KSU Soybean Market Outlook in Late-May 2018 – A Convergence of Volatility-Factors Upon the Soybean Markets

An analysis of U.S. and World soybean supply-demand factors and 2018 price prospects following the USDA’s May 10th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports will be available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/)

Following an article on “Soybean Market Outlook in Late-May 2018” – with the full article and accompanying analysis to be available on the KSU AgManager website at the following web address:

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

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1. Overview of the Soybean Market Situation in Late-May 2018

Since February 1, 2018 the outlook for U.S. soybean market prices through Summer-Fall of this year has been extremely uncertain.  Prospects for soybean production and trade competition from South America has had both positive and negative impacts on U.S. soybean export market and price prospects. However, the largest source of uncertainty has stemmed from trade disputes between the U.S. and China – which has at different times both diminished and improved U.S. soybean export market prospects.   With soybean planting progressing in the U.S., during July-August 2018 the attention of the soybean market will likely turn toward the development of the 2018 U.S. soybean crop and associated supply and demand prospects.

What can be described as “neutral-to-cautiously optimistic” forecasts for U.S. soybean prices in the “new crop” 2018/19 marketing year that now predominate in the soybean market are based on a combination of market factors.  These include: 1) as yet un-dealt with 2018 U.S. soybean production risk in Summer 2018; 2) expectations of continued strength in U.S. soybean domestic crush and exports in coming months; and 3) the possibility of tighter U.S. soybean supplies in terms of reduced ending stocks and percent ending stocks-to-use if a short crop develops in the U.S. this summer.  Improved U.S. soybean export prospects are expected resulting from 2018 soybean production problems for export competitor Argentina on the one hand, and hopes for a resolution to the China-U.S. trade dispute on the other. 

Even with the relative strength of U.S. soybean prices over the past four (4) months, the path of U.S. soybean prices through Fall 2018 will be largely driven by the development of and prospects for the 2018 U.S. soybean crop.   Kansas State University projections are that if prospects for 2018 U.S. corn production decline markedly below the 4.280 billion bushel (bb) forecast by the USDA – down to say 3.800-4.000 bb or less, then U.S. soybean ending stocks for “new crop” MY 2018/19 would likely fall to 250-300 mb or less (compared to the USDA’s forecast of 415 mb).  If this occurs, then U.S. soybean ending stocks-to-use in “new crop” MY 2018/19 would likely decline to 7.0%-8.0% or less – compared to the current USDA forecast of 9.39% ending stocks-to-use. 

Consequently, if a short crop were to occur in the U.S. in summer 2018, then in Fall 2018 NOV 2018 soybean futures would likely move higher to the range of $11.50-$12.00 /bu. or more.  Projected U.S. average cash prices for “new crop” MY 2018/19 would also likely rise – up to the range of $11.00-$11.50 /bu (midpoint = $11.25).  This compares to the current USDA forecast of $8.75-$11.25 (midpoint = $10.00 /bu) on 9.39% stocks/use for “new crop” MY 2018/19 – beginning September 1, 2018.

2. CME Soybean Futures & Kansas Cash Corn Prices & Basis Bids

Soybean futures have reflected the “disconcerting uncertainty” that these market factors have had on market sentiments.  Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) JULY 2018 Soybean futures can be described as “volatile” during the February 1st – March 30th period.  After closing at $10.06 per bushel on February 1st, JULY 2018 Soybean futures moved to a high of $10.90 ¼ on March 2nd; to a low of $9.94 ½ on April 4th; to a high of $10.78 on April 13th; to a low of $9.92 ½ on May 17th; to a high of $10.50 ¾ on May 24th; and finally down to a close of $10.18 ½ on Thursday, May 31st

Since the release of the USDA’s May 10th World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) report, “old crop JULY 2018 CME Soybean futures prices have traded in a range of $9.98 ½ to $10.35 ¾ per bushel before closing at $10.18 ½ /bu on May 31st (Figure 1).   Over the same time period “new crop NOVEMBER 2018 CME Soybean futures prices have traded in a range of $10.02 to $10.42 ½ /bu before closing at $10.34 ¼ on May 31st.   Prices for the JULY 2018 and NOV 2018 futures contracts are up $0.53 ¼ (up 5.5%) and $0.66 ¾ /bu (up 6.9%) from their lows on January 12th following the January 2018 USDA Annual Crop Production Summary, WASDE, and Grain Stocks reports.         

In Western Kansas on Wednesday, May 30th cash soybean bids at major grain elevators ranged from $8.88 ($1.35 under JULY 2018 futures) to $9.23 ($1.00 under), and ranged from $9.29 ($0.94 under) to $9.43 ($0.80 under) in Central Kansas.  These prices are at least moderately higher than when bids in western and central Kansas had fallen to $8.21-$9.05 ½ ($1.40 to $0.55 /bu under MAR 2018 Soybean futures) on January 12, and greatly above marketing loan rates for soybeans across the state, with loan rates near $5.00 in Central Kansas and $4.80 per bushel in Western Kansas

Cash soybean price bids in East Central and Northeast Kansas at major terminal elevator locations were $9.88 – $9.93 ($0.35 to $0.30 under JULY) on May 30th, up substantially from the range of $9.00 ½ – $9.05 ½ per bushel ($0.60-$0.55 under MAR 2018) on 1/12/2018.  Cash soybean bids at Kansas soybean processing plants in Emporia and Wichita on May 30th ranged from $9.86 ($0.37 under JULY) to $9.93 ($0.30 under).

3. South American Export Competition in “Old Crop” MY 2017/18

Soybean market signals from South American export competitors Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay have been “mixed” so far in year 2018 (Figure 14).  Serious drought has caused Argentina soybean production to decline by 32.5% from a USDA estimate of 57.8 million metric tons (mmt) in 2017 down to 39.0 mmt in 2018, and cut projected Argentine soybean exports by 40.3% to 4.2 mmt in the “old crop” 2017/18 marketing year (MY) ending August 31st (Tables 2 & 3).   Argentina soybean meal exports are projected to be 7.4% lower (29.0 mmt) in MY 2017/18, down from 31.3 mmt in MY 2016/17.

However, Brazilian soybean production is projected to be higher – offsetting Argentina’s declines to a degree.  Brazil is projected by the USDA to produce a record high 117.0 mmt of soybeans in year 2018, up 2.5% from the previous record of 114.5 mmt in year 2017.  Brazilian soybean exports are forecast to be 73.3 mmt in MY 2017/18 (ending August 31st), up 16.1% from 63.1 mmt in MY 2016/17 (Tables 2 & 3).  Brazil soybean meal exports are projected to be 13.3% higher (15.6 mmt) in MY 2017/18, up from 13.8 mmt in MY 2016/17.  

Paraguay soybean production is projected to be down marginally – providing a neutral influence to the market.  Paraguay is projected by the USDA to produce 10.2 mmt of soybeans in year 2018, up marginally from 10.0 mmt in year 2017.  Paraguay soybean exports are forecast to be 6.25 mmt in MY 2017/18 (ending August 31st), up 2.0% from 6.13 mmt in MY 2016/17 (Tables 2 & 3). 

These three South American countries are the main competition in global soybean export markets for the United StatesArgentina, Brazil and Paraguay are forecast to comprise 55.4% (83.75 mmt) of forecast World soybean exports (151.3 mmt) in the “old crop” 2017/18 marketing year (MY). The U.S. is projected to make up 37.2% (56.2 mmt) of World soybean exports for MY 2017/18, with other countries making up the remaining 7.4% (11.3 mmt) (Table 3). 

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China has “pushed” Chinese soybean export purchases toward Brazil and away from the U.S. at least temporarily until the matter is either settled OR exportable South American supplies are no longer available in fall 2018.  There has been both negative and positive news coming from these negotiations to date, with final agreements or lack there of still to come.

4. U.S. Soybean Supply-Demand Projections for “Old Crop” MY 2017/18

In the May 10th USDA WASDE report the USDA projected “old crop” MY 2017/18 soybean Total Supplies to be unchanged from earlier WASDE reports at 4.718 billion bushels (bb) (Table 1 and Figure 6). 

Continued strength in U.S. soybean crush resulting from demand for soybean meal for domestic and foreign livestock feeding has supported domestic U.S. soybean demand (Table 1, Figures 7 & 9ab).  Projected exports of U.S. soybean meal of 12.700 million short tons (mst) in “old crop” MY 2017/18 ending on September 30th are up from 11.601 mst last year – trailing only 13.107 mst in MY 2014/15.  Strong U.S. soybean meal exports in “old crop” MY 2017/18 are a direct result of shortfalls in Argentina soybean production and soybean meal exports due to drought conditions in early 2018.    

The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report monthly projections of U.S. soybeans exports for “old crop” MY 2017/18 have declined by nearly 100 mb since January 2018 – down to a projection of 2.065 bb (Table 1, Figures 7 & 9ab).  This forecast of 2.065 bb for the current marketing year ending on August 31st is still the 2nd highest on record, but down from the record high of 2.174 bb a year earlier.  This moderate reduction in U.S. soybean export prospects in recent months is due to a combination of larger Brazilian soybean production, and trade tensions between the U.S. and China pushing business to Brazil. 

Through May 17th – the 37th week of “old crop” MY 2017/18 – 1.670 bb of U.S. soybeans had been shipped from U.S. ports for exports (Figure 8).  This amounts to 80.9% of the USDA’s projection of 2.065 bb in U.S. exports with 71.2% of the marketing year complete (i.e., 37/52 weeks).  However, total shipments and forward sales of U.S. soybeans in “old crop” MY 2017/18 through May 17th amounted to 2.028 bb, or 98.2% of the USDA’s projection with 71.2% of MY 2017/18 complete – indicating a positive outlook for “old crop” U.S. soybean exports for the remainder of the marketing year through August 31st.

Seed usage of U.S. soybeans is projected to be 103 million bushels (mb) in “old crop” MY 2017/18, with Residual use forecast at 32 mb – both down marginally from MY 2016/17.  Total Use was projected to be a record high of 4.188 bb in “old crop” MY 2017/18 – down moderately from the past record of 4.213 bb in MY 2016/17 (Table 1, Figures 7 & 9ab).

As a result of these supply and use projections for “old crop” MY 2017/18, ending stocks are projected to be the 2nd highest on record at 530 mb with percent ending stocks-to-use of 12.66% – both up from 415 mb (7.17% S/U) in MY 2016/17 (Table 1, Figures 9ab & 10-11).  The record high U.S. soybean ending stocks amount occurred in MY 2006/07, with 574 mb ending stocks and 18.62% ending stocks-to-use. 

United States’ soybean prices for “old crop” MY 2017/18 are projected to average $9.35 /bu – down from $9.47 in MY 2016/17, and comparable to $8.95 /bu in MY 2015/16 (Table 1, Figures 10-11).  

5. U.S. Soybean Supply-Demand Projections for “New Crop” MY 2018/19

The USDA provided a forecast of U.S. soybean supply, demand, and prices for “new crop” MY 2018/19 In the May 10th USDA WASDE report.  Based on 2018 U.S. soybean production projections 88.982 million acres (ma) planted, 88.247 ma harvested, and 2018 U.S. soybean average yields of 48.5 bu/ac., the USDA forecast 2018 U.S. soybean production to be 4.280 bb.  This 2018 forecast of 4.280 bb would be down from the record high of 4.392 bb in 2017, and the 2nd highest amount of 4.296 bb in 2016 (Tables 1a-b, Figures 4-5-6). 

Total Supplies of U.S. soybeans in “new crop” MY 2018/19 are forecast to be a record high 4.835 bb based on 530 mb in beginning stocks, 4.280 bb in production, and 25 mb in imports.  This amount is up from the previous record highs of 4.718 bb and 4.515 bb in U.S. soybean Total Supplies in “old crop” MY 2017/18 and MY 2016/17, respectively (Tables 1a-b, Figure 6). 

Soybean crush in “new crop” MY 2018/19 is forecast to be a new record high of 1.995 bb – to be driven by expected ongoing domestic usage for livestock feed as well as moderately lower soybean meal exports (Table 1a-b, Figures 7 & 9ab).  This would be up 5 mb in U.S. soybean crush from “old crop” MY 2017/18.  

Exports of U.S. soybeans in “new crop” MY 2018/19 are forecast to increase 225 mb to 2.290 bb – likely on short supplies on the part of export competitor Argentina in early 2019 (Figures 7-9).  As of May 17th, a total of 204.2 mb of U.S. soybean sales have been made for delivery in “new crop” MY 2018/19 – beginning on September 1, 2018 – equal to 8.9% of the USDA projection of 2.290 bb for the marketing year.

Seed usage of U.S. soybeans is projected to be 103 million bushels (mb) in “new crop” MY 2018/19, with Residual use forecast at 30 mb – both essentially unchanged from “old crop” MY 2017/18 (Table 1a-b, Figures 9ab). 

Total Use is projected to be a record high of 4.420 bb – up from the previous record highs of 4.188-4.213 bb the last two years (Table 1a-b, Figure 9b). 

As a result of these supply and use projections for “new crop” MY 2018/19, ending stocks are projected to be 415 mb with percent ending stocks-to-use of 9.39% – both down from 530 mb (12.66% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2017/18 (Tables 1a-b, Figures 9ab & 10-11).  United States’ soybean prices for “new crop” MY 2018/19 are projected in the range of $8.75-$11.25 (midpoint = $10.00 /bu) – up $0.65 /bu from the midpoint projection of $9.35 /bu in “old crop” MY 2017/18.   This scenario is given a 50% likelihood of occurring by KSU Extension Agricultural Economist D. O’Brien.

6. Alternative KSU Soybean Forecast Scenarios for “New Crop” MY 2018/19

Three alternative KSU-Scenarios to the USDA’s forecast for U.S. soybean supply-demand and prices are presented for “new crop” MY 2018/19 (Table 1b, Figure 10).  These projections show how varying 2018 U.S. soybean production and use scenarios could affect U.S. soybean supply-demand and price outcomes in “new crop” MY 2018/19.  Probability-weights are added to reflect judgements about how likely each scenario is to occur in “new crop” MY 2018/19, i.e., during the September 1, 2018 through August 31, 2019 time period.

A – KSU “Lower 2018 U.S. Soybean Exports” Scenario for “new crop” MY 2018/19: (15% probability): Assumptions: 88.982 ma planted, 88.053 ma harvested, 48.5 bu/ac yield, 4.271 bb production, 4.826 bb total supplies, 1.995 bb domestic crush, 2.065 bb exports (equal to MY 2017/18 and less than USDA’s forecast), 4.197 bb total use, 629 mb ending stocks, 14.99% S/U, & $8.50 /bu U.S. soybean average price; 

B – KSU “Large 2018 U.S. Soybean Production” Scenario for “new crop” MY 2018/19: (15% probability): Assumptions: 88.982 ma planted, 88.053 ma harvested, 52.0 bu/ac yield (equal to record high in year 2016), 4.579 bb production, 5.134 bb total supplies, 2.000 bb domestic crush, 2.300 bb exports, 4.435 bb total use, 699 mb ending stocks, 15.76% S/U, & $8.25 /bu U.S. soybean average price; 

C – KSU “Small 2018 U.S. Soybean Production” Scenario for “new crop” MY 2018/19: (20% probability): Assumptions are: 88.982 ma planted, 88.053 ma harvested, 42.0 bu/ac yield (near recent lows of 40-44 bu /ac in years 2011-2013), 3.698 bb production, 4.253 bb total supplies, 1.950 bb domestic crush, 2.000 bb exports, 4.085 bb total use, 168 mb ending stocks, 4.11% S/U, & $12.50 /bu U.S. soybean average price;

7. World Soybean Supply-Demand Prospects

World soybean production of a record high 354.5 million metric tons (mmt) is projected for “new crop” MY 2018/19, up 5.3% from 336.7 mmt in “old crop” MY 2017/18, and up 1.2% from the current record high of 350.3 mmt in MY 2016/17 (Figure 13, Table 2).  The “new crop” 2018/19 marketing year begins September 1, 2018 and continues through August 31, 2019.   World soybean total supplies of 446.7 mmt in “new crop” MY 2018/19 are forecast to be up 3.1% from 433.1 mmt in “old crop” MY 2017/18, and up 4.2% from 428.7 mmt in MY 2016/17. 

World soybean exports of a 161.8 mmt are projected for “new crop” MY 2018/19, up 7.0% from 151.3 mmt in “old crop” MY 2017/18, and up 9.7% from 147.5 mmt in MY 2016/17 (Table 3).  China would be the key World soybean importer in the coming marketing year, and show little sign of abating yet in their annual soybean import increases (Table 4, Figure 15).

Projected World soybean ending stocks of 86.7 mmt (24.2% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2018/19 are down 5.9% from 92.2 mmt (26.9% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2017/18, 11.1% from the record high 96.4 mmt (29.3% S/U) in MY 2016/17, and 78.4 mmt (25.0% S/U) in MY 2015/16 (Figures 13 & 16, Tables 8-9).  

Projected Foreign (Non-U.S.) soybean ending stocks of 75.4 mmt (18.9% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2018/19, is down 3.0% from 77.7 mmt (20.5% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2017/18, and is down from 88.2 mmt (24.4% S/U) in MY 2016/17 (Tables 8-9).  

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KSU Soybean Market Outlook in Late-March 2018 – New Soybean S-D and Price Expectations for “New Crop” MY 2018/19

An analysis of U.S. and World soybean supply-demand factors and 2018-2019 price prospects following the USDA’s March 8th World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, and the March 29th USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports will be available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/default.asp).

Following is a summary of the article on Soybean Market Outlook – with the full article and accompanying analysis to be available on April 2, 2018 on the KSU AgManager website at the following web address:

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

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Summary

A. Some Perspective on the World Soybean Market

Since 2014, World soybean market prices have been declining in response to the “large crop – low price” supply-demand regime that has been caused by consecutive record World soybean production years for 2014 through 2017, with large crops regularly occurring in South America and the United States.  Strong demand for soybean imports from China, Japan, and other Asian countries have supported World soybean prices.

Longer term, from MY 2007/08 to “old crop” MY 2017/18, this strong upward trend in World soybean production (up 5.6% annually) has “out-paced” increases in World soybean use (up 5.0% per year).  As long as growth in World soybean production continues to outpace World soybean usage, then World soybean stocks will remain at high levels with prices continuing at their current “moderate” levels – being affected positively be ongoing strength in demand, but held “in check” by more than adequate world supplies.  

B. China-U.S. Trade Tensions

The potential for soybean market disruptions from trade policy-related confrontations between the U.S. and China has emerged as an issue in early 2018.  These economic – geopolitical tensions so far have not resulted in official direct tariffs or import limitations by China on U.S. soybeans.  However, it is reported that Chinese buyers of soybeans have responded by aggressively pursuing Brazilian soybean imports, and to a degree have at least moderated their purchases of U.S. soybeans in recent months.  So, although no official action has been taken by China against U.S. soybean imports, such tensions have to a degree already affected U.S. soybean trade by “pressuring” Chinese buyers to redirect their buying focus toward Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and wherever else globally they can secure soybean and oilseed products.

C. Soybean Market Response to the March 8th & 29th USDA Reports

Since the USDA released its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report on March 8th soybean futures prices had moved primarily lower.  From the March 8th close of $10.64, CME MAY 2018 Soybean futures prices have traded from a high of $10.63 on 3/9/2018 down to a low of $10.09 ¼ on March 23rd, before closing at $10.18 on Wednesday, March 28th – the day prior to the USDA Quarterly Stocks & Prospective Plantings reports on March 29th.  Then on the day of the March 29th USDA reports, CME MAY 2018 Soybean futures responded positively, trading from a low of $10.12 ½ to a high of $10.50 ¾ before closing at $10.44 ¾ – up $0.26 ¾ per bushel for the day.

Kansas cash soybean prices at terminals in central and eastern Kansas ranged from $9.42 ¾ to $9.89 ¾ /bu on March 29th – with basis ranging from $1.02 under to $0.60 under MAY 2018 Soybean futures.  That same day in western Kansas, major grain elevator bids ranged from $9.10 to $9.45 per bushel – with basis ranging from $1.35 under to $1.00 under. 

D. World Soybean Supply-Demand Findings in the March 8th WASDE USDA Report

On March 8th for the “old crop” 2017/18 marketing year (MY) to end on August 31, 2018, the USDA projected the following.

First, that World soybean total supplies would be 437.5 million metric tons (mmt) (down 3.0%) with total use of 34.8 mmt (up 4.2%) for “old crop” MY 2017/18. With supplies moving lower and demand increasing, there has been a moderate “tightening” of projected World ending stocks of soybeans. 

Second, that World soybean exports will continue trending higher – up to a record high to 150.6 mmt in the “old crop” 2017/18 marketing year.  This amount of World soybean exports of 150.6 mmt in “old crop” MY 2017/18 would be up from previous records of 147.5 mmt last year, and 132.6 mmt two years ago.   World soybean exports have been growing annually at a 9.1% rate since the 2007/08 marketing year.

Third, that World soybean ending stocks would be a 94.4 mmt in “old crop” MY 2017/18 – down from the record high of 96.65 mmt in MY 2016/17, but still up from 78.3 mmt in MY 2015/16.  Overall, World soybean ending stocks have grown at an 8.0% rate annually since the 2007/08 marketing year.

Fourth, that World soybean percent ending stocks-to-use (% S/U) would be 27.5% – the 2nd highest on record but down from the record high of 29.3% last year, while being up from 24.9% and 25.7% the two years prior.

E. U.S. Soybean Supply/Demand for “Old Crop” MY 2017/18 & “New Crop” MY 2018/19

The USDA released their soybean production, supply-demand and price projections for the U.S. for “old crop” MY 2017/18 in the March 8th WASDE report, for “new crop” MY 2018/19 in its February 23rd USDA Ag Outlook Forum projections, for 2018 planted acres in the March 29th Prospective Plantings report, and for November-February 2018 usage of U.S. soybeans and March 29th Grain Stocks report.   

U.S. soybean plantings are forecast to be 88.982 million acres (ma) in 2018, down from 90.142 ma in 2017, and 83.433 ma in 2016.  Harvested acres are forecast by Kansas State University to be 88.222 ma in 2018 (99.15% harvested-to-planted – latest 5 year average), down 1.45% from 89.522 ma in year 2017, but up 6.7% from 82.696 ma in 2016. 

The 2018 U.S. average soybean yield is forecast at 48.5 bu/ac, down from a KSU-adjusted estimate of 49.79 bu/ac in 2017, and from the 2016 record of 52.0 bu/acre.  This KSU adjustment to the most recent official USDA estimate on March 8th was made following the March 29th grain stocks report.  The USDA estimate of March 1, 2018 U.S. soybean stocks came in approximately 65 mb larger than trade estimates. Given that estimates of U.S. soybean domestic crush, exports, and seed use for the November-February 2018 quarter are known with some accuracy, it seems that the unexplained increase in U.S. soybean stocks on March 1st may be due to the USDA underestimating the size of the 2017 U.S. soybean crop. 

As a result, if 2017 soybean planted and harvested acreage are left unchanged, and 65 mb is added to the size of the 2017 U.S. soybean crop, then this KSU-adjusted estimate of 2017 U.S. soybean yields is raised to 49.79 bu/ac – up from the latest USDA’s official 2017 U.S. soybean yield  estimate of 49.1 bu/ac.

Soybean production in the U.S. in 2018 is forecast to be 4.279 billion bushels (bb), down from the KSU-adjusted record high of 4.457 bb in 2017 (vs the latest USDA estimate of 4.392 bb – see discussion above), but up from 4.296 bb in 2016.  After these adjustments, projected “new crop” MY 2018/19 U.S. soybean total supplies are forecast at 4.924 bb, up from a KSU-adjusted 4.783 bb in “old crop” MY 2017/18, and from 4.515 bb in MY 2016/17.  Record high U.S. soybean total use of 4.415 bb is forecast for “new crop” MY 2018/19, up from 4.163 bb in “old crop” MY 2017/18, and from 4.213 bb in MY 2016/17. 

With previously mentioned changes in 2017 U.S. soybean production resulting from the outcome of the March 29th Grain Stocks report, the KSU-adjusted USDA projection for “new crop” MY 2018/19 U.S. soybean ending stocks equals 509 million bushels (mb) (11.52% stocks/use), down from a KSU-adjusted estimate of 620 mb in “new crop” MY 2017/18 (14.89% stocks/use), but up from 302 mb in MY 2016/17 (7.17% stocks/use).  

United States’ soybean prices are projected to average $9.40 /bu in “new crop” MY 2018/19, up from $9.30 /bu in “old crop” MY 2017/18, but down from $9.47 in MY 2016/17, and comparable to $8.95 /bu in MY 2015/16, and $10.10 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is estimated by Kansas State University that these KSU-adjusted USDA projections for “new crop” MY 2018/19 have a 55% probability of occurring.

F. Two Alternative KSU U.S. Soybean S/D Forecasts for “New Crop” MY 2018/19

To represent possible alternative outcomes from the KSU-adjusted USDA February 23rd projection for “new crop” MY 2018/19, two potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. soybean supply-demand and prices are presented.   

KSU Scenario 1) “HIGHER 2018 U.S. Soybean Production” Scenario for “new crop” MY 2018/19 (25% probability): 

88.982 ma planted, 99.15% harvested-to-planted, 88.222 ma harvested, 52.0 bu/ac average yield, 4.588 bb production, 5.233 bb total supplies, 2.350 bb exports, 2.000 bb domestic crush, 135 mb seed & residual use, 4.485 bb total use, 748 mb ending stocks, 16.68% Stocks/Use, & $8.50 /bu U.S. soybean average price.

KSU Scenario 1) “LOWER 2018 U.S. Soybean Production” Scenario for “new crop” MY 2018/19 (20% probability): 

88.982 ma planted, 99.15% harvested-to-planted, 88.222 ma harvested, 42.0 bu/ac average yield, 3.705 bb production, 4.350 bb total supplies, 2.000 bb exports, 1.960 bb domestic crush, 135 mb seed & residual use, 4.095 bb total use, 255 mb ending stocks, 6.23% Stocks/Use, & $11.00 /bu U.S. soybean average price.  

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KSU Weekly Grain Market Analysis: A “360 View” of Grain Markets on USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings Day

Grain market summary notes, charts and comments supporting the Grain Market Update presented in the KSU Agriculture Today radio program to be played on Friday, March 30, 2018 are available on the Kansas State University www.AgManager.info website at the following KSU web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/KSRN_GrainOutlook_03-30-18.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, March 30, 2018 on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available. A copy of the March 30th recording is available at the KSU Agriculture Today website.

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

KSU Weekly Grain Market Analysis: Watching Crop Weather Trends in January & Seeds of a Wheat Market Turnaround

Grain market summary notes, charts and comments supporting the Grain Market Update presented in the KSU Agriculture Today radio program to be played on Friday, January 5, 2018 are available on the Kansas State University www.AgManager.info website at the following KSU web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/KSRN_GrainOutlook_01-05-17.pdf

The recorded radio program will be aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, January 5, 2018 on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available. A copy of the August 4th recording will be available at the KSU Agriculture Today website.

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

KSU Soybean Market Outlook in Late-December 2017 – Healthy Demand Upholding World Soybean Markets

An analysis of U.S. and World soybean supply-demand factors and 2018 price prospects following the USDA’s December 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports will be available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/)

This article also analyzes information from the USDA’s Long Term Agricultural Projections for U.S. soybeans, particularly for the “Next Crop” 2018/19 Marketing Year to begin on September 1, 2018.  The USDA’s long term outlook is found at the following web address:

https://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/projections/

Following is a summary of the article on Soybean Market Outlook in Late-December 2017 – with the full article and accompanying analysis to be available on the KSU AgManager website at the following web address:

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

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KSU Wheat Market Outlook in Late-December 2017 – U.S., World, and “World-Less-China” Market Scenarios for 2018

This report provides an analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and 2018 marketing year price prospects following the USDA’s December 12, 2017 Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports.  It also incorporates U.S. wheat market supply-demand and price projections for the “next crop” 2018/19 marketing year from the USDA’s Long Term Agricultural Projections released on November 28, 2017. This article will be available in full on the KSU AgManager website in coming days (http://www.agmanager.info/).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat Market Outlook in Late-December 2018 to be found at this web location:

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

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Summary

A. Wheat Market Response to the December 12th USDA Reports

Since the USDA’s December 12th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, CME MARCH 2018 Kansas HRW Wheat futures have traded higher.  MARCH 2018 Kansas HRW wheat futures opened at $4.13 on 12/12/2017 – the day of the report – but closed lower to $4.11 ¼ that day.  Since then, MARCH 2018 HRW wheat futures have trended higher to a close of $4.22 ¾ on Friday, December 22nd.   

That same day Kansas cash wheat price terminal quotes in central and eastern Kansas ranged from $3.42 ¼ to $3.83 ¼ per bushel – with basis ranging from $0.80 under to $0.39 under MARCH 2018 futures.  In western Kansas, representative wheat elevator bids ranged from $3.47 to $3.64 per bushel – with basis ranging from $0.85 under to $0.58 under MARCH 2018 futures.  Although cash prices are markedly above marketing loan rates, basis levels are still “wide and weak” compared to historic Kansas wheat basis patterns.

B. Key World Wheat Supply-Demand Findings in the December 12th USDA 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 1,010.5 million metric tons (mmt) with total use of 742.1 mmt – both being record high levels for “new crop” MY 2017/18. 

Second, that World wheat exports will also trend marginally lower to 182.15 mmt in the “new crop” 2017/18 marketing year – down from a record high of 183.2 mmt last year, but still up from 172.8 mmt two years ago. 

Third, that World wheat ending stocks would be a record high 268.4 mmt in “new crop” MY 2017/18 – up from the previous record of 255.3 mmt in MY 2016/17, and from 241.4 mmt in MY 2015/16. 

Fourth, that World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) would be 36.24% – up from 34.5% last year, and from 33.9% two years ago – rising to the highest level since 36.25% in MY 1998/99.

C. 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 268.4 mmt ending stocks and 36.2% 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 prevalent limiting influence on U.S. and World wheat prices – even with recent drought-fueled moves higher in the market. 

D. “World Less China” Wheat Market Situation

The broader “large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “obscuring” at some important underlying market issues.  

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 2012/13 when U.S. wheat cash prices averaged a record high $7.77 /bu.  If this “China supply isolation factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter available global supplies of openly exportable wheat in the next 12 months, it could have a significant positive impact on U.S. and World wheat market prices.

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 2018 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly in 2018.   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.    

E. U.S. Wheat Supply/Demand for “New Crop” MY 2017/18 & “Next Crop” MY 2018/19  

The USDA released their wheat production, supply-demand and price projections for the U.S. for “new crop” MY 2017/18 in the December 12th WASDE report, and for “next crop” MY 2018/19 in its November 28th Long Term Agricultural Projections.   

U.S. wheat plantings are forecast to be 45.000 million acres (ma) in 2018, down from 46.012 ma in 2017, and 50.119 ma in 2016, to the lowest level since the early 1900s.  Harvested acres are forecast at 38.3 ma in 2018 (85.11% harvested-to-planted), up from 37.586 ma (81.69% harvested-to-planted) in 2017, but down from 43.850 ma in 2016.  

The 2018 U.S. average wheat yield is estimated at 47.4 bu/ac, up from 46.3 bu/ac in 2017, but down from the 2016 record of 52.7 bu/acre. 

Wheat production in the U.S. in 2018 is forecast to be 1.815 billion bushels (bb), up from 1.741 bb in 2017, but down from 2.309 bb in 2016.  After adjustments by Kansas State University from the December 12th WASDE report, projected “next crop” MY 2018/19 total supplies are forecast at 2.910 bb, down from 3.071 bb in “new crop” MY 2017/18, and down from 3.402 bb in MY 2016/17.  U.S. Wheat total use of 2.072 bb is forecast for “next crop” MY 2018/19, down from 2.111 bb in “new crop” MY 2017/18, and from 2.222 bb in MY 2016/17. 

With previously mentioned KSU adjustments from the December 12th WASDE report, the USDA projected “next crop” MY 2018/19 ending stocks to be 838 million bushels (mb) (40.44% stocks/use), down from 960 mb in “new crop” MY 2017/18 (45.48% stocks/use), and 976 mb in MY 2016/17 (50.03% stocks/use).   

United States’ wheat prices are projected to average $4.60 /bu in “next crop” MY 2018/19, unchanged from “new crop” MY 2017/18, but up from $3.89 in MY 2016/17, and comparable to $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 2017/18 have a 75% probability of occurring.

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

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

KSU Scenario 1) “Lower Export” Scenario (15% probability) assumes for “new crop” MY 2017/18 that the following outcome occurs.  This scenario assumes that there will be 46.012 ma planted, 81.69% harvested-to-planted, 37.586 ma harvested, 46.3 bu/ac average yield, 1.741 bb production, 3.071 bb total supplies, 775 mb exports, 120 mb feed & residual use, 1.911 bb total use, 1.160 bb ending stocks, 60.70% Stocks/Use, & $4.10 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

KSU Scenario 2) “Higher U.S. Wheat Exports” Scenario (10% probability) assumes for “new crop” MY 2017/18 that the following outcome happens.  This scenario assumes that there will be 46.012 ma planted, 81.69% harvested-to-planted, 37.586 ma harvested, 46.3 bu/ac average yield, 1.741 bb production, 3.071 bb total supplies, 1.150 bb exports, 120 mb feed & residual use, 2.286 bb total use, 785 mb ending stocks, 34.34% Stocks/Use, & $5.10 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

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KSU Ag Econ “Soybean and Cotton Market Outlook for 2018” Presentation

Following is a presentation on “Soybean & Cotton Market Outlook for 2018”.  This information was given as part of a larger “Grain Market Outlook for 2018” presentation given by Kansas State University Extension Agricultural Economist Daniel O’Brien at a Farming for the Future meeting in Pratt, Kansas on December 14, 2017.

Additional Farming for the Future conferences in Kansas are planned for December 19th in Salina, January 10th in Scott City, and January 11th in Emporia.  Registration information can be found at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/events/farming-future

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The full “Grain Market Outlook for 2018” presentation is available online at the KSU AgManager website at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/AGEC520_GrainOutlook_10-19-17.pdf

Information on Wheat, Soybean & Cotton supply-demand and market outlook will be provided in succeeding posts.

Following is information on “Soybean and Cotton Market Outlook for 2018”: