Wheat Rises as Trader Shrug Off Bearish Supply Report
Wheat for May delivery rose 1.5% to $5.56 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Thursday after the WASDE's data showing less demand for U.S. grains didn't yield any outsized surprises. Soybeans for May delivery rose 1.1% to $8.63 1/2 a bushel. Corn for May delivery rose 0.5% to $3.31 3/4 a bushel.
Wheat futures led grains higher even though ending supplies rose more than expected, by 30 million bushels to 970 million bushels. "Looks a lot like 'sell the rumor, buy the fact' to me," said Craig Turner of Daniels Trading. More attention was paid to higher corn inventories as they indicated how deep ethanol production cuts could go, Turner said.
Trump Administration Exploring Coronavirus Testing for U.S. Food Plants
The Trump administration is weighing a plan to provide coronavirus tests and other solutions to U.S. food-processing plants, as a way to soothe workers' fears and keep the country's food system functioning through the pandemic.
The federal Covid-19 task force headed by Vice President Mike Pence this week discussed the prospect with meatpackers and food producers, according to people involved in the talks. The task force is looking to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to work out details of what such a plan could look like, at the agency's discretion, an administration official said.
Coronavirus Eats Into U.S. Corn Consumption
The economic slowdown stemming from the coronavirus pandemic will sharply lower demand for American grains, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report released Thursday, the USDA forecast that U.S. corn inventories would rise to roughly 2.1 billion bushels in the 2019/20 marketing year, up 200 million bushels from its projections last month due to the havoc wreaked on the U.S. economy by the pandemic.
"Corn used to produce ethanol is lowered 375 million bushels to 5.050 billion based on the latest indications from Energy Information Administration data indicating an unprecedented decline in ethanol production and motor gasoline consumption as a result of Covid-19," the agency said.
STORIES OF INTEREST:
Pasta-Maker Barilla Doesn't See Wheat Shortages -- Market Talk
0926 ET - Jean-Pierre Comte, president of pasta-maker Barilla's Americas unit and a major buyer of wheat grown in North Dakota and Canada, doesn't anticipate a supply crunch for the grain it needs to make products at factories in Iowa and New York. "We don't see any risk of shortage in this area," he tells WSJ in a recent interview, cautioning that just a few weeks ago people could not have imagined how the coronavirus has rippled through society and the economy. Consumers in the US have raced to buy dried pasta as they have stocked up on food, with retail-level sales surging 115% for the four-week period that ended March 28 versus the comparable stretch a year ago, per Nielsen. (email@example.com; @MicahMaidenberg)
USDA South American Production Forecasts Exceed Brazil Data -- Market Talk
1232 ET - The USDA's forecast for South American soybean production show a drop in their crops, much like those produced by Brazilian state agency Conab. However, the USDA's figures are higher than Conab's figures, which place Brazilian soybean production at 122.1 million metric tons, down from 124.2 million tons in March. Meanwhile, the USDA is forecasting a soybean crop of 124.5 million tons, down from 126 million tons last month. The USDA attributes this decrease to "dry conditions in Rio Grande do Sul while the crop was in pod-filling and maturation stages." (firstname.lastname@example.org; @kirkmaltais)
Livestock Futures Sink on WASDE Report -- Market Talk
15:19 ET - Livestock futures take a hit, led by lean hogs, which fall 5.4% to 48.675 cents a pound. Today's WASDE report from the USDA showed lower expectations for US production of meat as well as exports thanks to coronavirus dampening consumption of meat globally. Positive export data from the USDA this morning did little to offset the bearish news of the report. Live cattle futures decline 2.7% to 84.375c. (email@example.com; @kirkmaltais)