Weekly Market Recap March 13, 2020

Corn emergence 2

May corn closed unchanged at 3.65 ¾, down 10 ¼ week-on-week. December corn closed up 1 ¼ at 3.75, down 8 ½ cents from last Friday’s close.

May beans closed down 10 ¾ at 8.48 ¾, down 42 ½ for the week. November beans closed down 8 ½ at 8.64 ½, 41 cents lower than last Friday’s close.

Once again, COVID-19 is front and center in our news this week. Unfortunately, we don’t have any “new” information other than the situation is bad and getting worse. Events are being canceled, gatherings are being limited, schools are switching to on-line classes and many places of employment are implementing work from home policies. You don’t have to look far to find some aspect of society impacted by the virus. There’s no question that world health concerns seem to have more influence than market reports recently, both directly and indirectly impacting corn and soybean prices.

The USDA put out this month’s WASDE report on Tuesday morning. To put it simply, the USDA left the U.S. corn, wheat and soybean balance sheets unchanged and there was minimal impact on the market. USDA’s weekly Export Sales report showed a 12 week high for corn bookings, over 91% higher than last week and over 295% higher than the same time last year. Looking at South American, Brazil’s safrina corn crop is 77% planted, lagging last year’s pace of 91% complete at this time. CONAB also reduced their estimate for Brazil’s corn production by 402,000 MT to 100.486 MMT. Ethanol production was also down 10 million gallons to 307 million gallons, and stocks declined 26 million gallons but still remain above 1 billion at 1.022.

While we saw some short-lived rallies this week on beans, overall market conditions were under immense pressure at new contract lows were posted. Export sales came in below expectations at 302,835 MT. This was 84% lower than the same time last year. China has also canceled over 90,000 MT of sales up to this point. While the USDA left U.S. soybean production numbers unchanged, they did increase their estimates for Brazil and Argentina’s production by 1 MMT each from their February estimates. At the same time, a couple of well-known South American agricultural agencies estimated a 2.5-3.5 MMT decrease in Argentina’s production with new estimates between 51.5 and 52 MMT.

Keep an eye out for the USDA’s Prospective Plantings and Quarterly Stocks report on March 31st. In the meantime, as you’re gearing up for spring agronomy be sure to remain vigilant to farm equipment being moved between fields.