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Weekly Grain Movement - Jan 3, 2017

Soybeans are needed at the Gulf.

Soybeans are needed at U.S. Gulf export points the next few weeks to fill incoming vessels, but the demand is not expected to last as South American soybeans will be available by the end of January.

A central Illinois shipper in December sold a trainload of soybeans to the Gulf for delivery by mid-January and is loading it this week. The buyer this week has been adamant that the shipment arrives on time.

“They needed the some soybeans real quick,” the shipper said this week.

A number of soybean export sales in December, mainly to China, raised the Gulf basis bids and resulted in inland shippers selling trains to the Gulf. Now the buyers in those deals are anxious to get to the supplies in hand. That demand has caused local processors to raise bids to be competitive, but currently rail bids to the Gulf “are still leading the charge,” the Illinois shipper said.

Currently, soybeans for January delivery to the Gulf are bid about 47 over the CBOT January. The bid then goes to about 34 over the CBOT March for February shipment. Based on current futures prices, the January bid is 2 cents higher on a cash basis than the February, which is logical considering the availability of South American supplies by February.

A 75-car corn train is being loaded this week in central Illinois for the Southeast poultry and ethanol markets.

New Year, Light Selling

Three days into the new year, farmer selling remained slow. There have been some sales of old-crop corn but not many. Basis bids to farmers have crept higher in the past week but not enough to prompt sales.

Farmers have sold most of their old-crop soybeans and the recent drop in new-crop prices have discouraged sales of 2017 soybeans. Elevators have ownership of old-crop soybeans but have been slow to sell to end users after the recent drop in prices.

The Mississippi River north of St. Louis is closed for the season, so river shippers upstream have focused on booking river-opening sales, which also have been light.

Weekly data

Barge grain shipments during the week ended December 24 totaled 640,124 tons, down 2% from the prior week and up 5% from a year ago. Barge rates eased on the rivers where seasonal navigation was still under way.

In the rail sector, grain car loadings totaled 24,193 for the week ended Dec. 17, down 2% from the prior week and up 5% from a year ago, USDA’s grain transportation report said.

For truckers, the U.S. average diesel fuel price was up 1 cent in the latest week to $2.54 per gallon. That is up 31 cents from a year ago.

USDA’s latest weekly grain inspections put corn at 25.1 million bushels, down nearly 36% from a week ago to miss trade forecasts. The 25.1 million also was under the weekly pace needed to meet USDA’s annual export forecast.

Soybean shipments of 58 million were down about 8% from a week ago but matched trade forecasts and easily topped the weekly pace needed to meet USDA’s forecast. Wheat shipments of 14.5 million were down 27.5% from a week ago but matched trade forecasts. The wheat shipments did miss the weekly pace needed to meet USDA’s annual estimate.

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