Next Wednesday is the USDA monthly crop report that looks to make adjustments on yields and production, up or down. Prior to its release, traders will place their own trades based on their personal perceptions. Here's a recent Bloomberg news poll of major brokerage houses and analysts as to their estimates. For corn, the average production estimate is 10.420 billion bushels, 350 million bushels under the last USDA report estimates and well under the 2011 production of 12.358. The range of estimates go from 9.860 to 10.863. The rule of thumb is the more we come in under the lower end estimate, the higher we trade and the more over the lower we open and trade. Anything in line with the average estimate, we should open marginally higher, then see selling as traders take profits. We say selling to take profits as we expect buying the days prior its release as traders price in lower numbers due to the severe drought. Last month saw a rally the two days prior the report, then a higher open as estimates came in slightly under the average estimates. Then the longs took profits off the opening rally followed by more selling of longs or profit-taking for two days. Unless there's a shocking surprise on the report that's bullish having us close higher, we should expect a buy the rumor sell the fact scenario.
We have seen a profit-taking break after each report back to April. Corn ending stocks inventory is estimated at 596 million bushels versus 650 on last month's report for the new 2012-13 crop year. The production and ending stocks estimates are clearly bullish in the big picture but should be fairly priced in after Wednesday. Bean production has an average estimate of 2.659 billion bushels off 35 million bushels from last month and under a year ago of 3.056. The range of guesses is 2.400 to 2.872. Ending stocks for the New Year are pegged at 106 million bushels versus 115 last month and a range of 62 two 159. Traders will look at the ending stocks closely as were still aggressively exporting beans. All this being said, it comes down to will there be any surprises on the report, more bullish than expected or bearish surprise. Note, we had a $.70 rally in the three weeks prior to July report on corn and a 2.50 bean rally from the June report to the July report ,next a 1.50 corn rally and 1.60 bean rally from the July to August report. This left lots of room to take profits.
Ahead of this report we are up about 1.40 on beans and $.25 on corn from the low of the break after the August report. This leaves more room for beans to correct but puts corn in a position to push limit up $.40 should estimates come in well under the average estimate. We're covering a lot of comparisons for a reason; since the report comes out at 7:30 AM central time and the market is open. There's no time to break down the report to get a more balanced trading decision. You have to have a plan ahead of time as to what you're going to do if the market says this or says that. Friday morning the weekly export sales report, a gauge of demand, showed for the fourth consecutive week price rationing in corn. Corn exports for our new export season came in at 129 thousand metric tons versus 168 the week prior and no measurable sales to China. This demand failure should help in our decision to sell a crop report day high. Bean exports were 520 thousand metric tons with China in for 453 of the total, up from 300 the week prior. They're good exports especially with ending stocks inventories so low. But as I note weekly, were the sole port of origin in the world to buy beans from until South America starts there harvest next March. Let's follow up on South America and weather as it may become a major pricing force as beans and corn planting gets underway soon. the weather site has the 6 to 10 and 11 to 15 day outlook as generally wet in central and northern Argentina but very hot and dry in Brazil. Brazil's rain totals are projected to be 25% of normal. Right now the trade sees the drought in Brazil as an opportunity to plant early and on time. Six weeks from now it will be a problem to price in as its now in the growing season.
Let's look back on the pricing of the US drought. The drought started in September 2011. The drought continued from January to June with the December corn contract trading sideways between five and six dollars. When planting finished early June and the growing season starting with the drought continuing. Corn rallied from 5.10 on June 4 to 8.20 on July 30, essentially the end of the growing cycle. So the trade does not trade the drought until it's a problem on yields. We should expect positioning and posturing ahead of the report next Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday should see nervous shorts buyout and speculators buy long into the Wednesday report on fear of lower production and ending stocks estimates.