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 Soybean Market Outlook in Mid-September 2017 – Likelihood of Lower Production and Higher Price Outcomes

An analysis of U.S. and World soybean supply-demand factors and 2016-2017 price prospects following the USDA’s September 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports either is 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 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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Summary

Recent Soybean Futures Price Trends

Since the USDA’s September 12th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, soybean futures have increased.  CME NOV 2017 soybean futures opened at $9.60 ¾ on Tuesday, September 12th – the day of the report – then traded as low as $9.37 ½ that same day before closing $0.09 ½ lower that day at $9.50 ½.  Since then, NOV 2017 soybeans have trended “irregularly” higher to close at $9.70 ¾ on Thursday, September 21st.  

World Soybean Market Perspectives

Since 2014, World soybean market prices have been limited by a developing “large crop – low price” supply-demand regime, caused by consecutive record or near record World soybean production years for 2014 through projections for 2017.

Longer term, from MY 2008/09 to projected “new crop” MY 2017/18, a strong upward trend in World soybean production (up 7.1% annually) has “out-paced” annual increases in World soybean use (up 6.1% per year).  “Old crop” MY 2016/17 World production is estimated to have been a record high of 351.4 mmt, followed by a projection of near record World production of 348.4 mmt in “new crop” MY 2017/18.  In what is exceedingly good news for the World soybean market, total use has also increased along with production, to 329.8 mmt in “old crop” MY 2016/17, and to a projected record high of 344.3 mmt in “new crop” MY 2017/18.

The degree of “abundance” or “large quantities” in World soybean ending stocks have been a key issue leading to current “moderate-to-low” soybean prices in World markets relative to recent years.   Since World soybean ending stocks of 61.5 mmt (22.3% ending stocks-to-use or ‘S/U’) in MY 2013/14, soybean stocks grew sharply to 77.5 mmt (25.6% S/U) in MY 2014/15 and 77.7 mmt (24.7% S/U).  Then in “old crop” MY 2016/17 World ending stocks are estimated to have increased to a record level of 96.0 mmt (29.1% S/U), followed by a further increase to 97.5 mmt (28.3% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2017/18. 

A key World soybean market strategy will be to wait to figure out whether dry conditions or some other crop production malady will occur in late 2017 or early 2018 in South America that could limit 2018 soybean production in the southern hemisphere.  Although World soybean demand growth has been as strong as can be expected, it seems that a “supply shock” or “crop shortfall” in 2018 or following years would be the most likely factor to drive World soybean production and supply-demand balances low enough to alter the existing “large supply – buyer’s market” situation.  With prospects now pointing toward a near record 2017 U.S. soybean crop, World markets will turn their attention toward 2018 South American production prospects as the next major source of soybean market risk – providing the possibility of a change in paradigm and higher soybean prices in the next 12-18 months.

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

The USDA made no adjustments in its projection of 2017 U.S. soybean plantings of a record high 89.513 million acres (ma) – up from 83.433 ma in 2016.  Forecast 2016 harvested acres of a record 88.731 ma is also up from 82.736 ma in 2016.  With near record high projected yields of 49.9 bu/ac (up 0.5 bu from August), 2017 U.S. soybean production is projected to be a record high 4.431 bb – up from 4.307 bb in 2016 (2nd highest) and from 3.926 bb in 2014.   With forecast “new crop” MY 2017/18 domestic crush at a record 1.940 bb and exports forecast to be a record 2.250 bb (up 25 mb), projected U.S. total soybean use is a record 4.326 bb – up from 4.183 bb in “old crop” MY 2016/17 and from 3.944 bb in the previous marketing year. 

Given these results, “new crop” MY 2017/18 U.S. soybean ending stocks are forecast to be an 11 year high of 475 mb (10.98% S/U), while U.S. soybean prices are forecast to be in the range of $8.35-$10.05 (midpoint = $9.20 /bu).  This U.S. soybean price forecast is down from $9.50 in “old crop” MY 2016/17, but up from $8.95 the year before.  This USDA projection scenario is thought to have a 60% probability of occurring in the judgment of Kansas State University Extension.

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

Three alternative KSU-Scenarios for U.S. soybean supply-demand and prices to the USDA projection are presented for “new crop” MY 2017/18.  Each forecast scenario presents the likelihood that exists of higher U.S. soybean acreage, lower yields and lower production, and higher prices than projected by the USDA in the September 12, 2017 WASDE report. 

A – KSU “New Crop” MY 2017/18 “Lower Yield” Scenario #1) “48.0 bu/ac – 4.278 bb” Scenario (30% probability) assumes: 89.901 ma planted, 89.116 ma harvested, 48.0 bu/ac yield, 4.278 bb production, 4.648 bb total supplies, 4.226 bb total use, 422 mb ending stocks, 9.99% S/U, & $9.70 /bu U.S. average soybean price; 

B – KSU “New Crop” MY 2017/18 “Very Low Yield” Scenario #2) “45.85 bu/ac – 4.085 bb” Scenario (5% probability) assumes: 89.901 ma planted, 89.116 ma harvested, 45.85 bu/ac yield, 4.085 bb production, 4.455 bb total supplies, 4.106 bb total use, 349 mb ending stocks, 8.50% S/U, & $10.20 /bu U.S. average soybean price; 

C – KSU “New Crop” MY 2017/18 “Wildcard World Event” Scenario #3) “48.0 bu/ac – 4.278 bb” Scenario (5% probability) assumes: 89.901 ma planted, 89.116 ma harvested, 48.0 bu/ac yield, 4.278 bb production, 4.648 bb total supplies, 3.861 bb total use, 787 mb ending stocks, 20.38% S/U, & $7.00 /bu U.S. average soybean price; 

Note: The presence of large beginning stocks of 345 mb in “new crop” MY 2017/18 limit the “tightness” of supply-demand balances along with prospects for a record large 2017 U.S. soybean crop of 4.431 bb (USDA). Prospects for such large supplies of soybeans hinders any upward price responses in the KSU Scenarios A, B and C above.

“Deep Numbers” Analysis of the September 12, 2017 USDA Crop Production and WASDE Reports

A “deep numbers” analysis of the results of the September 12, 2017 USDA Crop Production and WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates) reports are provided by Kansas State University.  This numbers analysis is available at the KSU AgManager.info website at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/wasde-deep-numbers-analysis-spreadsheet

The September 2017 USDA Crop Production report considered and reported the conditions of major U.S. crops in early September, giving projections of final acreage, yields, and production of U.S. corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, and other crops.

The September 2017 USDA WASDE report considered projected supply-demand and price projections for U.S. crops, and supply-demand prospects for global and country-by-country analysis for the period covering the New Crop” 2017/18 Marketing Years, Old Crop” MY 2016/17, and MY 2015/16 supply-demand and price prospects.

This “deep numbers” analysis considers how the September 12th USDA Crop Production and WASDE report results compare to pre-report trade expectations, last month’s report estimates, and previous years.

World Wheat, Corn, Coarse Grain and Soybean supply demand numbers are also considered in an extended look at production, exports, imports, food-industrial and seed use (for corn and coarse grains), food use (for wheat), crush (soybeans), feed and residual use (corn, coarse grains and wheat), ending stocks, and % ending stocks to use.

Selections from this “deep numbers” WASDE report analysis are as follows:

 

 

Soybean and Cotton Market Outlook for 2017-2018 @ the 2017 KSU Risk and Profit Conference, August 18, 2017

The following information on the “Soybean and Cotton Market Outlook for 2017-2018” was presented at the 2017 K-State Risk and Profit Conference in Manhattan, Kansas on Friday, August 18, 2017.

The full version of this presentation – with additional information not presented to the conference because of time constraints – is available online at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/events/risk-and-profit-conference/previous-conference-proceedings/2017-risk-and-profit-conference

Following is the full “Soybean and Cotton Market Outlook for 2017-2018” available at the 2017 K-State Risk and Profit Conference on Friday, August 18, 2017.

 

 

Wheat Market Outlook for 2017-2018 @ the 2017 KSU Risk and Profit Conference, August 18, 2017

The following information on the “Wheat Sorghum Market Outlook for 2017-2018” was presented at the 2017 K-State Risk and Profit Conference in Manhattan, Kansas on Friday, August 18, 2017.

The full version of this presentation – with additional information not presented to the conference because of time constraints – is available online at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/events/risk-and-profit-conference/previous-conference-proceedings/2017-risk-and-profit-conference

Following is the full “Wheat Market Outlook for 2017-2018” available at the 2017 K-State Risk and Profit Conference on Friday, August 18, 2017.

 

 

“Deep Numbers” Analysis of the June 9, 2017 USDA WASDE and Crop Production Reports (KSU Ag Economics))

A “deep numbers” analysis of the results of the June 9, 2017 USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is available on the Agmanager.info website from Kansas State University. The USDA June WASDE and Crop Production reports considered “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year, “current” MY 2016/17, and MY 2015/16 supply-demand and price prospects for U.S. crops, and supply-demand prospects for global and country-by-country analysis.

Results are available on the KSU AgManager.info website at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/wasde-deep-numbers-analysis-spreadsheet

This “deep numbers” analysis considers how the June 9th USDA WASDE and other National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) numbers compare to pre-report trade expectations, last month’s report estimates, and previous years.

World Wheat, Corn, Coarse Grain and Soybean supply demand numbers are also considered in an extended look at production, exports, imports, food-industrial and seed use (for corn and coarse grains), food use (for wheat), crush (soybeans), feed and residual use (corn, coarse grains and wheat), ending stocks, and % ending stocks to use.

Selections from this “deep numbers” WASDE report analysis are as follows:

 

“Deep Numbers” Analysis of the May 10, 2017 USDA WASDE Report (D. O’Brien KSU)

A “deep numbers” analysis of the results of the May 10, 2017 USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report is available on the Agmanager.info website from Kansas State University. The May WASDE report considered “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year, “current” MY 2016/17, and MY 2015/16 supply-demand and price prospects for U.S. crops, and supply-demand prospects for global and country-by-country analysis.

Results are available at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/wasde-quick-analysis-spreadsheet

This “deep numbers” analysis considers how the May 10th USDA WASDE and other National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) numbers compare to pre-report trade expectations, last month’s report estimates, and previous years.

World Wheat, Corn, Coarse Grain and Soybean supply demand numbers are also considered in an extended look at production, exports, imports, food-industrial and seed use (for corn and coarse grains), food use (for wheat), crush (soybeans), feed and residual use (corn, coarse grains and wheat), ending stocks, and % ending stocks to use.

Selections from this “deep numbers” WASDE report analysis are as follows: