Global Ag News for July 25.23
EU agriculture ministers meet to discuss vital Ukraine grain exports after Russia nixed deal
European Union agriculture ministers met Tuesday to discuss ways of moving grain vital to global food security out of Ukraine after Russia halted a deal that allowed the exports. At the same time, they want to protect prices for farmers in countries bordering the war-ravaged nation.
The ministers met in Brussels for the first time since Russia pulled the plug last week on the wartime deal that allowed grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where hunger is a growing threat and high food prices have pushed more people into poverty.
The deal provided guarantees that ships would not be attacked when entering and leaving Ukrainian ports, while a separate agreement facilitated the movement of Russian food and fertilizer.
Poland’s agriculture minister Robert Telus was set to tell the EU meeting that his country, along with Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, are extending their ban on Ukrainian grain imports, but will still allow food to move through their countries to parts of the world.
Lithuania’s agriculture minister, Kęstutis Navickas, suggested Tuesday that export procedures for grain could be shifted from the Ukraine-Polish border to Lithuanian ports as a way of preventing grain from getting stuck in Poland and causing a supply glut that pushes down prices for local farmers.
Over the past several days, Russia has targeted Ukrainian critical grain export infrastructure since it vowed retribution for an attack that damaged a crucial bridge between Russia and the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula. Russian officials blamed that strike on Ukrainian drone boats.
Ukraine also is seeking to continue exporting grain by sea. It sent a letter to the United Nations International Maritime Organization establishing its own temporary shipping corridor, saying it would “provide guarantees of compensation for damage.”
But Russia warned it would assume ships traversing parts of the Black Sea to be carrying weapons to Ukraine. In a seeming tit-for-tat move, Ukraine said vessels heading to Russian Black Sea ports would be considered “carrying military cargo with all the associated risks.”
FUTURES & WEATHER
Wheat prices overnight are down 14 1/2 in SRW, down 6 1/2 in HRW, down 6 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 14 1/4; Soybeans down 20 3/4; Soymeal down $2.70; Soyoil down 1.31.
For the week so far wheat prices are up 44 3/4 in SRW, up 51 3/4 in HRW, up 42 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 17 1/2; Soybeans up 2; Soymeal up $0.50; Soyoil up 0.63.
For the month to date wheat prices are up 92 in SRW, up 112 in HRW, up 112 1/2 in HRS; Corn is up 59 1/4; Soybeans up 60 1/2; Soymeal up $11.60; Soyoil up 4.46.
Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 6.3% in SRW, up 2.7% in HRW, down 1.0% in HRS; Corn is down 19.6%; Soybeans down 1.0%; Soymeal down 6.6%; Soyoil up 11.1%.
Chinese Ag futures (SEP 23) Soybeans down 40 yuan; Soymeal up 38; Soyoil up 96; Palm oil up 136; Corn up 1 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 94 ringgit (-2.26%) at 4070.
There were no changes in registrations. Registration total: 1,398 SRW Wheat contracts; 448 Oats; 0 Corn; 11 Soybeans; 187 Soyoil; 0 Soymeal; 147 HRW Wheat.
Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of July 24 were: SRW Wheat up 2,092 contracts, HRW Wheat up 5,563, Corn up 1,357, Soybeans up 2,913, Soymeal up 3,145, Soyoil down 2,241.
Northern Plains: Spotty showers moved through the Northern Plains over the weekend, but most areas stayed dry. Systems moving through Canada will make for some areas of showers this week, but that is still uncertain. Temperatures will be hot for the next few days, but moderate with a cold front moving through later this week. Additional rain may be possible this weekend, but that too is uncertain.
Central/Southern Plains: Areas of showers moved through the Central and Southern Plains over the weekend, along with severe weather, while temperatures increased. Heat will be in place for the next week, with many days well into the 90s and some 100-degree readings, exacerbating dryness issues in parts of the region. Some showers will move through, mostly for northern areas, but that is not guaranteed. A front settling south through the region is more likely to bring showers and thunderstorms Friday through the weekend.
Midwest: Heat started to build in the western Midwest Sunday and will spread through most of the region this week. Most areas will see temperatures in the 90s for at least a few days while some 100s will be possible west of the Mississippi. Models are unsure about the precipitation forecast this week, but with drought in place any rainfall will be welcome and could potentially bring down temperatures at times. Models also disagree about the forecast for the weekend into next week, but are trending toward a frontal passage bringing some more widespread rainfall for the weekend and less extreme temperatures for next week. Stress should be very high this week, coming at a critical time for corn especially, but may relax a bit for next week.
Eastern Midwest: Spotty showers moved through the Northern Plains over the weekend, but most areas stayed dry. Systems moving through Canada will make for some areas of showers this week, but that is still uncertain. Temperatures will be hot for the next few days, but moderate with a cold front moving through later this week. Additional rain may be possible this weekend, but that too is uncertain.
Delta: Scattered showers moved through the Delta with a front this weekend. Models have trended drier for the region while temperatures increase well into the 90s for much of the week, causing stress to areas with more limited soil moisture.
Canadian Prairies: Spotty showers occurred in the Canadian Prairies over the weekend, but not in the driest areas of the southwest where temperatures also climbed over the 90-degree mark as well. A trough off the coast of British Columbia will send a storm system through the region this week, but models continue to favor northern areas with precipitation. Temperatures will fall behind a cold front moving through Tuesday and Wednesday. A secondary impulse may bring showers this weekend, but that is still uncertain. Crops across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan are begging for rain while wheat and canola are in reproductive to filling stages but are continuing to be favored by drier conditions.
The player sheet for 7/24 had funds: net buyers of 21,500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 24,000 corn, buyers of 9,500 soybeans, buyers of 3,500 soymeal, and buyers of 9,000 soyoil.
- SOYBEAN PURCHASE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture said private exporters reported sales of 121,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans for shipment to China in the 2023/24 marketing year.
- RICE TENDER PASSED: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. is believed to have has rejected offers and made no purchase in an international tender to purchase some 43,000 metric tons of rice which closed on July 10
- VEGETABLE OILS TENDER: Egypt’s state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), set an international purchasing tender for vegetable oils with a July 26 deadline for offers. GASC is seeking an unspecified quantity of sunflower oil and soyoil for arrival between Aug. 20 and Sept. 5 and/or Sept. 6-20, with a requested for offers to be made at sight.
- WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 108,000 metric tons of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States.
- WHEAT TENDER: Bangladesh’s state grains buyer issued an international tender to purchase 50,000 metric tons of milling wheat.
USDA CROP PROGRESS: Corn Conditions 57% G/E, Soybeans 54%
Highlights from the report:
- Corn 57% G/E vs 57% last week, and 61% a year ago
- Corn dough 16% vs 7% last week, and 12% a year ago
- Corn silking 68% vs 47% last week, and 58% a year ago
- Soybeans 54% G/E vs 55% last week, and 59% a year ago
- Soybeans blooming 70% G/E vs 56% last week, and 62% a year ago
- Spring wheat 49% G/E vs 51% last week, and 68% a year ago
- Winter wheat harvest 68% vs 56% last week, and 76% a year ago
- Cotton 46% G/E vs 45% last week, and 34% a year ago
- Sorghum 60% G/E vs 58% last week, and 30% a year ago
US Inspected 310k Tons of Corn for Export, 283k of Soybean
- Soybeans: 283k tons vs 160k the previous wk, 403k a yr ago
- Corn: 310k tons vs 411k the previous wk, 754k a yr ago
- Wheat: 359k tons vs 273k the previous wk, 476k a yr ago
US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: July 20
Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending July 20 of corn, soybeans and wheat for export, from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA.
- Soybeans for Germany-bound shipments made up 110k tons of the 283k total inspected
- Mexico was the top destination for corn inspections, Philippines led in wheat
Russian diplomat says there are no talks on restoring grain deal – RIA
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said on Tuesday that no talks on resuming the Black Sea grain export deal were currently under way, the RIA news agency reported.
The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July, aimed to prevent a global food crisis by allowing grain blocked by the war in Ukraine to be safely exported.
Russia announced it was withdrawing from the deal last week.
Ukraine Asks EU For More Export Transit as Black Sea Deal Ended
Ukrainian Grain Association lobby group has asked European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis to increase volumes of Ukrainian grain export via so-called solidarity lanes by 1 million or 1.5 million tons per month, according to e-mailed statement.
- UGA asks the European Commission to partially compensate losses for shipping companies and ports
- Ukraine is expected to export around 45 million tons of grain and oilseed crops during the 2023-24 season, as well as around 9-10 million tons of vegetable oil and meal
- Ukraine can use alternative routes via ports in the Baltics, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia
- UGA urges green corridor on these routes for Ukrainian grain
- Ukraine proposes to move sanitary controls to the destination country and to arrange subsidies from the European Commission for European shipping firms to cover additional costs for transit and to partially compensate extra costs for the European ports
- These routes are not widely used as they are more complicated and cost around €30-40 per ton more than other routes
- NOTE: 41 million tons of grain, oilseeds, and related products have left Ukraine through the solidarity lanes, according to the European Commission’s website
Nearly 30 ships stop around Ukraine’s Izmail gateway after Russian Danube strikes
Almost 30 ships dropped anchor near Ukraine’s crucial Izmail port terminal after Russia destroyed grain warehouses on the Danube river on Monday, data showed, although it was unclear exactly what had caused them to stop.
Monday’s pre-dawn Russian air strikes wounded seven people and hit infrastructure along the Danube, a vital alternative route for Ukrainian grain since the demise last week of a year-old deal allowing safe exports via the Black Sea. Kyiv said the attack was an expansion of an air campaign Russia launched last week after pulling out of the grain deal.
According to Reuters calculations, based on ship tracking data from analytics company MarineTraffic, some 29 vessels, which also included chemical tankers, had stopped around Izmail.
A further three vessels had also dropped anchor along the waterway leading to the terminal of Reni-Odesa, the data showed.
There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian authorities.
Insurance industry sources have said war risk cover for Ukraine’s ports that were part of the previous grain deal had been suspended. On Monday, three sources said some providers were also reviewing whether to continue to provide cover for Danube ports.
“The premiums for those that are still quoting is going to go up,” one source said.
Since the collapse of the grain corridor deal and the increased targeting of ports and infrastructure by Russia, war risk underwriters were “forming their own independent views and deciding what is it is they are prepared to underwrite,” David Smith, head of hull and marine liabilities at insurance broker McGill, told Reuters.
“The difficulty here is that unlike a rateable commodity, insurance costs for Ukraine right now are un-modellable.”
UkrAgroConsult Sees Ukraine Max Monthly Agri Exports at 5m Tons
UkrAgroConsult estimates Ukraine’s maximum monthly exports via land and Danube ports at 4-5m tons, analysts write in a report.
- Estimates 2-2.5m tons can be exported via land routes per month, and 2.2-2.6 m tons via the Danube ports
- “It should be noted logistics cost via these routes will be significantly higher than for exports via Ukraine’s deep-water ports.”
- NOTE: Russia ended deal allowing Ukraine to ship by sea last week
- “This is not a complete replacement for the grain corridor activity, the logistics costs will be more to deliver the commodities to markets in Southeast Asia and China,”
- NOTE: Russia Escalates Attacks on Danube in Risk for Ukraine Grain
- Says Romanian port of Constanta has sufficient capacity to export Ukrainian grain until mid-August; after that, domestic exports will be prioritized and Ukrainian grain transit may fall
- On Russian ports, says traffic looks brisk, but insurance and freight rates for ships inbound to Russian ports “may increase and quite significantly”
Dry Weather Across Europe Hits Wheat and Corn Crop Yields
Drier-than-usual conditions across western, central and northern Europe are hitting crop yields from wheat to corn and barley, according to the European Union’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources unit.
Europe’s sunflower crop is now seen below the five-year average due to a weaker outlook in Romania, while the spring barley crop is seen lower due to conditions in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries.
Still, some areas got surplus rainfall that delayed harvesting and potentially reduced grain quality.
Brazil C-S Winter Corn Harvest 47% Done as of July 20: AgRural
Compares with 36% in the previous week and 62% a year earlier, consulting firm AgRural says in emailed report.
NOTE: Estimate for winter corn crop was revised by AgRural at the end of June to 102.9m tons from 97.9m tons, so total 2022/23 corn output is now seen at 132.3m tons
Rice Risks Hitting Decade-High as Indian Curbs Rock Market
- Senior Thai industry official warns prices look set to ‘spike’
- Costlier staple would add to stresses on global food markets
Rice prices are set to surge after top exporter India banned a large chunk of shipments, adding to stresses on global food markets that have already been roiled by bad weather and the worsening conflict in Ukraine.
“In the short term, the price is definitely going up, it’s just a question of how high up it will go,” said Chookiat Ophaswongse, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, one of the world’s biggest shippers of the grain. “And it will be a spike, it’s not going to be increasing incrementally.”
Rice is vital to the diets of billions in Asia and Africa, and a surge in prices would add to inflationary pressures and jack up the import bills for buyers. India’s restriction, which applies to shipments of non-basmati white rice, is aimed at controlling domestic prices. The move comes as concerns escalate about the impact on farm supplies of the El Niño weather pattern, soaring temperatures in Europe, and Russian attacks against Ukrainian export facilities.
“India’s export ban needs to be seen in the light of this ominous setting,” said Peter Timmer, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, who’s studied food security for decades. “There is considerably more reason for concern now that rice prices in Asia could spiral out of control pretty quickly.”
With Vietnam, another major rice shipper, already quoting supplies at $600 a ton for 5% white rice, Thailand may follow that, Chookiat said in an interview. A jump to that level would push Thai prices to the highest since 2012, and compares with the current level of $534 a ton, near a two-year high.
A surge in rice — plus the gains in wheat, corn and other agricultural commodities seen so far this month — looks set to spur a rebound in global food costs after a long run of declines. The UN’s World Food Price Index hit the lowest since April 2021 in June following five quarterly declines.
India’s latest move, plus an earlier curb on broken rice, affect 30% to 40% of the nation’s total shipments, although Nomura Holdings Inc. warned restrictions could be extended to cover other categories in the event of uneven rainfall and rising domestic inflation. As it stands, the rules could impact flows to China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and a host of African nations.
Argentina Wants New Sectors to Ease Pressure on Farming: Massa
Argentina wants energy, mining and knowledge-based industries to play a bigger role in the economy, said Economy Minister and presidential candidate Sergio Massa at a farming event in Buenos Aires.
That will “lighten the burden” on agriculture, Argentina’s main economic driver, and help better distributing growth and business taxes: Massa
India Cumulative Monsoon Rainfall 5% Above Normal as of July 23
India has so far received 389.2 millimeters of rains during the current monsoon season, which runs from June through September, compared with a normal of 370.9 millimeters, according to data published by the India Meteorological Department on July 23.
- Rainfall in the northwestern region was at 40% above normal
- The eastern and northeastern region got 23% below normal rains
- Cumulative seasonal rainfall data is compiled by the IMD
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