Harvest is in full swing in Arkansas. Most other aspects of the industry have slowed to accommodate, as cash bids in the region haven’t changed because farmers are more interested in bringing in the crop than selling it for the next few weeks. Expectations are that cutting will continue through the end of October—and bids will likely surface before then as well as quality and yields materialize. Texas is all but finished, and Louisiana is rounding the final turn to its harvest as well. Prices in Louisiana are $13.55 per cwt and $14.33 per cwt in Texas. Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri are still in the $14.50-$15.25 range until new crop supplies become more liquid. Mississippi is approximately 25% done, but it will be a long harvest there because of the spread-out planting season.
Ida’s impacts are starkly evident, as US grain exports out of Gulf Terminals are at their lowest levels in years. Corn exports for last week were the lowest in eight years, and 85% lower than this time last year. Soybeans are bouncing along seven-year lows, with only one boat to China being loaded last week. Soybean inspections are down 94% compared to this time last year. Over 50 bulk vessels were awaiting entry along the Mississippi River earlier this week as the power grid struggles to keep up with demand and a strained supply chain.
In Washington, DC, the 3.5 trillion Democratic spending plan has direct implications for agriculture. The legislation includes $7.75 billion for agricultural research, $18.145 billion for rural development and energy, as well as $40 billion for forestry. There is $35 billion in spending for child nutrition programs, and the promise of $28 billion in conservation programs that is not currently in the spending package. There is still a long way to go as this plan works its way through Washington, DC.
In Asia, pricing is little changed on account of slowing demand and the inability to ship. Thai prices softened to $380 per metric ton, while Viet prices firmed to $410 per metric ton. India is also softening in line with Thailand, registering at the $380 per metric ton level. Fresh demand out of West Africa could help buoy pricing in the coming weeks. If the export trends continue, India could ship as much as 22 million metric tons this year, eclipsing the other top three exporting origins combined, and account for nearly half of global exports this year. This news comes off reports that China may begin sourcing rice from India as well.
The USDA Export Sales report shows net sales of 31,500 metric tons for this week, down 7% from last week and 39% from the four-week average. NGOs out of Haiti are in full swing, as sales to the politically embattled country registered 15,200 metric tons. Mexico came in at 8,900 metric tons, Canada at 5,100 metric tons, and smaller amounts to El Salvador, Venezuela, and Guatemala. Exports jumped up this week to 83,100 metric tons, an increase of 188% compared to last week, and 38% over the four-week average. Shipments were 31,700 metric tons to Mexico, 27,500 metric tons to Venezuela, 9,900 metric tons to Guatemala, and just over 4,000 metric tons to each El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.
The futures market responded with a slight uptick as a result of the most recent Supply/Demand report from the USDA. Average Daily Volume as 522, up 32% from last week, and Open Interest held steady at 8,066. Continued milled export sales will be necessary to keep the bullish sentiment.