The grain complex continues to drift in a narrow range for the past month. Corn, Wheat, and Soybeans have been range bound since the October 12th USDA supply/demand and Crop Production reports were released. Volume has also dried up as traders are uncertain of the overall price trend in the markets. This past week was no different, as all grains within the complex traded in a sideways direction. Traders are patiently waiting for the upcoming USDA supply/demand and Crop Production to see if the fundamental news will spark a trend formation. December Corn traded in an inside weekly range (traded within last week’s high and low price) ending the week up 3 ticks from last week at 6.5575 per bushel. December Wheat traded slightly below prior week’s low, and settled the week down slightly at 6.3675 per bushel. January Soybean futures were the active grain in the complex as they were able to trade below past the past weeks support levels. With the weekly breakouts on Soybeans, they only settled slightly down at 12.21 per bushel. The USDA will release their supply/demand numbers on the morning of November 9th along with the Crop Production report.
As the global markets are breaking across the board, grains were unaffected due to strong global demand from the BRIC counties. Things may have changed in the past month in the grain complex as December Wheat and Corn are down over 20% and 18% respectfully, and November Soybeans have dropped 14% since August 29th. Corn futures started the week on a positive note with slight gains on Monday and a gap up open on Tuesday. The gap higher open on Corn set the daily trend to the upside, but quickly turned the other way into the closing bell. Corn prices continued to decline and took a major break Wednesday afternoon on heavy volume pushing prices near their new 40 cent price limit. The bulls ran for cover when priced broke below the monthly lows of August. Corn prices continued to decline into the end of the week, settling at the lowest price levels since the week of July 8th. Soybean futures had been trading in a dollar range (13.00 – 14.00) since February and were finally able to break higher in late August letting prices to settle at the highest levels for the contract and year. Traders expected the bull rally to continue in Soybeans but were caught off guard as prices continued to decline from the start of the month. Soybeans picked up momentum Wednesday and Thursday when prices started to trade at monthly lows and below their major technical support of 13.00 per bushel. Volume was higher than Corn futures which is the heaviest volume traded grain. Soybean prices have been falling since the USDA Crop Production report was released over 2 weeks ago. With the high volume and heavy selling in Soybeans, prices on Friday settled the week at the lowest levels for the year. Wheat futures have been the weakest grain for the year and they continued to peel back. Bulls expected Wheat prices to advance higher when they traded above their major price hurdle 8.00 per bushel in late August, but prices had the opposite effect and have fallen off a cliff for a month straight. Wheat prices were down every week in September. Wheat prices took their biggest hit on Thursday when prices broke through their yearly lows which was last seen in the first week of July. A year ago Wheat prices were at 8.00 per bushel and they ended the week at 6.4075 per bushel. Wheat and Soybeans are the only grains that are trading at their lowest levels for the year. Corn is holding up well and has strong trend line support on the weekly chart to suggest higher prices into the end of the year.
The September 12th USDA Crop Production report was seemingly bullish, however it had the opposite effect on grain futures prices. The old saying, buy the rumor, sell the news was at play throughout the week in the grain complex. After the report was released Monday morning, Corn and Wheat prices rallied from their opening lows. Corn futures were able to make an outside day chart pattern indicating a bullish trend. Soybeans were weak from the start and continued to weaken after trading below their major price support/resistance of 14.00 per bushel. Late last month, when Soybeans traded above their quadruple daily top at 14.00 per bushel, prices rallied for two weeks, and after the report, prices were pressured below that level and settled the day below it, causing a bearish chart pattern. With Soybean prices settling below 14.00 and forming bearish chart patterns, sellers kept pressuring the market into Friday with prices closing down five days in a row. The following day, Corn prices opened higher and above Monday’s daily high which put the daily trend up in the morning, but throughout the day prices weakened and Corn broke lower forming another outside day and closing on the lower levels supporting a bearish trend. Corn prices had a great amount of volatility with bull spreading against Wheat. Spreaders were buying Corn and selling Wheat to widen the spread. The prior week, the Corn/Wheat spread had widened to 20 cents mid-week, but converged back to 0 towards the end of the week. Historically, Wheat has traded at a premium to Corn prices, but with the recent global demand from the BRIC countries, Corn prices have flourished against Wheat. Wheat prices started to trade below their major price support of 7.00 per bushel which has not been seen since early August. Wheat prices bounced above and below 7.00 into Friday and were able to finally settle the week below 7.00 for the first time since mid July. Corn prices also followed the grain complex to the downside and Corn broke below 7.00 also due to Corn/Wheat spreading. Corn’s daily volume picked up towards the end of the week as Corn experienced major chart damage to the downside. Prices fell once again on Friday and settled at their lowest levels since last July. Corn and Soybean prices traded at contract highs in late August, in recent weeks prices are getting pressured down on overbought chart patterns, and profit taking.
Trading activity in the grain complex has been light and erratic the first few days of the month as the markets were closed in observation of Labor Day and the pending USDA Crop Production and Supply & Demand report which was scheduled for release Monday September 12th. During the last week of August Wheat futures were able to trade above their major price ceiling of 8.00 per bushel on two occasions, but were unable to settle above those prices. Buyers booked profits and Wheat prices drifted lower for two weeks straight. The down trend was confirmed Wednesday afternoon when Wheat formed an outside day and closed on the down side indicating a bearish trend. Wheat prices fell throughout the week into Friday and also into the USDA report. Corn futures traded at contract highs during the last week of August, but were unable to keep those high levels into September. End of month profit taking pressured Corn prices into the new month. During Friday’s trading session, inter commodity spreading was seen between Corn/Wheat. Those two grains were briefly trading at the same price until spreaders pushed Wheat lower and Corn higher. Historically, Wheat has traded at a premium to Corn but with the recent global demand for the yellow crop, Corn prices have outpaced Wheat. Bull spreading (Corn/Wheat) continued to widen after the USDA numbers were out. Soybean futures traded in a tight twenty cent range throughout the week with little volume.
The USDA Crop Production numbers are as follows: Corn production down 3% from August forecast as 12.5 billion bushels. If realized, this will be the third largest production total on record for the U.S. Based on condition as of September 1st, yields are expected to average 148.1 bushels per acre, down 4.9 bushels from the August 1st forecast and down 4.7 bushels from 2010. If these numbers are realized, it will be the lowest average yield in the U.S. since 2005. Soybean production up 1% with a forecast at 3.0 billion bushels, up 1% from August but down 7% from last year. Based on September 1st conditions, yields are expected to average 41.8 bushels per acre, up .4 bushels from last month but down 1.7 bushels from last year. The season average farm price for all wheat is projected at $7.35 to $8.35 per bushel, up from last month’s range of $7.00 to $8.20 per bushel which is supported by higher corn prices.
With the end of summer months approaching, activity in the grains complex started to sizzle with dry weather in the Midwest paired with Corn and Soybean futures trading at contract highs. Wheat has been a calm market, but has steadily risen through the month of August. Starting the week off, Wheat futures traded at 2 month highs and the buying interest continued to pour into the markets throughout the week. By Friday, Wheat futures traded above their major technical price resistance of 8.00 per bushel. Volume picked up when Wheat rallied through their resistance as pre-placed buy stop orders were triggered. With the price advance in the Wheat pits, they were able to settle the week once again higher than prior weeks, and at the highest levels in two and half months. Going forward, 8.00 per bushel will be a pivotal price for Wheat. Soybean futures started getting some attention from grains traders when they traded slightly above 14.00 per bushel on Wednesday morning. With the November Soybeans trading between 14.00 – 12.50 from the start of the year, traders wanted to see if Soybeans would break out of their yearly trading range. Even though Soybean prices were unable to stay above 14.00 on Wednesday, buyers stepped in once again on Friday and rallied the market above 14.00 and propelled them higher once Soybeans broke above their contract high of 14.1125. Once it was evident that prices were moving higher, buyers kept lifting offers and sellers were running for cover and volume picked up throughout the day. Soybeans futures ended the week on a positive note and settled at all time contract high 142350. Corn futures once again were in the spot light as prices continued to rally thought the week. Corn started the week trading at contract highs and continued to perform into Friday. After Corn futures punched through 7.50 per bushel Friday morning, prices continued to rally higher into the closing bell. December Corn futures settled the week at the highest levels for the contract and year at 7.67. Markets will stay closed on September 5th in observation of Labor Day.
Friday’s calm trading environment spilled over into Monday, as the markets traded in a light volume range bound direction to start the week off. Tuesday was a pivotal day in the Corn and Wheat futures markets as they started the morning weak by trading below Monday’s low, setting the daily trend to the down side. Bulls saw this as an opportunity to pick bottoms, causing both markets to lift higher mid- morning and rally into the afternoon, forming an outside day chart formation and settling the day on the higher end of their range, indicating a bullish chart formation. The buying spilled over into the following day, allowing Corn to trade at a new December contract high of 7.3350 per bushel as Wheat futures also traded at new monthly highs. During the rest of the week, bulls took profits causing prices to drift lower into Friday. As the week was coming to an end, bullish traders saw this as another opportunity to rally Corn and Wheat. During Friday afternoon, volume picked up as buyers kept buying dips and sellers offset on peaks. Corn futures were able to form another outside day chat formation. Wheat followed in their substitute grains footsteps, rallying higher into the end of the week. Wheat futures were able to settle at the highest levels for the month and the highest close since mid June. Corn futures settled the week at an all time contract high of 7.2525. Corn prices have almost doubled since June of 2010. Starting August 22nd, Corn futures price limit has been lifted to $.40 per bushel, expandable to $.60 when the market closes at limit bid or limit offer. There shall be no price limits on the current month contract on or after the second business day proceeding the first day of the delivery month.
When the United States credit rating got downgraded by Standard and Poors it caused a great amount of volatility in the global markets, sending the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Index on a roller coaster ride. The increased volatility was also felt in the grain complex with a combination of investors wanting to minimize their overall risk exposure and margin calls triggering traders to close out positions. The USDA was scheduled to announce their supply and demand numbers Thursday morning which also added to the volatility. Corn production forecast for 2010 is 12.9 billion bushels, up 4 percent. If those numbers are realized, it will be the third largest production total on record for the United States. Based on August 1st conditions, yields are expected to average 153 bushels per acre, and the fourth highest yield on record. The bullish report sent Corn prices limit up at the open Thursday morning. Corn futures settled the week up at 7.1425, the highest close for the December contract. Soybean production forecast for 2010 is 3.06 billion bushels, down 8 percent. Based off August 1st conditions, yields are expected to average 41.1 bushels per acre, down 2.1 percent from last year. Soybeans were trading below their major price support 13.00 into the USDA report, once those numbers came out, prices rallied into Friday settling slightly down from the prior week at 13.3475. Wheat futures production forecast for 2010 is 2.08 billion bushels, down 6 percent. Based off August 1st conditions, yields are forecasted at 45.2 bushels per acre. Wheat futures have been trading sideways for a month and half but holding above 7.00 per bushel. They settled the week at the highest level since mid June at 7.3225. December (Z) contract is the front month for Wheat futures.
Grain futures traders are patiently waiting to hear the USDA supply and demand report which is scheduled to be released on Thursday August 11th before the opening bell. Traders expect the USDA to cut their output estimate in the monthly report due to poor weather. December Wheat futures have been trading in a price channel of 7.20 – 7.50 per bushel. Wheat will experience deviations from the range, but will revert back throughout the week. Wheat had a modest rally Tuesday morning, allowing prices to break above the weekly resistance 7.50. The rally was fueled by profit taking, and buy stops getting triggered that were placed above key technical resistance levels. Wheat ended the week slightly up from previous weeks. Coming into the next couple weeks, traders will roll out of their September positions into the December contract. Wheat traders should remain cautious of spreaders in the market. Soybean futures have been volatile as prices are forming bigger daily swings. Soybeans have held a price floor at 13.50 for over a month, but were broken when sellers loaded up and pressured the markets into Friday’s closing bell. Prices settled the week at their lowest levels since early July. The next price support for Soybeans will be 13.00 per bushel. Corn futures rallied Tuesday morning on speculative buying and technical breakouts as prices were trading above weekly and monthly highs. Corn futures were able to advance above 7.00 per bushel causing prices to settle limit up on Tuesday afternoon. Throughout the week, buying interest dried up and prices fell, as bulls took profits. Although Corn prices retraced into Friday, buyers stepped in during the afternoon to rally Corn above 7.00. Corn settled the week at 7.03, which is the highest close since June 8th. The CFTC approves the CME Group’s plan to increase the trading limits for Corn. Currently Corn has a 30 cent price limit, starting August 22, the price limit will rise to 40 cents.
Grain traders experienced extreme price swings during the last week of June. Rollover was complete the prior week, and now traders were waiting to hear the stock/inventory numbers from the USDA Thursday morning. There was definitely price volatility in the Grain complex on the eve of the report. Traders, hedgers, farmers, funds, and elevators were either; positioning in or exiting out of the markets before the numbers were released at 7:30 ET. The USDA announced corn stocks down 15% from June 2010, Soybean stocks up 8%, and Wheat stocks down 12%. The bearish report sent Corn and Wheat futures limit down during Thursday’s trading session. Although Soybeans numbers came out better, traders sold them off as well. The July Corn contract which is expiring went down 69 cents, nearly 10% down. In the Grain complex, expiring contracts have no price limits. Since December Corn and September Wheat settled Thursday’s session at their limit offer, the CME Group imposes an expandable limit of 45 and 90 cents respectively. Grain traders were shocked with the two reports from the USDA. One report estimates farmers planted 1.7% more acres from the estimates issued three weeks ago. The other report put the amount of corn inventories down 15% from a year ago. Corn futures recently traded at $8.00 per bushel and now they are trading below the 6 handle. Friday morning, Corn briefly traded down at their expandable price limit of 45 cents. Traders saw this as a buying opportunity as prices have fallen for three straight days and sellers were looking to book profits. Corn prices rallied into the afternoon and slightly traded above 6.00. Wheat and Soybeans also traded higher for the session. Corn futures ended the week down and below mid March levels. Soybeans ended their week slightly up from prior week, and Wheat settled at the lowest levels for 2011 and right below where Wheat prices were in July 2010.