Free Commentary

I am hesitant to say that life has returned to normal, as I am not exactly sure what normal looks like anymore.  That said, over in the grain/soy arena, markets have done what they are supposed to, which is to adapt and adjust to changes in the overall supply-demand road map.  Undoubtedly there have been a few travelers who have decided to take the exit into the rest stop, but by no means has this road trip come to an end, and in those cars still, on the road, the voices in the back seat are now asking the proverbial questions of What Now? or Are We There Yet?  One has to suspect that until we have a few more answers concerning what the spring and summer of 2021 hold in store, we have a number of miles yet to travel, and looking at the map, I am pretty sure they will be enough peak and valleys ahead to keep even the most bored child entertained.

The first weekly export sales of the new calendar year have been released, and with the exception of wheat, export sales snapped back nicely, with corn leading the charge.  For the first week of 2021, we sold 1,437,700 MT or 56.6 million bushels of corn.  This was 92% above the previous week and 34% ahead of the 4-week average.  Japan topped the list with purchases of 401.5k MT, followed by unknown destinations taking 334.5 and then Colombia in at 125.9k.  China did purchase 88.5k MT.  Beans did not break the million tonnes mark but came close with sales of 908,000 MT or 33.4 million bushels.  China led the way with purchases of 758.3k MT, followed by Spain with 143k, and then Mexico taking 98.1k.  Also, for the 2021/22 crop year, there were sales of 326k MT.  Wheat sale sales slip 19% for the week, coming in at 221,900 MT or 8.1 million bushels.  Bangladesh purchased 55k MT, Mexico 46.2k, and Malaysia took 34k. There were also sales of 10.1k MT for the 2021/22 crop year.  Looking through the balance of the list, we find China purchasing 70.9k MT of sorghum, 151.2k RB of cotton, 232,400 whole cattle hides, 2,800 MT of beef, but they were absent from the pork market

The International Grains Council released updated world production estimates this morning.  They now have global wheat production at 768 MMT, which was 3 million higher than their previous estimate, corn at 1.133 BMT, which was up 13 MMT, and total grain output at 2.21 BMT.

Weekly initial jobless claims were also released this morning and while higher numbers were anticipated, it is without a doubt a major concern for the incoming administration.  For the week ending January 9th, 181,000 more people filed for unemployment, bringing the total back to 965,000.  This is the second week of rising numbers and is the highest level witnessed since August.

Looking at the macros this morning, we find energies and metal soft, financial instruments flat to lower, equities higher and the dollar steady.