Global Ag News For Feb 14.23
Fertiglobe Expects Nitrogen Demand to Recover on Tight Supply
Fertiglobe, the largest fertilizer maker in the Middle East, says it expects the outlook for nitrogen market continues to be supported by crop fundamentals and tight supply dynamics.
- Sees global demand to be above trend levels at least until 2025 driven by expected increase in the US
- Higher demand in 2023 from major importing countries with focus on food security
- The recent decline in nitrogen pricing is supportive of improving affordability and demand
- China recovery and lower energy prices supporting recovery of industrial demand, particularly for ammonia
- Expects nitrogen supply to be tighter over 2023–2027
- Feedstock pricing is expected to remain volatile in the short-term given weather and regulatory intervention, but is expected to remain well above historical averages
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are up 3 1/4 in SRW, up 3 1/4 in HRW, up 3 1/4 in HRS; Corn is up 1 1/4; Soybeans down 2 1/2; Soymeal down $0.36; Soyoil up 0.36.
For the week so far wheat prices are up 3 1/2 in SRW, up 4 3/4 in HRW, up 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 3; Soybeans up 3/4; Soymeal up $0.22; Soyoil unchanged.
For the month to date wheat prices are up 34 in SRW, up 36 3/4 in HRW, up 11 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 6 1/2; Soybeans up 2 1/4; Soymeal up $13.30; Soyoil down 1.89.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 0.4% in SRW, up 2.8% in HRW, down 0.9% in HRS; Corn is up 0.8%; Soybeans up 1.5%; Soymeal up 4.8%; Soyoil down 5.1%.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 23) Soybeans down 59 yuan; Soymeal down 10; Soyoil up 16; Palm oil down 12; Corn up 10 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were up 33 ringgit (+0.84%) at 3956.
There were changes in registrations (-11 Soybeans). Registration total: 2,660 SRW Wheat contracts; 0 Oats; 0 Corn; 577 Soybeans; 467 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 192 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of February 13 were: SRW Wheat down 734 contracts, HRW Wheat down 459, Corn up 23,253, Soybeans up 9,789, Soymeal up 3,776, Soyoil down 131.
Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: While one front will work through the area Monday, another front is expected to swing through by the middle of the week, which will provide additional chances for precipitation. Another system may clip the area by the end of the week, but most of the precipitation with this system currently looks to stay out in the southern Atlantic. Below-normal temperatures will also make a return to the area after the middle of the week.
Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: While areas of northern Argentina will see some scattered rainfall for the start of the week as a few fronts sweep through, the major crop production areas will likely remain excluded from the bulk of the rainfall. Additionally, below-normal temperatures will move in for the second half of the week.
Northern Plains Forecast: A system across the south-central U.S. will lift north over the coming days and provide areas of rain and snow across the region. Drier conditions return for the second half of the week. Temperatures will also remain above normal for the start of the week before turning cooler during the second half of the week.
Central/Southern Plains Forecast: Low pressure systems from the Great Basin will drift east and sweep across the region for the first half of this week. The first system will bring mostly rain to the region while the second system will bring measurable snowfall to the Central Plains. Below normal temperatures are also expected behind the second system later this week.
Midwest Forecast: A couple of low pressure systems will move through the Midwest this week, providing chances for rainfall and measurable snowfall. Mild temperatures continue for the start of this week before a cooler airmass from the west briefly moves into the region for the end of the week, providing below normal temperatures.
The player sheet for Feb. 13 had funds: net buyers of 1,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 3,000 corn, buyers of 2,000 soybeans, buyers of 2,500 soymeal, and sellers of 1,500 soyoil.
- WHEAT PURCHASE: An importer group in the Philippines is believed to have bought around 110,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat in an international tender, European traders said.
- WHEAT AUCTION: China sold 139,150 tonnes of wheat at an auction of state reserves, the trade center said.
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 79,439 tonnes of rice
- RICE TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, GASC, is seeking at least 25,000 tonnes, plus or minus 10% at the buyer’s preference, of white rice in a tender-practice on the account of the Holding Company for Food Industries. Offers should be submitted on Feb. 14.
- FEED WHEAT AND BARLEY TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) said it will seek 70,000 tonnes of feed wheat and 40,000 tonnes of feed barley to be loaded by May 31 and arrive in Japan by July 27, via a simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) auction that will be held on Feb. 15.
US Inspected 512k Tons of Corn for Export, 1.555m of Soybean
In week ending Feb. 9, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.
- Soybeans: 1,555k tons vs 1,915k the previous wk, 1,233k a yr ago
- Wheat: 472k tons vs 591k the previous wk, 459k a yr ago
- Corn: 512k tons vs 494k the previous wk, 1,456k a yr ago
US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: Feb. 9
Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending Feb. 9 of corn, soybeans and wheat for export, from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA.
- Soybeans for China-bound shipments made up 999k tons of the 1.56m total inspected
- Mexico was the top destination for corn inspections, Japan led in wheat
Brazil 2022/23 Soy Harvest 17% Done as of Feb. 9: AgRural
Soy harvest was 9% done in the previous week, and 24% a year earlier, consulting firm AgRural says in emailed report.
- More gaps between rainy days helped boost harvest in many states over the past week
- Center-South’s winter corn planting was 25% done as of Feb. 9, compared to 12% a week earlier and 42% a year before
- Big delays in Southwestern and Western regions of Parana state due to excessive rains are cause for concern, and planting is unlikely to be completed within the seeding window
- Summer corn harvest was 14% done in the Center-South, compared to 10% a week earlier
Ukraine Grain Harvest Could Fall to 34M Tons in 2023: UCAB
Ukraine’s grain harvest could fall to 34m tons in the upcoming 2023-24 season, Roman Slaston, director-general of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club, said in a press conference Monday.
- That is enough to cover domestic demand, but could curb exports to about 20m tons
- Farmers have curbed plantings due to low profitability and are cutting back on fertilizer use
- Some land is also being switched to oilseed crops
- NOTE: Ukraine’s grain harvest in the current 2022-23 season was about 58.3m tons, with exports estimated at 35.5m tons, according to the International Grains Council
- Combined grains and oilseed harvest could total about 53m tons, Slaston says
Ukraine Approves Plan to Increase Vessel Size for Grain Corridor
Ukraine approved a proposal to boost the minimum tonnage of grain-export ships using the crop corridor to 25k tons, a spokesperson for the country’s infrastructure ministry said by email.
- Still, it may take about 1.5 months until bigger-sized ships boost grain and oilseed export volumes due to the slow pace of ship inspections, the infrastructure ministry said on its website
- The ministry didn’t elaborate on the amount of the expected export boost
- There were 145 ships waiting in the queue for inspection near the Bosphorus as of Feb. 12, including 122 ships headed inbound to load agricultural cargoes at Ukrainian ports
NOPA January U.S. soy crush seen at 181.656 million bushels
The U.S. soybean crush in January likely increased versus December but declined a bit from the same month a year ago, analysts said ahead of a monthly National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) report due on Wednesday.
NOPA members, which handle about 95% of all soybeans processed in the United States, were estimated to have crushed 181.656 million bushels last month, according to the average of estimates from nine analysts.
If realized, the monthly crush would be up 2.3% from the 177.505 million bushels processed by NOPA members in December, when frigid temperatures and heavy snow slowed the crushing pace in some areas. But the estimate would be down 0.3% from the 182.216 million bushels crushed in January 2022.
Estimates for the January 2023 crush ranged from 176.980 million to 187.0 million bushels, with a median of 180.0 million bushels.
The monthly NOPA report is scheduled for release at 11 a.m. CST (1700 GMT) on Wednesday. NOPA releases crush data on the 15th of each month, or the next business day.
Soyoil supplies held by NOPA members as of Jan. 31 were projected at 1.906 billion pounds, according to the average of estimates gathered from seven analysts.
If realized, the soyoil stocks would be up 6.4% from the 1.791 billion pounds at the end of December, but down 5.9% from the 2.026 billion pounds at the end of January 2022.
Soyoil stocks estimates ranged from 1.816 billion to 2.050 billion pounds, with a median of 1.898 billion pounds.
France Raises 2023 Soft-Wheat, Barley and Rapeseed Area Outlook
French winter-grain plantings for the 2023 harvest are now seen at 6.76m hectares (16.7m acres), up from a December estimate of 6.71m hectares, its agriculture ministry said in a report on Tuesday.
- That would be up 1.8% y/y and 1.7% above the five-year average
- Of the total, the soft-wheat area is seen at 4.76m hectares, versus 4.75m hectares forecast in December
- That’s 2% higher than a year ago
- Barley plantings seen at 1.34m, versus 1.3m hectares
- That’s 3.7% higher than a year ago
- Durum-wheat area kept steady at 233k hectares
- Rapeseed area seen at 1.34m hectares, versus 1.29m hectares
- That’s 9% higher than a year ago
WHEAT/CEPEA: Brazil harvests 10 million tons; global production may be a record
In 2022, Brazil harvested more than 10 million tons of wheat, a record. Official estimates indicate a record world production in 2022/23. In spite of that, the global consumption continues higher than the production and ending stocks remain as the lowest since the 2016/17 season.
In Brazil, Conab released a report this month indicating that the 2022 harvest (already finished) totaled 10.55 million tons, 37.4% more than in 2021 and a record. The productivity was 22% above that in the crop before, at 3.4 tons per hectare. The area was kept at 3.08 million hectares, 12.7% up in the same comparison.
The forecast for imports reduced again, changing from 6 million tons to 5.8 million tons from August/22 to July/23, 4.6% lower than in the crop before. Due to the higher production in Brazil, the domestic availability is now estimated at 17.07 million tons, and the consumption, at 12.39 million tons. Exports are now projected at 3.1 million tons (between August/22 and July/23). As a result, ending stocks increased to 1.5 million tons by July/23.
In global terms, the USDA pushed up production, consumption and ending stocks for the 2022/23 season comparing reports released in January and in February. The world production is estimated at 783.79 million tons, 0.3% up compared to January/23 data and 0.6% more in relation to the previous season.
The global consumption estimate rose by 0.2% against the previous report, at 791.16 million tons, but it still 0.2% lower in relation to 2021/22, and higher than the world production. Ending stocks are projected at 269.3 million tons, upping 0.4% in the month, but they are still the lowest over the last six years.
As for 2022/23 exports, the USDA forecasts 211.4 million tons, 0.9% above the January report and 3% more compared to the previous season.
In Brazil, trades are moving at a slow pace, since wheat mills are unwilling to close deals, expecting more significant price drops due to the summer crop. Cepea surveys show that, between February 3 and 10, the prices paid to wheat farmers (over-the-counter market) dropped 0.61% in Paraná and 0.1% in Santa Catarina, but rose 0.86% in Rio Grande do Sul. In the wholesale market (deals between processors), values decreased 0.99% in São Paulo, 1.66% in RS and 1.09% in SC – in PR, quotations upped 0.38%. In the same period, the US dollar increased 1.6%, to BRL 5.223 on February 10.
According to data from Secex, 439.7 thousand tons were imported in January, 11.8% less than in December/22 and downing 12.3% compared to January/22. Imports totaled 5.66 million tons over the last 12 months.
Brazilian exports, in turn, amounted 561.7 thousand tons in the first month of January, 5.2% up in relation to December/22, but 13.3% below than in January/22. In 12 months (from February/22 to January/23), shipments totaled 3.1 million tons.
Mexican President Eases Limits on US Corn Imports After Pressure
- Government scraps deadline to end GMO use for livestock feed
- Nation still plans to move forward on ban on human consumption
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government softened its stance on a planned ban on genetically-modified US corn after pressure from the Biden administration, offering a concession to try to diffuse one of the biggest trade irritants between the countries.
Mexico is scrapping a deadline to ban GMO corn for animals and manufactured products, according to a decree Monday, the economy ministry said in a statement. Instead, the phasing out will depend on supply and establishing working groups with domestic and foreign businesses for an orderly transition.
But Mexico will still prohibit the importation of GMO corn for flour and tortillas, as well as glyphosate, a commonly used pesticide.
The change provides some relief to US farmers, given that most corn exports to Mexico are of the yellow variety, primarily used as livestock feed, while Mexico grows its own white corn, used for tortillas and other dishes.
Mexico is the US’s second-largest export market, and the issue has mobilized President Joe Biden’s administration, as well as policymakers in key corn-growing states, such as Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
The new decree “does not represent any impact on trade or imports, among other reasons because Mexico is greatly self-sufficient in the production of white corn free from transgenics,” Mexico’s economy ministry said.
It’s unclear if that will be enough to appease US industry.
The National Corn Growers Association has pushed for an arbitration panel under the US-Mexico-Canada agreement on trade to settle the dispute, saying Mexico’s plans violate the deal. Last month, the group signaled there was no room for compromise, saying a ban would “deliver a blow to American farmers and exacerbate current food insecurity in Mexico.”
China to plant more soy, speed up GMOs to ensure food supply
- Blueprint outlines annual policies for agriculture
- Reiterates goals to increase soy acreage, intercrop with corn
- Calls for lower use of soymeal in feed
- Will “accelerate” GMO corn, soybeans
- Aims to protect soil and land, build more indoor farms
China will increase its efforts to boost output of soybeans and edible oils, state media reported on Monday, citing a key rural policy document, as it continues to push for greater self-sufficiency in its key food supplies.
The world’s top soybean buyer is trying to lower its heavy reliance on imports of the oilseed as the pandemic, growing trade tensions and increasing climate disasters raise concerns about feeding its 1.4 billion people.
In its annual rural policy blueprint, known as the “No. 1 document”, the State Council, China’s cabinet, reiterated a recently stated goal to boost grain production capacity by 50 million tonnes, from current production of more than 650 million tonnes.
It will seek to raise corn yields, further support wheat farmers and “vigorously” promote rapeseed production, as well as lesser known oilseed crops such as camelia, state news agency Xinhua reported.
It will also speed up the commercialisation of biotech corn and soybeans, according to the document.
No time frame was provided for the launch of GMO corn and soybeans, but many in the market expect a launch this year.
The document said China will fully implement a campaign to reduce soymeal rations in feed, another move to lower its reliance on soybean imports.
However, it acknowledged the role played by trade, and said it will “implement the diversification strategy of agricultural product imports thoroughly”.
The document also outlined plans to protect soil and conserve water, while strengthening controls on the use of arable land.
It also called for further development of indoor farms, with plans to explore building such facilities in the Gobi and other deserts.
Nitrogen Price Competition From Exporters Heats Up
Middle East and Chinese urea competition increased as exporters dropped prices to find business. Middle East prices softened $60 to $340 a metric ton (mt), while Chinese supplies are reportedly on offer at $380-$405/mt FOB. The normal spread is $30/mt. China’s unofficial export ban has kept the marginal producer from the market and depressed prices relative to other regions. Yet higher Chinese production operating rates are increasing exportable inventory and competition for business with the Middle East. New African nitrogen plants, higher operating rates and a surge in Iranian volume boosted urea exports last year, easing the nitrogen-supply crunch. Urea prices halved since 3Q’s high.
CF Industries, Yara and Nutrien are the largest publicly traded nitrogen producers. US and European farmers consume nitrogen in March-June.
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