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Grain Prices “Steep Dive” Following Production, Stocks Reports

Dow Jones writer Kirk Maltais reported on Friday that, “Wheat for December delivery fell 6.6% to $5.40 3/4 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade on Friday, with heavy selling taking place after the USDA reported both higher production and higher stockpiles than expected by analysts.

Small Grains Summary Grain Stocks. Agricultural Statistics Board Briefing. Lance Honig, Chief Crops Branch (September 29, 2023).

Off a Cliff: CBOT grain futures took a steep dive in trading following the release of the USDA’s Quarterly Grain Stocks and Small Grains Summary reports, which kept corn and wheat balance sheets loose and eased potential issues with soybeans.

“The USDA says soybean stocks are at 268.2 million bushels, wheat stocks at 1.78 billion bushels, and corn stocks at 1.36 billion bushels — soybean and wheat coming in higher than analyst forecasts, while corn is lower.”

Maltais explained that, “For the third quarter of 2023, wheat futures were among the leading losers in commodities.

Including today’s selling, wheat has dropped 17% since the start of the quarter.

“Pressure on wheat came in large part from Russia’s plentiful supplies hitting the export market and driving prices lower. ”

Also Friday, Bloomberg writer Michael Hirtzer reported that, “Wheat futures tumbled after the US Department of Agriculture showed domestic production and quarterly stockpiles were bigger than analysts expected.

“Wheat Drops to Three-Year Low on Data Showing Bigger US Supplies,” by Michael Hirtzer. Bloomberg News (September 29, 2023).

“The agency raised its estimates for US wheat output when most analysts expected a cut. Chicago futures fell more than 6% after the midday report, settling at the lowest in three years.

The losses deepened wheat’s fourth straight quarterly decline — the longest such route in 14 years — raising hopes for further relief from food inflation.”

Small Grains Summary Grain Stocks. Agricultural Statistics Board Briefing. Lance Honig, Chief Crops Branch (September 29, 2023).

Hirtzer explained that, “The surprise forecast stemmed in part from an unexpected boost in yields for spring varieties after rains late in the growing season. While the US is only the world’s fourth-biggest wheat exporter, the additional supplies add to a picture of a robust global cushion amid booming harvests in Russia and other key producers.”

And Reuters writer Zachary Goelman reported on Friday that, “Chicago wheat futures cratered more than 6% on Friday, hitting a three-year low after U.S. government data pegged wheat production above analysts’ expectations.

“Soybean futures also closed sharply lower on larger-than-forecast domestic stockpiles, and the drop in both commodities dragged down corn prices.”

The Reuters article stated that, “Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures plummeted 6.4% to $5.41-1/2 a bushel and hit the lowest level since Sept. 28, 2020, on a continuous chart.

“It was the sharpest single-day percentage point drop since the middle of March 2022, when global grain markets shook off some of the panic-buying following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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