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Soybeans Pause Rally After USDA’s Bullish WASDE Report

January 13, 2021 at 15:57 by Andrew Moran

Soybean futures took a breather midweek after the US government released its first supply and demand report of 2021. The crop’s prices have extended their gains from 2020, rising close to 8% in the first two weeks of the year. But as prices trade at their best levels in 2021, how much higher can soybean go over the next 12 months?

March soybean futures tumbled $0.0875, or 0.62%, to $14.095 per bushel at 14:16 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Soybean prices have risen to their highest point since February 2014, enjoying a thunderous 52% rally over the last 12 months.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its first World Agriculture Supply and Demand (WASDE) report of 2021. According to the USDA, soybean production is forecast to fall 35 million bushels to 4.1 billion bushels. The harvested area is up to 82.3 million acres, while the yield is projected to slide 0.5 bushels to 50.2 bushels per acre.

The US government noted that soybean supplies are down 14 million bushels from December, with the season-average soybean price for the 2020–2021 marketing season is up 60 cents to $11.15 per bushel. Soybean export forecasts were raised by 30 million to an all-time high of 2.23 billion bushels.

Among the agricultural commodities, corn output was revised downward by 324 million bushels to 14.1 billion bushels, with a season-average price of $4.20 per bushel.

Overall, the US government anticipates that soybean and corn supplies in September will be smaller than previously predicted because of a reduced forecast of last autumn’s harvest.

The WASDE report looked beyond the borders of the US, highlighting the events occurring in South America. Argentina and Brazil, which are two key markets for soybean production, have been hammered by dry and hot weather conditions, impacting their harvest. The USDA revised its expectations for production and stocks lower for Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

According to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), non-commercial traders, which include hedge funds, reduced their net-long positions in soybeans. This potentially signals that the market is expecting a pullback in soybean prices.

In other crop markets, March corn futures added $0.1225, or 2.37%, to $5.295 per pound. March wheat futures slipped $0.02, or 0.3%, to $6.63 a bushel. March coffee surged $0.0285, or 2.35%, to $1.242 per pound.

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