KSU Wheat Market Outlook in Mid-July 2017 – MY 2017/18 Wheat S-D and Price Scenarios with World Less China Estimates

An analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and 2016-2017 price prospects following the USDA’s July 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, and the market actions that have followed those reports are available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/default.asp).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat to be found at this web location: http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing/grain-market-outlook-newsletter

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Summary

Wheat Market Response to the July 12th USDA Reports

Since the USDA’s July 12th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, CME SEPT 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat futures have traded lower.  SEPT Kansas HRW wheat futures opened at $5.52 ¾ on 7/12/2017 – the day of the report – but closed lower to $5.38 ¾ that day.  Since then, SEPT 2017 HRW wheat futures have moved lower to a close of $5.02 ¾ on Tuesday, July 18th.

That same day Kansas cash wheat price terminal quotes in central and eastern Kansas ranged from $3.98 ¾ to $4.47 ¾ per bushel – with basis ranging from $1.04 under to $0.55 under SEPT 2017 futures.  In western Kansas, representative wheat elevator bids ranged from $4.05 to $4.34 per bushel – with basis ranging from $0.98 under to $0.69 under SEPT 2017 futures.  Although cash prices have improved considerably from fall 2016 when many wheat bids had fallen to marketing loan rates or lower, basis levels are still “wide and weak” compared to historic Kansas wheat basis historic patterns.

Key World Wheat Supply-Demand Findings in the July WASDE Report

For the “new crop” 2017/18 marketing year (MY) beginning on June 1, 2017 the USDA projected the following. First, that World wheat total supplies would be 995.9 million metric tons (mmt) with total use of 735.3 mmt – both marginally lower than the record high levels of “old crop” MY 2016/17.

Second, that World wheat exports will also trend marginally lower to 178.4 mmt in the “new crop” 2017/18 marketing year – down from a record high of 181.6 mmt last year, but up from 172.9 mmt two years ago.

Third, that World wheat ending stocks would be a record high 260.6 mmt in “new crop” MY 2017/18 – up from the previous record of 258.05 mmt last year, and from a previous record high of 242.8 mmt two years ago.

Fourth, that World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) would be 35.4% – up from 34.9% last year, and from 34.1% two years ago – rising to the highest level of World wheat supply-demand balances since 36.2% in MY 1999/00 and 36.5% in MY 1998/99.

Perspectives on Current World Wheat Stock Levels

For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use now are, consider that in MY 2007/08 the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.2 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.9% stocks/use both occurred.  The 2007/08 marketing year was the last significant World wheat “short crop” marketing year to have occurred.  The “tight supply-demand” situation in MY 2007/08 compares to the most recent USDA projections of 260.6 mmt ending stocks and 35.4% ending stocks-to-use projected for “new crop” MY 2017/18.  The present “large crop-over supply” situation in World and U.S. wheat markets continues to have a prevailing limiting influence on U.S. and World wheat prices – even with recent drought-fueled moves higher in the market.

Wheat Protein Supply Concerns & the “World Less China” Market Situation

The broader “large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “obscuring” at least a couple of other important market issues.

First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is typically less so.  This factor helps exports of U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.  The drought conditions now occurring in the U.S. and Canadian hard red spring wheat producing regions has raised the demand and price premiums offered for high protein wheat supplies – whether they are from hard red winter wheat supplies or elsewhere.

Second, while the aggregate supply of wheat in World markets has grown, the supply of wheat from a “World Less China” perspective is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” further in “new crop” MY 2017/18.   “World Less China” wheat percent stocks-to-use have declined to the tightest level since at least MY 2008/09 when U.S. wheat cash prices averaged $5.70 /bu.  If this “China supply isolation factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter global supplies of available-exportable wheat in coming months, then it will likely have a significant positive impact U.S. wheat market prices in “new crop” MY 2017/18.

However, unless there is this change in the broader, overriding focus of the World wheat market away from aggregate global supplies to available “World Less China supplies – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly in later 2017.   Such disruptions elsewhere would likely cause the market to then focus on the limited availability of food quality wheat outside of China in the World market.   Also, ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate continues to be a negative factor limiting the competitive affordability of U.S. wheat exports in World markets.

USDA U.S. Wheat Supply/Demand Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2017/18

The USDA released their wheat production, supply-demand and price projections for “new crop” MY 2017/18 in the July 12th Crop Production & World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports.

United States’ wheat plantings are projected to be 46.567 million acres (ma) – down from 50.154 ma in “old crop” MY 2016/17 to the lowest level since the early 1900s.  Harvested acres are forecast to be 38.115 ma (83.72% harvested-to-planted) – down from 43.890 ma a year ago.  The 2017 U.S. average wheat yield is projected at 46.2 bu/ac, down from the 2016 record of 52.6 bu/acre.

Wheat production in the U.S. in 2017 is forecast to be 1.760 billion bushels (bb), down from 2.310 bb in 2015.  Projected “new crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies are 3.084 bb (down from 3.403 bb in “old crop” MY 2016/17), with total use of 2.146 bb (down from 2.219 bb in “old crop” MY 2016/17).

The USDA projected “new crop” MY 2017/18 ending stocks to be 938 million bushels (mb) (vs 1.184 bb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 43.7% S/U (vs 53.4% last year and 50.0% the previous year).  United States’ wheat prices are projected to average $4.80 /bu – up from $3.89 in “old crop” MY 2016/17, but down from $4.89 /bu in MY 2015/16, and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is estimated by Kansas State University that these USDA projections for “new crop” MY 2016/17 have a 50% probability of occurring.

Three Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat S/D Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2017/18

To represent possible alternative outcomes from the USDA’s July 12th projection, three potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “new crop” MY 2017/18.

KSU Scenario 1) “5 Year Avg Yield” Scenario (20% probability) assumes for “new crop” MY 2017/18 that the following occurs.  This scenario assumes that there will be 46.657 ma planted, 83.72% harvested-to-planted, 38.115 ma harvested, 45.8 bu/ac 5-year average yield, 1.746 bb production, 3.030 bb total supplies, 975 mb exports, 150 mb feed & residual use, 2.146 bb total use, 884 mb ending stocks, 41.19% S/U, & $5.05 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

KSU Scenario 2) “Higher U.S. Wheat Exports” Scenario (20% probability) assumes the following for “new crop” MY 2017/18.  Planted acres of 46.657 ma are associated with 38.115 ma harvested, 45.8 bu/ac 5-year average yield, 1.746 bb production, 3.030 bb total supplies, 1.200 bb exports (due to foreign crop problems), 125 mb feed & residual use, 2.346 bb total use, 684 mb ending stocks, 29.16% S/U, & $6.00 /bu U.S. wheat average price;

KSU Scenario 3) “Short U.S. Wheat Crop” Scenario (10% probability) assumes the following for “new crop” MY 2017/18.  Planted acres of 46.657 ma, 83.72% harvested-to-planted, 38.115 ma harvested, 40.2 bu/ac low “crop stress” yield, 1.633 bb production, 2.917 bb total supplies, 975 mb exports, 125 mb feed & residual use, 2.121 bb total use, 796 mb ending stocks, 37.53% S/U, & $5.35 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

KSU Wheat Market Outlook in Mid-May 2017 – “Next Crop” MY 2017/18 U.S., World, and “World Less China” Market Scenarios

This report provides an analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year price prospects following the USDA’s May 10th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports.  This article will be available in full on the KSU AgManager website on Monday, May 22, 2017 (http://www.agmanager.info/).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat Market Outlook in “Next Crop” MY 2017/18 to be found at this web location:

http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing/grain-market-outlook-newsletter

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Summary

Overview

Since the USDA’s May 10th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, U.S. and World wheat futures market prices first traded lower then turned higher again.  CME JULY 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat futures closed at $4.39 ¼ on 5/10/2017 – the day of the report.  But after trading lower to close at $4.21 on May 16th, JULY 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat moved higher again to close at $4.38 on Friday, May 19th.

Projected World Wheat Supply-Demand in “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

For the “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year (MY) beginning on June 1st, the USDA projected the following.

First, that World wheat total supplies would be 993.2 million metric tons (mmt) with total use of 734.9 mmt – both marginally lower than the record high levels of “current” MY 2016/17.

Second, that World wheat exports will also trend lower to 178.35 mmt in the “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year – down from a record high of 179.7 mmt last year, but up from 172.85 mmt two years ago.

Third, that World wheat ending stocks would be a record high 258.9 mmt in “next crop” MY 2017/18 – up from 255.35 mmt last year, and from 242.4 mmt two years ago.

And fourth, that World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) would be 35.1% – up from 34.5% last year, and from 34.0% two years ago – up to the highest level of World wheat supply-demand balances since 36.2% in MY 1999/00 and 36.5% in MY 1998/99.

Comparisons to “Short Crop” MY 2012/13

For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use now are, in MY 2007/08 the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.2 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.9% stocks/use both occurred – the last significant World wheat “short crop” marketing year.  The “tight supply-demand” situation in MY 2007/08 compares to projections of 258.3 mmt ending stocks and 35.1% ending stocks-to-use projected for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  The present “large crop-over supply” situation in World and U.S. wheat markets have a prevailing negative influence on U.S. and World wheat prices.

The Existing “Large Crop – Over Supply – Low Price” Market Condition

However, the broader “large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “obscuring” at least a couple of other important market issues.

First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is less so.  This factor helps exports of U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.

Second, while the aggregate supply of wheat in World markets has grown, the supply of wheat in the “World Less China” is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” in “next crop” MY 2017/18. “World Less China” wheat percent stocks-to-use have declined to the tightest level since at least MY 2008/09 when average U.S. wheat cash prices averaged $5.70 /bu.  If this “China supply isolation factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter global supplies of available exportable wheat occurring in coming months, it would likely have a positive impact U.S. wheat market prices in “next crop” MY 2017/18.

The Likely Direction of the World Wheat Market Unless Major S-D Changes Occur

However, unless there is a change in the broader, overriding focus of the World wheat market away from aggregate global supplies to available “World Less China supplies – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly in later 2017.  Also, ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate continues to be a negative factor limiting the competitive affordability of U.S. wheat exports in World markets.  These factors together have resulted in higher U.S. wheat ending stocks and % ending stocks-to-use, and have caused U.S. and Kansas wheat cash prices to still be only $0.30 /bu above the marketing loan rate in many Kansas locations in mid-May 2017 (after earlier having to fallen below loan rates in Fall 2016).

USDA U.S. Wheat Supply/Demand Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18:

The USDA released their grain market supply-demand and price projections for “next crop” MY 2017/18 in the May 10th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.  United States’ wheat plantings are projected to be 46.059 million acres (ma) – down from 50.154 ma in “current” MY 2016/17.  Harvested acres are forecast to be 38.500 ma (83.59% harvested-to-planted) – down from 43.890 ma a year ago.  The 2017 U.S. average wheat yield is projected at 47.2 bu/ac, down from the 2016 record of 52.6 bu/acre.

Wheat production in the U.S. in 2017 is forecast to be 1.820 billion bushels (bb), down from 2.310 bb in 2015.  Projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies are 3.105 bb (down from 3.400 bb in “current” MY 2016/17), with total use of 2.191 bb (down from 2.241 bb in “current” MY 2016/17).

The USDA projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 ending stocks to be 914 million bushels (mb) (vs 1.159 bb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 41.7% S/U (vs 51.7% last year and 50.0% the previous year).  United States’ wheat prices are projected to average $4.25 /bu – up from $3.90 in “current” MY 2016/17, but down from $4.89 /bu in MY 2015/16, and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is assumed by Kansas State University that these adjusted USDA projections for “next crop” MY 2016/17 have a 50% probability of occurring.

Three Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat S/D Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18:

As an alternative to the USDA’s projection, three potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.

  1. KSU Scenario 1) “Trend Yield” Scenario (25% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 that the following occurs.  It is assumed that there will be 46.059 ma planted, 82.50% harvested-to-planted, 37.999 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.786 bb production, 3.070 bb total supplies, 1.000 bb exports, 180 mb feed & residual use, 2.200 bb total use, 870 mb ending stocks, 39.6% S/U, & $4.45 /bu U.S. wheat average price.
  2. KSU Scenario 2) “Higher U.S. Wheat Exports” Scenario (15% probability) assumes the following for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  Planted acres of 46.059 ma are associated with 39.334 ma harvested (82.50% harvested-to-planted), 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.786 bb production, 3.070 bb total supplies, 1.150 bb exports, 180 mb feed & residual use, 2.350 bb total use, 720 mb ending stocks, 30.6% S/U, & $5.10 /bu U.S. wheat average price;
  3. KSU Scenario 3) “Short U.S. Wheat Crop” Scenario (10% probability) assumes the following for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  Planted acres of 46.059 ma, 80.60% harvested-to-planted, 37.124 ma harvested, 40.0 bu/ac low yield, 1.485 bb production, 2.769 bb total supplies, 950 mb exports, 125 mb feed & residual use, 2.095 bb total use, 674 mb ending stocks, 32.17% S/U, & $5.00 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

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KSU Wheat Market Outlook in April 2017 – “Decent” U.S. HRW Wheat Exports and Possible Market Scenarios for MY 2017/18

An analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and 2016-2017 price prospects following the USDA’s April 11th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, and the market actions that have followed those reports are available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat to be found at this web location:

http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing/grain-market-outlook-newsletter

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Summary

Since the USDA’s April 11th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, U.S. and World wheat futures market prices first traded higher then turned lower.  CME MAY 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat futures gained $0.04 ¼ /bu to close at $4.29 ¾ on 4/11/2017 – the day of the report – but after trading higher for two days have since declined through Wednesday, April 19th – closing down to $4.16 ¾ that same day.

World Wheat Supply-Demand

For the “current crop” 2016/17 marketing year (MY), the USDA projected the following. First, World wheat total supplies of 993.1 million metric tons (mmt) and total use of 740.8 mmt – both at record high levels.  Second, that World wheat exports are continuing to trend higher to 180.7 mmt in the “current” marketing year – up from 172.8 mmt last year, and up from 164.45 mmt two years ago.  Third, World wheat ending stocks at a record high 252.3 mmt up from 241.7 mmt last year, and 217.6 mmt two years ago.  And fourth, World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) of 34.05% – up from 34.0% last year, and from 30.85% two years ago –the highest since MY 2005/06.

For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use now are, in MY 2007/08 the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.1 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.9% stocks/use both occurred – the last major World wheat “short crop” marketing year.  The situation in MY 2007/08 compares to projections of 252.3 mmt ending stocks and 34.05% ending stocks-to-use projected for “current” MY 2016/17.  The present “large crop-over supply” situation in World and U.S. wheat markets have a prevailing negative influence on U.S. and World wheat prices.

However, the broader “large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “obscuring” at least a couple of other important market issues.  First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is less so.  This factor helps exports of both U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.  Second, while the aggregate supply of wheat in World markets has grown, the supply of wheat in the “World Less China” is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” in “current crop” MY 2016/17 compared to a year ago – down to the tightest supply-balances only marginally larger than existed in MY 2013/14.  If this “China factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter available global supplies of exportable wheat to occur in coming months, it could have a positive impact U.S. wheat market prices in late-Spring 2017.

Even so, given the broader World wheat market’s current focus – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly by spring-summer 2017.  Ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate is a serious negative factor limiting the competitive affordability of U.S. wheat exports.  These factors have resulted in higher U.S. wheat ending stocks and % ending stocks-to-use, and have caused U.S. and Kansas wheat cash prices to fall sharply – down near to and below the marketing loan rate in many Kansas locations.

USDA U.S. Wheat Supply-Demand Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

On February 23-24, 2017 at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia, the USDA released their grain market supply-demand and price projections for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  With additional acreage and usage information the March 31st USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports, and the April 11th USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the following projections for “next crop” MY 2017/18 are figured.

For “next crop” MY 2017/18, 2017 U.S. wheat plantings are projected to be 46.059 million acres (ma) – down from 50.154 ma in 2015.  Harvested acres for 2016 are forecast to be 39.050 ma – down from 43.890 ma a year ago.  Trendline 2017 wheat yields for 2017 are projected at 47.1 bu/a, down from the 2016 record of 52.6 bu/ac, while the adjusted 2017 U.S. wheat production forecast is 1.839 billion bushels (bb), down from 2.310 bb in 2015.  Projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies are 3.118 bb (down from 3.395 bb in “current” MY 2016/17), with total use of 2.191 bb (down from 2.236 bb in “current” MY 2016/17).

Given these numbers, the adjusted USDA projection of “next crop” MY 2017/18 ending stocks equals 927 million bushels (mb) (vs 1.159 bb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 42.3% S/U (vs 51.8% last year and 50.0% the previous year).  United States’ wheat prices are projected to average approximately $4.25 /bu – up from $3.85 in “current” MY 2016/17, but down from $4.89 /bu in MY 2015/16, and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is assumed by Kansas State University that these adjusted USDA projections for “next crop” MY 2016/17 have a 50% probability of occurring.

Three Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat Supply-Demand Forecasts for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

As an alternative to the USDA’s projection, three potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.

A. KSU Scenario 1) “Trend Yield” Scenario (25% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 that the following occurs.  It is assumed that there will be 46.059 ma planted, 39.334 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.849 bb production, 3.128 bb total supplies, 975 mb exports, 190 mb feed & residual use, 2.191 bb total use, 937 mb ending stocks, 42.8% S/U, & $4.20 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

B. KSU Scenario 2) “Higher U.S. Wheat Exports” Scenario (15% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 the following.  The following is forecast for “next crop” MY 2017/18, i.e., 46.059 ma planted, 39.334 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.849 bb production, 3.128 bb total supplies, 1.150 bb exports, 190 mb feed & residual use, 2.326 bb total use, 802 mb ending stocks, 24.10% S/U, & $4.90 /bu U.S. wheat average price;

C. KSU Scenario 3) “Short U.S. Wheat Crop” Scenario (10% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 that the following happens.  This scenario assumes 46.059 ma planted, 37.124 ma harvested, 40.0 bu/ac low yield, 1.485 bb production, 2.769 bb total supplies, 975 mb exports, 175 mb feed & residual use, 2.175 bb total use, 594 mb ending stocks, 27.31% S/U, & $5.50 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

Key Supply-Demand Factors “Driving” Grain Markets (KSU Extension Ag Economics)

The following presentation on “Key Supply-Demand Factors ‘Driving” Grain Markets” was given on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 to the AgEcon 605 class on “Price Analysis and Forecasting” as a guest lecture.  The class is regularly taught by Dr. Richard Llewelyn of the Kansas State University Department of Agricultural Economics.

This presentation focuses on the key factors that have been “driving” or influencing grain markets over the last 15-25 years.   The full presentation will be available on the KSU Agricultural Economics website at the following web location:

http://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/OBrien_GrainMarketDrivers_03-15-17.pdf

 

 

 

KSU Wheat Market Outlook in December 2016: USDA and KSU Price Forecasts for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

An analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and 2017 price prospects following the USDA’s December 9th World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, and the market actions that have followed those reports will be available on the KSU AgManager website in the next few days (http://www.agmanager.info/default.asp).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat to be found at this web location:

http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing/grain-market-outlook-newsletter

***

Summary

Wheat Market Prices

Since the USDA’s December 9th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, U.S. and World wheat futures market prices have traded higher – with CME MARCH 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat futures gaining $0.08 ¾ /bu to close at $4.13 ½ on 12/9/2016 – the day of the report – and trading as high as $4.20 ¾ per bushel through Wednesday, December 28th before closing down to $4.09 ½ that same day.

World Wheat Supply-Demand

For the “current crop” 2016/17 marketing year (MY), the USDA projected: 1) World wheat total supplies of 991.9 million metric tons (mmt) and total use of 739.8 mmt – both at record high levels, 2) that World wheat exports are continuing to trend higher to 176.8 mmt in the “current” marketing year – up from 172.5 mmt last year, and up from 164.4 mmt two years ago, 3) World wheat ending stocks at a record high 252.1 mmt up from 240.65 mmt last year, and 217.2 mmt two years ago, and 4) World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) of 34.1% – up from 33.8% last year, and from 30.8% two years ago – up to the highest level since MY 2005/06.

For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use now are, in MY 2007/08 the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.1 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.75% stocks/use both occurred – the last major World wheat “short crop” marketing year.  The situation in MY 2007/08 compares to projections of 252.1 mmt ending stocks and 34.1% ending stocks-to-use projected for “current” MY 2016/17.  The “large crop-over supply” situation that now exists in World and U.S. wheat markets continues to have a strong prevailing negative influence on U.S. and World wheat prices.

Factors that Could Change the “Large Crop – Over-Supply” Wheat Market Situation

However, the broader large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “hiding” at least a couple of other important market issues.  First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is less so.  This factor may eventually help exports of both U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) and U.S. Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat (moderate protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.  As evidence of this, exports of U.S. HRW wheat have been occurring at the pace needed to meet USDA projections – helped by both low purchase prices and acceptable protein and quality.  This raises the outside possibility of improved U.S. HRW prices in coming months.  Second, while the supply of wheat in World markets overall has grown, the supply of wheat in the “World Less China” is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” in “current crop” MY 2016/17 compared to a year ago – down to the tightest supply-balances situation since MY 2013/14.  If this “China factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter available global supplies of exportable wheat to occur in coming months, it could have a positive impact U.S. wheat market prices in Spring 2017.

Even so, given the broader World wheat market’s current focus – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly by spring-summer 2017.  Ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate is a serious negative factor that is limiting the competitive affordability of U.S. wheat exports.  These factors have resulted in higher U.S. wheat ending stocks and % ending stocks-to-use, and have caused U.S. and Kansas wheat cash prices to fall sharply – down to and below the marketing loan rate in most of Kansas in fall / early winter 2016.

USDA U.S. Wheat Supply/Demand Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

On December 1, 2016 the USDA released their preliminary Long Term Agricultural Projections to 2026, in which they projected 2017 U.S. wheat plantings of 48.500 million acres (ma) – down from 50.154 ma in 2015.  The USDA also forecast 2016 harvested acres of 41.100 ma which would be down from 43.890 ma a year ago.  Trendline 2017 wheat yields for 2017 are projected at 47.1 bu/a, down from the 2016 record of 52.6 bu/ac, while 2017 U.S. wheat production is forecast to be 1.936 billion bushels (bb), down from 2.310 bb in 2015.  Projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies are 3.199 bb (down from 3.410 bb in “current” MY 2016/17), with total use of 2.206 bb (down from 2.267 bb in “current” MY 2016/17).

Given these numbers, the USDA projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 ending stocks of 933 million bushels (mb) (vs 1.143 bb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 45.0% S/U (vs 50.4% last year and 50.0% the previous year).  United States wheat average prices are projected to average $4.00 /bu – up from $3.70 in “current” MY 2016/17, but down from $4.89 /bu in MY 2015/16 and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is assumed by Kansas State University that these USDA projections for “next crop” MY 2016/17 have a 50% probability of occurring.

Three Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat S/D Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

As an alternative to the USDA’s projection, three potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  These scenarios assume lower 2017 U.S. planted (47.624 ma) and harvested (38.385 ma) wheat acres than the USDA – due to larger than normal amounts of “graze out” and “crop switching” in 2017.

KSU Scenario 1) “Lower Acres, Trend Yield” Scenario (30% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18: 47.624 ma planted, 38.385 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.804 bb production, 3.067 bb total supplies, 960 mb exports, 200 mb feed & residual use, 2.191 bb total use, 876 mb ending stocks, 39.98% S/U, & $4.00-$4.50 /bu U.S. wheat average price;

KSU Scenario 2) “Lower Acres, Trend Yield, +20% Exports” Scenario (10% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18: 47.624 ma planted, 38.385 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.804 bb production, 3.067 bb total supplies, 1.152 bb exports***, 200 mb feed & residual use, 2.383 bb total use, 684 mb ending stocks, 24.10% S/U, & $5.25-$5.75 /bu U.S. wheat average price;

KSU Scenario 3) “Lower Acres, Short Crop Yield” Scenario (10% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18: 47.624 ma planted, 38.385 ma harvested, 43.6 bu/ac low yield***, 1.674 bb production, 2.937 bb total supplies, 925 mb exports, 200 mb feed & residual use, 2.156 bb total use, 781 mb ending stocks, 36.22% S/U, & $4.40-$4.90 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

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Key Trends in World Currencies Important to U.S. Agriculture (via Kansas State University)

Following are a set of graphics showing key trends and relationships in World currencies versus the U.S. Dollar.  These selected currency relationships are among those most likely to impact U.S. agricultural imports and therefore U.S. grain prices.

These slides are part of a larger “Grain Market Outlook for 2017” presentation which is located on the KSU AgManager website (www.AgManager.info) in the “Grain Marketing” section (http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing).

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KSU Wheat Market Outlook in October 2016 – Strong U.S. Hard Red Winter Wheat Exports Provide a Positive Market Signal

An analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and 2016-2017 price prospects following the USDA’s October 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, and the market actions that have followed those reports are available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/default.asp).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat to be found at this web location:

http://www.agmanager.info/wheat-market-outlook-october-2016

***

Summary

Overview

Since the USDA’s October 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, U.S. and World wheat futures market prices have traded higher – with CME DECEMBER 2016 Kansas HRW Wheat futures gaining approximately $0.25 per bushel through Thursday, October 20th.   Results of the USDA September 30th 2016 Small Grains Summary report were fully incorporated into the October USDA estimates.

For the “current crop” 2016/17 marketing year, the USDA projected:

1) World wheat total supplies of 984.1 million metric tons (mmt) and total use of 735.7 mmt – both at record high levels,

2) that World wheat exports are trending higher with 174.7 mmt in the “current” marketing year – up from 172.0 mmt last year, and up from 164.4 mmt two years ago,

3) World wheat ending stocks at a record high 248.4 mmt compared to 239.7 mmt last year, and 216.1 mmt two years ago, and

4) World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) of 33.76% – up marginally from 33.69% last year, and from 30.60% two years ago – up to their highest level in 15 years (since MY 2001/02).

Perspective on Current “Large Supply – Low Price Scenario” vs MY 2007/08

For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use are, the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.0 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.8% S/U both occurred in MY 2007/08, the last major World wheat “short crop” marketing year.  The numbers for MY 2007/08 compare to projections of 248.4 mmt ending stocks and 33.8% ending stocks-to-use projected for “current” MY 2016/17.  The “large crop-over supply-low price” situation that now exists in World and U.S. wheat markets continues to have a strong prevailing negative influence on World wheat prices.

Positive Wheat Market Factors Not Necessarily Being Accounted for 

However, the broader large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “masking” or “obscuring” at least a couple of other important market issues.

First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is less so.  This factor may help exports of both U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) and U.S. Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat (moderate protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.  As evidence of this, exports of U.S. HRW wheat are running ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA projections – raising the possibility of improved U.S. HRW prices in coming months – helped by both low prices and acceptable protein and quality.

Second, while the supply of wheat in World markets overall is growing, the supply of wheat in the “World Less China” is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” in “current crop” MY 2016/17 compared to a year ago – to the tightest supply situation since MY 2013/14.

Relying of Future Supply-Shortfalls to “Adjust” the Market

Even so, given the broader World wheat market’s current focus – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in coming months and early in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly by spring-summer 2017.  Ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate – although it has been “moderating” in recent months – also is a serious negative factor that is limiting U.S. wheat exports.  These factors have resulted in higher U.S. wheat ending stocks and % ending stocks-to-use, and have caused U.S. and Kansas wheat cash prices to fall sharply – down to the marketing loan rate in most of Kansas.

USDA U.S. Wheat Supply/Demand Forecast for “Current Crop” MY 2016/17

The USDA projected 2016 U.S. wheat plantings of 50.154 million acres (ma) – down 4.845 ma (-8.8%) from 2015.  The USDA also forecast 2016 harvested acres of 43.890 ma which would be down 3.428 ma (-7.2%) vs 2015.  Based on record high projected 2016 U.S. wheat yields of 52.6 bu/ac (up from 43.6 bu/ac in 2015), 2016 U.S. wheat production is forecast to be 2.310 bb (vs 2.062 bb in 2015), with total supplies of 3.410 bb (up from 2.927 bb in “old crop” MY 2015/16), and total use of 2.272 bb (up from 1.952 bb in “old crop” MY 2015/16).

Given these numbers, the USDA projected “current crop” MY 2016/17 ending stocks of 1.138 bb (vs 976 mb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 50.09% S/U (vs 50.0% last year and 37.2% the previous year).  U.S. wheat average prices are projected to be in the range of $3.50 to $3.90 (midpoint = $3.70 /bu) – down from $4.89 /bu in “old crop” MY 2015/16 and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is assumed by Kansas State University that these USDA projections for “current crop” MY 2016/17 have an 80% probability of occurring.

Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat S/D Forecast for “Current Crop” MY 2016/17

As an alternative to the USDA’s projection, one potential KSU-Scenario for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices is presented for “current crop” MY 2016/17 – and is given a 20% probability of occurring.  Assuming the same 2016 acreage, yields, imports, and production as USDA, as well as food and seed use, the alternative scenarios assumes a) higher U.S. wheat exports (1.125 bb vs 975 mb by USDA), and b) lower feed and residual use (240 mb vs 260 mb by USDA).

The resulting KSU “Higher Exports with Spring 2017 U.S. Wheat Development Problems” Scenario (20% probability) assumes for “current crop” MY 2016/17: 2.310 bb production, 3.410 bb total supplies, 1.125 bb exports, 240 mb feed & residual use, 1.008 bb ending stocks, 41.97% S/U, & $4.35 /bu U.S. wheat avg. price.

KSU U.S. Wheat S/D Forecasts for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

Two alternative KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  These scenarios assume a 5% decline in U.S. wheat planted and harvested acreage in 2017 (with a 7% decline for U.S. winter wheat, and no changes for other spring wheat and durum wheat classes.  These KSU projections also assume at least a continued moderation in the value of the U.S. dollar during the “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year, with some improvement in U.S. wheat exports as a result.

KSU Scenario A) “Trend Yield, Moderately Higher Exports” Scenario (65% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18: 47.624 ma planted, 41.696 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 2.063 bb production, 3.326 bb total supplies, 1.000 bb exports, 250 mb feed & residual use, 2.286 bb total use, 1.040 bb ending stocks, 45.49% S/U, & $4.10 /bu U.S. wheat average price; and

KSU Scenario B) “Lower Yield, Average Exports” Scenario (35% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18: 47.624 ma planted, 41.696 ma harvested, 43.6 bu/ac lower yield, 1.914 bb production, 3.177 bb total supplies, 980 mb exports, 240 mb feed & residual use, 2.256 bb total use, 921 mb ending stocks, 40.82% S/U, & $4.50 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

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