Analysts and merchandisers say they can't remember the last time the corn market settled limit up before Tuesday’s 25 cent gains. USDA’s crop reports and stocks numbers sent the markets to the limit for March, May, and July contracts, and the markets continued to move higher the next day.
USDA lowered the nation’s corn yield by 3.8 bushels per acre, from 175.8 in November to 172 in January. It’s the largest such move in about a quarter-century, according to StoneX economist Arlan Suderman. And from the August projection at 181.8, the huge drop in yield equated to a corn crop almost 1.1 billion bushels less than what had been expected last summer.
There’s still plenty of corn to be marketed, so the question remains: What now?
“If we keep with the demand structure that continues to whittle down those ending stocks, then I do believe there’s some upside,” said Bryan Rader at FS Grain. “With that being said, there’s some painful balance sheets out there, from the ethanol industry and that side, high-priced corn is not making that market any better.”
Karl Setzer at AgriVisor echoed that statement. “Trade is sitting back saying, ‘we spiked corn 25 cents, we spiked it again overnight. Now what does that do to our demand?’ There are some thoughts that our demand is going to implode if we continue to see corn run the way it is.”
Rader estimated that there’s still about 30 to 40% of the corn crop left to be marketed, and Mark Hobrock at The Anderson’s offered a similar sentiment. “I’m using the scenario that every 25 cents up we ought to be selling some old-crop corn. Every 60 to 70 cents up we need to be selling some old-crop beans.”
In other words, the mantra is the same in either a down or up market -- reward the rally.
“We need to keep pressing here,” Hobrock said. “Even though we’re at better times, let’s not get complacent here in our marketing strategies. Let’s don’t be basing our strategy around a drought that may or may not come this summer. Let’s hit some good returns on investments and make some sales here with upside potential.”