Grain prices were mixed over the past week. Harvest pressure was countered by better news on the China/US trade front.

 

US corn is 30% harvested. A year ago, and the average for Oct. 20 is 48%. Some think the recent snowstorm in the Northern Plains (and Canadian prairies) may reduce their corn crop by 200-300 million bushels.

 

Soybean harvest is 46% done. Usually, 64% is off by now, but US farmers aren’t far behind last year’s 51% in the bin. Up to 40 million bushels of soybeans may also have been lost in those storms.

 

The ebb and flow in the trade talks continue. The most recent development is that China will allow its importers to purchase 10 min mt of soybeans from the US without tariffs.

 

That is a substantial quantity, but the timeframe wasn’t specified. Perhaps that’s why prices gave back early gains.  It may well depend on how well the South American (SAM) crop is developing.

 

Planting progress is picking up there, as moisture levels in many areas have increased. Soybean acres are likely to increase from last year also at the expense of corn, as freight remains a big expense for Brazil farmers.

With US harvest nearing half done, traders will increasingly focus on South America growing conditions. USDA’s soybean carry out estimates have come down sharply, making SAM output more critical.

 

Technically, November soybean futures traded to their best level in 4 months. The $9.40 to 9.45 level resistance still hasn’t been broken, however. Futures are up $0.94 since Sept. 9, a very nice gift for farmers at harvest time.

 

The weekly and monthly continuation charts look even more bullish, trading at their highest since June 2018. This may cause the speculators to get out of their short positions and be price supportive. However, taking some risk off the table here may still make “cents”?

 

The US dollar index was weaker again, helping the Canadian dollar and other currencies. Gold and crude oil also benefitted. Trump keeps tweeting he would like a lower US dollar and interest rates to help spur their economy.

 

Canada returned Justin Trudeau to a second term, although only a minority this time. Rural Canada is primarily blue, while the large cities went mainly red. Rural issues weren’t even discussed during the campaign.

 

Obviously urban people have different priorities and expectations compared to their rural counterparts, at least politically. Unfortunately, the latter group are seriously outnumbered.

 

 

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