|There will be more grains around in the US at the close of 2023/24 than the market had expected, despite the drought-hit start to the Midwest spring crop growing season, the USDA said in July’s Wasde report.
The USDA was less generous on the global picture, particularly for wheat, for which the USDA cut world carryout stocks for 2023/24 to an eight-year low.
Nonetheless, the Wasde’s immediate market impact was to send prices of corn, soybeans and wheat lower.
For the US, the USDA cut its forecast for this year’s domestic yield by 0.25t per hectare.
However, the downgraded yield of 11.14t per hectare still represents a record high, and was above the 11.05t-per-hectare number that investors had expected.
The USDA said that research showed that “harvested-area-weighted June precipitation data for the major Corn Belt states represented an extreme downward deviation from average.
“However, timely rainfall and cooler than normal temperatures for some of the driest parts of the Corn Belt during early July is expected to moderate the impact of June weather.”
Factoring in the extra corn sowings identified in the 30 June Acreage report, the US harvest this year was upgraded overall, by 1.4Mt to 389.1Mt.
Still, the upward impact on the carryout stocks figure was tempered by an increased figure for feed use of corn this season, with inventories seen ending 2023/24 at 57.4Mt, an upgrade of a modest 127Kt from last month’s forecast, if a figure ahead of market expectations nonetheless.
The relatively flat US stocks estimate was reflected in world stocks forecast of 314.1Mt, little changed month on month and in line with market expectations.
The USDA forecast for the US soybean harvest this year, while lowered by 5.7Mt to 117.1Mt, exceeded forecasts too.
The downgrade included the lower-than-expected sowings number revealed in the 30 June Acreage report, but the USDA did not add a downgrade to its yield estimate too, keeping it at a record 3.5t per hectare.
And with the USDA cutting its US soybean export forecast too, by 3.4Mt to 50.3Mt, the USDA shrunk its carryout stocks forecast for 2023/24 by less than the market had forecast, to 8.2Mt.
However, the world soybean stocks figure of 121.0Mt for 2023/24 came in a little short of market expectations nonetheless, factoring in too an increased crush estimate for Argentina.
For wheat too, the USDA estimated its (ongoing) harvest-23 above the level that investors had expected. A 2.0Mt upgrade to 47.3Mt in the harvest figure, reflecting in the main increased yield and area figures for winter crop, exceeded market forecasts by 1.6Mt.
The forecast for US wheat stocks at the close of 2023/24 was raised by 800Kt to 16.1Mt, exceeding market expectations.
However, the forecast for world stocks was cut by 4.2Mt to 266.5Mt, a figure 3.5Mt below the level speculative investors had pencilled in, as the upgrade to US supply hopes was more than offset by downgrades elsewhere.
Argentine, Canadian and EU harvests were downgraded by a combined 6.5Mt. The EU crop alone was cut by 2.5Mt to 138.0Mt, “as ongoing dry weather diminishes yield prospects primarily in Germany, Spain, France, and Italy”.
Even so, the USDA remains more optimistic than some other commentators on EU prospects, with the EU Commission and IGC, for instance, both pegging the bloc’s all-wheat crop at 136.1Mt.