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

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

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

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

 

 

 

KSU Corn Market Outlook in Early March 2017: Looking Ahead to “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

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’s February 23-24, 2017 Agricultural Outlook Forum, as well as USDA Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports on February 9, 2017.  A full version of this article is available on the KSU AgManager website:  http://www.agmanager.info

Following is a summary of the article on “Corn Market Outlook in Early March 2017″ with the full article and accompanying analysis soon to be available on the KSU AgManager website at the following web address:

KSU Grain Market Outlook Newsletter

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Summary

Overview

Since the USDA’s February 9th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, MAY 2017 CME corn futures have been volatile – moving both higher and lower within the range of $3.67 ¼ to $3.87 ¼.  The February 23-24, 2017 USDA 2017 Agricultural Outlook Forum forecast of lower 2017 U.S. corn production of 14.065 billion bushels (bb) and a moderate reduction in “next crop” 2017/18 marketing year ending stocks of 2.215 bb have provided moderate support for the U.S. corn market.

Cash corn prices in at major grain elevators in central and western Kansas ranged from $3.04 to $3.28 on Tuesday, March 1st.  This represents a marked increase since October-December 2016 when prices had fallen below $3.00 per bushel – down to $2.66-$2.96 on December 23rd – although not as low as marketing loan rates near $2.05 (central KS) to $2.19 (western KS) per bushel.  Cash corn prices in east central and northeast Kansas – near river terminal locations – were $3.55 on March 1st, up from the range of $3.26-$3.28 per bushel on 12/23/2016.  While the “large supply and tight storage availability” situation still predominates in local Kansas grain markets, it is a positive sign that corn usage has provided support for prices.  Kansas cash corn prices on have increased since late December, having avoided falling down to USDA loan rate – price support levels through the recent fall and winter months.

Other Market Factors in 2017

Other factors that could affect the U.S. corn market in 2017 include the following.

First, the pace and timing of U.S. farmer marketing of the 2016 corn crop – much of which had been placed in storage after fall harvest and likely has been held for sale through the winter into at least early spring 2017.

Second, anticipation of continued strong use of 2016 crop U.S. corn for domestic U.S. ethanol production and livestock feeding through spring-summer 2017.

Third, at least moderate continued strength in U.S. corn exports – driven partly by the availability of exportable corn supplies from South America through spring 2017.

And fourth, the always present possibility of broader U.S. and Foreign economic and/or financial system disruptions that could impact grain, energy, and other commodity markets in 2017.  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 “Next Crop” MY 2017/18.  

With early USDA projections of 2017 U.S. corn plantings of 90.000 million acres or ‘ma’ (down 4.004 ma), harvested acres of 82.400 ma (down 4.348 ma), projected yields of 170.7 bu/ac (vs the record high of 174.6 in 2016), 2017 U.S. corn production is forecast to be 14.065 bb – down from the record high of 15.148 bb in 2016.  

The USDA forecast “next crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies of 16.435 bb – down 505 mb from last year’s record high).  Total use is forecast at 14.220 bb – down 400 mb from last year’s record high.  Ending stocks are projected to be 2.215 bb (15.58% S/U) – down from 2.320 bb (15.87% S/U) in “current” MY 2016/17.  United States’ corn prices are projected by the USDA to average $3.50 /bu – up from a midpoint estimate of $3.40 /bu from a year ago – but within the range of $3.20-$3.60 /bu for “current” MY 2016/17. This scenario is given a 55% likelihood of occurring by KSU Extension Ag Economist D. O’Brien.

Alternative KSU Forecasts for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

Three alternative KSU-Scenarios for U.S. corn supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  Each forecast scenario presents the likelihood of alternative, lower U.S. corn yields and production than projected by the USDA in the February 23-24, 2017 Agricultural Outlook Forum for “next crop” MY 2017/18. 

KSU “Next Crop” MY 2017/18 Scenario #1) “167.3 bu/ac – 13.786 bb” Scenario (25% probability) assumes: 90.000 ma planted, 82.400 ma harvested, 167.3 bu/ac trend yield, 13.786 bb production, 16.156 bb total supplies, 14.185 bb total use, 1.971 bb ending stocks, 13.89% S/U, & $3.65 /bu U.S. corn average price for “next crop” MY 2017/18; 

KSU “Next Crop” MY 2017/18 Scenario #2) “165.0 bu/ac – 13.596 bb” Scenario (15% probability) assumes: 90.000 ma planted, 82.400 ma harvested, 165.0 bu/ac yield, 13.596 bb production, 15.966 bb total supplies, 14.080 bb total use, 1.886 bb ending stocks, 13.39% S/U, & $3.70 /bu U.S. corn average price for “next crop” MY 2017/18;

KSU “Next Crop” MY 2017/18 Scenario #3) “150.0 bu/ac – 12.360 bb” Scenario (5% probability) assumes: 90.000 ma planted, 82.300 ma harvested, 150.0 bu/ac yield, 12.3605 bb production, 14.680 bb total supplies, 13.460 bb total use, 1.220 bb ending stocks, 8.92% S/U, & $4.55 /bu U.S. corn average price for “next crop” MY 2017/18;

World Corn Supply-Demand:

Record high World corn production of 1,040.2 million metric tons (mmt) is projected for “current” MY 2016/17, up 8.3% from 960.7 mmt in MY 2015/16, and up 2.4% from 1,015.6 mmt in MY 2014/15.  Record high World corn total supplies of 1,250.6 mmt are projected for “current” MY 2016/17, up from 1,170.5 mmt in MY 2015/16, and from 1,190.3 mmt in MY 2014/15. 

World corn exports of 149.0 mmt are projected for “current” MY 2016/17, up 23.0% from 121.1 mmt in MY 2015/16, and up 4.8% from 142.2 mmt in MY 2014/15.  Projected record high World corn ending stocks of 217.6 mmt (21.1% S/U) in “new crop” MY 2016/17 are up from 210.4 mmt (21.9% S/U) in MY 2015/16, and from 209.8 mmt (21.4% S/U) in MY 2014/15.  

Although World corn ending stocks are projected to be a record high in “current” MY 2016/17 at 217.6 mmt, World corn percent ending stocks-to-use are forecast to actually decline marginally to 21.1%.  Strong World demand for corn at low prices is expected to continue – especially in the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Southeast Asia, China, Ukraine, and other Former Soviet Union countries (less Ukraine).   Ongoing, strong demand could cause sharply increased corn market volatility in the summer of 2017 IF any threats to the 2017 U.S. crop emerge.

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KSU Weekly Grain Market Analysis: “Grinding” Thru February in the U.S. on the way to Spring Planting

Grain market summary notes, charts and comments ahead of the KSU Agriculture Today Grain Outlook to played on Friday, February 17, 2017 are available on the Kansas State University www.AgManager.info website at the following web address:

https://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/KSRN_GrainOutlook_02-17-17.pdf

The recorded radio program will be aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, February 17 on the K-State Radio Network (here) – with the program available to listen to online.  After the program airs, a recording can also be listened to from the KSU AgManager.info website via a link  in the “Radio Interviews” section: http://www.agmanager.info/news/default.asp

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Grain Market Update (5th of 5 parts) – Graphics of U.S. Soybean Market Outlook

In the following charts is the fifth of five (5) blog posts illustrating parts of the “Grain Market Outlook for 2017” presentation given by Kansas State University Extension Agricultural Economist Daniel O’Brien.  The complete presentation will be available on the www.AgManager.info website provided by the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University .

This fifth of five (5) related blog posts provides information on Soybean Market Situation and Outlook.

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Grain Market Update (2nd of 5 parts) – Graphics of U.S. Corn Market Outlook

In the following charts is the second of five (5) blog posts illustrating parts of the “Grain Market Outlook for 2017” presentation given by Kansas State University Extension Agricultural Economist Daniel O’Brien.  The complete presentation will be available on the www.AgManager.info website provided by the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University .

This second of five (5) related blog posts provides information on Corn Market Situation and Outlook.

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Corn Market Analysis for the 2017 Kansas Corn Schools in Wichita (Jan. 9th), Oakley (Jan. 11th) and Olathe (Jan. 13th)

Following is a summary of corn market analysis and outlook information from Kansas State University to be presented at a series of Kansas Corn Schools in January 2017.  Locations are Wichita (South Central KS) on Monday, January 9th, Oakley (Northwest KS) on Wednesday, January 11th, and Olathe (East Central KS) on Friday, January 13th.  More information on how to register for these meetings please visist the following web location:

http://kscorn.com/2016/11/cornschool/

Corn Market Risk Management in 2017

Daniel O’Brien, Extension Agricultural Economist – Kansas State University

A. U.S. and World Corn Supply-Demand & Price Situation.

After producing the four largest U.S. corn crops on record over the 2013-2016 period following the drought of 2012, U.S. corn ending stocks of 2.403 billion bushels in the “new crop” 2016/17 marketing year have risen to a 29-year high, while percent ending stocks-to-use of 16.56 percent have risen to an 11-year high. In this “large supply – low price,” “buyer’s market,” the USDA has projected U.S. average corn prices in market year 2016/17 in the $3.05 to $3.65 range — down for four consecutive years from a record high of $6.89 per bushel in drought-stricken market year 2012/13 to the lowest level since $3.04 per bushel in market year 2006/07. Foreign coarse grain supplies and ending stocks also have reached record high levels in marketing year 2016/17 — up to 1,118 million metric tons — further exacerbating the “large crop – low price” scenario that currently exists in the U.S. and world corn market.

B. 2017 Corn Market Expectations and Contingencies.

Lower U.S. corn prices are likely to prevail through the winter months until at least mid-spring to early summer 2017 unless unexpected and substantial crop production problems occur in other major coarse grain production regions of the world, such as Argentina, Brazil, China, or the Ukraine. It is also possible that the anticipated change in world weather patterns to a La Nina condition could have a negative impact on 2016 South American (particularly in Argentina and southern Brazil) and U.S. corn production in the western Corn Belt. However, tangible evidence of such a crop production impacts will not be available until February-April 2017 in Argentina and Brazil, and later in the summer months in the United States. Also, financial market volatility, trends in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other world currencies, and other economic factors may affect the U.S. corn market and other agricultural and energy commodity prices in coming months. However, absent any of these surprises to the U.S. and Kansas corn market, in-state corn prices will likely follow the average normal seasonal price pattern of the last 15 years, with harvest lows followed by seasonal increases through spring-early summer 2017, with weather-based market volatility likely to influence U.S. corn prices through the mid-to-later summer months.

C. Kansas Irrigated & Non-Irrigated Corn Cost of Production

Kansas cash corn prices of $2.87 to $3.36 per bushel in mid-December 2016 at major grain markets throughout the state are substantially below Kansas State University estimates of average cost of production from Kansas Farm Management Association enterprise records for the 2009-2015 period. Kansas State University estimates of statewide average irrigated corn cost of production were $4.00 per bushel in 2015, and $4.47 per bushel on average over the 2010-2014 period. For non-irrigated corn, Kansas State University estimates of statewide average cost of production were $4.36 per bushel in 2015 (with much larger than normal yields) and $5.70 per bushel on average over the 2010-2014 period.

D. What signals about 2017 are the CME corn futures markets providing?

As of December 16, 2016, the structure of futures contract prices over the remainder of the 2016/17 marketing year (i.e., through August 31, 2017) provides little or no incentive for commercial storage of grain and is near neutral at best for on-farm storage. On December 16, 2016 CME MARCH 2016 corn futures closed trade at $3.56 ½ per bushel, followed by MAY 2017 CME corn at $3.63 ¼, JULY 2017 CME corn at $3.70 ¾, and SEPTEMBER 2017 CME corn at 3.77 ½ per bushel.  Per month futures carrying charges for MARCH-MAY were $0.03375 per bushel, $0.0375 per bushel per month for MAY-JULY, and $0.03375 per bushel for JULY-SEPTEMBER.

If commercial storage costs before interest are commonly $0.04 per bushel per month, then mid- December 2016 CME corn futures carrying charges offer no incentive for storing grain — other than the possibility that local cash basis levels may narrow or strengthen enough to make storage possible. If on-farm storage cost is approximately $0.02-$0.02 ½ per bushel, then on-farm storage (before cost of interest) appears to be a “break-even” to slightly profitable marketing strategy absent any rally in corn futures or narrowing of basis in spring-early summer 2017.

E. Signals from New Crop 2017 DEC Corn & NOW Soybean futures

Concerning new crop 2016 acreage prospects for corn and other major competitive crops, on December 18, 2016 CME NOV 2017 soybean futures closed at $10.16 ¼ and CME DEC 2017 corn futures at $3.86 with a ratio of 2.63.   Over time this ratio of soybean to corn prices would be considered to be “favoring soybeans” (i.e., being markedly larger than the customary 2.2 to 2.3 break-even level) —favoring soybeans over corn from an expected profitability standpoint. That said, it is likely that prospects for the South American soybean crop during March-April 2017 will affect both old crop and new crop soybean and corn futures prices in the United States at that time, and could lead to significant changes in relative 2017 prices and expected profits between U.S. corn and soybeans, and ultimately affect U.S. farmers’ 2017 planted acreage decisions.

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Soybean Market Analysis – Graphics Focusing on Russell, Kansas (via KSU)

Following are a set of graphics showing key trends and relationships in U.S. and World Soybean markets.  These selected U.S. and World supply-demand relationships are among those most likely to impact U.S. agricultural imports and therefore U.S. grain prices.

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

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