Thursday's weekly export sales report was a typical one, prior to a major crop report such as Friday's planted acreage and quarterly stocks report. It came in with low exports.
Importing countries back away and await acreage numbers and their future production to determine whether they should be patient on purchases or accelerate them. Wheat exports were 226 thousand metric tons, down 58% from the week prior. Of course, with over 800 million bushels of ending stocks inventory, nearly double what would be considered tight stocks, demand remains a non-price-driving force. Supply-side fundamentals will drive the price up, if anything. That could be next week.
WXRISK.com the weather site sees a potential for a frost or freeze across the Midwest late next week. This could cause crop damage, especially in Kansas, the number one winter wheat producing state. There, the crop is further along due to a early start to spring. A close over $6.60 in May futures would be a major bull breakout that would force trend-following funds to aggressively buy back much of the 81,000 short positions they have.
Corn exports were a low for the year at 130 thousand metric tons. No surprise - last week's price hit the high of the year and we have a big crop report in front of us.
Bean exports came in at 471 thousand metric tons, up 32% for the week, largely on continued Chinese demand, but we were under the 4-week average of 632.
All of this means little, now, as the trade gets ready for Friday's 7:30 a.m. Central time quarterly stocks and planted acreage report. Quarterly stocks are the amount of each grain on hand as of March 1. This figure - whether up or down - will lead to an adjustment for current crop year ending stocks inventory numbers.
It will also affect pricing on old crop futures for May, July, August and September futures contracts. The planted acreage report gives us the acres to be planted on the corn, beans and spring wheat and affects pricing of the new crop contracts, which are December corn and November beans on out.
One thing is certain, there is high risk on a report day when two major reports collide. One could be bullish and one bearish, both bullish or bearish, or any combination. Certainly low-margin accounts will stand aside. Corn is trading almost identical to last year. March this year gave us a 50-cent rally. Last year corn rallied $1.17 in the week prior the report. This week we saw a 45-cent break, and last year we broke 57 cents. Last year, we closed limit up (30 cents) the day of the report and were $1.06 higher over three days. Needless to say, if Fridays report shows less acreage than expected, we will put the lost 45 cents right back on.
Last year we planted more corn and less beans but the corn acres were perceived not enough to keep up with the demand. On corn, a more bearish report than expected would pressure May futures to $5.84. If it's more bullish than anticipated, corn moves back up to $6.66. May beans could see $12.90 on a bearish report or a push to $14.50 basis May futures on the upside.
My next report will be Tuesday. If you want to listen to my grain Web talk each Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Central, just call for a password: (800) 542-1022.
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