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Global Ag News for May 23.23


Lengthy North Africa Drought Ushers in Record Wheat Imports

Scarce rains are crushing wheat harvests in North Africa, ushering in the region’s largest imports on record.

The area is facing its “worst seasonal drought” in recent history, according to a report Monday from the European Union’s Monitoring Agricultural Resources Unit, which also tracks nearby countries. That will push wheat yields in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia 17% to 24% below the five-year average, with crop failures likely in some stretches.

The shortfall in the region’s domestic crops could boost imports to a record 31.7 million tons in the 2023-24 season, the US Department of Agriculture forecast this month. North Africa is one of the world’s top wheat buyers and already has been buying large amounts from abroad after another bad drought last year.

Global wheat prices have halved from last year’s record, cushioning some of the economic blow. Still, food inflation has been running hot across the region, where countries are struggling with rising poverty. Tunisian authorities recently urged cuts in bread consumption as some bakeries could not secure wheat supplies.

Heat waves compounded the impact of the dry soils on the harvest, which is just kicking off. In Algeria, there has been no rain since the start of March in most regions and the grain production outlook in Tunisia is “dire,” MARS said. The situation is better in Egypt, which relies more heavily on irrigation.


Wheat prices overnight are down 5 in SRW, down 6 1/2 in HRW, down 10 1/4 in HRS; Corn is down 2 1/4; Soybeans down 12 1/4; Soymeal down $2.80; Soyoil down 0.55.

For the week so far wheat prices are down 3 3/4 in SRW, down 5 1/2 in HRW, down 4 3/4 in HRS; Corn is up 14; Soybeans up 22; Soymeal up $0.30; Soyoil up 0.95.

For the month to date wheat prices are down 32 1/2 in SRW, up 43 in HRW, down 4 1/2 in HRS; Corn is down 16 1/4; Soybeans down 90 1/4; Soymeal down $23.00; Soyoil down 3.45.

Year-To-Date nearby futures are down 24.1% in SRW, down 7.8% in HRW, down 14.9% in HRS; Corn is down 16.2%; Soybeans down 12.5%; Soymeal down 14.4%; Soyoil down 24.4%.

Chinese Ag futures (JUL 23) Soybeans down 14 yuan; Soymeal up 45; Soyoil down 42; Palm oil down 6; Corn up 9 — Malaysian palm oil prices overnight were down 47 ringgit (-1.37%) at 3381.

There were changes in registrations (-26 Soymeal). Registration total: 2,389 SRW Wheat contracts; 2 Oats; 11 Corn; 0 Soybeans; 1,175 Soyoil; 47 Soymeal; 97 HRW Wheat.

Preliminary changes in futures Open Interest as of May 22 were: SRW Wheat up 2,985 contracts, HRW Wheat up 1,001, Corn up 8,429, Soybeans up 3,916, Soymeal down 1,823, Soyoil up 2,867.

Northern Plains: Isolated showers through Friday. Temperatures above normal through Friday. Outlook: Isolated showers Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures above normal Saturday-Wednesday.

Central/Southern Plains:  Isolated to scattered showers through Friday, mostly west. Temperatures near to below normal Monday, near to above normal Tuesday-Friday. Outlook: Isolated to scattered showers Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Wednesday.

Western Midwest: Isolated showers north Tuesday-Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Friday.

Eastern Midwest: Mostly dry through Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Wednesday, near to below normal Thursday-Friday. Outlook: Mostly dry Saturday-Sunday. Isolated showers Monday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Sunday, above normal Monday-Wednesday.

Delta: Mostly dry through Friday. Temperatures near to above normal through Friday. Outlook: Mostly dry Saturday-Wednesday. Temperatures near to above normal Saturday-Wednesday.

Argentina: Cordoba, Santa Fe, Northern Buenos Aires:  Isolated to scattered showers through Thursday. Mostly dry Friday. Temperatures above normal through Friday. La Pampa, Southern Buenos Aires:  Isolated to scattered showers through Wednesday. Mostly dry Thursday-Friday. Temperatures above normal through Friday.

The player sheet for 5/22 had funds: net buyers of 500 contracts of SRW wheat, buyers of 8,500 corn, buyers of 12,000 soybeans, buyers of 1,500 soymeal, and  buyers of 6,000 soyoil.


  • SOYMEAL PURCHASE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed private sales of 225,000 tonnes of U.S. soymeal to the Philippines for shipment in the 2022/23 marketing year.
  • CORN TENDER: Taiwan’s MFIG purchasing group has issued an international tender to buy up to 65,000 tonnes of animal feed corn that can be sourced from the United States, Brazil, Argentina or South Africa
  • WHEAT TENDER: The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 56,000 tonnes of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States
  • WHEAT TENDER: A group of South Korean flour mills has issued a tender to purchase around 135,000 tonnes of milling wheat to be sourced from the United States, Canada and Australia.
  • WHEAT SHIPMENT: Another consignment of about 30,000 tonnes of European Union origin wheat, believed to be from Poland, is expected to be shipped to the United States in June or July.


  • RICE TENDER: South Korea’s state-backed Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp issued an international tender to purchase an estimated 43,500 tonnes of rice
  • FEED WHEAT TENDER: An importer group in the Philippines has issued a tender to purchase around 40,000 tonnes of animal feed wheat.
  • CORN TENDER: Iranian state-owned animal feed importer SLAL has issued an international tender to purchase up to 120,000 tonnes of animal feed corn to be sourced from Brazil or Argentina.

networked globe


USDA CROP PROGRESS: Corn Crop 81% Planted, Soybeans 66% Planted

Highlights from the report:

  • Corn planted 81% vs 65% last week, and 69% a year ago
  • Corn emerged 52% vs 30% last week, and 35% a year ago
  • Soybeans planted 66% vs 49% last week, and 47% a year ago
  • Soybeans emerged 36% vs 20% last week, and 19% a year ago
  • Winter wheat 31% G/E vs 29% last week, and 28% a year ago
  • Spring wheat planted 64% vs 40% last week, and 48% a year ago
  • Spring wheat emerged 32% vs 13% last week, and 27% a year ago
  • Cotton planted 45% vs 35% last week, and 52% a year ago
  • Sorghum planted 33% vs 28% last week, and 32% a year ago

US Inspected 1.323m Tons of Corn for Export, 155k of Soybean

In week ending May 18, according to the USDA’s weekly inspections report.

  • Wheat: 408k tons vs 263k the previous wk, 276k a yr ago
  • Soybeans: 155k tons vs 187k the previous wk, 582k a yr ago
  • Corn: 1,323k tons vs 1,174k the previous wk, 1,752k a yr ago

US Corn, Soybean, Wheat Inspections by Country: May 18

Following is a summary of USDA inspections for week ending May 18 of corn, soybeans and wheat for export, from the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, known as GIPSA.

  • Soybeans for Japan-bound shipments made up 56k tons of the 155k total inspected
  • Japan was the top destination for corn inspections, Mexico led in wheat

Top Buyer China Using Less Soy and Corn in Hog Feed, More Wheat

China, producer of almost half the world’s pork, has cut use of soybean meal and corn in livestock feed in a drive to curb reliance on imports.

The soybean meal ratio in most animal feed in April was 1.9 percentage points less than a year earlier at 12.5%, China’s Feed Industry Association said in a statement on its website Tuesday. The corn ratio fell 1.3 points to 36.6%. The declines came as feed makers and pig farmers turned to less expensive wheat.

China imports about 60% of the world’s internationally traded soybeans and relies on overseas supplies for more than 80% of its consumption. The country is also the biggest corn buyer, and this year is set to be the largest importer of wheat, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture.

Industrial production of livestock feed in April surged 12% from a year earlier to almost 26 million tons, according to the industry association.

Ukraine’s Black Sea Crop Exports Fell 78% in Week to May 21

The volume of crops departing Ukrainian ports under the Black Sea Grain Initiative totaled about 118,334 in the week to May 21, according to data posted by the Joint Coordination Centre.

  • That compares with about 550,324 tons the prior week
  • NOTE: The grain deal was extended last week for a two-month span
    • The corridor nearly emptied in the preceding days, as no inbound vessels were cleared; those flows have since resumed
  • TOTAL TONNAGE: More than 30.2m tons of crops have been shipped since the initiative was established last July

UN concerned by lack of grain ships going to one Ukrainian port

The United Nations expressed concern on Monday that Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Pivdennyi (Yuzhny) has not received any ships since May 2 under a deal allowing the safe wartime export of grain and fertilizer.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric did not say who was to blame for the lack of ships traveling to the port, near Odesa, which is also where Russia used to pump up to 2.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually for export via a pipeline from Togliati.

That pipeline has been shut down since Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Russia used to export 4.4 million tonnes of ammonia a year – 20% of global seaborne trade – before its war in Ukraine.

The Black Sea grain deal – brokered by the U.N. and Turkey last July – allows for the safe export of ammonia and Russia has been pushing for the pipeline to be restarted. Russia agreed last week for the Black Sea pact to be extended for two months.

But a Ukrainian a government source told Reuters on Friday Kyiv would consider allowing Russian ammonia to transit its territory for export if the Black Sea grain deal is expanded to include more Ukrainian ports and a wider range of commodities.

The Black Sea grain deal ground to a halt last week as Russia decided whether to continue it. Under the agreement a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul – made up of officials from the Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the U.N. – authorizes and inspects ships inbound and outbound.

Dujarric said that since the deal was extended, nine ships have been inspected and cleared for travel, of which five are currently in the Ukrainian ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk loading cargo.

India’s wheat procurement set to fall below estimate by 20%

India’s wheat procurement in 2023 could fall by a fifth from the initial estimate as government purchases have slowed down in the last few days after local prices jumped, government officials and traders told Reuters.

Lower than expected purchases by the world’s second biggest wheat producer could limit New Delhi’s ability to intervene in the market to calm prices, which hit a record high earlier this year.

“Wheat procurement might end up this year somewhere around 27 million tonnes, and that is substantially higher than last year’s buying,” said a senior government official who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to talk to media.

India’s wheat procurement had more than halved in 2022 from the year before to 18.8 million tonnes.

India, also the world’s second-biggest consumer of wheat, banned wheat exports in May 2022 after a sharp, sudden rise in temperatures clipped output, even as export demand picked up to meet the global shortfall triggered by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The average wheat procurement in the past decade was 31.5 million tonnes. New Delhi was initially looking to buy 34.15 million tonnes of new-season wheat from farmers as production is estimated to jump to a record 112.2 million tonnes.

“The government has so far procured 26.1 million tonnes of wheat and we’re still buying from farmers,” said another government official who did not wish to be named in line with official rules.

Procurement has slowed down in the last few days, but government agencies will keep the window open to buy from farmers until at least June 30, he said.

Wheat prices in central India have risen 5% this month to 2,325 rupees per 100 kg against the government buying price of 2,125 rupees.

Wheat prices jumped to a record high in the second half of the last year after supplies dried up, said a New-Delhi based dealer with a global trade house.

“This year many farmers have been holding back their produce anticipating prices would rally like the last year in the lean supply months,” he said.


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