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Grain market week in review - Nov. 10, 2017

WASDE report impacted market this week. (audio)

 Missed some market news this week? Here’s a look back.

 Monday, Nov. 6

Soybeans are trying to avoid major follow-through selling after Friday’s break took futures to some key support levels. Corn could get a bearish increase in production from USDA but the slow pace of harvest is helping support the cash market.

Even average weather is never really average according to meteorologists, who note how normal masks the wide variation nature provides. That certainly seems to be the case in 2017, where an up and down growing season is winding down with harvests that are slow to be sure, according to reports from Feedback from the Field.

The monthly WASDE comes out Thursday. Don’t look for big changes in corn or soybean production, Bryce Knorr says in his Monday morning Market Update. Harvest is progressing slowly. In Brazil, planting is progressing at an average pace. Harvest is beginning in Australia.

It was another big week of soybean export inspections, but corn and soybeans struggled to keep up with the average trade guess, and all three crops lag behind 2016’s year-to-date totals.  

The 2017 corn harvest finally got some momentum for the week ending Nov. 5, according to the USDA Crop Progress report. For corn harvest, each of the 18 states that comprise 94% of total U.S. production has crossed the halfway mark, save for Wisconsin (37%). The soybean harvest and winter wheat planting progress each made headway last week, too. 

Wednesday, Nov. 8

Grain futures are little changed this morning, and for a fairly good reason: Traders continue to get into position for Thursday’s updated estimates on production, supply and demand from USDA. 

Thursday, Nov. 9

Grain futures are steady to higher this morning, gearing up for release of updated production, supply and demand estimates from USDA at 11 CST.

Corn posted its strongest export sales volume for the marketing year in the week ended Nov. 2. Wheat export sales also landed higher than trade estimates, while soybean sales slumped. The numbers were good enough to hand grain prices small gains ahead of Thursday’s USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.

USDA estimates for corn acres planted and harvested remain unchanged in USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Total U.S. corn production is now estimated at 14.578 billion bushels, up from 14.280 billion bushels a month ago. U.S. soybean production, meantime, was lowered slightly, from 4.431 billion bushels to 4.425 billion bushels. Harvested area remained unchanged from October estimates, remaining at a record 89.5 million acres.

Friday, Nov. 10

Grain futures are little changed this morning as the market digests the fallout from Thursday’s USDA reports. While corn tries to prove a cycle low is in after posting new contract lows, soybeans fight to avoid follow-through weakness from bulls caught leaning the wrong way. Wheat got the only real bullish news out of the data dump yesterday. 

Grain futures are mostly steady to a little lower this morning in the wake of big moves Thursday caused by USDA’s latest supply and demand reports.

Private exporters reported two corn sales this week for a total of 10.2 million bushels, both to unknown destinations.

Ben Potter recaps the week in his Friday afternoon podcast, talking about Thursday’s WASDE report, trade deals and the weather.

Corn and soybean prices reclaimed some of Thursday’s steeper losses, while winter wheat prices hung on for a second consecutive day of modest gains.

Market outlooks

Wheat Outlook - While there’s still no sign of a turn-around in the wheat market, the new flow at least offered some promising tidbits as November trading got underway. But benefiting from these developments will require patience, because none may pay off quickly.

Corn Outlook - December corn futures stuck to a trading range of around 15 cents for more than two months. That band narrowed over the past 10 sessions, suggesting the market may finally be due for a move.

Basis Outlook - Bearish USDA reports out Nov. 9, dashed hopes for a quick rally in the futures market. But disappointment on the board should continue to firm basis for corn and soybeans, which strengthened overall this week. 

Fertilizer Outlook – Growers still waiting to book nitrogen for either fall application or for tax reasons might get a pleasant surprise – or more likely, a rude awakening. Dealers resetting prices will likely pass on sharply higher wholesale costs caused by the big rally on global markets this fall. But producers might still find a bargain or two from dealers wanting to get rid of inventory purchased before the big price spike.

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