USDA’s U.S. corn stocks numbers moved in the right direction for producers – down – but not to the extent the trade expected. Corn stocks are now projected at 801 million bushels, down from 846 in January, but a few million over the trade estimate of 796. Exports were raised 50 million bushels, while other use categories were unchanged. The resulting stocks-to-use ratio is 6.3%, versus 8.6% for the 2010-2011 crop year. The season average price range for 2011-2012 corn was narrowed at both ends, to $5.80-6.60.
Soybean stocks were unchanged at 275 million bushels versus the average trade estimate of 271 million. This represents a stocks-to-use of 9.1% versus 6.6% for the 2010-2011 crop year. The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2011-2012 is narrowed to $11.10-12.30/bu. compared with $10.95-12.45 last month. Soybean oil prices are forecast at 50.5-54.5¢/lb. and soybean meal prices are projected at $290-320/short ton, both unchanged from last month.
USDA's wheat stocks estimate is bullish at 845 million bushels versus 870 in January and average trade estimate of 867, on a 25-million-bushel boost in exports, particularly for competitively priced feed-quality wheat. Projected exports of soft red winter and white wheat are each raised 15 million bushels on strong demand from Mexico and South Korea. Exports are also projected higher for hard red winter wheat, up 5 million bushels. The wheat stocks-to-use is 4.0%, compared with 3.6% for the 2010 crop. The 2011-2012 projected season-average farm price is raised 20¢ on the bottom end of the range to $7.15-7.45/bu.
The widely expected reductions in South American crop production came in about as expected. Brazilian soybeans were trimmed to 72 mmt from January’s 74 mmt; the trade average was 71.7 mmt. Argentine beans dropped to 48 mmt from 50.5 in January. This was close to the trade’s 48.5 average.
Brazilian corn was left unchanged at 61 million, compared with the 59.8 trade average; and Argentina’s corn crop is pegged at 22, down from 26 in January. World grain stocks fell 3 mmt for corn, to 125.35 mmt. Soybeans dropped 3 mmt to 60.28. However, wheat rose 3 mmt to 213.10.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.