ending 3rd April, 2020.
The next update will be on Friday 17th April, 2020. Direct links to reports on each dairy region immediately follow this international and national summary for grain.
Driving Prices Up
This week saw the USDA release their perspective plantings report, with this year’s total US winter wheat area set to be the smallest on record. With growers in the US having been moving away from wheat to more profitable crops for several years, this number was largely expected, but nonetheless gave CBOT markets a chance to rally.
- Speculation that Russia will look to put restrictions on wheat exports between April and June has also been supportive of CBOT wheat futures over the past week.
- Although Russia pulling back from export wheat markets would usually see prices go up, it is also believed that the volumes being looked at would not result in a significant amount of variation from expected shipping volumes, during this time.
- If a ban came in, and this three-month timeframe was adhered to, it wouldn’t impact the shipping of this year’s crop.
Driving Prices Down
The Covid-19 impact remains the dominant factor at play in world commodity and financial markets, grain and oilseeds have not been immune to this.
- Comments from US President Donald Trump that the US were in for a tough couple of weeks saw all of their markets move lower, towards the end of the week.
- The Australian dollar has continued to rebound from the lows seen in the middle of last month and this has extended losses in global prices in Australian dollar terms. Nonetheless, the Australian dollar is still around 10% lower than month ago levels.
- This year’s US corn area is expected to be the lowest level since 2012.
Global Trade News
The reduced availability of shipping containers in Australia and other places has been one impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on global trade flows.
- Less exports from China meant that containers were not making it to other places and subsequently were not available to load other goods, such as grain.
- With economic activity in China now ramping back up, a pickup in container availability is set to follow. However, the possibility of disruptions from other areas remains in play.
- Bulk shipments (a more common way for grain to be shipped) have not been impacted to the same extent as containers, however restrictions on how vessel crew members from different countries will be treated by other countries creating some confusion.
- Recent reports have stated that China have recently lifted restrictions on 2 large Canadian canola exporters have turned out not to be true.
- Local prices have shown some resilience against offshore weakness over the past week.
- A pickup in export pace (compared to what was expected at the start of the year) is still on the cards.
- After two consecutive years of drought, stocks are already tight and if things get tighter than first expected between now and harvest, it is hard to see prices for promptly delivered grain moving too much lower.
Price change in table below reflects moves since previous report (27th March, 2020)