KSU Corn Market Outlook in Mid-November 2017: “What is and what is likely to come” in the U.S. Corn Market

An analysis of U.S. and World Corn supply-demand factors and “Next Crop” 2017/18 Marketing Year supply-demand and price prospects is provided in the following article summary.  This information follows the USDA Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports on November 9, 2017.

A full version of this article is available on the KSU AgManager website http://www.agmanager.info/ at the following web address:

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

Following is a summary of the article on “Corn Market Outlook in Mid-November 2017″

**************

Summary

Overview

Since the USDA’s November 9th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, DEC 2017 CME corn futures prices have traded first lower, and then higher to partially recover their initial decline.  During the summer months of 2017 DEC 2017 corn futures reached as high as $4.17 ¼ per bushel on July 11th, but then declined to a low of $3.44 ¼ on August 31st. After a high of $3.62 on September 6th, DEC 2017 corn futures have trended sideways-to-lower throughout the remainder of September, October to a low on November 16th of $3.36 ¼, before closing at $3.45 on November 21st.  

In its’ November 9th USDA Crop Production report, the USDA projected 2017 U.S. corn yields to average a record high 175.4 bu/ac, with 2017 U.S. corn production at 14.578 billion bushels (bb) – both up substantially from pre-report trade expectations.   Since the November 9th USDA reports, market expectations have reinforced a consensus consistent with the USDA projection of a “large supply – low price” scenario, leaving DEC 2017 corn futures to trade in the range of $3.35-$3.55 per bushel during the 2017 harvest period.  The USDA will provide updated 2017 U.S. corn production numbers in its upcoming January 12, 2018 USDA Crop Production report.

It continues to be true that any significant corn futures or cash market price rallies through winter 2017-2018 on into early Spring 2018 are likely to be limited by ending stocks of U.S. corn in the 2.250-2.500 bb range, coupled with ending stocks-to-use of 16.0%-17.5% for the 2017/18 marketing year.   However, in Spring-early Summer 2018 the U.S. corn market is likely again to have to weigh the annual risk of weather-limiting 2018 U.S. corn production prospects (less than 13.500 bb??) and tighter ending stocks (less than 1.500 bb??) in “next crop” MY 2018/19.  And that risk again is likely to provide both old crop and new crop pricing opportunities in Spring-Summer 2018.

One positive long-term factor in the U.S. corn market is the considerable “tightening up” forecast with foreign (non-U.S.) corn supply-demand balances in the “new crop” 2017/18 marketing year.   If this forecast by the USDA comes to fruition, could eventually lead to larger U.S. corn exports than currently forecast, and help support somewhat higher U.S. corn prices in Spring-Summer 2018 than is currently expected by the market.

Kansas Cash Corn Prices & Basis Bids

In Western Kansas on Monday, November 20th cash corn bids at major grain elevators ranged from $2.98 ($0.47 under DEC futures) to $3.40 ($0.05 under DEC), and ranged from $2.98 ($0.47 under DEC) to $3.20 ($0.25 under DEC) in Central Kansas.  Even though Kansas corn prices have remained low in recent weeks, these prices still are higher than in Fall of a year abo when bids statewide had fallen to $2.66-$2.96 on December 23, 2016.  These prices were still above marketing loan rates for corn across the state, with corn loans near $2.05 in Central Kansas and $2.19 per bushel in Western Kansas

Cash corn price bids in East Central and Northeast Kansas at major terminal locations were $3.18-$3.22 on November 20th, actually down from the range of $3.26-$3.28 per bushel on 12/23/2016.  Cash corn bids at Kansas ethanol plants on November 20th ranged from $3.23 ($0.20 under DEC) to $3.63 ($0.20 over DEC) – indicating continuing strength in ethanol demand for corn in Kansas and nationwide.  While the “large supply and tight storage availability” situation continues in local Kansas grain markets, it is a positive sign that Kansas cash corn prices have avoided falling down to USDA loan rate levels – especially throughout the 2017 Kansas corn harvest.

Major Corn Market Considerations for Fall 2017 through Spring 2018

First, large beginning stocks of U.S. corn coming into “new crop” MY 2017/18 have been a “mitigating” factor limiting the response of the corn market to 2017 summer-early fall production risks that occurred.  The corn market has been less responsive to any 2017 U.S. corn production threats since beginning stocks for “new crop” MY 2017/18 have been projected to be near 2.295 bb rather than down to 1.250-1.500 bb.  If this “large stocks situation” persists into summer 2018, this mitigating and limiting affect will likely hamper future 2018 corn crop forward pricing prospects as well.

Second, the grain market continues to anticipate that low prices for U.S. corn will help maintain strong usage for domestic U.S. ethanol and wet milling production, as well as livestock feeding through at least spring 2018 if not into the summer months. 

Third, at least “moderate” continued strength is expected in U.S. corn exports due to low U.S. corn prices and also to a moderately weaker U.S. dollar against other World currencies compared to a year ago.  Exports of U.S. corn are expected to continue at a “decent” pace of 1.925 bb for “new crop” MY 2017/18 even though South American corn production will continue to be a competitive factor in World trade through at least the end of 2017.  Also, preliminary forecasts for 2018 are that Brazilian corn acreage and production will be lower due to low prices and poor profitability in 2017, as well as a delayed 2nd crop of corn in parts of the country.  Combined with the potential for crop-weather concerns in Brazil in coming months – these factors “could” have a positive impact on U.S. corn exports and price prospects in spring-summer 2018.

Fourth, a continuing threat exists of U.S. and Foreign economic and/or financial system disruptions that could impact grain, energy, and other commodity markets in 2017-2018.  World geo-political events could provide “shocks” to U.S. and World energy and grain markets which could in turn impact grain prices in either direction depending on the circumstances, the countries involved, and their role in global corn export trade.

USDA Supply-Demand & Price Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2017/18

In the November 12th Crop Production report, the USDA raised its projections of a) projected yields up to a record high of 175.4 bu/ac (vs the previous record of 174.6 in 2016), and b) 2017 U.S. corn production up to 14.578 bb – down from the record high of 15.148 bb in 2016.  

The USDA raised its forecast “new crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies to 16.922 bb – down marginally (20 mb) from last year’s record high.  Total use is forecast at 14.435 bb – down 212 mb from last year’s record high.  Ending stocks are projected to be a 2.487 bb (17.2% S/U) – up from 2.295 bb (15.7% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2016/17.  United States’ corn prices are projected to average $3.20 /bu (range of $2.80-$3.60).  This is down $0.16 /bu from $3.36 /bu from “old crop” MY 2016/17. This scenario is given an 80% likelihood of occurring by KSU Extension Agricultural Economist D. O’Brien.

Alternative KSU Supply-Demand & Price Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2017/18

Three alternative KSU-Scenarios for U.S. corn supply-demand and prices are presented for “new crop” MY 2017/18.  These forecast scenarios vary from the USDA’s projection in the November 9, 2017 WASDE report for “new crop” MY 2017/18. 

A – KSU “Higher Exports” MY 2017/18 Scenario) “2.250 bb Exports” Scenario (10% probability) assumes: 90.404 ma planted, 82.941 ma harvested, 175.4 bu/ac trend yield, 14.548 bb production, 16.893 bb total supplies, 2.250 bb exports, 14.735 bb total use, 2.158 bb ending stocks, 14.65% S/U, & $3.50 /bu U.S. corn average price; 

B – KSU “Lower Exports” MY 2017/18 Scenario) “1.800 bb Exports” Scenario (5% probability) assumes: 90.404 ma planted, 82.941 ma harvested, 175.4 bu/ac trend yield, 14.548 bb production, 16.893 bb total supplies, 1.800 bb exports, 14.310 bb total use, 2.583 bb ending stocks, 18.05% S/U, & $3.15 /bu U.S. corn average price; 

C – KSU “Lower Yield” MY 2017/18 Scenario) “172.5 bu/ac – 14.307 bb crop” Scenario (5% probability) assumes: 90.404 ma planted, 82.941 ma harvested, 172.5 bu/ac trend yield, 14.307 bb production, 16.652 bb total supplies, 14.435 bb total use, 2.217 bb ending stocks, 15.36% S/U, & $3.40 /bu U.S. corn average;

Note: The presence of large beginning stocks of 2.295 bb in “new crop” MY 2017/18 limit the “tightness” of corn supply-demand balances in scenarios “A” and “C”, and hinder potential upward price responses.

World Corn Supply-Demand – With & Without China

World corn production of 1,043.9 million metric tons (mmt) is projected for “new crop” MY 2017/18, down 3.9% from the record of 1,074.8 mmt in “old crop” MY 2016/17, but still up 7.3% from 972.9 mmt in MY 2015/16.  World corn total supplies of 1,270.5 mmt are down 1.45% from the record high 1,289.2 mmt in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and still up 7.4% from 1,182.4 mmt in MY 2015/16. 

World corn exports of a 151.6 mmt are projected for “new crop” MY 2017/18, down 7.3% from the record high of 163.6 mmt in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and up 26.7% from 119.7 mmt in MY 2015/16.  Projected World corn ending stocks of 203.9 mmt (19.1% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2017/18 are down from the record high 226.6 mmt (21.3% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and from 214.4 mmt (22.2% S/U) in MY 2015/16.

An alternative view of the World corn supply-demand is presented if Chinese corn usage and ending stocks are isolated from the World market.  “World-Less-China” corn ending stocks are projected to be 125.2 mmt (15.1% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2017/18, down from 125.9 mmt (15.2% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2016/17, but up from 103.7 mmt (13.8% S/U) in MY 2015/16.  These figures show that World stocks-to-use of corn less China’s direct influence are projected to be approximately 21% lower (i.e., 15.1% S/U for the “World-Less-China” versus 19.1% S/U for the “World” overall in “new crop” MY 2017/18).  

At the same time, these figures also show that Chinese ending stocks of corn as proportion of the World total are declining – down from 51.7% in MY 2015/16, to 44.5% in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and down to 38.6% in “new crop” MY 2017/18.  The deliberate actions in recent years – taken by the Chinese government to reduce feedgrain stockpiles – is impacting the relative amount of World total corn stocks they hold.  These actions may also eventually increase Chinese import demand for both U.S. corn and grain sorghum.

 

Advertisements

KSU Weekly Grain Market Analysis: Updated U.S. Corn and Wheat Supply-Demand and Price Scenarios for MY 2017/18

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, August 4, 2017 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_11-17-17.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, November 17, 2017 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 Weekly Grain Market Analysis: U.S. Corn Supply-Demand, China Ethanol Policy, and Strong Sorghum Prices in Central KS

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, August 4, 2017 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_10-27-17.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, October 27, 2017 on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available. A copy of the October 27th 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 Weekly Grain Market Analysis: USDA Grain Supply-Demand #s during Wheat Seeding and Fall Harvest

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, October 13, 2017 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_10-13-17.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, October 13, 2017 on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available. A copy of the October 13th 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 Weekly Grain Market Analysis: Heading toward delayed Wheat Seeding and Harvest in Kansas

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, October 6, 2017 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_10-06-17.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, October 6, 2017 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 Weekly Grain Market Analysis: Focus on Grain Sorghum and USDA Stocks/Small Grains Reports

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, September 29, 2017 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_09-29-17.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, September 29, 2017 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 U.S. Sorghum and World Coarse Grain Market Outlook in Late-September 2017

An analysis of U.S. and World Grain Sorghum & World Coarse Grain Market Outlook following the USDA’s September 12th USDA Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports is available on the KSU AgManager website  (http://www.agmanager.info/).

Following is a summary of the article on “U.S. Grain Sorghum and World Coarse Grain Market Outlook” with the full article and accompanying analysis on the KSU AgManager website to be available shortly at the following web address:

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

************************

Summary

Overview

Since the September 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, the USDA forecast that the 2017 U.S. grain sorghum crop would be 371 million bushel (mb).  This projection for U.S. grain sorghum combined with a large 2017 U.S. corn crop of 14.184 billion bushels (bb) have caused markets to focus on “large feedgrain production and supply” scenarios, bringing continued to pressure both U.S. grain sorghum and corn market prices.  Just as with corn, wheat, and soybeans, current cash bids for grain sorghum are below cost of production in most instances – although to a degree anticipated high yields in 2017 at many locations may help lower cost of production per bushel and help to mitigate low grain sorghum prices to some degree.

Since September 12th, corn futures prices have trended essentially sideways.  On Tuesday, September 12th – the day of the report – CME DEC 2017 corn futures opened at $3.57, but then traded as low as $3.45 ½ before closing at $0.06 lower at $3.51 ½.  Since that day, DEC 2017 corn at first trended higher, but since has moved generally sideways to close at $3.54 on September 27th.

*****

Cash Grain Sorghum Market Prices in Kansas

On Wednesday, September 27th cash grain sorghum price bids at major grain elevators in Western Kansas were in the range of $2.84 – $2.96 /bu – with basis levels $0.70 to $0.50 per bushel under CME DEC 2017 Corn futures.  As low as these prices were, they were still markedly higher than county FSA marketing loan rates of $1.76-$1.90 per bushel.  Similarly, Central Kansas cash grain sorghum price bids were in the range of $2.89 – $3.14 /bu with basis levels $0.65 to $0.40 per bushel under DEC 2017 Corn, but still above local FSA loan rates of $1.85-$1.93 /bu..  At Topeka in East Central Kansas, a bid was reported of $3.14 /bu (basis = $0.40 under).

Kansas ethanol plant price bids for grain sorghum ranged from $3.14 ¼ to $3.37 ¼ , with basis at $0.35 to $0.15 under DEC 2017 Corn futures. This higher ethanol bid relative to other Kansas cash grain sorghum price bids is indicative of both strength in ethanol industry profitability AND that grain sorghum is a competitive feedstock for ethanol production at Western Corn Belt plant locations.

*****

Market Factors for U.S. Grain Sorghum / Feedgrains in 2017-2018

1) The pace and timing of U.S. farmer marketing of the 2017 grain sorghum and corn crops – much of which may end up being placed in storage after the 2017 fall harvest and likely will be held for sale through the winter into at least early spring 2018

2) Anticipation of continued strong domestic U.S. fuel ethanol use and livestock feeding of the 2017 crop U.S. feedgrains through the “new crop” 2017/18 marketing year.

3) At least moderate strength in U.S. grain sorghum exports – with the possibility that prospects for a smaller 2018 South American feedgrain harvest that may help U.S. exports of grain sorghum and other feedgrains.

4) The possibility in late 2017-2018 of broader U.S. and Foreign economic and/or financial system disruptions impacting grain, energy, and other commodity markets.  The impact on the direction of U.S. and World grain sorghum and corn markets from these potential disruptions is difficult to anticipate or predict.

*****

USDA Supply-Demand Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2017/18

The USDA has projected of 2017 U.S. sorghum plantings of 5.987 ma, harvested acres of 5.311 ma, and yields of 69.8 bu/ac (vs 77.9 bu/ac in 2016 and 76.0 bu/ac in 2015), resulting in a 2017 U.S. grain sorghum production of forecast to be 371 mb.  This size of a 2017 U.S. grain sorghum crop is the lowest in five years, being down from 480 mb in 2016, 597 mb in 2015, 433 mb in 2014, and 392 mb in 2013.

With forecast “new crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies of 399 mb, total use of 370 mb, and projected ending stocks of 29 mb (7.94% S/U), U.S. grain sorghum prices are projected by the USDA to be in the range of $2.50-$3.30 (midpoint = $2.90 /bu).   Ending stocks of 29 mb (7.94% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2017/18 compared to 37 mb (6.35% S/U) in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and 18 mb (4.10% S/U) in MY 2015/16.  This scenario is given a 50% likelihood of occurring by KSU Extension Agricultural Economist D. O’Brien.

U.S. grain sorghum prices of $2.90 /bu in “new crop” MY 2017/18 are only a “small relief” from the multiple-year downward price trend from the record high of $6.33 /bu in the drought year of MY 2012/13.  Since that record high, U.S. average grain sorghum prices have declined to $4.28 in MY 2013/14, $4.03 in MY 2014/15, $3.31 /bu in MY 2015/16, $2.85 /bu in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and to now to the forecast range of $2.50-$3.30 (midpoint – $2.90 /bu) in “new crop” MY 2017/18.

Note: This is a “large U.S. feedgrain crop” – “no major U.S. or Foreign crop problem” scenario.  Emerging production threats and the actual outcome of 2018 U.S. grain sorghum and corn production will play a large part in driving the U.S. grain sorghum market in the later months of “new crop” MY 2017/18.

*****

Alternative KSU Supply-Demand & Price Forecast for “New Crop” MY 2017/18

Three alternative KSU-Scenarios for U.S. grain sorghum supply-demand and prices are presented for “new crop” MY 2017/18.  Each scenario presents the likelihood of lower U.S. grain sorghum acreage, varying yields and alternative production outcomes than projected for “new crop” MY 2017/18 by the USDA in the September 12th WASDE report.

A – KSU “New Crop” MY 2017/18 Scenario #1) “Lower Acres – 69.8 bu/ac.” Scenario (15% probability) assumes: 5.468 ma planted, 4.850 ma harvested, 69.8 bu/ac trend yield, 339 mb production, 368 mb total supplies, 351 mb total use, 17 mb ending stocks, 4.95% S/U, & $3.05 /bu U.S. grain sorghum average price;

B – KSU “New Crop” MY 2017/18 Scenario #2) “Lower Acres – 75.0 bu/ac.” Scenario (25% probability) assumes: 5.468 ma planted, 4.850 ma harvested, 75.0 bu/ac trend yield, 364 mb production, 393 mb total supplies, 370 mb total use, 23 mb ending stocks, 6.22% S/U, & $3.00 /bu U.S. grain sorghum average price;

C – KSU “New Crop” MY 2017/18 Scenario #3) “Lower Acres – 75.0 bu/ac. – Higher Use” Scenario (10% probability) assumes: 5.468 ma planted, 4.850 ma harvested, 75.0 bu/ac trend yield, 364 mb production, 393 mb total supplies, 381 mb total use, 12 mb ending stocks, 3.15% S/U, & $3.15 /bu U.S. grain sorghum average price.

*****

World Coarse Grain Supply-Demand

The USDA projected that “new crop” 2017/18 marketing year World coarse grain total supplies of 1,578.1 mmt will be down 2.3% from 1,615.9 mmt in “old crop” MY 2016/17, but still up 4.7% over 1,507.2 mmt in MY 2014/15.   Projected World coarse grain total use of 1,347.8 mmt in “new crop” MY 2017/18 is down 0.5% from “old crop” MY 2016/17, but up 7.3% over MY 2016/17.   “Coarse grains” include grain sorghum, corn, barley, oats, rye, millet, and mixed grains.

World coarse grain ending stocks are forecast to continue to decline, with the USDA projecting ending stocks of 230.3 mmt in “new crop” MY 2017/18, down 2.0% from “old crop” MY 2016/17, and down 8.4% from MY 2015/16.  Although World coarse grain ending stocks are projected to be the fourth highest on record in “new crop” MY 2017/18 at 230.2 mmt, World coarse grain percent ending stocks-to-use in “new crop” MY 2017/18 are forecast to actually decline to 17.1% – to the lowest level in four (4) years.  This is indicative that strong World demand for coarse grains at low prices is expected to continue.

*******************