Soybean basis came under pressure this week giving up 2 cents a bushel, while corn basis continued to flat line at unchanged on the week.
Corn basis, although on average across the country it was unchanged for the week, did find some modest strength on the Eastern Seaboards well as in parts of Nebraska and South Dakota as a massive blizzard midweek shut down grain flows. Corn piling continues to be fairly prominent still in the Western Cornbelt and will act as a constraint on any significant basis improvement. At the Gulf, basis levels slipped 4 cents a bushel although river terminals were more stable only giving up 1 cent a bushel. At ethanol plants, corn basis was unchanged for the week.
For soybeans, basis levels fell under weakness this week as higher futures brought on more farmer selling and a 10 cent loss at the Gulf export market signaled a significant slowing in the US export program. River terminals lost 5 cents a bushel on average although losses of 10 to 15 cents were fairly common at some locations. At soy plants, basis levels were unchanged on average, although plants in the Southeast were up 5 to 10 cents a bushel.
Grain prices found some modest strength this week with soybeans leading the complex higher on a 7 cent advance and corn gained 3. Wheat was unchanged for the week.
This week’s EIA’s weekly ethanol report showed production off 2,000 BPD to 959,000 bpd, while stocks climbed sharply by almost 1 million barrels to 22.36 million barrels on the week. Crude oil was up sharply on Wednesday gaining $2 a barrel on the US dollar plunge as well as news that Venezuela was looking to enter into talks with other nations to reduce output. However, the warning flag on oversupply continues to get deeper in the red as EIA crude oil stocks showed that weekly US crude oil inventories were up 7.8 million barrels when analysts only expected a 4.8 increase. Likewise, gasoline stocks ballooned by 5.9 million barrels compared to only a 1.7 million barrel increase that was expected. Weekly export sales topped 1 MMT this week, beating analyst expectations.
In soybeans, weekly export sales were disappointing amounting to a net reduction for the week in sales after China’s big cancellation of 395,000 MT. Brazil’s Conab pegged the soy crop at 100.9 MMT, which was lower than their previous estimate of 102.1 in January, but still slightly higher than USDA’s estimate of 100.0. Weather models point to favorable growing conditions as most of Argentina’s driest areas will get adequate rains next week. Production potentials will likely be restored near normal and the bottom line for Argentina is still a very good production year. In the meantime, Brazil will experience a favorable mix of rain and dry weather during the next two weeks supporting good crop development for nearly all of the nation.
For wheat, weekly sales were also disappointing coming in at 66,000 MT versus trade expectations ranging from 200-00,000 MT. Wheat conditions in key growing states are trending fairly well as compared to last year. States in the Plains to Western Cornbelt are posting better than last year condition ratings with the exception of Nebraska. In Oklahoma, the wheat crop is rated 74% good-to-excellent, which although lower than last month’s reading of 77%, is still highly improved over last year’s condition of only 41%.