What is in this article?:
- Weather, corn market major driving forces behind wheat prices
- Fundamentally bullish news
- While the market focused on a sharp 6 percent drop in estimated world corn production, USDA reaffirmed the unchallenged ability of U.S. wheat farmers to help the world meet its grain needs again this year.
Fundamentally bullish news
While the WASDE contained fundamentally bullish news, its release pushed U.S. wheat futures lower on Friday, adding to the last month’s downward trend.
Some of the world’s top wheat buyers have issued multiple tenders in recent weeks to take advantage of slightly lower prices.
While recent news downplays the risk of a Russian export ban, SovEcon, a leading agricultural analyst, said Wednesday that Russia’s exportable grain surplus could run out by November.
USDA did lower projected Russian exports from 12.0 MMT to 8.0 MMT in the August WASDE, compared to 21.6 MMT exported last year.
Russian officials have publicly declared they do not intend to impose export restrictions or tariffs this calendar year, but have not definitively ruled out any measures in 2013. Whether or not any of this comes to fruition, it adds even more uncertainty to the market.
That uncertainty will likely persist into the U.S. wheat planting season. Weather conditions between now and then will influence farmers’ decisions on what to plant.
Competition for acres in the United States has intensified greatly the last five years with wheat acres most often sacrificed for increasingly profitable corn and soybeans.
With significant portions of U.S. wheat area falling within current drought zones, farmers may decide against a winter wheat crop if they do not receive adequate moisture.
Another possibility is farmers who intended to plant corn or soybeans could switch back to wheat, which performs better with less moisture, pushing wheat acres higher.
As always, commodity prices and federal risk management programs will also factor into the decision.
Both the weather and corn market have been the major driving forces of wheat prices so far in 2012/13. The weather is responsible for a shrinking world wheat output and much uncertainty lies ahead.
However, an above average U.S. crop is a bright spot for world wheat customers no matter what else transpires the rest of the marketing year.