KSU Wheat Market Outlook in April 2017 – “Decent” U.S. HRW Wheat Exports and Possible Market Scenarios for MY 2017/18

An analysis of U.S. and World wheat supply-demand factors and 2016-2017 price prospects following the USDA’s April 11th Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports, and the market actions that have followed those reports are available on the KSU AgManager website (http://www.agmanager.info/).

Following is a summary – with the full analysis-article for Wheat to be found at this web location:

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

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Summary

Since the USDA’s April 11th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, U.S. and World wheat futures market prices first traded higher then turned lower.  CME MAY 2017 Kansas HRW Wheat futures gained $0.04 ¼ /bu to close at $4.29 ¾ on 4/11/2017 – the day of the report – but after trading higher for two days have since declined through Wednesday, April 19th – closing down to $4.16 ¾ that same day.

World Wheat Supply-Demand

For the “current crop” 2016/17 marketing year (MY), the USDA projected the following. First, World wheat total supplies of 993.1 million metric tons (mmt) and total use of 740.8 mmt – both at record high levels.  Second, that World wheat exports are continuing to trend higher to 180.7 mmt in the “current” marketing year – up from 172.8 mmt last year, and up from 164.45 mmt two years ago.  Third, World wheat ending stocks at a record high 252.3 mmt up from 241.7 mmt last year, and 217.6 mmt two years ago.  And fourth, World wheat percent ending stocks-to-use (S/U) of 34.05% – up from 34.0% last year, and from 30.85% two years ago –the highest since MY 2005/06.

For a perspective on how historically large World total wheat stocks and World wheat percent stocks-to-use now are, in MY 2007/08 the 34-year low in World wheat ending stocks of 128.1 mmt and at least a 57-year low in percent ending stocks-to-use of 20.9% stocks/use both occurred – the last major World wheat “short crop” marketing year.  The situation in MY 2007/08 compares to projections of 252.3 mmt ending stocks and 34.05% ending stocks-to-use projected for “current” MY 2016/17.  The present “large crop-over supply” situation in World and U.S. wheat markets have a prevailing negative influence on U.S. and World wheat prices.

However, the broader “large crop-over supply-low price” situation in the World wheat market may be “obscuring” at least a couple of other important market issues.  First, while the quantity of wheat available in the World is plentiful, the available supply of high protein milling wheat is less so.  This factor helps exports of both U.S. Hard Red Spring (HRS) wheat (higher protein – good quality) relative to World wheat export competitors.  Second, while the aggregate supply of wheat in World markets has grown, the supply of wheat in the “World Less China” is projected to have actually “contracted” or “diminished” in “current crop” MY 2016/17 compared to a year ago – down to the tightest supply-balances only marginally larger than existed in MY 2013/14.  If this “China factor” eventually leads to noticeably tighter available global supplies of exportable wheat to occur in coming months, it could have a positive impact U.S. wheat market prices in late-Spring 2017.

Even so, given the broader World wheat market’s current focus – it is likely that significant World wheat production problems and/or trade disruptions would need to occur in year 2017 in order to have wheat prices recover significantly by spring-summer 2017.  Ongoing strength in the U.S. dollar exchange rate is a serious negative factor limiting the competitive affordability of U.S. wheat exports.  These factors have resulted in higher U.S. wheat ending stocks and % ending stocks-to-use, and have caused U.S. and Kansas wheat cash prices to fall sharply – down near to and below the marketing loan rate in many Kansas locations.

USDA U.S. Wheat Supply-Demand Forecast for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

On February 23-24, 2017 at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Virginia, the USDA released their grain market supply-demand and price projections for “next crop” MY 2017/18.  With additional acreage and usage information the March 31st USDA Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports, and the April 11th USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the following projections for “next crop” MY 2017/18 are figured.

For “next crop” MY 2017/18, 2017 U.S. wheat plantings are projected to be 46.059 million acres (ma) – down from 50.154 ma in 2015.  Harvested acres for 2016 are forecast to be 39.050 ma – down from 43.890 ma a year ago.  Trendline 2017 wheat yields for 2017 are projected at 47.1 bu/a, down from the 2016 record of 52.6 bu/ac, while the adjusted 2017 U.S. wheat production forecast is 1.839 billion bushels (bb), down from 2.310 bb in 2015.  Projected “next crop” MY 2017/18 total supplies are 3.118 bb (down from 3.395 bb in “current” MY 2016/17), with total use of 2.191 bb (down from 2.236 bb in “current” MY 2016/17).

Given these numbers, the adjusted USDA projection of “next crop” MY 2017/18 ending stocks equals 927 million bushels (mb) (vs 1.159 bb a year ago), with percent ending stocks-to-use of 42.3% S/U (vs 51.8% last year and 50.0% the previous year).  United States’ wheat prices are projected to average approximately $4.25 /bu – up from $3.85 in “current” MY 2016/17, but down from $4.89 /bu in MY 2015/16, and $5.99 /bu in MY 2014/15.   It is assumed by Kansas State University that these adjusted USDA projections for “next crop” MY 2016/17 have a 50% probability of occurring.

Three Alternative KSU U.S. Wheat Supply-Demand Forecasts for “Next Crop” MY 2017/18

As an alternative to the USDA’s projection, three potential KSU-Scenarios for U.S. wheat supply-demand and prices are presented for “next crop” MY 2017/18.

A. KSU Scenario 1) “Trend Yield” Scenario (25% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 that the following occurs.  It is assumed that there will be 46.059 ma planted, 39.334 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.849 bb production, 3.128 bb total supplies, 975 mb exports, 190 mb feed & residual use, 2.191 bb total use, 937 mb ending stocks, 42.8% S/U, & $4.20 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

B. KSU Scenario 2) “Higher U.S. Wheat Exports” Scenario (15% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 the following.  The following is forecast for “next crop” MY 2017/18, i.e., 46.059 ma planted, 39.334 ma harvested, 47.0 bu/ac trend yield, 1.849 bb production, 3.128 bb total supplies, 1.150 bb exports, 190 mb feed & residual use, 2.326 bb total use, 802 mb ending stocks, 24.10% S/U, & $4.90 /bu U.S. wheat average price;

C. KSU Scenario 3) “Short U.S. Wheat Crop” Scenario (10% probability) assumes for “next crop” MY 2017/18 that the following happens.  This scenario assumes 46.059 ma planted, 37.124 ma harvested, 40.0 bu/ac low yield, 1.485 bb production, 2.769 bb total supplies, 975 mb exports, 175 mb feed & residual use, 2.175 bb total use, 594 mb ending stocks, 27.31% S/U, & $5.50 /bu U.S. wheat average price.

Crop Production and Grain Stocks Trends in the U.S. and Kansas – Following from Abundant U.S. Grain Harvests

One of the factors causing U.S. grain prices to stay at their current moderate-to-low levels is the total quantity of U.S. corn, grain sorghum, wheat and soybeans available relative to commercial off-farm storage capacity.  This “strain” on storage capacity can be described as a “high demand for grain storage space.”  The net result of strong demand for limited U.S. grain storage capacity is a high real cost of storage – a factor that is influencing the U.S. hard red winter wheat market located in the central and southern plains states (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, etc.).

The following slides are meant to illustrate this “oversupply relative to grain storage” situation as it exists in the U.S. and in the state of Kansas in the 2016/17 marketing year.  In summary, large crop supplies relative to available storage capacity characterize the U.S. grain storage and handling industry at this point in time.  Looking into the future the remedy for this current situation will come from either reduced grain supplies or increased grain usage.  The quickest remedy would seem be some sort of short crop/short supply situation in the U.S. in the coming months of year 2017.  Although it would be a surprise to the market, some combination of foreign crop production problems and increased U.S. grain export demand would also help to alleviate the current oversupply situation.

So, the grain market waits to see whether some combination of these supply – demand factors may reduce supplies relative available to grain storage capacity.  It is not too much of a “stretch” to say that we should know the answer to that question by August-September 2017!

 

 

KSU Weekly Grain Market Analysis: With Large South American Crops – Focus will shift to U.S. Prospects in May-August

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, April 14, 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_04-14-17.pdf

The recorded radio program will be aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, April 14, 2017 on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available. A copy of the April 14th recording will be available after the program airs 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: Anticipating the April WASDE + Kansas Crop Cost-Returns

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, April 7, 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_03-31-17.pdf

The recorded radio program was aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, April 7, 2017 on the K-State Radio Network (KSU Agriculture Today Radio) – web player available. A copy of the April 7th 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: “Next Crop” MY 2016/17 S-D and Price Scenarios for U.S. Corn, Wheat and Soybeans

Grain market summary notes, charts and comments ahead of the Grain Market Update to played on Friday, March 24, 2017 on the KSU Agriculture Today Radio program are available on the Kansas State University www.AgManager.info website at the following web address:

http://www.agmanager.info/sites/default/files/pdf/KSRN_GrainOutlook_03-24-17_0.pdf

The recorded radio program will be aired at 10:03 a.m. central time, Friday, March 24th 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 “News” section: http://www.agmanager.info/news

 

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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