Normally, the Dec USDA Report doesn’t generate much excitement – there are no production or yield updates – just US & Global ending stocks & S/A crop estimates! But this year was different with a very dry S/A & huge China imports as very prominent fundamentals! So the trade was expecting big upward revisions in exports & downward revisions in carry-out & S/A production! But the #’s didn’t pan out that way! The stocks dropped 15MB – not the expected 25MB! And the S/A production dropped only marginally as Conab was reluctant to adjust without the benefit of more Dec/Jan weather! So a 20 cent rally leading into the report quickly vanished! However, El Nina is still ravaging S/A & our exports are still flowing!
The highly anticipated Dec WADSE Report offered some disappointing #’s for the corn mkt with stocks left unchanged at 1,702 MB! The trade was leaning to upward export revisions & downward carryout revisions! The production/yield #’s were left unchanged – corn -14.507/175.8 & Beans – 4.170/50.7. So now it’s back to pre-report S & D factors which are still very positive! Corn Exports should remain robust as not only is US Corn the cheapest feedgrain around but the US is the only game in town until after the S/A harvest! And while S/A has received some rains, its not near enough! Further moisture thru the Dec/Jan period will be closely watched! With corn stocks on 5-6 year lows, there is no margin for error in S/A! The Macros lean positive with a vaccine just now becoming available -& the US Dollar continuing to hover just off contract lows! The bullish wildcard going into 2021 is clearly a resurgent US economy! The DJI managed to breach 30,000, all-time highs, without the benefit of a Covid vaccine – imagine what it can do in 2021 once the vaccine is widespread
The Mar Wht has gone vertical in just 3 mkt days – gaining 50 cents (565-615) – being the fortunate beneficiary of two very friendly fundamentals! First, a Reuters report on Wed stated that Russia intends enact new quota & taxes in an effort to curb “food inflation” which should augment US exports! Second, Thur’s 11am Dec Supply & Demand Report included a “surprise cut” in world stocks of 4MMT – mostly owing to increased Chinese buying as they attempt to rebuild they hog herds after the ASF! The net result was a 615 close in the contract – the highest in 3 weeks! This was particularly impressive mkt action as the wht mkt received little or no help corn & beans in a basically stand-alone rally!!
Despite a sharp sell-off in boxed beef cut-out, Feb Cat rallied $3.00 (111-114) in just the past two mkt days for a weekly gain of $1.00! The divergence between the chart action & the cash is a mystery! Especially when you consider the contract’s sister mkt Feb Hogs lost over $3.00 this week! Part of the reason could be the oversoldness of Feb Cat & part could be the “demand optimism” for 2021 generated by the Covid vaccines now becoming available!
Feb Hogs lost $3.40 for the week – closing today at a 3-wk low! It appears China’s waning appetite for US pork is finally catching up with the mkt! As China has steadily rebuilt their hog herd, decimated by the Asian Swine Fever, their need for US pork imports has diminished! This coupled with Covid-decreased domestic demand means that increasing pork production into the first quarter will be hard to absorb!