Frank's Market Comments April 11, 2017
Soybeans continued their recent slide over the past two weeks. They are now down 90 cents per bushel since March 1. Corn and wheat, however, managed minor gains. As weather is more of a factor on those crops early in the spring.
Frank's Market Comments March 28, 2017
Unlike last year, March has not been kind to grain farmers. New crop corn, soybean and wheat prices have dropped 26, 63 and 38 cents, respectively, since the start of the month. This has been fundamentally and technically driven.
Frank's Market Comments March 14, 2017
Grain prices dropped over the past 2 weeks, with losses accelerating after the USDA report issued March 9. Funds were heavy sellers also, and there was no help from the outside markets.
Frank's Market Comments February 28, 2017
Crop prices were a bit weaker compared to 2 weeks ago, but were a marginally firmer compared to where they were at the start of February. Trends are mostly sideways for all the grains, but prices remain well above the lows hit early last fall. Grains usually bottom at that time of the year when crops are large.
Frank's Market Comments Febuary 14, 2017
Grain price changes in the attached chart are now for new crop. Prices were steady to a bit firmer compared to my last report 4 weeks ago, although there was volatility in between. South American weather is still the market’s primary focus.
Frank's Market Comments January 17, 2017
Grains were all firmer since the start of the New Year aided by the USDA report that was issued January 12th. While carry outs (CO) are still rising sharply from last year, they will not be going up as much as what traders’ had expected prior to the report.
Frank's Market Comments December 31, 2016
Corn and wheat were weaker, but soybeans were higher over the past year. The price performance was better than expected, considering the serious deterioration in the traditional fundamentals. Livestock markets were mixed, while outside markets were generally firmer.
Frank's Market Comments December 20, 2016
Grains were weaker over the past two weeks, led by soybeans. The price of soybeans was a bit out of whack compared to corn and wheat. Unfortunately for farmers, the correction in the inter commodity spreads occurred by the drop in soybeans, not by new strength in corn and wheat.
Frank's Market Comments December 6, 2016
Soybeans were higher, while corn was mostly steady and wheat was the weak link again compared to two weeks ago. Eventually the prices of the weaker commodities should gain on the stronger ones, as usage increases and production decreases in the lower priced commodities.
Frank's Market Comments November 22, 2016
The U.S election win by Trump was a major surprise, as was the response in most markets. Most felt a Trump victory would cause a sell-off in stocks, commodities and the US dollar, as a new level of uncertainty crept into the picture, especially in terms of trade and immigration.
Frank's Market Comments November 9, 2016
Grains were slightly better compared to two weeks ago. Continued strong export demand offset the strong yields which USDA will update tomorrow, Nov. 9. Record corn for ethanol grind and soybean crush also helped.
Frank's Market Comments October 25, 2016
Price changes were minimal in most markets, except livestock, which rebounded from seriously oversold conditions. Grains were quiet as well, with soybeans outperforming on strong exports and the soybean oil market trading at its best level since July 2014, as it followed palm oil.
Frank's Market Comments October 11, 2016
Grains were marginally firmer over the past two weeks, in low volume, low range trade. Close to half the corn and soybeans are now under cover. As mentioned before, prices often bottom this time of year, especially in big crop years.
Frank's Market Comments September 27, 2016
Grains drifted lower over the past 2 weeks, as harvest progressed in the US. As of Sept. 25, 15 percent of US corn was harvested; normally 19 percent is off by then. Soybeans are 10 percent in the bin. The average for that date is 13 percent.
Frank's Market Comments September 12, 2016
Despite another negative USDA report on Sept 12, and more speculative selling, crop futures actually gained marginally in the past two weeks. Eventually all the negative news gets built into prices, and it appears as if we might be getting very close to that point.
Frank's Market Comments August 30, 2016
Prices fell hard again in the past week on near perfect August weather to finish off the crops. USDA confirmed how good the crops are in their recent crop ratings report. Corn is 75 percent good or excellent versus 68 last year. 73 percent of the soybeans are in the two top categories, compared to only 63 percent last year.
Frank's Market Comments August 24, 2016
Grains were little changed over the past week, as volatility has decreased since the latest USDA report, which predicted record US corn and soybean yields. Prices appear to be respecting the support levels we are at on the longer term charts.
Frank's Market Comments August 16, 2016
Grain prices were mostly higher compared to two weeks ago. This occurred despite huge yield estimates released by USDA on Aug 12.
Frank's Market Comments August 2, 2016
The trend is your friend. Once a trend is in place it often goes further than one would expect. This works in both directions. The 2016 grain markets are proof of this old market saying.
Frank's Market Comments July 26, 2016
Soybeans were again the weakest market. They went up the most, so had the greatest likelihood to drop by more, once the inevitable correction started. The correlation with fund activity remains very strong, and can override fundamentals from time to time.
Frank's Market Comments July 19, 2016
Corn and soybean prices fell further over the past 2 weeks. Timely rains and above normal temperatures created greenhouse conditions in large areas of the Midwest, including the important I states (Iowa, Illinois and Indiana). Speculators were heavy sellers, contributing to the downside.
Frank's Market Comments July 5, 2016
Markets dropped over the past week, with selling accelerating after the US July 4 holiday. A large move isn’t uncommon right after that day. Improving weather and continued good crop ratings caused the long speculators to head for the exit door all at once.
Frank's Market Comments June 28, 2016
The inevitable correction occurred in the last week. Some rain in the dry areas dampened futures. The vote by Britain to exit the EU caused liquidation in many markets, including grains. A new level of uncertainty has been added to the political and economic landscape.
Frank's Market Comments June 21, 2016
Grain markets are now in corrective mode, after huge gains this spring. Soybeans exploded by $3.17/bu since March 1, while corn rallied $.85 since April 1. Meanwhile the lowly wheat market is trading about where it was in March and April.
Frank's Market Comments June 14. 2016
It was yet another week with the same story. Prices keep climbing on weather concerns, which is fueling more speculative and investor buying. Crop losses in South America are forcing buyers to source more of their necessary requirements from the US.
Frank's Market Comments June 7. 2016
Defying gravity, and some say logic, grain prices accelerated their uptrend in the past week. Soybeans are now at a 22 month high, corn is making new 11 month highs and wheat is at its best level in 7 months.
Frank's Market Comments May 31, 2016
Grains were once again firmer over the past week. Demand for US supplies is increasing with the reduction in the Argentine and Brazilian soybean and corn crops. The biggest move has been in soybean meal. The heavy rain in Argentina not only wiped out about 5 million mt of soybean production, but also resulted in poor meal quality. They are the world’s largest meal exporter.
Frank's Market Comments May 24, 2016
Soybeans and wheat were lower over the past week, while corn was steady and soybean meal was sharply higher. Soy meal gained an amazing $126.00 per ton in the past 6 weeks in the actively traded July contract.
Frank's Market Comments May 17, 2016
I have switched the comparison chart to the new crop futures, since most farmers are sold out on their old crop supplies. There were a lot of plus signs in commodities over the past week.
Frank's Market Comments May 9, 2016
Volatility continued in Chicago. The range in soybeans was 30 cents for all of January, as well as for February. For the first week of May, the average daily volume was 30 cents. Chicago is a casino for speculators.
Frank's Market Comments May 2, 2016
I plan to do this report on a weekly basis now that the North American weather market has started and volatility has returned to the grain markets.
Frank's Market Comments April 26, 2016
Volatility increased dramatically over the past 2 weeks. Soybeans began this rally on March 2, and advanced $1.79 to its high on April 21 at $10.35. Then the market lost $.58 of that gain in just 2 trading days, before rebounding again the past 2 days. Wild times are back in Chicago.
Frank's Market Comments April 13, 2016
There was a huge divergence in grain prices, led by soybeans strength, Corn and wheat lost ground over the past 2 weeks. The primary reason was the USDA acreage estimates issued March 31.
Frank's Market Comments March 29, 2016
Grains were stronger but remain range-bound awaiting US weather developments and USDA’s prospective plantings and stocks report to be released March 30. Outside markets were also relatively quiet, despite increased international tensions and political uncertainty.
Frank's Market Comments March 15, 2016
Grains improved moderately since my last report 4 weeks ago. While trends are still sideways, soybeans did manage to trade at their best level since Dec 21, while wheat traded at a new 6 week high. There are still layers of resistance overhead, however, that can easily stall this minor rally.
Frank's Market Comments February 16, 2016
Grains lost some ground over the past two weeks in relatively quiet trade, especially when compared to the volatility in many other markets. The news was more negative than positive, so the stability can be viewed as a minor victory for the bulls.
Frank's Market Comments February 2, 2016
Grains traded slightly higher over the past 2 weeks in Chicago, despite huge volatility in currencies, equities and other commodities such as crude oil and even livestock. Technically, there appears to be good support underneath in crop futures.
Frank's Market Comments January 19, 2016
2015 was the worst deflationary year since 2008, and the trends in many markets have accelerated so far in 2016, especially in the energy complex, currencies and stock markets. This is looking more and more like the climax blow-off after an extended downtrend. Grains fared much better than most other markets, eking out small gains since Dec 31.
Frank's Market Comments January 4, 2016
The Year in Review: 2015 will be remembered as a deflationary year for commodities. The fallout from the 2008/09 economic meltdown was still being felt, with slow world growth rates, and most sovereign nations continuing to live on borrowed money. The US dollar was in favor, as investors opted for safety, rather than risk. Markets individual fundamentals also contributed to the weakness.
Frank's Market Comments December 22, 2015
Most markets were in holiday mode the past two weeks, with crop prices mixed. Soybeans did the best, as weather patterns in Brazil remain the same. It is dry in some key northern areas, and too wet in the south, but it is still early to cause major concerns, especially after the US Midwest experience last year, where a poor start turned into record yields. South American weather in January is gaining in importance.
Frank's Market Comments December 8, 2015
Corn and soybeans were higher the past 2 weeks in more volatile trade. Some dryness in key soybean areas of Brazil resulted in buying by speculators who were short. Soybean oil was the leader to the upside, rising over 20 percent in 2 weeks. The higher US renewable fuels standard for 2016 and huge purchases by India were the main reasons for the soy oil gains.
Frank's Market Comments November 24, 2015
It was another quiet two weeks in the grain patch. This can be viewed as a minor victory for the bulls, considering the news was mostly negative. The US dollar index continued strong, and energy and metal markets eased further. The Argentina election should have been bearish, but prices refused to break down further.
Frank's Market Comments November 10, 2015
The US dollar index is an important market indicator and often sets the tone for many markets, including grains. It reveals how the US dollar is doing against a basket of currencies, with by far the heaviest weighting against the Euro. It currently trades near a 13 year high, and is now up 25 percent in the past year and a half.
Frank's Market Comments October 27, 2015
Crop prices drifted lower over the past two weeks, as harvest progressed rapidly. As of Sunday Oct 25, US corn was 75 percent combined, while soybeans were 87 percent off, well ahead of normal. There are larger than normal piles on the ground, especially in the western grain belt, but farmers remain reluctant sellers.
Frank's Market Comments October 13, 2015
Grains were mixed again over the past 2 weeks. The weather news in North America was bearish, as harvest progressed rapidly. Planting conditions in South America were friendly to the soybean price, which broke over $9.00 for the first time in 2 months. Meanwhile the highly anticipated USDA demand/supply report on Oct 9 showed no major surprises.
Frank's Market Comments September 29, 2015
Grains were mixed compared to two weeks ago. The US Midwest had one of its warmest Septembers ever, which helped crops race to maturity, and enabled rapid harvest progress. As of Sept. 27, 18 percent of US corn and 21 percent of their soybeans were harvested. This is well behind last year’s pace, but not far from average for this time of year.
Frank's Market Comments September 15, 2015
Grains were firmer, led by the corn market. Some of the gains were directly attributable to the USDA report, released on Friday, Sept. 11. Once corn prices broke above the 100 day moving average, speculative buying picked up. $4.00 is still key resistance on the Dec corn chart.
Frank's Market Comments September 1, 2015
Downtrends continued in grains and many other markets over the past two weeks. China’s economy was the biggest news, and since they are such a large exporter of finished goods and importer of raw materials, the effects rippled through world economies and markets.
Frank's Market Comments August 18, 2015
Grain prices were mostly weaker again over the past two weeks, with soybeans showing the largest losses on improved growing conditions. The biggest story was the USDA report, issued August 12. Yields were sharply higher than expected, so prices reacted sharply downward. So far, however, markets were able to hold above the May lows on the charts.
Frank's Market Comments August 4, 2015
Grains gave back more of the gains achieved in response to the excess rain in the eastern grain belt. Conditions improved there, and weather in the other areas in the Midwest continued to be near ideal. Most expect at least trend line yields, and numbers very close to USDA’s estimate in July. Official surveyed estimates come out on August 12, including an acres update.
Frank's Market Comments July 21, 2015
Negative signs dominated the attached commodity table, with only the US $ Index and soybeans showing gains. Deflation still dominates the commodity board. Corn and wheat joined the parade to lower values, as wheat harvest progressed in the US and weather improved for corn pollination. Soybeans are “made” in August.
Frank's Market Comments July 7, 2015
Grain prices surged in reaction to the USDA report on stocks and acres, released on June 30, with nearby corn actually closing up its 30 cent limit. Weather was also a factor, as more heavy rains hit already drenched areas, primarily in the eastern grain belt. Speculators were huge buyers.
Frank's Market Comments June 23, 2015
Corn and wheat were weaker, while soybeans gained over the past 2 weeks. Persistent and heavy rains keep dropping on many prime areas of the Midwest, including Missouri, parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. As of Sun June 21, 10 percent of the soybeans remained unplanted. It is getting late for replanting also on many of drenched fields that will take a week to properly dry out.
Frank's Market Comments June 9, 2015
Grain prices gained over the past 2 weeks. The axiom amongst traders is that rain makes grain, but farmers and agronomists know that excess rains, especially early in the growing season, can be detrimental to final yields. The NOAA (US government weather agency) announced that May was the wettest month on record in the US, despite the lingering drought in California.
Frank's Market Comments May 26, 2015
Grain prices were mixed over the past two weeks. Wheat was the strongest on too much rain in portions of the Southern Plains, especially Okla. This caused short-covering, as speculators were short a record number of wheat contracts. Soybeans fared the worst, as speculative funds sharply increased their short position in that commodity.
Frank's Market Comments May 12, 2015
Grain prices remained range bound over the past two weeks. Planting progress has been rapid. US corn, as of May 10, was 75 percent planted, and 29 percent had already emerged. Soybeans were 31 percent in the ground, normal for that date is 18. Overall conditions have been good for germination and early growth. There will be no lack of moisture going forward if the current two week forecasts are accurate.
Frank's Market Comments April 28, 2015
Corn and wheat fell further, while soybeans gained over the past 2 weeks. This is mainly due to early spring weather. The Northern Plains have been unusually dry, so 55 percent of the spring wheat is already planted; normally it is 29. As of Sun. April 26, 19 % of the corn was in, usually they are at 25. Excellent progress is expected for this week, however, which pressured corn.
Frank's Market Comments April 14, 2015
The technical picture in grains continued to deteriorate over the past two weeks. Soybeans and wheat are inching closer to the critical lows hit on Oct 1 last year, while corn is still well above its 2014 harvest lows.
Frank's Market Comments March 31, 2015
Wheat was the best performing grain, as dryness persists in the US hard wheat areas of Kansas and Okla. The Russian winter cereal crops are also subpar. Soybeans and corn were weaker, anticipating the USDA acreage report, which was released on March 31.
Frank's Market Comments March 10, 2015
Grains eased over the past week, but remain well within their recent sideways trends. Wheat is at the greatest risk of a break-out to the downside. Prices are apt to stay range-bound for the balance of March.
Frank's Market Comments March 3, 2015
No markets showed much net change over the past 2 weeks. Perhaps they will rise from their winter hibernation as spring finally comes closer. Let’s hope so anyway. This winter has gone on quite long enough.
Frank's Market Comments February 17, 2015
Crop prices closed higher compared to 2 weeks ago, led by wheat. It wasn’t that wheat fundamentals improved the most; it was more that wheat dropped the most since topping out at 6.77 on Dec. 18. The correction low was 4.92 on Feb 2. That means it dropped $1.85 in a bit over 6 weeks. Corn “only” corrected $.51 and soybeans $1.07 from the surprise rally that started Oct.1.
Frank's Market Comments February 3, 2015
Grains were lower over the past 2 weeks, but rallied strongly today (Feb 3) to trim losses, and in the case of soybeans, actually close a bit higher. Weather in Brazil isn’t perfect in all growing regions. It is the dry areas in the north and western crop areas that are of the most concern. Brazil soils are coarser than our clay soils, so timely rains are more critical there.
Frank's Market Comments January 20, 2015
Grain prices dropped sharply over the past 4 weeks. Some of this can be attributed to outside influences, such as the devastation in crude oil prices, and the spectacular rise in the value of the US dollar. However, some of it is also crop specific, as South America crop conditions improved with rains in the drier areas, where conditions were deteriorating.
2014 Year End Review January 6, 2015
2014 was more of a deflationary year than inflationary for commodities. Crops were all lower, led by soybeans. Prices did trade much lower during the year, but bottomed on Oct 1, reducing the losses substantially.
Frank's Market Comments December 23, 2014
Wheat enjoyed the largest price gain over the past 2 weeks on reduced exports from Russia. They have put export duties on wheat in an attempt to build domestic reserves. They have totally banned exports to the US and any country that has put sanctions on Russia since their incursion into the Ukraine.
Frank's Market Comments December 9, 2014
Grains were little changed over the past two weeks. The period after the US Thanksgiving is often the quietest time of the year, as things wind down for Christmas. Plus weather news is in the background, as North America finishes harvest, while South America wraps up their planting, so few crops worldwide are at critical stages.
Frank's Market Comments November 25, 2014
Grain prices were mixed over the past 2 weeks, as prices seem to be range-bound by the Oct 1 lows and the Nov highs. Despite the record crops predicted, markets refuse to break down as the last of the US harvest gets combined. 94 percent of their corn is under cover and 97 percent of the soybeans were cut as of Nov 23.
Frank's Market Comments November 11, 2014
Corn and soybeans did a little better, while wheat was a bit weaker over the past two weeks. As of Sunday, Nov 9, 80 percent of their corn and 90 percent of their soybeans were harvested. This is very close to normal for this time of year. 93 percent of their winter wheat was planted, with 83 percent emerged, slightly ahead of normal.
Frank's Market Comments October 28, 2014
Grains added to the rally that started October 1, despite better harvest progress in the U.S. The demand side remains solid, with corn and soybean exports well ahead of the pace needed to meet USDA projections.
Frank's Market Comments October 14, 2014
Markets closed higher compared to two weeks ago, despite record yields and crops predicted by USDA. There was no particular news item that ignited the move up, but the very large short positions in soybeans and wheat by the large speculators definitely gave the rally more legs.
Frank's Market Comments September 30, 2014
All my articles have been the same story since last spring. Corn and wheat topped in May, while soybeans began their precipitous decline on June 30, when USDA raised acres sharply. There wasn’t even a hint of a weather scare all summer. The only abnormality was coolness in many growing areas, but even that bullet was dodged in most areas.
Frank's Market Comments September 16, 2014
Grains fell further over the past 3 weeks. USDA pegged yields slightly higher than traders expected. Corn was put at a record 171.7 bu/ac, compared to 167.4 predicted in August. Soybeans will also set a new record at 46.6 bu/ac, versus 45.4 estimated last month.
Frank's Market Comments August 25, 2014
Markets were mixed over the past 2 weeks. Soybeans were the weakest on near ideal growing conditions through August. Wheat was the strongest on poor quality wheat in Europe. In fact, France, who is the largest producer in the EU, is actually importing wheat to satisfy their millers.
Frank's Market Comments August 12, 2014
In their first surveyed yield estimate, USDA put corn at a record 167.4 bu/ac, up 2.1 from July, but less than the 170.1 expected. Usage was raised 100 mln bu..The carryout (CO) was left virtually unchanged at 1.81 bln vs 1.80 estimated last month. Traders expected 2.03 bln., so a bit friendly for price.
Frank's Market Comments July 29, 2014
Grain markets were mixed over the last 2 weeks, which is a minor victory considering the massive slide in corn and wheat prices since early May and in soybeans since the June 30 USDA acreage report. If what goes up must come down, then what goes down must come back up eventually, right?
Frank's Market Comments July 15, 2014
Grain prices dropped sharply over the past 3 weeks. The primary factor was weather, as there was plenty of moisture and no extremes in temperature. More of the same is expected over the next two weeks. Adding to the downside was bearish USDA reports causing more speculative fund liquidation.
Frank's Market Comments June 24, 2014
Corn finally exhibited some stability after the large spring drop. Markets have to stop going down before they can start to go up. US weather overall has been good for crop development, although parts of Iowa and Minnesota are a bit too wet. Forecasts are mostly favorable for the next two weeks.
Frank's Market Comments June 11, 2014
Grains continued their seasonal decline over the past 2 weeks, on favorable weather for planting and growth over most of the US. As of Sun., June 8, 75 percent of their corn and 74 percent of their soybeans were deemed to be in the good and excellent categories. This implies above average yields, at least to this point in time.
Frank's Market Comments May 28, 2014
Corn and wheat were sharply lower, while soybeans maintained their relative strength. China’s insatiable appetite for vegetable protein is the main supporting influence in soybeans. Record harvests in Brazil and Argentina and record acres in North America, along with mostly favorable weather so far this spring, are obviously in the background for now.
Frank's Market Comments May 14, 2014
Crop prices were slightly weaker over the past 4 weeks, primarily reacting to the planting forecasts and progress. Conditions were generally too cold and wet early in the 4 week reference period, but improved in most areas as of late. What this year proves again is that North American farmers can plant very quickly once conditions are right.
Frank's Market Comments April 16, 2014
Markets were mostly firmer over the past two weeks, adding further to their 2014 gains. New crop wheat and soybeans are up $1.00 and Dec corn is up $.50 so far this year. Weather was supportive to the higher values, especially for wheat, and USDA surprised the corn market again with a more bullish demand outlook.
Frank's Market Comments April 2, 2014
Spring planted crops were higher, but finished the reference period well off their highs, while wheat prices gave back some of their recent gains. Markets reacted to weather forecasts and the USDA stocks and acreage report issued March 31. Volatility is increasing in grain prices.
Frank's Market Comments March 19, 2014
Wheat was the market leader the past 2 weeks. It is now up $1.55 per bushel since Feb.1. US and world stocks to usage (s/u) ratios are currently at about 27 percent, which is more burdensome than tight. The US corn and soybean s/u ratios are 10.9 and 4.4 percent respectively for the current crop year.
Frank's Market Comments March 5, 2014
Commodities were firmer across the board over the past 2 weeks and for February. Prices reacted strongly when the crisis in Ukraine accelerated. Technically, most markets are now looking much more positive, which attracts both speculative and investment money.
Frank's Market Comments February 19, 2014
Crop prices were all firmer over the past 2 weeks. Most of the gains were weather related , but the latest monthly USDA report was also supportive on the demand side.
Frank's Market Comments February 5, 2014
Corn and wheat firmed, while soybeans eased over the past 3 weeks. Volatility has been increasing lately, as it has turned hot and dry in south Brazil, and there is some localized flooding in Argentina. More of the same is in the 10 day forecast.
Frank's Market Comments January 15, 2014
The long awaited and highly anticipated USDA January report was a pleasant surprise to the corn market, a disappointment for wheat and mostly neutral for soybeans. However, markets quickly turned back to trading South America (SA) weather.
Frank's Market Comments December 31, 2013
2013 was mostly a deflationary year for commodities. Grains and metals took the biggest hits, while livestock markets closed little changed. Energy and stock markets were mostly higher. In currencies, the US $ index was flat, while our dollar lost some ground.
Frank's Market Comments December 11, 2013
It was another two weeks of mixed, choppy trade. Wheat was the weak link, mainly on the huge production increase Stats Canada threw at the market last week.
Click 'Archived Market Comments' from Frank Backx above if you are looking for an older Market Commentary.