News & Media

Market Briefs for September 14, 2017

Dicamba usage cutoff considered
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a ban on spraying the ag herbicide dicamba after a set cutoff date, possibly sometime during the first half of 2018, according to state officials advising the agency, Reuters reports. This comes amid concerns that drift of the chemicals has damaged soybeans and other crops this season.

Monsanto challenges dicamba ban
Monsanto filed a petition with the state of Arkansas seeking to remove a ban on the herbicide dicamba that is scheduled to take effect next April 15. Dicamba has been linked to crop damage, but Monsanto calls the ban “unwarranted and misinformed.”

Chinese soybean imports
China imported 8.45 MMT of soybeans in August, a record for the month and a 10.2-percent jump from year-ago levels, according to preliminary customs data. Its purchases were down from July when the country brought in a record 10.08 MMT of the oilseed. Some of the arrivals the past two months were shipments that had been delayed by port congestion. But crushers also upped their bean buys as their margins improved, with most making a profit as of late August. For the first eight months of the year, China has purchased 63.34 MMT of soybeans, a 9.34 MMT (17.3 percent) gain from a year ago.

Brazil rapidly exporting corn
Brazil’s corn exports climbed dramatically over the summer, with shipments of 1 MMT in June climbing to 3.3 MMT in July and 5.5 MMT in August, according to Thomson Reuters Trade Flows. Cumulative shipments for the three-month span are up 48 percent from 2015 and 105 percent from a year ago when drought clipped the crop. Analysts expect another strong showing in September as a record-large safrinha crop and limited storage provide incentive to ship corn in spite of low prices and high transportation fees. Indeed, the Sept. 5 Williams Line-up report shows that 4.8 MMT of corn exports have already been loaded this month, which already tops total shipments for September the past two years.

Brazil soybean shipments jump
Brazil has shipped 56.3 MMT of soybeans between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, according to Thomson Reuters Trade Flows. This is well above shipments of 46.3 MMT over this period last year or 43.2 MMT in 2015. The tally also stops annual shipments of roughly 49 MMT for both those years. So far, 73 percent of Brazil’s soybean exports have gone to China. Shipments of the oilseed have slowed since May, but they remain strong relative to recent years. In August, Brazil shipped 5.4 MMT of soybeans. The latest Williams Lineup Report shows that 2.9 MMT of the soybeans are scheduled to load and sail this month and that figure is likely to climb.

NAFTA updates
Trade negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico praised the work of their teams in the first weeks of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), sidestepping President Donald Trump’s threats to pull out of the deal. Top trade officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement in Mexico City on Sept. 12 as the second round of talks concluded, highlighting their progress and shared commitment to finish talks this year. The officials said they have made headway and now have a deeper understanding of each other’s demands. U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer still stressed a new deal must benefit “all Americans,” including those in manufacturing who lost their jobs as a result of NAFTA. He added, “I expect when I finish this agreement that the president will be supportive of it, because I’m not going to agree to things that he’s not supportive of.” The third round is scheduled to take place Sept. 23-27 in Ottawa.

Improve KORUS, Trump told
The chairmen and ranking Democrats of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees issued a joint statement Sept. 11 calling South Korea a “significant economic partner, our seventh largest export market and a vital customer for U.S. manufacturers, services providers, farmers and ranchers.” The lawmakers called on Trump to push South Korea to improve its compliance with the agreement. “To be effective and constructive, however, we must not withdraw from the agreement while we do so,” the lawmakers said.

USDA releases new estimates
- This month’s 2017-18 U.S. corn outlook is for increased production, greater feed and residual use, higher ending stocks and lower prices. Corn production is forecast at 14.184 billion bushels, up 32 million from last month. Corn supplies are up from last month, as a larger crop more than offsets a small decline in beginning stocks due to updated use estimates for 2016-17.

Rice - Total U.S. rice supplies are reduced 6.6 million cwt from last month due to a lower production forecast. In the September Crop Production report, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reduced the 2017-18 U.S. crop size by 6.7 million cwt to 179.7 million, primarily on lower area. NASS incorporated Farm Service Agency certified acreage data this month in adjusting forecast acreage lower.

Soybeans - Soybean production is projected at a record 4,431 million bushels, up 50 million on a higher yield forecast. Soybean supplies are raised with higher production only partly offset by lower beginning stocks. With increased supplies and lower prices, soybean exports are raised to 2,250 million bushels leaving ending stocks unchanged.