Morning Comments February 17, 2021

Corn Emerging 360X240

Markets are modestly lower this morning on light overnight trade. The USDA outlook forum will release projected 2021 principal crop acreage tomorrow and long-range supply/demand estimates on Friday. Their acreage estimates are based on economics, while the more important March 31 USDA acreage report is based on actual producer surveys. Trade banter thus far on acreage has been 93-94Mln corn (last year 90.8Mln) and 88-90Mln beans (last year 83.1Mln). Weekly export inspections came out yesterday, with corn at 52.1Mln bu and beans at 29.7Mln bu, both well below the prior week’s numbers, but solid, nonetheless. We will continue to see the soybean volumes decline over the next few weeks, and corn will ramp up. The NOPA soy crush for January reported at 184.6Mln bu, the second largest January number on record, and was slightly above market expectations. 

The weather is really taking a toll. Roughly 20% of the nation’s oil refining capacity has been curtailed. Another system is dropping snow as far south as Houston this morning. Numerous ethanol and soy crush plants have been cut back or idled due to natural gas shortages. In some cases, plants were able to sell back high-priced natural gas into the spot market grid at a huge price, some well over $300/Dthm, depending on your locale. Palm oil is setting new all-time record highs, soy oil is following suit with the March contract over 47c/lb.

Farmer selling has been very light this past week. Many that are holding old crop inventory will wait through spring planting to see how the early growing season progresses. 

Opening Calls:

Corn: 2-3c lower

Beans: 3-4c lower