Last Tuesday night, the USDA released their October WASDE (World S&D estimates – figure 3). In the week leading up to the report, the market had been heavily betting on the fact that soybean stocks were bearish based on very good US yields and excellent planting conditions in Brazil. Over the week prior, the Nov ’21 soybean contract had lost 70US¢/bu with weakness flowing through to canola prices as well.

When soybean yields were in fact decreased, this caused market participants to scramble to reposition.  The immediate reaction was beans jumping 58¢/bu but moderated into the close to finish up 23¢/bu.  This move may be an aberration in the short term, as bearish themes for beans remain in place.  But with La Niná hanging about for another year, beans should find some support.

Corn was largely as expected and building stocks did nothing to excite the bulls.  Big crush margins and the expectation of increasing ethanol demand will add support to corn as well as speculation that Chinese demand will remain strong on the back of surging domestic prices.

Wheat continues to march to the beat of its own drum.  Major export stocks were again tightened – now 12.5% stocks to use – down another 1.9mmt to 50.1mmt.  Concern around Aussie wheat quality will add further strength to the already tight milling wheat stocks.

From an Australian perspective, prices should remain supported at least until early (March/April?) in the new year after which time, consumers will likely switch focus to the imminent Northern Hemisphere harvest.  Quality premiums will come into focus as much of the trade will be banking on filling milling grade tenders.   The rain event appears to have largely been wrung out over SA with much of NSW missing the catastrophic falls that were being predicted.  It will take another week until we know what impacts (if any) there has been.  I think it important to note that feed and milling demand remains strong, consumers simply don’t have the options to chase, and as such this will underpin prices.

The week ahead….

There will be some nervous moments as farmers wait to get back in the header.  The trade will be uber cautious fearing a wall of feed wheat and will likely price feed wheat at significant discounts, until they get a clearer picture of the quality profile. 

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Data sources: USDA, Reuters, Mecarodo

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