Overnight saw the USDA release the 1st Quarter Grain Stocks report for 2014, covering all positions for grain in the US (on farm and delivered bulk handlers/processors, etc). Also released was the Planted Area (Wheat) and Planting Intentions (Corn and Soybeans) report. Whilst wheat stocks have remained comfortable, they are tight relative to recent years. The total wheat acreage report was below expectation for most in the trade, and the crop remains open to production issues during the spring, and rallies in price will come at the hint of yield loss. Soybeans where the big winner in acreage, with planting intentions of nearly 33 million hectares, up 2 millionfrom last year, whilst corn area at 37 million hectares, was 400k hectares short of expectations and a 4-year low. Stocks wise, soybeans and corn both saw increased demand over the 1st quarter of the year, with just 26 million tonnes of Soybeans left in the US, whilst Corn is a healthy 178 million tonnes, despite strong domestic use and ethanol production margins.
The cotton market seems content to trade the 200+ point range, eventually losing just 22 points. The USDA pegged planting intentions in the US at approximately 4.5 million hectares, which was at the lower end of the trade estimates. The 31st of March also marked the end of the Chinese reserve purchase scheme for the 13/14 season, which saw the program buy about 27 million bales domestically.
The Dollar closed in on the 0.93 cent mark overnight and the RBA meeting today will likely voice an opinion on the higher-than-they-like value of our currency and Chinese datarecently released that most analysts believe will disappoint. Market expectations are that the RBA will act to pull the currency down today.
Domestically, the rain events of last week still have the trade pushing back prices, but it did not rain grain, so stocks will ultimately remain tight between now and harvest. Prices are still remaining firm overall, with sorghum the only grain losing ground, with improvements in crop prospects on the Downs (late crop), Liverpool Plains, and Central Queensland crops pressure the market. The pulse market remains quiet, with demand remaining limited.