Smoke, mirrors and funds drive wheat prices

Weather and its impact on wheat yields (production) will determine the 2010-2011 wheat marketing year supply. Supply will be the major determinant of wheat harvest prices. Demand will be the major price determinant after harvest.

Between now and the June wheat harvest, market news about the "value of the dollar" whether the "funds" are buying or selling "winter kill, disease, insects" and numerous other things will cause wheat prices to increase and decrease. A good portion of the news is "smoke and mirrors" and irrelevant to long-term prices and most producers’ marketing decisions.

Today’s market news included, "Greek animosity towards the US," "Greece fears lead to higher dollar value," "Funds hold record short contracts," "Potential freeze damage to soft red winter wheat." These news items may or may not impact June 2010 wheat prices.

The thought is that wheat producers should just ignore market news and price movements. This is not necessarily the case. The market just might give producers the opportunity to take advantage of artificially high smoke and mirror prices.

To take advantage of price opportunities, a written marketing plan is essential. The first question to answer: "Is there a price for which you would sell your 2010 wheat production and be satisfied?" If there is, write it down now. This price is a benchmark.

If there is not a price, what you need to decide is, "Do you want to sell wheat between now and harvest and if so, how much?" If you do not want to sell between now and harvest, "How much wheat will you sell at harvest?"

How much wheat is sold at harvest may depend on the harvest price and how much cash you need to pay bills and plant the 2011 wheat crop. Your marketing plan will also depend on harvest market conditions and how wheat is normally sold.

The current market situation is one of excess U.S. and world wheat stocks. High stocks set the stage for low harvest prices.

Between now and the U.S. winter wheat harvest, wheat will be harvested in India, Pakistan, North Africa and China. Reports indicate that, because of excess stocks, India and Pakistan are exporting wheat. India and Pakistan rarely export wheat.

United States winter wheat planted acres are estimated to be 6.2 million acres less than last year. Average yields and harvested acres would result in stocks remaining at current levels.

For the harvest price to be above current market offerings either yields must be below average or export demand must increase. Lower yields could result in higher prices, but not enough to increase profit above average yields and current prices.

With high world wheat stocks, increase export demand is only expected if 2010-2011 marketing year foreign wheat production is below average. Wheat production for other exporting countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, and the European Union) will not be known until late August and early September for Canada and the EU, and November and December for Argentina and Australia.

Current market signals imply that significantly higher market prices probably may not occur until the July or August time period and probably not until September or October. If this is the case, the marketing strategy would be to delay selling wheat until the September to November time period.

The points are to take most market news "with a grain of salt" and to have a plan to take advantage of pricing opportunities. Sometimes market players overreact and offer an opportunity to sell at an artificially high price.

The best way to recognize opportunity is to have defined it before it happens.

TAGS: Corn
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.