Weekly Market Recap


USDA has extended the deadline from May 1 to May 17th for producers to certify their 2018 crop production for market facilitation payments. US trade officials saying US / China talks could be wrapped up by the end of next week. River stage at St. Louis predicted to raise 2 ½ ft by Monday. Flooding remains an issue on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. The St. Louis Miss River harbor is expected to close all next week due to high water. River levels projected to rise to 42.6 feet by May 6th, another 4 ft above current levels. St Louis levels need to be under 38 ft for barge traffic activity. The CME issued a declaration of ‘force majeure’ at corn and bean shipping stations due to flooding and load-out impossibility.


Argentine corn harvest is 31% complete from the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange. Very good yields are being reported. USDA weekly corn planting progress last week was pegged at 15%. The 5 year average is 27%. Planting progress is going to be a key driver of price in the coming weeks. A University of Illinois research paper is making the rounds suggesting a substantial dropped in yields in years when the crop is really delayed in planting. Weekly ethanol production dropped 24,000 to 1,024,000 bpd. Ethanol inventories were unchanged at 22.7 mil barrels. Ethanol margins were 4 cents lower this past week. Corn inspections were very strong with the 3rd best total of the year.  Inspections are still behind the USDA pace by about 100 million bushels though. Export sales on corn were disappointing with the total of 586,500 tons missing the low end of expectations.


Colder temps are forecasted for Northern Europe this weekend, which could threaten wheat there if a frost event occurs. US Spring wheat planting progress was pegged at 13%, compared to 9% last year and average of 33%. The Wheat Tour’s final yield estimate came in at 47.2 bpa, with total KS HRW production guessed to be 307 mil bushels. The USDA has Kansas planted acres at 7.0 mil. The 5 year tour average yield guess has been 40.2 bpa.  Wheat export sales were soft this week. Old crop sales were very low but with the marketing year nearly complete most activity is now shifting into new crop. 


The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange reports Argentine bean harvest at 59% complete vs 62% last year. Rains have slowed harvest in some areas. CME bean futures daily limit changes from .60/bu to .65/bu effective May 1st. Bean oil limits are unchanged at .02/lb, and bean meal unchanged at $20/ton. Weekly bean planting progress came in at 3% versus 6% average. Export inspections for beans were pretty poor again with the 3rd lowest total of the year this week. Export sales were also disappointing at only 313,400 tons.  China was the leading buyer however.


China has suspended pork imports from two Canadian companies, customs officials say. US hog futures prices have rallied sharply this week on the hopes that China will need to come to the US for more pork. 


After a volatile week of trading, WTI futures finished the session $0.13 higher at $61.94 per barrel. For the week crude prices fell 2.2% due to increasing U.S crude stocks and profit taking after the recent rally. Strong U.S. economic data provide support to end the week. AAA’s daily fuel gauge report shows a national average of $2.888, a new high for the calendar year!