Adequate Inventory Keeps Chicago Soybean Prices Close to Two-Year Lows
Adequate Inventory Keeps Chicago Soybean Prices Close to Two-Year Lows

Adequate Inventory Keeps Chicago Soybean Prices Close to Two-Year Lows

  • 17-Jan-2024 7:40 PM
  • Journalist: Motoki Sasaki

Chicago soybean futures faced a decline on Wednesday, approaching a two-year low recorded last week. This downturn was primarily influenced by the prospects of a substantial harvest in Argentina and weakened demand from China for imported beans.

Simultaneously, corn futures experienced a dip, with an ample global supply keeping prices near the three-year low observed on Friday. Conversely, wheat witnessed a slight rise after hitting a seven-week low on Tuesday.

Recent rain in South America has had a positive impact on the supply outlook for soybean and corn crops. Responding to this, the U.S. government raised its estimates for U.S. yield and production levels following the conclusion of the soybean harvest.

Ole Houe, an expert at IKON Commodities in Sydney, commented on the prevailing market sentiment, stating, "Expectations of a big crop in South America have got everyone running for the hills." He also suggested that prices might not have much further to fall, noting, "The market is overshooting a bit."

In Argentina, production forecasts, currently set at 52 million metric tons for soybeans and 59 million tons for corn, are anticipated to continue rising. Harvest estimates in Brazil have become more optimistic following the conclusion of a dry period. However, a grain farmers' association forecasted a 135-million-ton soybean crop, significantly below the government's estimate of 155 million tons.

Despite positive U.S. data supporting soybeans on Tuesday, with weekly export inspections meeting higher-end expectations and U.S. soybean processors crushing more soybeans in December than in any previous month, exports have been sluggish. A surplus of cheap supply from Brazil has contributed to this, and China's demand is expected to slow in the first quarter of the year due to a shrinking pig herd, impacting feed demand.

Russia, a leading wheat exporter, anticipates a grain harvest of 143 million-147 million tons in the coming season, marking the third consecutive bumper crop.

However, concerns have emerged over potential damage to winter wheat in the United States due to cold temperatures. Additionally, Canada's dry winter exacerbates drought conditions in the western provinces, where most of the country's grain is produced.

Chicago soybeans, corn, and wheat have witnessed a decline of 5% to 7% this month, with speculators anticipating further decreases. The strengthening U.S. dollar has added pressure on prices, diminishing the attractiveness of U.S. agricultural products to importers. This intricate scenario reflects the dynamic nature of global agricultural markets, influenced by a myriad of factors ranging from weather conditions to international trade dynamics. The ongoing fluctuations underscore the importance of vigilant monitoring and strategic decision-making within the agriculture sector to navigate uncertainties and sustain a resilient industry.

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