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Wheat Edges Up on Flurry of Industry Activity

August 14, 2019 at 20:03 by Andrew Moran

Wheat futures finished the Wednesday trading session in positive territory, somewhat rebounding from the downward trend that has plagued the agricultural commodity for much of the year. Wheat prices posted tepid gains on a flurry of industry activity, but investors might be more concerned about President Donald Trump’s recent remarks about US wheat.

September wheat futures tacked on $0.03, or 0.64%, to $4.75 per bushel at 19:42 GMT on Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBoT). Wheat prices have slipped more than 3% over the last five trading sessions, driving down their year-to-date losses to more than 5.5%.

Addressing supporters at an event Tuesday at a Pennsylvania factory on Tuesday, President Trump slammed the nation’s trade deficit with Japan. He grieved that car imports are driving up the trade gap with Tokyo, adding that the US is not getting a good deal by exporting wheat.

We send them wheat, wheat. That’s not a good deal. And they don’t even want our wheat.

President Trump posited that Japan is only purchasing the crop “because they want us to at least feel that we’re OK. You know, they do it to make us feel good.”

The US maintains a $59 billion trade deficit with Japan.

Soon after his comments went viral, the National Association of What Growers, a trade association for farmers, tweeted:

Mr. President, Japan is the #1 market for US wheat exports on average. They don’t buy our wheat because ‘they want us to feel okay.’ They buy it because it’s the highest quality wheat in the world. That’s not fake news.”

A day after his remarks, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) confirmed it plans to purchase 120,000 tonnes of feed wheat and another 200,000 tonnes of feed barley to be loaded by November 30.

Germany also made headlines in the industry after it was reported that wheat exporters are attempting to tap new markets in China, Indonesia, and Mexico. The move might be in response to Saudi Arabia intending to allow Russia to export more of its wheat supplies to Riyadh. For years, Saudi Arabia had been Berlin’s biggest market for wheat exports, but this could change after its chief state grain buyer vowed to decrease quality specifications for wheat imports.

Earlier this week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its monthly supply and demand report for August. The US government adopted a more neutral view of the international wheat market, projecting that there will be a 3.4 million metric ton cut in output for the 2019–2010 season. Researchers say US production will be higher, offsetting lower volumes from the European Union, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

In other agricultural commodities, September corn futures fell $0.055, or 1.46%, to $3.71 per pound. December soybean futures plunged $0.105, or 1.18%, to $8.785 a bushel. September orange juice futures dipped 0.15 cents, or 0.15%, to 98.65 cents per pound.

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