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.
After falling 5.74% between the 2011/12 and the 2012/13 season to 656 Mt according to the International Grain Council, the world wheat production should bounce back. In 2013/14, the harvested areas should be at their highest level in four years, while a rise in yields would stimulate the production by 4%.
These estimates are similar to those of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), published earlier this month. In 2013, global wheat production (690 Mt according to FAO, +4.3%) should be driven by the European Union (138 Mt), where the acreage should increase thanks to high prices.
Despite the rain from November to January, the American cultures should still undergo a major water deficit in 2013. The drought of 2012, the worst in the last fifty years, has resulted in the soil drying out which is difficult for the farmers to manage.
According to the Palmer Drought Index, 56% of the U.S. are still in drought at the end of February, mainly in the High Plains region. Kansas, the largest producer of wheat in the United States, but also Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota are in extreme drought according to the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The International Grains Council (IGC) presented at the end of last week its first forecast for wheat production for 2013~2014 as part of his Grain Market Report. It forecasts a global harvest of 682.2 million tons, up 4%, or 26 million tonnes, compared to 2012.
The increase in volumes mainly reflects a poor 2012-2013 harvest marked by droughts in several major producing countries. 2013-2014 harvest would not quite reach the level of 2011-2012, which was set at 696 million tonnes.
In its report published on November 29th, Grain Market Report, the International Grains Council (IGC) forecasted a wheat production of 654 million tonnes for 2012-2013 against 695 million for the previous season. In July, the estimate for wheat production was 665 million tonnes.
The grains supply and demand forecasts for 2012/13 have been revised slightly as harvests have been completed in some countries, but the outlook is largely unchanged. Total grains production is expected to fall by 5% year-on-year, and despite a contraction in consumption for the first time in 14 years, stocks are set to fall by 45m t to 324m.
Soybeans tumbled to a four-month low and wheat fell the most in a month after the U.S. raised its estimates for crop inventory including corn, easing concern over tight supplies following the worst drought since 1956.
Soybean futures for January delivery fell 3 percent to close at $14.5125 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. Earlier, the oilseed touched $14.49, the lowest for a most-active contract since July 3. On Sept. 4, the price rose to a record $17.89.
Wheat futures for December delivery dropped 1.7 percent to $8.865 a bushel, the biggest decline since Oct. 12. The price has surged 36 percent this year. On July 23, the grain reached $9.4725, the highest since August 2008.
A hot, dry summer like never before in the history of the United States, Russia and Eastern Europe has led to lower yields for the global production of corn and wheat. Now, Ukraine announced its intent to ban wheat exports from mid-November.
Friday, wheat futures for December delivery rose 0.5 percent to settle at $8.725 a bushel at 2 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. The price has gained 34 percent this year and rose 1.8 percent this week.
Corn, wheat and soybeans prices might have peaked after this summer drought in the US according to Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management, and it would take worsening weather elsewhere to push up futures.
Corn is still up 16 percent this year at $7.505 but has tumbled 12 percent from a record $8.49 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade and soybeans have jumped 34 percent to $16.24 but are now down 9.2 percent from a high of $17.89 a bushel.
According to FAO, global food prices have bounced back by 6% in July after several months of decline. This increase is mainly due to soaring prices for cereals and sugar: over 17% for cereals and 12% for sugar. The FAO food price index has rebounded significantly in July to 213 points vs. 201 in June.
The Rome-based institution said in a statement that the increase was mainly due to a jump in prices for cereals and sugar, and more moderate increases of oils and fats. International prices of meat and dairy products remained more or less unchanged. If this trend continues, the February 2011 peak of 238 points that started in July 2010 could be rapidly reached. It could be similar since in both cases, soaring grain prices were the original trigger.
The Ukrainian Minister of Agriculture announced last weekend figures for grain production. Between the beginning of the year and August 3rd, the country harvested 24 million tons of various grains, compared with 30.4 million last year in the same period, a decrease of 21%.
More specifically, production was 15.5 million tonnes for wheat and 3.95 million tonnes for barley, the two main crops of the country, reports the agriculture agency APK. Harvests are expected to finish in late September.