Global Ag News for Mar 16.23
Argentine soy processing in crisis as drought threatens harvest -industry group
Argentina’s soybean crushing plants are operating at the lowest capacity in history due to the impact of a ferocious drought, the leader of the country’s top grains processing chamber said on Wednesday.
Argentina, the world’s leading exporter of soymeal and soybean oil, is likely to have soybean production of 27 million tonnes this season, the lowest in nearly a quarter century, as a result of low rainfall and high temperatures, Argentina’s Rosario grains exchange has said.
In 2022, exports of soybean byproducts, Argentina’s main source of foreign currency, totaled $18.519 billion.
Gustavo Idigoras, head of the CIARA oilseed and grain processing chamber, said the industry faces a “crisis” with industrial capacity idleness approaching 70%, the highest ever when there are no protests.
Although harvesting for the 2022/23 season has not yet started, farmers have been reluctant to sell stored grains, fearing a meager harvest could lead them to run out of reserves, after the historic drought, Idigoras said.
“This has led producers to stop sales positions in the face of a scenario of high uncertainty in the coming months,” he said.
In February, farmers sold 622,300 tonnes of soybeans to the milling sector, almost a third of the 1.7 million tonnes sold during the same month last year, according to data from the agriculture ministry.
Argentine producers still have in their stocks about 6 million tonnes of soybeans from the 2021/22 cycle, Idigoras said, a lower figure than usual as many farmers accelerated their sales in the second half of 2022 driven by a preferential exchange rate for soy exports proposed by the Government.
A decrease in grains could even lead Argentina to import soybeans from its neighbors Paraguay and Brazil, Idigoras said, adding that this would not exceed 8 million tonnes.
“It is a palliative,” he said, “but it least it leaves us breathing room so as to not shut the factories.”
“We are making a great effort to avoid (milling) suspensions,” he added. “It is a very difficult year for companies to sustain employment.”
The beginning of the year is, for seasonal reasons, the one with the least activity of the factories in Argentina, when -according to CIARA data- idle capacity in the sector has been an average of 59% in the last five years.
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 1 1/2 in SRW, down 1 in HRW, down 2 in HRS; Corn is up 2; Soybeans up 7 1/2; Soymeal up $0.18; Soyoil up 0.37.
For the week so far wheat prices are up 20 in SRW, up 16 3/4 in HRW, up 25 in HRS; Corn is up 9 1/2; Soybeans down 12; Soymeal down $0.66; Soyoil down 0.16.
For the month to date wheat prices are down 4 1/4 in SRW, up 6 in HRW, down 16 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 1 3/4; Soybeans up 17 3/4; Soymeal up $13.10; Soyoil down 3.33.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 11.7% in SRW, down 8.2% in HRW, down 9.5% in HRS; Corn is down 7.6%; Soybeans down 1.6%; Soymeal up 0.2%; Soyoil down 11.5%.
Chinese Ag futures (MAY 23) Soybeans down 3 yuan; Soymeal down 12; Soyoil down 164; Palm oil down 72; Corn down 7 -Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 3 ringgit (-0.07%) at 4014.
There were changes in registrations (-44 Corn). Registration total: 2,587 SRW Wheat contracts; 43 Oats; 73 Corn; 256 Soybeans; 652 Soyoil; 1 Soymeal; 88 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of March 15 were: SRW Wheat down 4,174 contracts, HRW Wheat down 1,240, Corn down 3,459, Soybeans down 1,268, Soymeal down 4,399, Soyoil down 1,281.
Brazil Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Scattered showers continue for much of Brazil’s growing regions through the weekend but will continue in the middle of the country next week as well. Drier conditions next week in Parana and Mato Grosso do Sul will help these areas increase their safrinha corn planting, but much of the crop is well behind schedule. A lot of that crop will be exposed to the dry season in about a month’s time and also potential frosts in June. Corn in the ground now is benefiting from good soil moisture.
Argentina Grains & Oilseeds Forecast: Isolated showers that continue in Argentina this week, while heavy in some key areas, are too late to have much of an impact on corn and soybeans in various late stages of development. Heat that has been around for the first half of March continues into next week as well. The combination of heat and relative dryness continues to damage both crops.
Northern Plains Forecast: A system will move through the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies with some scattered showers Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures will fall well-below normal again to close out the week with higher inputs than normal required for livestock.
Central/Southern Plains Forecast: A system will move through the Central and Southern Plains late Wednesday and Thursday, bringing scattered showers, areas of breezy winds, and colder temperatures. Frosts and freezes this weekend could produce some damage to more-advanced wheat. Below-normal temperatures are likely to stick around through next week as well, though may see a warm day ahead of the next system later next week. Precipitation will be lighter in the southwestern Plains, though next week’s system does provide a better chance at some thunderstorms.
Midwest Forecast: A system will bring widespread precipitation to the Midwest Thursday and Friday, including a band of heavier snow in the northwest and some breezy winds behind the system as well. Below-normal temperatures will follow the system and outside of a couple of warmer days ahead of the next system, will trend downward again for the rest of the month.
Black Sea: Weather conditions in the Black Sea region over the winter have been favorable outside of some spotty areas. The winter wheat crop is in good shape outside of being affected by the war. Showers continue through the end of this week, but it will dry out a bit next week. Warmer temperatures will help the crop to continue out of dormancy and start up development.
The player sheet for 3/15 had funds: net buyers of 2,000 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 2,000 corn, buyers of 3,000 soybeans, sellers of 1,500 soymeal, and sellers of 1,000 soyoil.
- CORN PURCHASE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 667,000 tonnes of U.S. corn to China for shipment in the 2022/23 marketing year.
- FEED WHEAT PURCHASE: An importer group in the Philippines is believed to have bought around 40,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat expected to be sourced from Australia in a deal this week
- BARLEY PURCHASE: Jordan’s state grain buyer has purchased about 50,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender that closed on Wednesday
- SUNFLOWER OIL PURCHASE: Turkey’s state grain board TMO has provisionally purchased about 18,000 tonnes of crude sunflower oil in a tender for the same volume which closed on Wednesday
- WHEAT TENDER: Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) set an international tender for wheat for shipment from April 15-25 with an offer deadline of March 16, GASC said on Wednesday.
- WHEAT TENDER: Jordan’s state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy up to 120,000 tonnes of milling wheat, which can be sourced from optional origins.
- BARLEY TENDER: An import group in Thailand has issued an international tender to purchase some 21,000 tonnes of animal feed barley.
- BARLEY TENDER: Jordan’s state grains buyer has issued a new international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed barley
- CORN TENDER: Algerian state agency ONAB has issued an international tender to purchase up to 35,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from Argentina
- WHEAT TENDER: Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is seeking to buy a total of 73,518 tonnes of food-quality wheat from the United States, Canada and Australia in a regular tender that will close on March 16.
- RICE TENDER: South Korea’s Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 121,800 tonnes of rice.
GRAIN EXPORT SURVEY: Corn, Soy, Wheat Sales Before USDA Report
Estimate ranges are based on a Bloomberg survey of five analysts; the USDA is scheduled to release its export sales report on Thursday for week ending March 9.
- Corn est. range 800k – 1,600k tons, with avg of 1,063k
- Soybean est. range 125k – 900k tons, with avg of 472k
DOE: US Ethanol Stocks Rise 4.2% to 26.394M Bbl
According to the US Department of Energy’s weekly petroleum report.
- Analysts were expecting 25.378 mln bbl
- Plant production at 1.014m b/d, compared to survey avg of 1.02m
US NOPA February Soy Crush of 165.4M Bushels Misses Estimates
US soybean processing in February was below the average trader estimate of 166.3m bushels, according to National Oilseed Processors Association data released Wednesday by Thomson Reuters.
- Figure is slightly higher than year-ago crush of 165.1m
- Soybean oil stocks at the end of last month stood at 1,809b lbs, below expectations for 1,891b lbs
U.S. 2023 corn acreage seen at 90.4 mln, soy at 87.8 mln -survey
U.S. farmers are expected to plant 90.414 million acres of corn in 2023 and 87.768 million acres of soybeans, according to an annual survey conducted by commodity brokerage and analytical firm Allendale Inc and released on Wednesday.
- Projected corn plantings would be below the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Outlook Forum forecast for 91.0 million acres but above the 88.579 million acres planted in 2022.
- Projected soybean plantings would top the latest USDA forecast for 87.5 million acres and exceed the 87.450 million acres planted to soy in 2022.
- Allendale’s survey of farmers in 24 states was conducted from Feb. 27 through March 11.
- Allendale projected all U.S. wheat plantings at 48.706 million acres, below the USDA’s forecast for 49.5 million but above the 2022 planted area of 45.738 million acres.
- Allendale put U.S. winter wheat seedings at 36.524 million acres, below the USDA’s Jan. 12 estimate of 36.950 million, but up from the 33.271 million acres seeded the previous year.
- Allendale projected “other spring” wheat acreage for 2023 at 10.607 million and durum wheat plantings at 1.575 million acres.
AgriMer Raises French Soft-Wheat Stockpile Estimate
France’s soft-wheat stockpile for the 2022-23 season is now seen at 2.51m tons, crops office FranceAgriMer said in a report on Wednesday.
- Compares with a February estimate of 2.47m tons and is 10% below last season
- Estimate for exports outside the EU kept at 10.45m tons
- Outlook for total exports trimmed slightly to 17.08m tons
- Non-EU exports seen at 3m tons, versus 2.8m tons last month
- Total exports estimated at 6.03m tons, up from 5.93m tons
- Stockpiles estimate lowered to 1.47m tons, from 1.56m tons
- Stockpiles seen at 2.07m tons, versus 2.23m tons, on slightly higher exports to EU countries
Brazil’s Paranagua denies soy shipping delays as export season gathers pace
Port of Paranagua authorities on Wednesday sought to play down concerns that traffic disruptions on the main road access to the key grain export hub is delaying shipments of Brazil’s large soybean crop, according to a statement sent to Reuters.
Authorities also denied media reports of a growing line of ships awaiting to load soy, even as cargoes coming by truck from the interior have faced total or partial blockades on the BR-277 highway during Brazil’s rainy summer.
A grain trader said some ships are waiting up to 35 days to load cargos at Paranagua as the soy harvest is in full swing. The increase in Paranagua’s average loading time is diverting ship bookings to Santos port, an analyst said.
On March 8, the Parana state government urged the federal government to repair the highway after a fissure briefly blocked traffic in both directions at KM 33.
In a statement then, the Parana government said time is of the essence “given the need to ship the largest soy crop in history, estimated at 20.89 million tonnes” in the state alone.
Brazilian soy harvesting is in progress and the country will export around 14 million tonnes in March.
In the first two months of 2023, soy exports via Paranagua fell 50% to around 900,000 tonnes, the port authority said, blaming the slump on excess rainfall and harvesting delays.
Currently, 56 ships await offshore to approach the port while 100 vessels are due to arrive by April 24 to load or unload various cargos, the authority said.
“Not all ships waiting offshore are ready to dock,” Operations Director Gabriel Vieira said in the port authority’s statement. “A ship may be in port just to ensure positioning, by arrival, for strategic market reasons.”
According to Vieira, all vessels that completed check-in procedures “are mooring and loading without any delay.”
Brazil corn production slightly down as wet weather continues to hinder second corn sowing – Refinitiv Commodities Research
2022/23 BRAZIL CORN PRODUCTION: 124.8 [115.1–136.0] MILLION TONS, DOWN <1% FROM LAST UPDATE
2022/23 Brazil corn production is fractionally decreased to 124.8 [115.1–136.0] million tons, as second crop Safrinha corn sowing delays continue amid unfavorable wet conditions across key areas of the Central-West and Southeast. Our current median estimate is now 0.2 million tons below the USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board (WAOB)’s 125 million tons, which assumes total corn sowings at 22.7 million hectares and national level yield of 5.51 tons per hectare (tph) (vs. Refinitiv Ag Research’s 22.1 million hectares and 5.64 tph, respectively). Brazil’s agriculture state agency (CONAB) has lately pegged corn production and area at 124.7 million tons and 22 million hectares, respectively. As of 11 March, Brazil’s first corn was 26.3% harvested and second corn 72.5% planted nationally according to the latest CONAB crop progress report (13 March), both well behind last year’s pace of 33.7% and 87.4% respectively. Into the second half of March weather conditions should remain similar to those experienced over the past few weeks, with near to above normal precipitation across Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul in particular, further hindering planting/harvest activities.
Brazil to boost soy processing, exports to China – Abiove
Brazil’s record soybean crop this season will allow the nation to boost exports to China while also increasing domestic soybean processing, Andre Nassar, the chief of Brazil’s oilseed lobby Abiove, told Reuters.
Expectations of a rise in domestic crushing will help make up for a drop in neighboring Argentina, where a drought has partly destroyed soy fields and curtailed the country’s ability to produce soymeal and soyoil at a time of high demand.
Nassar noted Brazil’s big soybean crop will also drive up soybean exports to China, confirming the nation’s status as a key provider of food staples to the Asian country just before a March 26 state visit to China by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Abiove hopes upcoming meetings involving representatives from both countries can strengthen Sino-Brazil trade ties, and perhaps open up a new market for Brazilian-made products like soymeal, which China uses as livestock feed.
“It is an atypical year,” Nassar said about Argentina’s massive drought related agricultural loses and fallout affecting its domestic crushers, which could bolster Brazilian processors.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer and exporter of soybeans. This year, it will harvest around 150 million tonnes on the back of higher yields and area expansions.
Argentina, in turn, will reap less than 30 million tonnes.
Last year, China’s total soybean imports fell for the second consecutive year to around 91 million tonnes, with Brazil accounting for 54.4 million tonnes, a 6% drop due to weaker demand from China’s meat industry and problems with Brazil’s own soy crop, which was hit by drought in 2022.
Record soybean imports by China in the first two months of 2023, however, means demand prospects are good for soy exporters in Brazil.
Weather threatens Indian winter crops just before harvesting
Untimely rains and hailstorms could damage India’s key winter-sown crops such as wheat, rapeseed and chickpeas just before harvesting begins for plants that have already suffered some heat stress, industry and weather department officials said.
India’s weather department has warned key growing states in central, northern, and western regions could receive more rain and hailstorms in the next 10 days. That could curtail production and lift food inflation, which the government and central bank have been trying to contain.
A drop in wheat production could make it difficult for New Delhi to replenish inventories, while lower rapeseed output could force the world’s biggest edible oils buyer to increase imports of palm oil, soyoil and sunflower oil.
“Rainfall and hailstorms are raising concerns, since harvesting of winter crops just started. The standing crops would be affected, and it could reduce the output,” said Harish Galipelli, director at ILA Commodities India Pvt Ltd.
Farmers usually start planting wheat, rapeseed and chickpeas in October and November, and harvest them from the end of February.
Hailstorms and gusts of more than 30 kilometre per hour winds could hit states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra in the next few days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Winter-sown crops have already been under stress because of above-normal temperatures and maturing early, said farmer Ramrai Bohara from Rajasthan, the biggest rapeseed producing state.
The maximum temperature in some wheat growing areas jumped above 39 degrees Celsius earlier this month, nearly seven degrees Celsius above normal, according to weather department data.
“We don’t want rainfall and windy weather for two-three weeks. Crops would fall and harvesting will become difficult,” Bohara said.
Rainfall would not only reduce yields but could also reduce the quality of the harvest, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading house.
Ros Agro May Build Vegetable Oil Export Terminal: Kommersant
Ros Agro plans to build a vegetable oil and fat transhipment terminal on the Black Sea in Tuapse, Kommersant reports, citing unidentified people familiar with plans.
- Efko Group, one of Ros Agro’s competitors on the oil and fats market, has the largest specialized deepwater terminal for vegetable oil transshipment in Taman with a capacity of 1.5m tons
- One of the people who spoke with Kommersant says that Ros Agro’s terminal could be comparable in capacity to Efko’s facility
Cold Weather Delays Spring Fieldwork; US Fertilizer Prices Slide
Most nitrogen prices remain weak in the US as buyers delay spring purchases, with ammonia prices dropping again to spur sales. Application is underway in the South, while the Corn Belt awaits warmer weather. China is spending more on agricultural policy to get more, and fertilizer is key. Domestic stockpiles and urea production rates are rising as the world’s marginal producer pins hopes on a big crop.
Most Inland Fertilizer Prices Soft
Most major fertilizer prices remained pressured early in the week at major inland hubs, though urea ammonium nitrate showed some strength, along with New Orleans (NOLA) urea. However, inland urea prices were still soft, while those in Brazil took another drop. Ammonium sulfate in the Southern Plains and Brazil continued to drift lower. Inland ammonia moved downward, following the recent $200 metric ton (mt) drop in Tampa ammonia. Though NOLA phosphate prices were mixed, inland remained weak. NOLA and inland potash were still stressed.
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