During the last few days of September, the corn and soybean markets were starting to look tired. Understandably so. Soybeans had a huge run, sending futures better than $10 per bushel and corn also performing better than expected.
Early in the week, the talk focused on retracement and what technical levels needed to be watched as the markets moved lower. But then came USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks Report Wednesday morning, and the markets rocketed higher.
USDA announced old-crop corn stocks of 2 billion bushels. That’s still a large amount, but it was 250 million bushels less than what analysts were expecting. In Illinois, corn stocks were reduced by more than 180 million.
Soybean stocks fell to 523 million bushels, a 42% drop compared to a year ago. In Illinois, soybean stocks of almost 66 million bushels were down about 121 million from the year before.
The markets, taken by surprise, made huge upside moves, with soybeans up more than 30 cents for both November and January contracts.
“With people talking about soybean stocks down 42% year over year, that’s a big number, but the market was already anticipating a 37% reduction,” said Alex Grosmeyer at Tremont Co-op in Tazewell County, as some wonder if Wednesday’s market move was overdone.
“The stocks numbers that came out … those were as of Sept. 1. We’ve had harvest since then, and yes we’ve loaded out soybeans and we’ve crushed some, but we’ve put some back into the inventory already,” said Karl Setzer at AgriVisor.
“They were bullish and supportive, but they weren’t wild,” said Bryan Rader at FS Grain in Morris. 523 million in stocks is still a comfortable level. I think the demand side of things is maybe what has people willing to trade that as bullish.”
Many eyes next week will be on China. This week’s Mid-Autumn Festival has likely put a stop to any corn or soybean purchases. If they don’t buy next week after their holiday, there will be questions about whether they have already met their supplies for the coming months.