Is new-crop corn in its seasonal slide? Sure looks like it, as prices hit $4.50 per bushel and lower, down more than 50¢ since early May. Without weather scares that can threaten the 2014 crop, farmers should look harder for good sell opportunities, says a Kansas commodity broker-analyst.
December 2014 corn futures prices actually rallied about 9¢ Friday to near $4.57. But there is little faith that new-crop prices will remain there, says Bret Crotts, analyst for Schwieterman Marketing, LLC in Garden City, Kan.
“What are we going to do if the weather stays good?” Crotts asks. “We have the potential of some short covering, but for the most part traders do not fear the weather right now and rallies will be viewed as a selling opportunity.”
Since December futures hit about $5.15 on May 9, prices have plunged. They dropped below $5 on May 9, hit $4.90 on May 14, $4.80 on May 16, $4.70 on May 28, $4.60 June 2 and $4.50 on Friday before the slight rally.
Crotts says $4.35 is a downward level he is watching. “I’m looking at USDA’s January 10 supply and demand and stocks reports. The market was at $4.35 and that’s when we began the trend higher,” he says. “I think $4.35 is our next downside objective.
“Unless the weather changes, I don’t think there will be anything more than temporary rallies. We will maintain our lower trend.”
He notes that although corn production is projected high, there were similar projections in early 2012. “The last time we had started with good crop condition ratings was 2012, the drought year,” Crotts says, noting that USDA has projected a 165-bushel corn yield for this year.
“Our five- to 10-year average is closer to 150. So be careful in using 165 as a yield projection.”
Crotts says he is “being patient” in making more new-crop sales. “If we see any signs that will turn the trend up, we will cover some shorts (futures sales),” he says. “It’s hard to be excited about being 100% hedged this early in the growing season.
“You don’t want to get just crazy bearish in case the weather changes. I’ll still look at selling rallies.”
He says the coming week’s USDA supply and demand report should be supportive to the old crop and possibly negative to the new crop. That could hint of using bull spreads for some price protection.
“But right now there seems to be no interest in bull spreading the market,” Crotts says.