Denatured ethanol for November delivery fell 1.2 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $1.675 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade after touching $1.668, the lowest price since July 2010. Futures have dropped 24 percent this year.
The US government shutdown is starting to disrupt commodity markets. Beyond its budget gridlock, the United States could default on its debt if no agreement is reached in Congress by Thursday of next week. This threat to the world’s largest economy has slightly brought down the oil market last week, but is not taken seriously by the commodity markets.
However, the paralysis of a large part of the US administration is already disrupting markets. Since last Tuesday, for example, the US Department of Agriculture has not published any report: no information on U.S. exports last Thursday, no statistics on U.S. agriculture production. It is also unlikely that next Friday, the monthly key report on global supply and demand for agriculture products will be available. But, this USDA report is the reference for the global markets and it can greatly influence global grain prices up or down at a key period, the harvest of corn and soybeans.
Corn futures plunged to a three-year low after the U.S. Department of Agriculture boosted its inventory estimate by 25 percent.
Soybeans dropped the most in six months as supplies topped analyst estimates by 11 percent.
Corn futures dropped 2.8 percent to close at $4.415 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the price touched $4.4075, the lowest for a most-active contract since Sept. 1, 2010. Corn has tumbled 37 percent in 2013.
Temperatures are poised to pass 38°C (100°F) in the coming week in western corn-belt states such as Iowa. The heat revived memories of the devastating drought in the US last year, which slashed grain output and sent prices soaring.
A heat wave in parts of the Plains states and Midwest kept temperatures Monday as high as 20 degrees above normal, and it’s likely to last until the end of the week.
CBOT corn for September delivery ended down 2-3/4 cents at $4.89-1/4 a bushel after bottoming out at $4.88-1/4 earlier in the session. The intraday low was the lowest price for front-month corn since $4.87-3/4 on Oct. 7, 2010.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress report, published last week, showed conditions deteriorated in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas following freezing temperatures in April.
Winter extended unusually in the United States, there were more than 30 cm of snow in western Iowa, a major grain states in the country. When there is no snow, it’s rain preventing farmers from sowing. Having sowed only 5% of corn in may had not happened in the United States for nearly thirty years.
“We’ve been concerned by some extraordinarily cold morning temperatures,” said Todd Hultman, a grains analyst at DTN. “The USDA report just added confirmation that people are expecting damage from those conditions.”
Chicago corn prices experienced their biggest two-day drop on record, tumbling 12.6 percent, or 93 cents, as larger-than-expected U.S. stockpiles weighed on the market, causing hedge funds to sell heavily.
In 2012, corn prices skyrocketed, demand remained high, making the 2012 crop the most valuable ever produced. What will happen next? Will the drought that impacted several countries and especially the United States continue in 2013?
The US corn production could reach 366.6 million tonnes 2013-2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture believes. This is 53 million tons more than in 2012-2013. The USDA revised its long-term forecast model to include the 2012 drought in its 25-year average. Forecasters expect the area sown for all types of cereals to be 102.6 million hectares in 2013-2014, but to decline over the next three years for corn. Specifically for corn, the USDA expects 38.78 million hectares in 2013, and 36.3 million hectares in 2014 (vs. 39 million hectares in 2012).
The most recent Seasonal Drought Outlook indicates much of the area from southwest Minnesota to western Missouri through most of the Great Plains and Rockies will continue to experience drought conditions through the winter season. However, some improvement is expected on the eastern fringe of this area from North Dakota into Minnesota and Wisconsin, eastern Iowa into eastern Missouri.
The Midwest drought, the worst since 1956, sent corn prices to record highs earlier this year and choked traffic on the Mississippi River as water levels fell. It is now blamed for the worst crop conditions for U.S. winter wheat in at least 27 years, which will affect feed costs for cattle producers in the Great Plains.
Corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels, down slightly from the September forecast and down 13 percent from 2011. This represents the lowest production in the United States since 2006. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 122.0 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from the September forecast and 25.2 bushels below the 2011 average. If realized, this will be the lowest average yield since 1995. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.7 million acres, up less than 1 percent from the September forecast and up 4 percent from 2011. Acreage updates were made in several States based on administrative data.