KSU “Quick Analysis” Calculations of USDA November 9th Reports – Focusing on U.S. Corn and Soybean Yields and Production, and World Crop Supply-Demand Balances

A KSU “quick analysis” worksheet of the key grain marketing-related information found in the November 9, 2016 USDA Crop Production (here) and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report (here) can be found on the Kansas State University AgManager.info website (http://www.agmanager.info/).

The specific web address for this downloadable MS Excel Spreadsheet is found here:  http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing

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The spreadsheet contains a comparison of USDA November 2016 forecasts with a) pre-report trade estimates, b) last month’s October 2016 WASDE projections, and c) projections for previous marketing years.  Key information is contained on the following:

A. U.S. crop production forecasts for 2016 corn, soybean and grain sorghum.

B. U.S. ending stocks projections for the “new crop” 2016/17 marketing year for major crops.

C. World ending stocks projections for the “new crop” 2016/17 marketing year for major crops

The worksheet also contains a more extensive analysis of the September WASDE report results in regards to World wheat, coarse grain, corn and soybean supply-demand results, focusing on country-by-country (or region-by-region in many cases) projections of production, imports, exports, domestic feed use, and ending stocks.

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A Kansas Grain Elevator (Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/grain-elevator/images-videos)

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U.S. Ethanol and Biodiesel Market-Profitability Graphics through October 25, 2016 (via Kansas State University)

Following are some graphics on price and profitability trends in the U.S. ethanol and biodiesel industries, which will soon be available on the Kansas State University AgManager website: http://www.agmanager.info/

The full presentation titled “U.S. Ethanol & Biodiesel Market Graphics” made for WILL Radio (Illinois Public Media and the University of Illinois – Agriculture, http://will.illinois.edu/agriculture) program on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, and is located at the KSU AgManager.info website at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing/grain-market-outlook-newsletter/us-ethanol-and-biodiesel-market-situation

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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

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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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KSU Corn Market Outlook in October 2016: Strong Demand holds Kansas Corn Prices Above Marketing Loan at Harvest

This article provides an analysis of U.S. and World corn supply-demand factors and price prospects for both the “new crop” 2016/17 marketing year following the USDA’s October 12, 2016 USDA Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports.

Following is a summary of the article on “Corn Market Outlook in October 2016″ with the full article and accompanying analysis soon to be available on the KSU AgManager website (www.AgManager.info) at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/grain-marketing/grain-market-outlook-newsletter/corn-market-outlook-october-2016

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Summary

Overview

Since the USDA’s October 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, DEC 2016 CME corn futures has trended higher from a close of $3.37 per bushel on the day of the report, to a high of $3.58 ¾ on October 14th, before closing at $3.53 ¾ on October 18th with nearly 50% of the U.S. corn harvest complete.  The USDA’s forecast of a record large 2016 U.S. corn crop over 15 billion bushels (bb) and ending stocks of near 2.3 bb have continued to be the primary focus of the U.S. corn market.

Cash Corn Markets in Kansas vs Marketing Loan Rates

Cash corn prices in Kansas have declined to near or below $3.00 per bushel, but have not fallen as low as marketing loan rates.  For example, on October 19th, cash corn prices near Salina, Kansas in the central part of the state ranged from $2.81 to $2.95 per bushel –above the Saline County marketing loan rate of $2.05 per bushel.  Similarly, cash corn prices near Garden City in southwest Kansas ranged from $3.02 to $3.05 per bushel – above the Finney County marketing loan rate of $2.19 per bushel.  Although fall harvest is approximately 75%+ completed in Kansas with the situation of large supplies and tight storage availability to deal with in local grain markets, it is an encouraging signal for corn demand that cash corn prices have not fallen down to loan rate – price support levels.

Other Corn Market Factors in 2017

Other market factors to consider that could affect the U.S. corn market in what remains of 2016 through mid-2017 include: 1) the pace and timing of U.S. farmer marketing of the 2016 corn crop – much of which will be placed in storage after fall harvest, 2) anticipation of continued strong use of “new crop” 2016 U.S. corn in domestic U.S. ethanol production and livestock feeding, 3) at least moderate strength in U.S. corn exports – driven partly by a poor harvest and lack of exportable supplies in Brazil in 2016 as well as other World corn market factors, and 4) the always present possibility of broader U.S. and Foreign economic and/or financial system disruptions impacting grain, energy, and other commodity markets in later 2016 and 2017.

For example, unanticipated U.S. financial policy announcements by the U.S. Federal Reserve could affect U.S. interest rates which could affect U.S. corn exports.  Also, World geo-political events could provide an unanticipated “shock” to U.S. and World energy and grain markets – with the impact on the direction of U.S. and World corn markets being difficult to anticipate.

USDA Supply-Demand Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2016/17

With USDA projections of 2016 U.S. corn plantings of 94.490 ma (up 6.491 ma from 2015), harvested acres of 86.836 ma (up 6.087 ma from 2015), record high projected yields of 173.4 bu/ac (vs 168.4 bu/ac in 2015 and the previous record high of 171.0 bu/ac in 2014), 2016 U.S. corn production is forecast to be a record high 15.057 bb – up from 13.601 bb in 2015, the current record of 14.216 bb in 2014, and 13.829 bb in 2013.

With forecast “new crop” MY 2016/17 total supplies of 16.845 bb (record high), total use of 14.525 bb (record high), and projected ending stocks of 2.320 bb (15.97% S/U) – up from 1.738 bb (12.72% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2015/16 and the highest since 4.259 bb (54.90% S/U) in MY 2004/05 – U.S. corn prices are projected by the USDA to be in the range of $2.95-$3.55 (midpoint = $3.25 /bu) – being down from $3.61 /bu for “old crop” MY 2015/16. This scenario is given a 70% likelihood of occurring by KSU Extension Ag Economist D. O’Brien.

Alternative KSU Forecasts for “New Crop” MY 2016/17

Two alternative KSU-Scenarios for U.S. corn supply-demand and prices are presented for “new crop” MY 2016/17, each gauging the likelihood of lower U.S. corn yields and production than projected by the USDA in the October 12th USDA WASDE report.

KSU Scenario A) “172.5 bu/ac – 14.979 bb” Scenario (25% probability) assumes: 94.490 ma planted, 86.836 ma harvested, 172.5 bu/ac yield, 14.979 bb production, 16.717 bb total supplies, 14.525 bb total use, 2.192 bb ending stocks, 15.09% S/U, & $3.35 /bu U.S. corn average price for “new crop” MY 2016/17;

KSU Scenario B) “171.0 bu/ac – 14.849 bb” Scenario (5% probability) assumes: 94.490 ma planted, 86.836 ma harvested, 171.0 bu/ac yield, 14.849 bb production, 16.637 bb total supplies, 14.525 bb total use, 2.112 bb ending stocks, 14.54% S/U, & $3.45 /bu U.S. corn average price for “new crop” MY 2016/17;

World Corn Supply-Demand

Record high World corn production of 1,025.7 million metric tons (mmt) is projected for “new crop” MY 2016/17, up from 959.1 mmt in “old crop” MY 2015/16, and up from 1,014.4 mmt in MY 2014/15.

Record high World corn total supplies of 1,235.7 mmt are projected for “new crop” MY 2016/17, up from 1,168.1 mmt in “old crop” MY 2015/16, and from 1,189.7 mmt in MY 2014/15.  World corn exports of 143.8 mmt are projected for “new crop” MY 2016/17, up from 119.5 mmt in “old crop” MY 2015/16, and from 141.7 mmt in MY 2014/15.  Projected World corn ending stocks of 216.8 mmt (21.3% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2016/17 are up from 210.9 mmt (21.9% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2015/16, and from 208.9 mmt (21.3% S/U) in MY 2014/15.  Although World corn ending stocks are projected to be a record high in “new crop” MY 2016/17 at 216.8 mmt, World corn percent ending stocks-to-use in “new crop” MY 2016/17 are forecast to actually decline to 21.3% – indicative of expected continued strong World demand for corn at low prices – especially in Europe where grain production has been hampered by extreme weather conditions.

Brazil Corn Supply-Demand

Brazil corn production in “old crop” MY 2015/16 (1st crop harvested in January-May 2016, 2nd crop harvested in May-August) is estimated to be 67.0 mmt, down 18.0 mmt (down 21.2%) from 85.0 mmt in MY 2014/15.  This shortfall in Brazilian corn production in 2016 has provided support for U.S. corn exports and even ethanol production (via exports). However, expectations of a record large 2016 U.S. corn crop have had a predominant negative impact on U.S. corn market prices through late summer and early fall.  Brazilian corn production is forecast by the USDA to rebound back to 83.5 mmt in MY 2016/17 (2017 production).  Uncertainty about Brazilian corn production prospects in 2017 could be a major factor impacting U.S. and World corn prices in the coming spring and summer months of 2017.

China Corn Supply-Demand

China corn production in “new crop” MY 2016/17 (harvested in September-October 2016) is estimated to be 216.0 mmt, down 8.6 mmt (down 3.8%) from 224.6 mmt in MY 2015/16, but marginally higher than 215.65 mmt in MY 2014/15.  A major focus in World corn markets is on the size of Chinese ending stocks and on recent changes in China’s domestic corn stock management policies.  Ending stocks of corn in China are projected to be 103.7 mmt (45.9% SU) in “new crop” MY 2016/17, down from 110.7 mmt (50.9% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2015/16, but up from 100.5 mmt (49.7% S/U) in MY 2014/15.  Over the last three marketing years, percent ending stocks-to-use of corn for China ranging from 49.7% to 50.9% are the highest since MY 2002/03 (51.6%).  During the interim MY 2003/04 to MY 2013/14 period, Chinese corn percent ending stocks-to-use averaged 30.5%, ranging from 25.2% to 39.1%.

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KSU Weekly Grain Market Analysis: Focusing on U.S. Corn Supply-Demand and Prices following USDA Reports

Grain market summary notes, charts and comments ahead of the KSU Agriculture Today Grain Outlook to be played on Friday, October 14th will be placed up on the Kansas State University www.AgManager.info website at the following KSU web address:

https://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/KSRN_GrainOutlook_10-14-16.pdf

The recorded radio program will be aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, October 14th on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available.

Later today the program can also be listened to via a link from the following website in the “Radio Interviews” section: http://www.agmanager.info/news#ksrn-radio-interviews

Following are sections of the Working notes for this week’s radio program up on the KSU AgManager.info website…

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Non-Convergence of CME HRW Wheat Futures and the DEC 2015, JULY 2016, and SEPT 2017 Contracts

An article on “Non-Convergence of CME HRW Wheat Futures for the DEC 2015, JULY 2016, and SEPT 2017 Contracts” is available on the KSU AgManager website (www.AgManager.info) at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/non-convergence-cme-kansas-hrw-wheat-futures-dec-2015-july-2016-and-sept-2016-contracts

Following is a summary of the article, with the full text, figures, and data table on the AgManager website:

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Summary

Since the delivery period for the SEPT 2015 Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Kansas Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat futures contract, basis bids at designated delivery elevator locations during futures contract delivery periods have been markedly wider than the futures-cash price differentials at delivery designated in the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications.  This market condition seems to be due to a combination of excessive supplies of wheat and to non-convergence of futures with cash wheat prices during delivery periods at designated delivery elevators.

During the late-August delivery period for the SEPT 2016 CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract, truck bids for ordinary wheat in Kansas City, MO – where a number of the designated delivery elevators for the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contracts are located – were $0.55-$0.58 per bushel under futures.  At other CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract delivery elevator locations in Wichita, Hutchinson, and Salina, Kansas, wheat basis levels (i.e., the difference between futures and local cash prices) of $0.80-$0.85 per bushel under futures were recorded.  These basis levels are markedly wider than the location-based price differentials formally designated to occur during delivery according to CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, i.e., $0.12 per bushel under at Salina/Abilene delivery elevators, $0.09 per bushel under at Hutchinson, $0.06 under at Wichita, and no discount or “par” at Kansas City, MO truck bid locations.

While this lack of convergence at designated delivery elevator locations between cash and futures prices for HRW wheat has been due partly to a combination of wheat market supply-demand factors, it seems that issues related to the design of the futures contract itself are also contributing significantly.  This is particularly true in regards to grain delivered by short futures position holders on CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contracts.

Potential remedies to non-convergence in the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract include instituting a VSR on this contract as well as the Chicago wheat futures contract, or to raise the fixed storage rate paid on warehouse receipts in the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract high enough to motivate “load out” cash sales instead of storage on the part of long position holders.

Causes of Current Wide Wheat Basis Levels in Kansas

Wide wheat basis levels that have existed in Kansas wheat markets since July 2016 are primarily the result of a) a large 2016 Kansas wheat crop, b) only a moderate pace of usage of U.S. hard red winter wheat in terms of exports, milling, and wheat feeding, and c) large inventories of wheat relative to available storage space at grain elevators in the state. And with large Kansas 2016 fall crop harvests occurring following the large 2016 wheat crop – the Kansas grain elevator system is expected to be filled beyond its constructed storage capacity, with the excess being placed temporarily in outdoor piles of grain (much of it to be covered with plastic, etc.).

While the supply-demand situation for wheat and other crops in Kansas is the primary factor leading to lower cash grain prices and wide basis levels, the lack of convergence between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Kansas Hard Red Winter (HRW) wheat futures contract and cash prices at designated delivery elevator locations in Kansas during the delivery periods for the JULY 2016 and SEPTEMBER 2016 contracts has also been a contributing factor.

Non-convergence of HRW wheat futures and cash prices in Kansas has been an ongoing, periodic problem since at least early 2009.  Table 1 and Figure 1 show wheat cash prices for truck bids and basis levels for Ordinary HRW wheat at Kansas City, Missouri for the MARCH 2009 through SEPTEMBER 2016 CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contracts.  Kansas City, Missouri one of the – if not the primary – designated delivery elevator location for the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract.  Table 1 and Figure 2 show basis levels during these same CME HRW wheat futures contract delivery periods in Kansas City, Missouri as well at other designated delivery locations in Wichita, Hutchinson, and Salina-Abilene in Kansas. The cash prices and basis levels for Wichita, Hutchinson, and Salina-Abilene represent the reported upper ends of the cash price trading ranges for these locations from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) daily reports for central Kansas grain markets.

Wheat Basis During Delivery Periods for the DEC 2015, JULY 2016 and SEPT 2016 CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures Contracts

During calendar years 2009 through 2014, there were periods of extremely wide basis levels for the Kansas HRW wheat futures contract during delivery periods at Kansas City, Missouri delivery locations.  This was especially true during delivery for the DEC 2009 through MAY 2011 Kansas HRW wheat contracts. During this time frame, delivery period basis levels at Kansas City, Missouri delivery locations widened to $0.50 to $0.90 per bushel under associated expiring futures contracts.

This widening of wheat basis levels was primarily responsible for motivating changes that were made to the Kansas HRW wheat futures contract by the Kansas City Board of Trade in year 2011 – consisting of higher fixed storage rates on delivered warehouse receipts and tighter wheat protein and quality standards are delivered wheat.

Following is a record of the wheat basis levels that occurred at designated delivery elevators for the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract from the DEC 2015 futures contract forward through the SEPT 2016 futures contract.

  1. DECEMBER 2015 CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures

Non-convergence of HRW wheat futures and cash prices during delivery periods has occurred consistently during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 marketing years.  Following what is more likely to be “convergence-like” performance for the JULY 2015 and SEPTEMBER 2015 CME Kansas wheat futures contracts, the DEC 2015 contract appeared to not converge with cash prices during the contract delivery period.

During the November 19-24, 2015 time-frame, truck bids for cash wheat in Kansas City, Missouri ranged from $4.17 to $4.25 per bushel.  Wheat basis levels ranged from $0.38-$0.40 under nearby DEC 2015 futures for November 19-20, and under MARCH 2016 futures for November 23-24 (Table 1, Figures 1 & 2).  During this same period, wheat basis bids at designated delivery locations in Salina ranged from $0.25-$0.30 under, compared to $0.20-$0.25 under in Hutchinson, and $0.25-$0.30 in Wichita.

These cash basis levels for the DEC 2015 Kansas HRW wheat contract were wider than the location-based price differentials formally designated to occur in the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, i.e., $0.12 per bushel under at Salina/Abilene delivery elevators, $0.09 per bushel under at Hutchinson, $0.06 under at Wichita, and no discount or “par” at Kansas City, Missouri truck bid locations.

  1. MARCH 2016 CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures

After seeming non-convergence during delivery for the DEC 2015 CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract, the basis levels during delivery for MARCH 2016 futures for the 2/23-2/26/2016 period were consistently $0.18 under in Kansas City, Missouri, and $0.35 under in Salina, $0.30 under in Hutchinson, and primarily $0.32 under in Wichita (with a late one day “jump” to $0.55 under on 2/26/2016) (Table 1, Figures 1 & 2).

As for the DEC 2015 CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract, these cash basis levels for the MARCH Kansas HRW wheat contract are wider than the location-based price differentials formally designated to occur according to CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, i.e., $0.12 per bushel under at Salina/Abilene delivery elevators, $0.09 per bushel under at Hutchinson, $0.06 under at Wichita, and no discount or “par” at Kansas City, Missouri truck bid locations.

  1. MAY 2016 CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures

Basis levels during delivery for MARCH 2016 futures for the 4/26-4/29/2016 period were consistently $0.17 under in Kansas City, Missouri, and $0.45 under in Salina, $0.40 under in Hutchinson, and $0.35-$0.50 under in Wichita (i.e., $0.50 under on 4/26-27, and $0.35 under on 4/28-29) (Table 1, Figures 1 & 2).

As for the DEC 2015 and MARCH 2016 CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contracts, these cash basis levels for the MAY Kansas HRW wheat contract are wider than the location-based price differentials formally designated to occur according to CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, i.e., $0.12 per bushel under at Salina/Abilene delivery elevators, $0.09 per bushel under at Hutchinson, $0.06 under at Wichita, and no discount or “par” at Kansas City, Missouri truck bid locations.

  1. JULY 2016 CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures

During the June 27-30, 2016 period truck bids for cash wheat in Kansas City, Missouri ranged from $3.74 to $3.88 per bushel.  Basis levels were $0.25 under nearby JULY 2016 futures for the June 27-30 period (Table 1, Figures 1 & 2).  During this same period, wheat basis bids at designated delivery locations in Salina were $0.65 under, compared to $0.55 under in Hutchinson, and $0.65 in Wichita.

As has consistently occurred since the DEC 2015 CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract delivery period, these cash basis levels for the JULY 2016 Kansas HRW wheat contract are markedly wider than the location-based price differentials formally designated to occur in the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, i.e., $0.12 per bushel under at Salina/Abilene delivery elevators, $0.09 per bushel under at Hutchinson, $0.06 under at Wichita, and no discount or “par” at Kansas City, Missouri truck bid locations.

  1. SEPTEMBER 2016 CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures

Truck bids for cash wheat in Kansas City, Missouri ranged from $3.10 to $3.51 per bushel for the August 25-30, 2016 period.  Basis levels were $0.55 under nearby SEPT 2016 futures for August 25-26, and $0.58 under DEC 2016 futures for August 29-30 (Table 1, Figures 1 & 2).  During this same period, wheat basis bids at designated delivery locations in Salina, Kansas were $0.85 under, compared to $0.80 under in Hutchinson, and $0.85 in Wichita.

In what has developed to be a consistent pattern since late 2015, these cash basis levels for the SEPT 2016 Kansas HRW wheat contract are markedly wider than the location-based price differentials formally designated to occur according to CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, i.e., $0.12 per bushel under at Salina/Abilene delivery elevators, $0.09 per bushel under at Hutchinson, $0.06 under at Wichita, and no discount or “par” at Kansas City, Missouri truck bid locations.

Possible Solutions to Non-Convergence in CME Kansas HRW Wheat Futures

It appears that this lack of convergence at designated delivery elevator locations between cash and futures prices for HRW wheat has been due to a combination of wheat market supply-demand factors as well as issues concerning the design of the futures contract itself.  This is particularly true in regards to grain delivered by short futures position holders on CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contracts.

In the Chicago wheat futures contract, the CME has instituted a Variable Storage Rate (VSR) mechanism that systematically increases or adjusts the rate of storage paid on the warehouse receipts by long position holders during times periods when the true price of storage moves higher.   During times of tight storage when the implicit market value of storage space increases, this increased storage rate on warehouse receipts (as driven by the automatic VSR adjustment mechanism in the Chicago wheat contract) provides a disincentive for continued holding of warehouse receipts by long position holders, and tends to motivate “load out” cash sales in the wheat market.  Increased “load out” or cash sales are a primary means of helping to bring about cash-futures convergence.

According CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract specifications, long position holders who have been delivered on can choose to “load out” (sell the grain in the cash market) or pay fixed, contract specified storage rates charged on the warehouse receipts that they are have been forced to accept delivery of.  These warehouse receipt storage rates are calculated on a daily basis, and are approximately $0.09 per bushel per month during the July-November period, and approximately $0.06 per bushel per month during December-June.  During times when excessive inventories of wheat exist, available storage space is at a premium, and the cash price penalty for “loading out” and selling cash wheat as opposed holding warehouse receipts and paying designated contract storage costs is high. As a result, long position holders who have been delivered on have an incentive to hold the warehouse receipts – continuing to pay designated futures contract storage costs on them – rather than selling in the cash market (i.e., loading out).

In summary, supply-demand conditions for wheat in Kansas and the U.S. are certainly a major factor encouraging wide wheat basis levels at this time.  However, during key futures contract delivery periods wide differences between CME Kansas HRW wheat futures and cash prices at the designated delivery elevators can be attributed to a lack of convergence between cash and futures prices – contrary to the intended original design of such futures contracts.

Among potential remedies to non-convergence in the CME Kansas HRW wheat futures contract include instituting a VSR on this contract as well, or to raise the storage rate paid on warehouse receipts high enough to motivate “load out” cash sales instead of storage.  An August 11, 2016 newsletter by Kansas State University titled “Non-Convergence of CME Hard Red Winter Wheat Futures and the Impact of Excessive Grain Inventories in Kanas” goes into more detail on the causes and potential remedies of non-convergence issues in HRW wheat futures.

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“Soybean Market Outlook for 2017” Presentation at KSU Ag Lender’s Conferences, October 4-5, 2016

As part of the Kansas State University Agricultural Lenders Conferences to be held on Tuesday, October 4th in Garden City, Kansas and on Wednesday, October 5th in Manhattan, Kansas, a “Grain Market Outlook in 2017” presentation will be given by Daniel O’Brien, KSU Extension Agricultural Economist.

Following are the full set of slide for the first part of that presentation pertaining to Soybean Market Outlook for 2017.

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