- All wheat futures prices fell on the week due to heavy precipitation across the Great Plains (see below) and technical selling. CBOT soft red winter (SRW) futures fell 10 cents to close at $6.28/bu. KCBT hard red winter (HRW) futures slipped 18 cents to end at $5.85/bu. MGE hard red spring (HRS) futures dropped 7 cents to close at $6.27/bu. CBOT corn futures jumped 19 cents to end at $5.58/bu. CBOT soybean futures gained 3 cents to close at $14.16/bu.
- Pacific Northwest (PNW) HRS, HRW and soft white (SW), and Gulf HRW export basis fell on the week due to increased commercial selling and reduced export demand.
- The Columbia and Snake River systems’ annual maintenance program closures by the Army Corps of Engineers are extended from March 28 until April 1 due to damage found on one of the lock gates. Every year the Corps temporarily close the river system for maintenance, preventing barges carrying wheat from navigating the rivers.
- This week’s commercial sales of 390,000 metric tons (MT) for delivery in 2020/21 were up 19% from last week’s 329,000 MT and in line with trade expectations of 150,000 MT to 500,000 MT. Year-to-date sales of 24.5 million metric tons (MMT) are 2% ahead of last year’s pace. USDA forecasts total U.S. wheat exports will reach 26.8 MMT in 2020/21, 2% ahead of last year, if realized.
- View the most recent USW Commercial Sales report here.
U.S. Drought Monitor
- Despite the heavy rain and snowfall, much of South Dakota and North Dakota did not receive drought relief, and some areas of North Dakota are now experiencing extreme drought. Abnormal dryness expanded across eastern Washington, but other parts of the PNW saw no expansion of drought conditions despite below-normal precipitation.
- Stratégie Grains lowered its monthly forecast for soft wheat exports from the European Union (EU) by 900,000 MT to 25.2 MMT after a sharp drop in exports. Prices on the Paris-based Euronext exchange were primarily flat this week, hovering around one-month lows after failing to drum up demand.
- Ukraine’s new agriculture minister said there is no reason to curb crop exports and that Ukraine plays a crucial role in the global supply chain. Despite his remarks, grain traders agreed to a 17.5 MMT export quota for the 2020/21 season, of which approximately 80% has already been sold.
- China’s U.S. wheat purchases are up 170% compared to last year, and purchases of U.S. white wheat are at a 27-year high. China’s grain purchases across the globe have driven prices to record highs. China tripled purchases of Ukrainian barley, driving the price of high-quality Ukrainian milling wheat lower. The EU was forced to lower its export forecast for 2020/21 soft wheat exports after initial Chinese interest dried up.
Baltic and U.S. Dollar Indices
- The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), an assessment of the average cost to ship raw materials such as grains, coal and iron ore, jumped 16% on the week to end at 2,281.
- The U.S. Dollar Index increased from last week’s 91.67 to close at 91.93.
Source: US Wheat Associates