Grains, Seeds, Vegoils, Meals, Softs, Agri News

Jun 17 - Illinois farmers give up on planting after floods, throw party instead
The Happy Spot was a little depressed. Dozens of corn farmers and those who sell them seed, chemicals and equipment gathered on Thursday at the restaurant in Deer Grove, Illinois, after heavy rains caused unprecedented delays in planting this year and contributed to record floods across the central United States. 

 
Jun 17 - Trump mulled plan in 2018 to scale back U.S. biofuel waivers - documents
President Donald Trump's advisers presented him with a plan last year to curtail the administration's use of small refinery waivers under the nation's biofuel law - a key demand of the powerful U.S. corn lobby, according to documents made public by the Environmental Protection Agency. While the June 2018 plan was ultimately rejected, the fact it reached the president's desk shows that Trump's advisers believed at the time he had the ability to adjust the controversial waiver program, even as his EPA defended the expanded use of the exemptions by citing legal requirement.

 
Jun 17 - Bayer to invest $5.6 bln in weedkiller research to help reputation
Germany's Bayer sought to repair its reputation on Friday after damage caused by U.S. litigation over claims its glyphosate pesticide causes cancer, saying it would invest 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in weedkiller research. Bayer's shares hit seven-year lows after a California couple was last month awarded more than $2 billion in the largest-ever U.S. jury award over claims that glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup, which the German life sciences group acquired when it took over Monsanto, causes cancer. 

Jun 17 - NOPA May U.S. soy crush seen at 162.474 mln bushels - survey
U.S. soybean processors likely crushed fewer soybeans last month than they did in the same month a year ago, but the crush rate was still the second-largest on record for May, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly industry report. Members of the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) likely processed 162.474 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to the average of estimates given by eight analysts in a Reuters survey.

Jun 17 - Brazil asks for WTO investigation of Indonesia on poultry trade
The Brazilian government has formally asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to open a panel to investigate Indonesian policies on Brazil's poultry exports, the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday. Brazil won a case against Indonesia at the WTO in 2017, but the South American country argues that the WTO decision was never implemented by Indonesia, which continues to block any chicken imports from Brazilian companies.

Jun 17 - Chicken producer Perdue enters crowded plant-based meat market 
Perdue Foods, one of America's largest chicken producers, said it will sell frozen chicken nuggets mixed with cauliflower, chickpeas and plant protein to address a growing demand for products combining meat and vegetables. A company executive on Friday said more blended products were in the pipeline, with Perdue aiming for its vegetable-enhanced items to become a $100 million segment within five years, making up around 5% of the company's overall business.

Jun 17 - EU set for big winter barley crop after 2018 disaster
Europe is facing a strong rise in its 2019 winter barley harvest following massive drought damage a year before, bringing improved supplies for farmers. Winter barley, used for animal feed, suffered massive damage from a heatwave last summer, forcing Europe to make hefty imports of feed wheat and corn.

Jun 14 - China seeks to roll July U.S. soybean cargoes to August - sources
Chinese soybean buyers are asking sellers in the United States to delay cargoes due to be shipped in July until August, two sources familiar with the matter said, raising fears of cancellations like ones that roiled the market last year. The contract renegotiations come as the world's top two economies remain locked in a protracted trade war that prompted China to sharply cut purchases of the oilseed from its No. 2 supplier starting from the middle of last year.

 
Jun 14 - Brazil lifts suspension of beef exports to China 
Brazil's government said on Thursday it has lifted a suspension of beef exports to China after dealing with an atypical case of mad cow disease, sending shares of Marfrig Global Foods, Minerva SA and other Brazilian meatpackers soaring. The suspension had been in effect since June 3 after a case was reported in a 17-year-old cow in the state of Mato Grosso. Cases can arise spontaneously in cattle herds, usually in animals 8 years old or older. 

 
Jun 14 - Beyond Meat's new competitor: Tyson's pea-and-meat blended burger 
U.S. meat processor Tyson Foods Inc on Thursday launched its first vegetarian and mixed-protein products, including a beef and pea burger, as it seeks to compete with Beyond Meat and other companies catering to rising demand for plant-based alternatives to meat. Tyson is betting that meat eaters wanting healthier diets will see their blend as offering a meat taste and vegetable health.

Jun 14 - Trump trade blows fail to slow Mexican demand for U.S. wheat 
Mexican bread and flour tortilla makers will likely use significantly more wheat sourced from the United States this year despite growing unease with President Donald Trump, according to Mexico's main wheat chamber. Wheat shipments to Mexico from Russia are also expected to repeat last year's big jump in volume, while Argentine wheat is seen gaining a new foothold as the Mexican industry continues to diversify its suppliers.

Jun 14 - Strategie Grains cuts EU 2019/20 wheat export outlook by 1 mln tonnes 
A worsening of European soft wheat's competitiveness on world markets led crop consultancy Strategie Grains to cut by more than 1 million tonnes its forecast for EU soft wheat exports to third countries for the 2019/20 season on Thursday. Strategie Grains now expects the European Union to export 22.1 million tonnes of soft wheat in the season starting on July 1, down from 23.2 million estimated last month.

Jun 14 - EU seals deal to boost U.S. beef imports - sources 
The European Union has agreed a deal to allow U.S. farmers a larger share of Europe's beef market, EU sources and diplomats said, in a move that could help to defuse transatlantic trade tensions. The deal will result in the United States securing a guaranteed share of a 45,000 tonne EU quota for hormone-free beef. The quota was agreed in 2009 to settle a dispute between the two over an EU ban on the use of growth hormones in meat.

Jun 14 - Ottawa expands insurance for Canadian canola exporters amid China dispute 
Ottawa increased the insurance coverage available for canola exporters, a government corporation said on Thursday, as it seeks to reduce trade risks amid a dispute with China. China halted purchases of Canadian canola in March, citing pests in shipments by Richardson International Ltdand Viterra Inc. The move, coming as Beijing has also expressed anger that Canadian police had arrested a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive in December, has pressured canola prices.

Jun 14 - Argentina's Bioceres eyes 2020 approval of drought-resistant soybean seed in China 
Argentine biotechnology firm Bioceres SA hopes a soybean seed it is developing with drought-resistant proprieties receives approval within the next month in the United States and by the end of 2020 in China, its chief executive said on Thursday. Argentina and Brazil have already approved the so-called HB4 seed variety. Argentina, Brazil and the United States are the largest soy producers in the world, while China is the largest importer, making approval there key for the expansion of Bioceres' product.

Jun 13 - Australian wheat output under threat as dry weather set to linger
Dry weather will persist across Australia until at least the end of September, the country's weather bureau said on Thursday, in a forecast that threatens to further lower wheat production in the world's No. 4 exporter. There is just a 30% chance that Australia will record average rainfall between July 1 and Sep 30, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.

 
Jun 13 - Yes, the U.S. soybean crop may be in big trouble - Braun
The soybean market has shown little fear over U.S. crop prospects so far this month despite the slow planting and record-late crop development. The complacency has been largely driven by the substantial domestic stockpiles and the longer time frame available to plant beans versus corn.

 
Jun 13 - Canada to boost aid for canola exporters as China dispute drags on - sources
The Canadian government will boost an insurance program for canola exporters looking to find new buyers in light of trade tensions between Canada and China, sources with direct knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. China, locked in a deepening dispute with Canada, has blocked imports of Canadian canola seed, depriving producers of their largest export market.

Jun 13 - USDA set to adjust U.S. soy numbers in July report - chief economist
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to revise its U.S. soybean forecasts next month after leaving area and yield projections unchanged in a monthly report issued on Tuesday, USDA chief economist Robert Johansson said. USDA's monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report cut corn area and yields following severe delays to plantings this season.

Jun 13 - Green Pool lowers 2019/20 sugar deficit forecast
The world sugar market is on course to record a deficit of 1.62 million tonnes (raw value) in the 2019/20 season, analyst Green Pool said on Wednesday, lowering its estimate from a previous 1.96 million tonnes. In its third forecast for the 2019/20 season, Green Pool also bumped up its projection for the global surplus in 2018/19 to 4.1 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 3.35 million.

Jun 13 - Syrian Kurdish authorities to stop wheat going to govt territory
Kurdish-led authorities holding Syria's breadbasket region will ban wheat from entering government territory in a bid to boost reserves, a Kurdish official told Reuters. The region across north and east Syria is a key source of wheat for Damascus, which imports much of its demand, adding to its troubles in navigating tough Western sanctions.

Jun 12 - U.S. corn harvest seen at four-year low after rainy spring - USDA  
The U.S. government on Tuesday slashed its estimate of domestic corn production this year as heavy rain in key growing areas throughout the spring forced growers to cut their acreage and caused planting delays that threatened the size of the harvest. "Unprecedented planting delays observed through early June are expected to prevent some plantings and reduce yield prospects," the U.S. Agriculture Department said in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

 
Jun 12 - Australia cuts wheat forecast by 11% as drought threatens for third year
Australia on Wednesday cut its wheat production forecast for the 2019/20 harvest by more than 11% as an unrelenting drought across the country's east coast threatens crops for a third year in a row. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) pegged production of the country's largest rural export at 21.2 million tonnes, down from its previous estimate in March of 23.9 million tonnes.

 
Jun 12 - Trump simplifies reviews of genetically modified farm products 
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday directing federal agencies to streamline the review process for agricultural biotechnology including genetically modified livestock and seeds. Trump signed the order during a visit to an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Jun 12 - As Biden tours Iowa, farmers want to know where he stands on ethanol
Joe Biden may have an ethanol problem. The former U.S. vice president has pledged support for advanced biofuels as part of his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. But Biden, who leads the crowded Democratic field in opinion polls in Iowa and nationally, faces lingering questions in the U.S. Farm Belt over his push in 2014 as President Barack Obama's No. 2 to slash the amount of corn-based ethanol that refiners must blend into the country's fuel supply.

Jun 12 - Iraq says decision on Russian wheat imports could be months away 
Iraq is still holding discussions over possible wheat imports with Russia and it could be months before any outcome is known, Iraq's deputy trade minister said on Tuesday. "Up until now we cannot say whether we will take or not - it depends on the results," Haitham Jameel Ismail al-Khshali said.

Jun 12 - Taiwan on 'high alert' after finding invasive armyworm in corn crop 
Taiwan is on "high alert" for further damage by the fall armyworm, said Premier Su Tseng-chang on Tuesday, after the island reported its first sighting of the invasive pest in a corn field. The fall armyworm, which has spread rapidly across Asia in recent months, was found in Miaoli county on the island's northwest coast on Saturday, said the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) in a statement on Monday.

Jun 12 - Brazilian oilseeds group: Traders may cut farmer credit due to defaults
Abiove, Brazil's oilseeds industry group, said on Tuesday that commodities traders may reduce financing to farmers by around 50% for the new crop (2019/20) due to defaults and bankruptcy protection requests in the sector. Patrícia da Silva, Abiove's tax and legal affairs manager, said the potential reduction in farmer loans is related to a "breach of trust" between grain traders and grain growers in Brazil, the world's biggest exporter of soybeans and other agricultural commodities.

Jun 11 - Argentina grain exporters ready to fill Mexico demand if U.S. imposes tariffs 
If trade strife continues between the United States and Mexico despite a deal struck on Friday, Argentine grain exporters are ready to step in to meet Mexican food demand, the head of an Argentine industry chamber said. The U.S. government called off a threatened 5% tariff on all Mexican goods when Mexico promised to do more to stem the flow of Central American immigrants into the United States. But Trump on Monday warned he could revive the tariffs if Mexico's Congress does not approve the plan.

Jun 11 - Defying law, Indian farm group says it planted unapproved GM cotton seeds
An Indian farm group said its members had planted a variety of genetically modified cotton seeds which have not been approved by the country's government, an offence that could result in five years imprisonment. It is the first time farmers, who argue that they shouldn't be deprived of any new technology, have acknowledged planting the herbicide-tolerant cotton variety, which was developed by German drugmaker Bayer AG's Monsanto unit.

Jun 11 - USDA says may allow farmers to collect some trade aid on unplantable acres
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking into ways to allow farmers who have been unable to plant crops due to rains and waterlogged fields to qualify for farm aid payments, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Monday. The government agency is exploring options that would allow farmers that file insurance claims on "prevented planting" policies to remain eligible for a partial payment under its $16 billion aid package, Perdue said in a statement.

Jun 11 - What will USDA do with U.S. corn and soy production on Tuesday? - Braun
U.S. corn and soybean planting progress opened June at the slowest pace in at least 40 years, and now market participants are debating whether the U.S. government will change its production forecast on Tuesday although it does not typically do so in its June supply and demand report. In previous years with very slow planting and excessive moisture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has used the June report to make adjustments to both area and yield.

Jun 11 - U.S. Crop Watch farmers report corn in mostly good condition - Braun
The U.S. Crop Watch producers report that a lot of progress was made on planting last week as most areas finally got a favorable stretch of dry weather. Although much of the corn was planted a lot later than usual due to the overly wet spring, the producers say that their corn fields are in decent condition. They also note that corn conditions in their areas are variable depending on planting date and moisture levels, and most of the producers feel their crops have been held back since planting by predominantly cool weather.

Jun 10 - China May soybean imports fall on trade war, pig disease 
China's soybean imports fell 24% in May from the same month last year, customs data showed on Monday, as the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war and deadly African swine fever checked demand. China brought in 7.36 million tonnes of soybeans in May, down from 9.69 million tonnes last year, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. The May figure was also down from 7.64 million tonnes in April, when shipments had jumped as buyers delayed cargoes on a tax change. 

 
Jun 10 - Russia's VTB eyes stake in grain trader Mirogroup - sources 
Russian state-controlled bank VTB, which has been actively buying grain export infrastructure assets, is preparing to buy a stake in major local grain trader Mirogroup, a source familiar with the talks and a grain industry source said. Mirogroup and VTB "are organising joint work based on VTB's infrastructure assets", said the source familiar with the talks on Saturday.

 
Jun 10 - Funds’ record corn-buying streak grinds to a halt on better U.S. weather - Braun 
Speculators have been on a record buying streak in Chicago-traded corn in recent weeks, but that likely stalled out late last week as many U.S. farmers got a break in the rains to continue the historically slow planting effort. In the week ended June 4, hedge funds and other money managers switched to a net long position in CBOT corn futures and options of 87,243 contracts from their net short of 20,736 a week earlier, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. 

 
Jun 10 - USDA investigates unapproved GMO wheat found in Washington state 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed the discovery of unapproved, genetically modified (GM) wheat plants growing in an un-planted agricultural field in Washington state. There was no evidence the wheat had entered the food supply, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a statement on Friday. The wheat is resistant to glyphosate, a widely used herbicide commonly referred to as Roundup.

 
Jun 10 - Brazil May chicken exports to China rise close to 50% amid ASF outbreak 
Brazilian chicken exports to China grew by 49% in May compared to the same period last year as the Asian nation imported more meat to deal with an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) that has impacted domestic production. Brazil, the world's largest chicken exporter, shipped381,100 tonnes last month to overseas customers, a 14.4% increase, according to a statement from meat industry group ABPA on Friday.

Jun 10 - A week late, but India's monsoon arrives in southern Kerala 
India's annual monsoon, which delivers about 70 percent of the country's rainfall, officially arrived on the coast of southern Kerala state on Saturday, the weather office said, a week later than usual. The delay has had a big impact on farmers and millions of Indians this year, as an ongoing heat wave has sent temperatures soaring across the country and dried up reservoirs.

Jun 07 - Rising grain prices hit Asian wheat importers, but corn buyers prepared
Flour millers in Asia have been caught on the wrong side of a rally in wheat prices as they waited for the market to decline, a stark contrast to animal feed producers who booked cargoes of corn several months before prices for that grain jumped. Benchmark Chicago corn futures climbed by almost a fifth in May as heavy rain and flooding across the U.S. Midwest delayed planting. Wheat gained by a similar amount, largely following the corn market higher.

Jun 07 - More shipments and sales needed for U.S. corn, soy exports in months ahead: Braun
With three months to go in the current marketing year, U.S. soybean exporters may struggle to ship the government's full-year forecast by Aug. 31 given the recent slower-than-needed pace. More sales and healthy shipments will also be required for U.S. corn exports to meet the annual target set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, though many analysts believe that peg to be too high.

Jun 07 - Canadian wheat sales to China hit 14-year high despite dispute, displacing U.S. shipments
Canada has shipped the most wheat to China in 14 years, contrasting a sudden halt in canola trade amid a diplomatic dispute between the countries, as Chinese buyers shunned the United States. China bought 1.5 million tonnes of wheat from Canada from August 2018 through April 2019, nearly double the pace a year earlier and the most since 2004-05, according to Canadian Grain Commission data.

Jun 07 - Corn market at risk of misunderstanding USDA’s condition scores on Monday: Braun
Based on the way that condition scores are formulated and the record-slow crop progress, the agriculture market may be at risk of low-balling the health of the U.S. corn crop when the government publishes its first assessment on Monday. The second risk involved is that better-than-expected corn conditions, if realized, could push the market into complacency, potentially easing production fears just a little too much.

Jun 07 - Louis Dreyfus charters ship to take Brazil corn to Mexico amid U.S. spat - document
Commodities trader Louis Dreyfus chartered the ship set to transport 35,000 tonnes of corn from Brazil to Mexico amid tensions between Mexico City and Washington, according to a shipping report seen by Reuters on Thursday. However, although Dreyfus is the charterer of the Jian Guo Hai ship, Reuters could not confirm whether the commodities giant was responsible for the sale to Mexico. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jun 07 - GrainCorp locks in derivative to drought-proof earnings
GrainCorp Ltd, Australia's largest listed bulk grain handler, has signed a 10-year deal with insurance broker Aon Plc to boost its earnings during times of severe drought, after taking a profit hit from prolonged dry weather. GrainCorp's revenues have been under pressure for the last few years after drought across Australia's east coast cut production - limiting the bulk grain handler's ability to earn revenues from storing the crops and exporting them.

Jun 07 - Cofco International to invest $200 mln in Brazil -report
Cofco International, the overseas trading arm of Chinese state-owned food group Cofco Corp, is planning to invest $200 million in Brazil in the next two years, its managing director for global assets told Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico. Valmor Schaffer said the capital spending will be used for logistics and storage, to prepare Cofco to expand shipping volumes by 7 percent to 10 percent annually for the next five years, according to the interview published on Tuesday.

Jun 07 - China to allocate 500 mln yuan for fall armyworm prevention and control
- ag ministry
China will allocate 500 million yuan ($72 million) for fall armyworm prevention and control, to secure its grain production throughout the year, the country's agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The emergency fund, issued after the destructive worm spread to 18 provinces, regions and municipalities in China, highlights Beijing's growing concern that the pest severely threatens grain supplies in the country with the world's largest population.

Jun 06 - Malaysian Cash Market Prices for Palm Oil Unavailable
Data for Malaysian cash market prices for palm oil are unavailable on Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6 due to Hari Raya Aidilfitri' holiday. Figures will resume on Friday, June 7.

Jun 06 - Trump tariffs may steer Mexican cows away from U.S. beef supply 
U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to slap tariffs on imports of Mexican goods could slow another, often overlooked migration: the more than 1 million cows exported by Mexico across the border each year which become part of the U.S. beef supply. Tariffs on cattle crossing the border could raise costs for U.S. meat producers and processors, ranchers and economists said, particularly in border states like New Mexico and Texas that supplement more of their herds with Mexican cattle. Those fees could also contribute to more expensive barbecues for U.S. consumers.

 
Jun 06 - Possible Mexican retaliatory tariff list excludes U.S. corn - sources 
Mexico has prepared a list of U.S. products that could be hit in retaliation for possible Trump administration tariffs, with a focus on Republican-leaning agricultural states but excluding corn, one of Mexico's biggest imports, officials said on Wednesday. U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to apply a first round of tariffs on all Mexican imports next week if President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government does not stem the flow of mostly Central American migrants seeking entry to the United States.

 
Jun 06 - German 2019 wheat crop to rise sharply, rapeseed down 
Germany's 2019 wheat harvest will increase 21.9% on the year to 24.70 million tonnes as hopes of a recovery continue after drought caused massive harvest damage last year, the country's association of farm cooperatives (DRV) said on Wednesday. Crops in Germany and much of western Europe crop were damaged by a drought and heatwave in the summer of 2018.

 
Jun 06 - To plant or not? U.S. corn farmers face tough decisions as time runs out: Braun 
U.S. farmers should typically be done planting corn by early June, but the historic rainfall and saturated soils have curbed progress to a record-slow pace and now farmers are grappling with the decision to keep the planters rolling or call it quits. If farmers are giving up on corn planting, this has an impact on the weekly planting progress numbers, perhaps unbeknownst to the market. But given that many of the unplanted acres are in higher-yielding states, the eventual impact on national yields could be significant.

 
Jun 06 - IEG Vantage sees U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 84.9 mln acres - trade 
Private analytics firm IEG Vantage, formerly known as Informa Economics IEG, on Wednesday projected U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 84.942 million acres, according to an IEG client note seen by Reuters. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in March said U.S. farmers intended to plant corn on 92.8 million acres, but wet conditions across the Midwest this spring have caused widespread delays that could curtail seedings.

 
Jun 06 - Canada says increased Chinese meat inspections are for pork only, not all meat 
Chinese plans to boost inspections of Canadian meat imports only affect pork rather than all meat products as the federal agriculture ministry initially stated, a Canadian government official said on Wednesday. A ministry notice seen by Reuters on Tuesday said the Canadian embassy in Beijing had been told Chinese customs agents would open all containers of Canadian meat and meat products, and that in some cases 100% of the contents would be inspected. 

Jun 06 - Mexico buys Brazil corn cargo amid trade spat with U.S., says broker 
Mexican importers, who usually buy their corn from the United States, have booked a 35,000-tonne corn cargo from Brazil, amid a trade spat between Washington and Mexico City. Brazilian broker and consultancy INTL FCStone said on Wednesday the cargo would be loaded at the northern port of Santarém and scheduled to depart on June 22, according to port line-up data.

Jun 06 - Russia's VTB says considering buying grain terminal at Taman port 
Russia's second largest lender VTB is considering buying a stake in Russia's Taman port grain terminal, first deputy chief executive Yuri Soloviev said on Wednesday. The state-controlled bank wants to create a vertically-integrated player on the grain market, he said, adding that this would support the expansion of the Russian grain market's export potential. VTB has been expanding its holdings in grain infrastructure in recent months. 

Jun 06 - China to encourage restocking of pig herds - cabinet 
China will encourage the restocking of hog herds, and strengthen the production of poultry, beef and mutton, to increase meat supplies, the cabinet said on Wednesday. The move follows outbreaks of incurable African swine fever that has ravaged China's pig herd, the world's largest, raising worries of shortages of the country's favourite meat.

Jun 06 - With cows, chickens and greenhouses, Qatar takes on regional boycott 
Two years after flying in thousands of dairy cows to beat a trade embargo, Qatari milk producer Baladna has made its first exports. Qatar is the world's top liquefied natural gas exporter but a net importer of nearly everything else. The small but wealthy country has been under a trade and transport boycott by Saudi Arabia and its allies since June 2017 that has forced it to retool an economy once heavily reliant on fellow Gulf states.

Jun 06 - China finds armyworms in 18 provinces, recommends pesticides for emergency use 
China has recommended the use of pesticides to fight against fall armyworms, as the destructive pest spreads across its vast farmlands, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Fall armyworms have now spread to 18 of China's provinces, regions and municipalities since it was first detected in the southwestern province of Yunnan in early January, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural affairs said in a statement published on its website.

Jun 05 - Illinois’ farmers in final push to ‘muddy in’ corn ahead of deadline (AgriCensus)
- Farmers in one of the biggest US corn and soybean growing states are facing a final, frantic push to plant corn as the Midwest’s last insurance planting date elapses, the state’s corn association has told Agricensus on Wednesday.
“Some farmers in Illinois were able to get additional corn acres planted since the June 2 crop progress report, hurriedly ‘mudding it in’ as they say in unfavourable conditions,” Tricia Braid director of communications at the Illinois Corn Growers Association told Agricensus.
However, for farmers in some parts of the state, “the rains of June 4, especially in northern Illinois, mean that they are finished planting corn, even if that means they have put zero corn seeds in the ground by that date,” Braid said.
- The state produces around 15% of the country’s entire corn harvest, but planting activity has been badly hit by near constant rain and flooding, with June 5 representing the final planting date for crop insurance policies in the eastern corn belt, encompassing Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. All except Michigan appear in the top 10 corn producing states, accounting for almost a quarter of the country’s production.
Bellwether
- Such is the significance of the state’s crop that what Illinois’s farmers do next may serve as a bellwether for the 2019/20 crop’s final prospects. Crop progress in Illinois was put at 45% as of Sunday, June 2, versus 100% at the same point of 2018, with the state seeing only two days of fieldwork possible over the week, and topsoil moisture rated as surplus across 60% of the state’s acreage.
“Depending on what the weather brings for the remainder of the growing season, those planted acres could face compaction problems or crusting that inhibits corn emergence, for example,” Braid told Agricensus, with a potential switch to soybean planting only likely to be available to some.
- Corn futures prices have surged by over 24% as fears mounted that the country would lose millions of acres to waterlogged fields, leaving the final US production well below expectations. But the higher prices mean farmers have been incentivised to try and plant corn, rather than claim prevented plantings on insurance or switch to soybeans – although the passing of the final insurance deadline may curtail efforts to plant after June 5.
“The agronomics and economics of some situations may mean that it doesn’t make sense to plant corn at all. Some may have the ability to switch those acres to soybeans. Time will tell,” Braid said.

Jun 05 - Canada says China plans more meat import inspections, industry fears disaster 
China plans to boost inspections of imported Canadian meats and meat products as bilateral trade relations deteriorate, Canadian government officials said on Tuesday, a move meat industry executives said could have "a disastrous effect" on their business. China has already blocked imports of Canadian canola seed and temporarily suspended permits from two Canadian pork plants. Beijing is demanding Ottawa return a Chinese tech executive who is facing extradition to the United States. 

 
Jun 05 - China expected to divert outstanding U.S. soybean cargoes into reserves 
China will stockpile up to 7 million tonnes of soybeans bought from the United States during an earlier truce in the trade war between the nations, two traders familiar with the matter said, rather than crush them for immediate sale as a feed ingredient. The unusual move to store such large volumes of the U.S. oilseed comes as China faces the spectre of a drawn out trade conflict with its second-largest supplier of the commodity after tensions between the two escalated abruptly last month.

 
Jun 05 - ADM ships Brazil corn to Smithfield Foods in the United States amid heavy rains 
Archer Daniels Midland Co and other grain traders are selling Brazilian corn to Smithfield Foods Inc in the United States, where wet weather has reduced plantings, said two sources with knowledge of the matter.  The sources, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive market information, said Smithfield owns port facilities on the U.S. east coast and sometimes buys corn abroad because of the cost of shipping grains from the domestic corn belt.

 
Jun 05 - U.S. soy exporters struggle with huge China export commitments in midst of trade war 
U.S. soybean exporters are facing what may be their busiest and most logistically challenging summer due to an unprecedented backlog of soybeans purchased by China that still needs to be shipped and widespread floods in the U.S.Midwest. While there is little hope for a prompt U.S.-China trade deal, some 7 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans bought before talks broke down last month will need to be delivered to Beijing in coming months, U.S. exporters and industry analysts said.

 
Jun 05 - While rains swamp US Midwest, parched soils hamper Canadian crops 
Unrelenting rains in the U.S. Midwest have stymied planting of corn and soybeans, while just slightly northwest on the Canadian Prairies, dry weather is stunting canola and wheat crops. While contrasting adverse weather on both sides of the border has given prices a badly needed boost, the prospect of smaller harvests is the latest blow to farmers in both countries caught in protracted trade disputes with China.

 
Jun 05 - Brazil to let mills sell ethanol directly to gas stations 
The Brazilian government on Tuesday paved the way for ethanol makers to sell the fuel directly to gas stations, by passing a resolution to boost fuel industry competition, although additional legislation is required to bypass fuel distributors. The resolution by CNPE, the energy policy council, includes the option for direct sales by mills. Brazil's Economy Ministry would have to issue tax-related regulation within 180 days for the change to take effect.

Jun 05 - Record number of French farms convert to organic production 
A record number of French farms switched to organic production last year, helped by the grains sector catching on to the trend, the country's organic food agency said on Tuesday. France, the European Union's largest agricultural producer, added 5,000 organic farms last year, surpassing a prior high of 4,200 seen in both 2016 and 2017, the Agence Bio said in an annual market review.

Jun 05 - France's Avril sees further profit rises helped by biodiesel 
France's Avril said an improved performance in biodiesel and other sectors powered a 26% jump in core profit in 2018 and will drive further rises until 2023, but cautioned the farm and livestock markets remain under pressure. An EU regulation adopted last year confirmed that crop-based biofuels can be used in up to 7% of fuels and partly regulated Argentine biodiesel imports, which had disturbed the European industry in the past years. 

Jun 05 - Global dairy prices fall 3.4 pct at fortnightly auction 
Global dairy prices sank for the second time in a row at an auction held early on Wednesday due to strong supply as prices eased off a long rally earlier in the year. The GDT Price Index dipped 3.4%, with an average selling price of $3,423 per tonne. The index fell 1.2% at the previous sale, according to GDT Events.

Jun 04 - Chinese buyers snap up front-month soybean cargoes as June starts (AgriCensus)
- Chinese buyers were heard snapping up nine soybean cargoes out of Brazil for loading periods between June and August so far this week. At least seven trades were heard overnight for July shipments and one each for June and August shipments, totalling nine trades as of Tuesday. Five of the July trades were done on a CFR basis with prices between 188-195 c/bu over July futures, while the other two July shipments were traded on a FOB basis at 109 c/bu and 117 c/bu over July futures, respectively.
- One June shipment was also traded on an FOB basis at 92 c/bu over July futures and an August shipment was heard at 205 c/bu over July futures. This volume was more than half of the total trade volume for all of last week.
- Based on trade data collected by Agricensus, at least 17 cargoes were bought last week. Of these, 13 were booked for July shipments, accounting for 76% of the total bookings. However, the volume last week was down from the week before, when at least 28 cargoes were heard changing hands. It is about the right timing for Chinese buyers to book front-month cargoes, a China-based trader at an international trading house said in reference to the spike in trade volume overnight.
- China’s soybean purchasing for June is now 78% complete and coverage for July is about 51% finished, according to data from Chinese soybean broker Overseas China Investment. China’s National Grain and Oil Information Centre (CNGOIC) expects soybean vessel arrivals in May to reach 7.2 million mt this year.

Jun 04 - Russia's SovEcon cuts 2019 wheat crop forecast; new crop prices jump 
SovEcon said on Monday it had downgraded its forecast for Russia's 2019 wheat crop due to dry weather in May and could reduce it further if June proves to be hot and dry too. Black Sea prices for the Russian new wheat crop with 12.5% protein content and July delivery were at $195 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $8 from a week earlier, SovEcon, one of the a leading agriculture consultancies in Moscow, said in a note.

 
Jun 04 - Planting progress still slow in the east, quicker in N. Dakota: Braun 
Wet weather continued to plague U.S. farmers last week, especially in the Eastern Corn Belt, as planting progress for corn and soybeans likely failed to advance as much as needed given the already slow pace. The Crop Watch growers in Indiana and Ohio did not report that much progress had been made. However, the North Dakota producer reported that recent planting progress in the area exceeded his expectations, and the Kansas grower’s fields have finally enjoyed a stretch of dry days.

 
Jun 04 - Strategie Grains cuts EU 2019 rapeseed crop forecast by 1 mln T 
Strategie Grains has cut its forecast for this year's European Union rapeseed harvest after downward revisions by top growers in France and Germany, adding to expectations that EU output will shrink to its lowest in more than a decade. In its monthly oilseed report, the French consultancy lowered its estimate for the 2019/20 EU rapeseed harvest to 17.8 million tonnes from 18.85 million previously.

 
Jun 04 - Argentina maritime union ends strike at Rosario grains hub 
An Argentine maritime workers union has agreed to compulsory conciliation, ending a strike that had stopped shipments in three terminals of the main grains port, Rosario, the Union of United Maritime Workers (SOMU) said on Monday. The SOMU will enter a negotiating period of 15 days to reach an agreement with the government over wages after ending the strike, which began Friday and lasted for 72 hours, union officials said in a statement.

 
Jun 04 - Brazil halts beef exports to China after atypical mad cow case 
Brazil has temporarily halted beef exports to China following an atypical case of mad cow disease in leading farm state Mato Grosso, the agriculture ministry said on Monday. China, Brazil's largest beef importer by sales, spent $1.5 billion on Brazilian beef last year, totaling 322,400 tonnes or almost 20% of all shipments, according to local beef exporters association Abiec.

 
Jun 04 - Parched India awaits monsoon rains as reservoirs begin to run dry 
Millions of Indians are desperately awaiting overdue monsoon rains as they struggle to secure drinking water amid a heat wave that is rapidly drying up reservoirs and sending temperatures soaring across the country. India typically witnesses water scarcity during summer months, but the situation this year is particularly grim in western and southern states which received less than normal rainfall in the 2018 monsoon season.

 
Jun 04 - Malaysia May palm oil stock seen easing to 10-month low - Reuters survey 
Malaysia's palm oil stocks likely hit a 10-month low by end-May, according to a Reuters survey, logging a third straight month of fall due to a dip in output and rise in exports. Stockpiles in Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer and exporter, is expected to fall 9.7% from April to 2.46 million tonnes in May, according to a median estimate of eight planters, traders and analysts polled by Reuters. That would be the lowest levels since July 2018.

 
Jun 04 - Scientists edit chicken genes to make them resistant to bird flu 
Scientists in Britain have used gene-editing techniques to stop bird flu spreading in chicken cells grown in a lab - a key step towards making genetically-altered chickens that could halt a human flu pandemic. Bird flu viruses currently spread swiftly in wild birds and poultry, and can at times jump into humans. Global health and infectious disease specialists cite as one of their greatest concerns the threat of a human flu pandemic caused by a bird flu strain that makes such a jump and mutates into a deadly and airborne form that can pass easily between people.

Jun 04 - Australia's Incitec Pivot to continue operations at Gibson Island facility till 2022 
Incitec Pivot Ltd, Australia's top fertiliser producer, has lined up affordable gas supply that will allow it to keep its Gibson island fertiliser plant in Queensland state open through 2022, it said on Tuesday. The company had warned that it might have to shut the plant due to soaring gas prices, but has now lined up supply through a deal with Australia Pacific LNG and pipeline group APA.

Jun 03 - Ukraine leapfrogs South America as new corn offers cap CBOT rises (AgriCensus)
- Ukraine’s new crop corn offers are resisting the upward moves seen on corn futures to catapult the region into contention as one of the most competitive origins globally, market sources have told Agricensus Monday. However, a lack of demand is continuing to dog trading activity, as traders in many destination markets eye the impact of sharply higher prices and the further spread of African swine fever.
“Until August, Argentina is the most competitive. For September, Brazil is $1-2/mt lower than Argentina, (but) from October onwards, I think, Brazil or Ukraine's new crop is the most competitive, depending on the destination," an Asia-based trader said.
- Destinations such as Tunisia and Morocco will probably look for Ukrainian origin, the trader added. The development represents a major challenge to the recent dominance of South American supply and comes as Ukrainian new crop offers –often expressed as outright prices– have outgunned Argentine and Brazilian offers that typically price as a premium to corn futures. Bad weather conditions and delayed corn crop planting in the US have brought volatility to the Chicago Board of Trade in the last few weeks, with the July futures contract rising 24% from $3.51/bu on May 10 to hit $4.36/bu by May 30.
That movement had been reflected on physical prices in all main producing countries, although Ukraine is anticipating another big new crop through the latter stages of 2019 and early 2020.
- World prices have increased sharply but Argentina remains the most competitive for much of the July through September period, with the Agricensus assessment for FOB Up River currently below $170/mt, versus Brazilian and Ukrainian FOB origins at around $179-181/mt. But looking to October and November, Ukraine’s corn is offered almost at the same FOB level as Latin America, in the range of $181-183/mt, but with a freight advantage of at least $15/mt into North Africa. That raises the possibility of Ukraine winning back market share into those destinations in a move that is generally expected at this time of the year, but still challenges the dominance of Argentine exports in recent months.
- In terms of Asian destinations, Brazil corn still looks more competitive for later 2018 months, with an advantage of around $2-3/mt, according to market sources. But with high volatility, that could change in favour of Ukraine. But, for now, buyers remain subdued with some holding out for a decrease in prices.
“Buyers are not in hurry with new crop purchases, only sellers are on the market,” according to a broker, with another Asian-based trader adding that “buyers feel unhappy to buy at this level.”
Ukraine is poised to harvest a second record corn crop in 2019/20 marketing year with expectations of 33.1 million mt already floated, according to a Ministry forecast.
“For now, the market is strongly warming up and… it seems that, until the situation becomes more clear, the swing will continue," a Ukraine-based trader said.

Jun 03 - Target Trump's base if trade spat worsens, Mexican farm lobby says
The Mexican government should target agricultural goods produced in states that have voted for U.S. President Donald Trump's Republican Party if the trade conflict between the two neighbors worsens, the head of Mexico's main farm lobby said on Friday. Bosco de la Vega, head of Mexico's national farm council CNA, told Reuters that such retaliatory measures should only be applied as a last resort and that he supports the Mexican government's efforts to first seek a negotiated settlement to the dispute.

Jun 03 - Funds forced out of their bearish corn bets by record slow U.S. planting: Braun
Record-slow corn planting in the United States has caused speculators to quickly erase their massive short bets in Chicago-traded corn, and they likely closed out last month with a bullish stance on the yellow grain. Only 58% of U.S. corn was planted by May 26, well behind the five-year average of 90%, and more wet weather and still-saturated fields likely kept farmers from making a huge push in the latest week. The next slowest May 26 planting pace in the last 40 years of records was 67% in 1995.

Jun 03 - Fertilizer dealer Nutrien aims to triple U.S. farm loans, guided by ex-Walmart executive
Canadian fertilizer dealer Nutrien Ltd is aiming to triple its lendings to U.S. farmers to $6 billion within five years, in a bid to drive up farm supply sales, its chief financial officer said. Nutrien's push to expand farm loans starting this year comes as low commodity prices have depressed U.S. farm incomes, leaving growers less money to spend on seed and fertilizer.

Jun 03 - Trump lifts curbs on E15 gasoline to help farmers, angering Big Oil
The Trump administration on Friday lifted restrictions on the sale of higher ethanol blends of gasoline, keeping a campaign promise to farmers suffering from the trade war with China but drawing a legal threat from the oil industry. The announcement will allow gasoline stations to sell blends containing up to 15 percent corn-based ethanol, called E15, year-round, ending a summertime ban that President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency imposed in 2011 to reduce smog pollution.

Jun 03 - Brazil forecaster sees farmers collecting record 100 million tonnes of corn
Brazil is expected to harvest 100.4 million tonnes of corn in the 2018/19 season, agribusiness consultancy Agroconsult said on Friday, raising its forecast by almost 2 million tonnes after a tour of the country's main growing regions. The forecast was revised after field research revealed good weather boosted the prospects for Brazil's second-corn crop, which is planted after soybeans are harvested.

Jun 03 - BRF and Marfrig's tie-up talks draw doubts on timing, savings
Investors and analysts on Friday questioned Brazilian meatpacker BRF SA's move to take over local beef producer Marfrig Global Foods SA, raising doubts about the timing of talks and the potential for cost savings. Shares of BRF, the world's biggest chicken exporter, tumbled 5% as analysts suggested that a potential share swap with Marfrig, announced on Thursday, offered little room to cut fat.

Jun 01 - China-owned, US pork producer imports corn as US pork sales to China soar (AgriCensus)
- Chinese-owned US pork producer Smithfield is snapping up cargoes of cheap South American corn over fears that immediate logistic woes and worries over the 2019/20 new corn crop may choke supply, market sources told Agricensus this week. The news comes as US export sales of pork to China soar more than 1000% year-on-year as the world’s biggest pork consuming nation battles with its own supply woes amid an outbreak of African swine fever that is set to cut the nation's pig herd by 30%. US net pork sales to China totalled almost 40,000 mt this week, USDA data showed Friday, leaving the total commitment this marketing year at 234,000 mt so far. That compares with just 20,000 mt at this point last year.
“Smithfield has bought cargoes from Santos loading and are looking for some more for shipment into North Carolina,” one market source said.
The result means that a Chinese-owned, US-based pork producer could feed pigs with cheap South American corn to help facilitate pork exports to China. All at the same time as the US and China are locked in a trade war that is impacting the global agricultural markets and hitting US farmer incomes.
Big pig producer
- US-based Smithfield is the largest pig and pork producer in the world with the move coming after rumours that corn sourced from Argentina had also been moved to the US state, which is on the country’s eastern seaboard.
“Argentina corn was reported to Wilmington (North Carolina). Brazil, I know it has sold four 2019 cargoes and another two for 2020,” an Argentina-based source said.
- Smithfield operates the largest pork processing facility in the world, capable of handling 35,000 pigs a day, at Tar Heels in North Carolina, approximately 100 kilometres northwest of the port of Wilmington. Although US-based, the company is owned by China’s WH Group following its acquisition in October 2018. Argentina-based market sources mulled whether the impact of corn planting fears is weighing on domestic end users.
“I think that corn end users in the US are worried on physical corn… This smoke makes me think that there is a big fire somewhere. Do they expect a big impact on yields?” a third source said.
- US corn futures and cash prices have been forced higher as a seemingly bottomless cocktail of rain and floods has swamped fields, prevented planting, and played havoc with logistics.
“I have never heard (of Smithfield buying in South America) ... but as I have heard it's due to the cost of bringing down corn from the Midwest... so I guess Mississippi's flooding is enabling this trade,” the first source said. US Gulf FOB prices reached $198/mt on Thursday, putting them close to $30/mt above the Argentina FOB Up River market.

May 31 - Argentina's soy planters betting the farm on trade war outcome
Faced with a plunge in prices for their crops sparked by the U.S.-China trade war, Argentine soy farmers have had little choice this year but to take the losses or hold onto their stocks in a bet on an eventual truce. The local Rosario grains exchange estimates that despite a bumper harvest, the fall in soybean prices - at a decade low earlier this month - will knock $1.4 billion off the country's expected soybean-related income this season.

May 31 - IGC cuts forecast for 2019/20 world corn production
The International Grains Council (IGC) on Thursday cut its forecast for world corn production in the 2019/2020 season, driven by a diminished outlook for the U.S. crop. The inter-governmental body, in a monthly update, reduced its global corn (maize) crop forecast by 7 million tonnes to 1.118 billion tonnes. The U.S. corn crop was projected at 362 million tonnes, down from a previous forecast of 371 million.

May 31 - U.S. farm aid should not benefit foreign companies - Democratic senators
Nine Democratic senators urged the Trump administration to ensure an aid package meant to compensate U.S. farmers for losses stemming from the U.S.-China trade war does not end up in the hands of foreign companies. In a letter addressed to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the senators said a commodity purchasing program that was part of a $12 billion aid package last year included contracts with Smithfield Foods, a subsidiary of China's WH Group, and JBS USA, owned by Brazil's JBS SA.

May 31 - Vancouver lockout of longshoremen ends; shipping disruption avoided
A lockout of longshore workers at Canada's biggest port, the Port of Vancouver, ended in a deal on Thursday after a few hours, averting a potentially massive shipping disruption, the workers' union and employers association said. The lockout was immediately lifted and the union also withdrew its strike notice, according to separate statements by the BC Maritime Employers Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada.

May 31 - Brazil's BRF and Marfrig in talks to form meatpacking heavyweight
Brazilian food processors BRF SA and Marfrig Global Foods SA on Thursday announced exclusive talks for a potential tie-up that would create one of the world's largest meat producers, according to securities filings. A deal could combine BRF's poultry business, which leads the world in chicken exports, and Marfrig's beef business, which is second to JBS SA globally. Their combined market cap was 27.8 billion reais ($7 billion) at Thursday's market close.

May 31 - Los Angeles County sues Bayer's Monsanto over PCB contamination
Los Angeles County sued Monsanto Co on Thursday, seeking to force the unit of Germany's Bayer AG to help pay for reducing PCB contamination in dozens of bodies of water. The most populous U.S. county, which has about 10.1 million people, said the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in products sold by Monsanto many decades ago has caused widespread environmental contamination, forcing it to spend money to retrofit its stormwater systems and prevent further damage.

May 31 - S.Korea braces for African swine fever outbreak after N.Korea case

South Korea readied on Friday to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever in its pig herd after the disease was found in North Korea, the latest Asian country to be hit by the virus' rapid spread. The outbreak was confirmed at a farm in Jagang province in North Korea near the country's border with China on May 25, South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement. More than 20 hogs were culled and more than 70 pigs died from the virus, the ministry said.

May 31 - India's UPL bets big on Brazil farmer relationships - executives
Mumbai-based UPL Ltd, one of the world's top five agrochemical and crop protection firms, will invest some $200 million in Brazil over five years to best serve local food producers who are key suppliers in India's ever-growing market. In their first interviews since concluding a $4.2 billion acquisition of North Carolina-based Arysta LifeScience Inc earlier this year, UPL executives said investment in the Latin American agriculture giant will be primarily directed at research, and excludes cash for potential acquisitions.

May 30 - Argentine soybean harvest nears end, wheat planting at 7.7%: BAGE
- Argentina’s soybean harvest is now complete on nearly 91% of the total planted area while wheat planting picked up pace as the total planted area more than doubled versus the previous week, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange (BAGE) said.
For soybeans, the total harvested area reached 90.7%, up nearly six percentage points on the week with total collected volumes now standing at 52.6 million mt, well on track to hit their 56 million mt estimate for this year. Meanwhile, wheat planting for the 2019/20 marketing year reached 7.7% of the projected 6.4 million ha, or 490,000 ha, more than doubling from 3.1% in the previous week.
- A dry week in some areas aided planting and farmers were able to progress quickly with the highest gains made in the far northeast corner of the country (Noroeste) where the speed of planting was almost double the national average at 13% planted.
But just further east (Noreste) flooding caused by heavy rains two weeks ago led to transport problems and planting slowed on the previous week. Persitant wet weather prior to last week also hampered soybean collection in some areas despite an overall nationwide gain.
"However [despite weekly gains] the north end of Santa Fe and the Northeast Argentina region still maintained extensive areas without harvesting due to floods," BAGE said.
- Harvesting in some localised areas has been delayed with only 22% of the crop in the Northeast Argentina area harvested versus near completion in most other areas.
In corn, projections for a total harvested volume of 48 million mt were kept stable as the total harvested area reached 37.4% of the 6 million ha planted, up a mere 1.3 points on the week.

May 30 - ADM marries grain trading, oilseed units; second revamp in 14 months 
Global grains trader Archer Daniels Midland Co said on Wednesday it will consolidate five business units into four in the company's second reorganization in just over a year as adverse weather and a U.S.-China trade dispute threaten profits. ADM will combine its grain trading and oilseeds segments into a new business unit called Ag Services & Oilseeds, effective July 1, in a move that analysts say could better streamline its North American operations and cut costs.

 
May 30 - Argentina anti-government strike shuts down key grain ports, grounds flights 
Thousands marched through Argentina's capital on Wednesday to protest austerity measures under President Mauricio Macri, as a nationwide strike brought the airports of the recession-plagued country to a standstill and halted work at key grains ports. The strike, called by the country's main unions, comes as center-right leader Macri tumbles in the polls ahead of presidential elections in October, his popularity with voters hurt by high inflation, job losses and a weak peso.

 
May 30 - U.S. banking regulator says strains growing in farm sector 
A U.S. banking regulator on Wednesday said more farmers fell behind on their loans early this year, a sign that international trade tensions could be weighing on a farm sector already beset by years of low commodity prices. In a quarterly report on the health of U.S. banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation did not directly refer to the Trump administration's trade war with China which began in 2018. But officials at the regulator noted some farm banks were reporting a deterioration in asset quality.

 
May 30 - Australian farmers face more hot, dry weather - forecast 
Hot, dry weather will persist across Australia's east coast for at least another three months, the country's weather bureau said on Thursday, in a forecast that threatens to severely crimp agricultural production. There is just a 30% chance that Australia's east coast will receive average rainfalls between June 1 and Aug. 30, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its winter outlook.

 
May 30 - From sky farms to lab-grown shrimp, Singapore eyes food future 
Singapore, the tiny Southeast Asian city-state, is an unlikely place for a farming revolution. With tiered fish farms, vegetable plots atop office buildings and lab-grown shrimp, the island aims to beef up its own food production and rely less on imports to feed its 5.6 million people.

 
May 30 - Ukraine 2018/19 grain exports at 46.1 mln tonnes so far 
Ukraine's grain exports have risen to 46.1 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season compared with 36.4 million tonnes at the same point last season, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Ukraine harvested a record 70 million tonnes of grain last year, up from about 61 million in 2017.

 
May 30 - Total to move ahead with using palm oil at biodiesel refinery 
Total is set to start up a biodiesel refinery using palm oil whose planned launch last summer sparked opposition from farmers producing vegetable oil and from environmental activists. The refinery in La Mede in southern France will begin production in two weeks, Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of the company's annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday.

 
May 30 - UK institute, Belgian firm team up for African swine fever treatment
Britain's Pirbright Institute is partnering with Belgian biotechnology company ViroVet to develop the first antiviral drugs that act against African Swine Fever (ASF), according to a joint statement issued on Wednesday. The viral disease spread to China's pig herd last year, the world's largest. Some analysts predict up to 200 million pigs could die or be culled in the country this year, causing a huge shortage of pork. 

May 29 - EU raises wheat crop forecast, cuts rapeseed again 
The European Commission raised its forecast of 2019/20 common wheat production in the European Union while lowering again its outlook for rapeseed, underscoring contrasting harvest prospects for the EU's main cereal and oilseed crops. In monthly supply and demand estimates published on its website, the Commission raised its estimate of the next wheat crop, excluding durum, to 143.8 million tonnes (mln t) from 141.3 mln t projected last month.

 
May 29 - Crop Watch: Hardships continue for U.S. corn and soy growers: Braun 
U.S. corn and soybeans should be moving on to the stage where emergence and crop conditions are the market’s focus, but many producers are still trying to get the crop planted in what has been the slowest corn planting season on record. Midwestern growers, particularly in Illinois and Indiana, are extremely behind schedule in many cases, though some farmers are willing to plant corn beyond the crop insurance cutoff date, according to the Crop Watch producers.

 
May 29 - Brazil corn exports soar as weak currency, high prices boost deals 
Brazilian corn farmers are eagerly taking advantage of favorable market momentum as prices in Chicago jump and a weak local currency boosts their gains in reais, according to market data, brokers and analysts. Corn exports in May reached 908,400 tonnes as of Friday, according to official trade data, an unusual volume at this time in the season when soybean shipments prevail. Brazil normally increases corn shipments in the second semester, since most of the crop is harvestedduring Brazil's winter.

 
May 29 - Argentina's 2019/20 corn harvest could surpass record production - government 
Argentina's corn harvest for the 2019/20 season could surpass the record production of 56 million tonnes for the current 2018/19 season amid a global price spike, the cabinet chief of Argentina's agriculture secretariat told Reuters on Tuesday. "Most likely, the next season [of corn] will be like this or more," said Santiago del Solar on the sidelines of the annual chamber of congress for the Maizar grains association.

 
May 29 - China faces long struggle to tackle African swine fever - OIE 
It will take years for China to contain the deadly African swine fever virus that has spread throughout the country, which is the world's biggest pork producer, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Tuesday. China has been struggling to control the epidemic, which some analysts predict could see up to 200 million pigs die or be culled this year, causing a huge shortage of pork locally and have economic impact on the meat and feed industry globally.

 
May 29 - Ukraine winter wheat, barley harvests could rise in 2019 - forecasters 
Ukraine's 2019 winter wheat harvest is likely to rise 8.4 percent to 25.9 million tonnes due to a higher yield, APK-Inform consultancy said on Tuesday, citing state weather forecasters. It said the winter barley harvest could rise to 3.3 million tonnes this year from 2.9 million tonnes a year earlier.

 
May 29 - Louis Dreyfus tries sustainable finance with $750 mln loan 
Agricultural commodity group Louis Dreyfus Company has agreed to renew a $750 million loan in North America that will be priced in relation to how the company performs in relation to a number of sustainability goals. Known as Dreyfus, the company is the "D" of the so-called ABCD group of big agricultural commodity merchants alongside Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill.

May 29 - South Africa's 2019 maize crop down 13% from previous season 
South Africa is expected to harvest 13% less maize in 2019 compared to the previous season after dry conditions delayed plantings in key maize growing areas, the government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) said on Tuesday. The CEC, which gave its fourth estimate for the 2018/2019 season, estimated production at 10.900 million tonnes compared with 12.510 million tonnes harvested in the previous year.

May 28 - Grain market shorts brace themselves for “history-making event” (AgriCensus)
- Corn and soybean futures moved sharply higher during early trade on Tuesday as analysts warned that up to 13 million acres of area could be lost due to persistent rains across key planting areas. By time of press the July front-month contracts on the Chicago Board of Trade were up 2.5% for corn and 1.5% for soybeans as traders rushed to buy back short positions.
“We have a true problem here, and the most aggressive price moves always occur when funds flip from net short to net long, that’s what’s happening,” said Charlie Sernatinger, a broker with ED&F Man.
- Data recorded last week showed the net short position in corn has collapsed to 116,000 lots from 283,000 lots the week before, with soybeans falling to 153,000 lots from 169,000 lots over the same period. Rain will continue to batter the Midwest this week, according to weather forecasts, although precipitation will be less intense than recent weeks.
- Analysts expect some fieldwork to have been done despite the rains, although the estimates for Tuesday’s crop report vary wildly with corn plantings expected to be between 59-65% complete versus 49% a week ago and 90% by this time last year. Soybeans are expected to be 25-36% complete versus 19% last week and 74% a year ago. And now some analysts are saying the current crop could be the worst in more than 100 years, with more than 10% of the acreage lost due to sodden ground.
“Going forward there will be 10 million prevent plant corn acres and 3 million prevent plant soybeans. The yield is going down also. This a history making event in US crop production. Few understand the serious situation,” said Chuck Shelby, president of Risk Management Commodities. Corn futures have rallied more than 18% in the past three weeks while soybeans have rallied just 5% over the same period. However, with continued rain forecast, there is some concern that the corn rally could spill into soybean futures as delayed plantings expected to switch from corn to soybeans may not occur.
“The trade is focused on short covering in corn, which is lifting nearby contracts higher. Say the same planting problems arise for soybeans later this planting season, the same thing could happen to CBOT soybeans,” said Terry Reilly, an analyst at Futures International.

May 28 - Russian wheat prices boosted by gains in global benchmarks 
Russian export prices for the new wheat crop, due to arrive on the market in the summer, advanced further last week alongside a rise in global benchmark prices in Chicago, analysts said on Monday. Black Sea prices for the Russian new wheat crop with 12.5% protein content were $188 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $2 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note.  

 
May 28 - Funds buy record chunk of CBOT corn amid U.S. sowing troubles: Braun 
The slow, rain-plagued U.S. corn and soybean planting season finally irked speculators last week as they bought a record amount of Chicago-traded corn with no real ease to the sowing delays in sight. Commodity funds had built an unprecedentedly large bearish corn position that peaked a month ago, and they remained historically short in the weeks since as they awaited a break in the rains and some decent planting progress.

 
May 28 - Egypt to procure 3 mln T of local wheat by end of Monday - spokesman 
Egypt will have procured 3 million tonnes of local wheat from this year's harvest by the end of Monday, the agriculture ministry spokesman said. Spokesman Mohamed el-Kersh said he expects farmers to sell more than 3.6 million tonnes of wheat to the government this season, which began in April.

 
 May 28 -
China finds armyworms in eastern Jiangsu province - state media 

China has found destructive armyworm in corn crops in the eastern province of Jiangsu, state media reported late Monday. The destructive pest has now spread to 15 provinces and regions since it was first detected in the southwestern province of Yunnan in early January. 

 
May 28 - Mali on track to harvest record cotton crop of 800,000 T 
Mali is on track to harvest a record 2019/20 cotton crop of 800,000 tonnes, up about 22 percent from 2018/19, the agriculture ministry said on Monday. It said it expects good rainfall, growth in cultivated land and rising prices to boost production.

May 27 - Rapeseed gets relief from rain but EU crop still set to shrink 
Rain brought some relief to European Union rapeseed crops this month, but analysts still expect this year's harvest to be the lowest in more than a decade after drought and insect attacks. Grain industry association Coceral estimated that 2019 EU rapeseed production would reach 17.9 million tonnes, down around 2 million tonnes from last year. 

 
May 27 - China's April soybean imports from U.S. up 15.9% m/m, Brazilian imports soar 
China's soybean imports from the United States rose in April, helped by an earlier easing of trade tensions with Washington, while imports from Brazil surged after buyers backloaded their March orders to benefit from a tax cut on agricultural products. China, the world's top soybean buyer, brought in 1.75 million tonnes of the oilseed from the United States, up 15.9% from 1.51 million tonnes in March, according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Saturday.

 
May 27 - Brazil 2018-19 corn crop seen close to all-time record - Reuters poll 
Brazilian corn farmers will harvest an estimated 97.5 million tonnes of the cereal this season, a Reuters poll of 11 analysts showed on Friday, as good weather and planting expansions boost prospects for the country's 2018-19 crop. If estimates are confirmed, Brazil's total corn crop this year will be just below a record of 97.8 million tonnes two years ago, and 21% above last season, when a drought caused crop failure in large Brazilian producing states.

   
May 27 - Vietnam swine fever cull surges, 1.7 million pigs dead 
Vietnam culled a further 500,000 pigs over the past two weeks to tackle an oubreak of African swine fever, taking the total killed so far to 1.7 million, or 5% of the country's herd, the agriculture ministry said on Monday. Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 95 million people where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.

 
May 27 - Speculators hike cotton net short position to 3-yr high 
Speculators increased their net short position in cotton to a more than three-year high on ICE Futures U.S. in the week to May 21, U.S. government data showed on Friday. Speculators boosted their net short position in raw sugar to an eight-month high, cut their net short position in cocoa and reduced their bearish stance on arabica coffee futures and options, the data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed.

May 27 - Mexico raises chicken import quota to avoid supply shortage 
The Mexican government increased its tariff-free chicken import quota by 55,000 tonnes on Friday due to crimped domestic production amid avian flu outbreaks. The announcement was made in the Mexican government's official gazette, which cited confirmed cases of avian flu in about two-thirds of the country's states.

May 27 - Control of armyworm crucial for China's grain output targets - ministry 
The prevention and control of armyworm is crucial to China's ability to hit annual grain output targets and maintain economic and social stability, the agriculture ministry said on Friday. The destructive worm has spread to 14 provinces and regions and has been found in 92,000 hectares of farmland in China after it was first detected in January. The situation is severe and the task is urgent, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural affairs said in a statement on its website.

May 27 - Palm oil watchdog to create separate standards for smallholders - Indonesia director 
A global palm oil industry watchdog is planning a separate standard for smallholders to help them adopt sustainable practices and get green certification, the Indonesian director of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) said. Indonesia is the world's biggest palm oil producer and smallholders account for roughly 40 percent of the country's 14 million hectares of palm plantations, and are often blamed for practices such as burning to clear land, causing forest fires.

May 24 - Trump administration announces $16 bln farm aid plan to offset trade war losses 
The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a $16 billion farm aid package to offset losses from a 10-month trade war with China and said payment rates to farmers would be determined by where they farm rather than what crops they grow. The package, the bulk of which will be spent on direct payments, surprised growers and traders who had expected to learn separate payment rates for soybeans, hogs, corn and other crops in the Department of Agriculture (USDA) briefing.

 
May 24 - EPA to unveil less ambitious U.S. biofuel credit reform - sources 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to unveil a narrowed-down version of its proposed biofuel credit market reform this month after regulators concluded many of the agency’s initial ideas required more time to study, according to four people briefed on the matter. President Donald Trump had instructed the EPA to develop the plan to reform the multi-billion-dollar market as a way to help the oil refining industry, which had long complained that speculation was driving up costs for the credits they must acquire to comply with the nation's biofuel law.

 
May 24 - China pork imports jump 24% in April - customs 
China imported 136,517 tonnes of pork in April, up 24% from the same month a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as the world's top consumer of the meat stocked up on supplies amid concerns of a looming shortage. This marked the biggest monthly volume since September 2016, when pork imports topped 140,000 tonnes. The have only come close to such a high level once since then when, hitting 135,900 tonnes in March 2018.

May 24 - Pressure mounts on U.S. farmers to plant amid more rain, aid package - Braun 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday laid out its much-anticipated aid package for U.S. farmers to compensate them for losses due to recent trade conflicts, particularly with China. This led market participants to believe that planted acres may not fall as much as expected despite the extreme weather that has afflicted farmers this spring. Excessive rain has caused U.S. planting to fall seriously behind schedule. Farmers still had 116 million acres of combined corn and soybeans left to plant as of May 19, far more than they ever had on the date. The previous high was 91 million acres in 1995. 

May 24 - African swine fever threatens French deli meats producers 
French deli meats makers are being squeezed by a surge in pork prices linked to an African swine fever epidemic that has decimated the pig herd in China, they said on Thursday, warning of potential bankruptcies in the sector. African swine fever, a highly contagious virus, has spread to every province on the Chinese mainland since August last year, killing millions of animals and prompting China - the world's biggest pork producer - to turn to imports earlier this year. 

May 24 - Morocco to raise soft wheat customs duty to 135 pct from June 
Morocco will increase the import duty on soft wheat to 135% from 30% on June 1 to help local farmers sell the domestic harvest, a government spokesman said on Thursday. A government council approved the increase against a backdrop of low prices in international markets which could undermine the sale of the local harvest, government spokesman Mustapha El Khalfi said.

May 23 - Trump announces $16bln aid package, no per bushel figure given (AgriCensus)
- The US government on Thursday formally announced an aid package to farmers worth $16 billion to compensate them for what they said was unfair retaliatory measures in its trade war with China. However, despite earlier reports that soybean farmers would receive up to $2/bu in aid for lower soybean prices, the US undersecretary for farm production and conservation Bill Northey said the government will not give any monetary figure. We want to make sure farmers are "planting for the market" and that "folks have complete flexibility during this challenging planting season". Alongside soybeans, farmers of other non-specialty crops including corn, wheat, rapeseed, rice and peanuts will also be eligible for the aid.
- Of the $16 billion, $14.5 billion will be allocated toward producers with the remaining sum allocated toward domestic food distribution and developing new international markets for US crops. Producer payments will be calculated at a single rate for each county, determined by how much “trade damage” that area has received and the numbers of acres farmed rather than on a particular crop, Bill Northey added. Specific dollar per bushel figures were not given to prevent market influence, but payments are likely to be more generous than the previous round of aid last year because of a higher $14.5 billion figure allocated toward producer payments versus $10 billion last time. The first payments will be made in July or August with two more payments to follow by early 2020.
“But we are hopeful of a trade agreement before further payments [after August],” Northey said.
- Following a report by Bloomberg on Tuesday which reported soybean farmers would receive payments of $2/bu against 63 c/bu for wheat and 4 c/bu for corn, Chicago futures fell by 10 c/bu in an hour to hit $8.29/bu by 1400 Eastern time, offsetting a previous rise because of wet weather that has delayed new crop planting. On Thursday, futures movements have been more muted since the announcement, stabilising at $8.24-8.26/bu at time of press.

May 23 - Brazil bans Merieux labs from food inspections after meatpacker BRF scandal 
Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture officially banned three laboratories from conducting food inspections over their involvement in a food safety testing scandal that ensnared meatpacker BRF SA, according to decisions published in the official government gazette on Wednesday. The three laboratories run by Merieux NutriSciences Corp in Brazil, which performed testing on BRF products, are no longer authorized to process samples under the ministry's official control program, according to the decisions.

 
May 23 - China's soybean processors see smaller losses as U.S.-China trade row drives up meal prices 
Soybean processors in China, operating deep in the red for the last six months, have seen losses sharply reduced lately on expectations of tighter soy supplies as the U.S.-China trade war intensifies. Crushers in the country's eastern province of Shandong, a major hub for soybean processing, are losing about 22 yuan a tonne, this week.

 
May 23 - U.S. lawmaker wants EPA's use of biofuel waivers investigated 
Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth on Wednesday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Inspector General to investigate why the agency vastly expanded its use of waivers to exempt small refineries from the nation's biofuel law. The request, made in a letter from Duckworth's office to Acting Inspector Charles Sheehan, follows a May 16 Reuters report that the EPA decided to expand the waiver program months before a 2017 court decision it has often cited to justify the move to the corn lobby. 

 
May 23 - Morocco set to reintroduce customs duty on soft wheat - industry body 
The Moroccan government is expected to reintroduce a customs duty on soft wheat imports to promote sales from the local harvest which has been hit by a lack of rainfall, the president of the National Millers Federation said on Wednesday. Morocco scrapped a customs duty on soft wheat imports in November to maintain price stability. Chakib Alj of the millers federation said the government will announce on Thursday that it is being reintroduced, after the plan is approved by the government council.

 
May 23 - U.S. judge appoints Ken Feinberg mediator for Bayer Roundup settlement talks 
A U.S. judge on Wednesday appointed prominent attorney Kenneth Feinberg as mediator for court-mandated settlement talks in the federal litigation over allegations that Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Feinberg has been instructed to meet with lawyers for Bayer and plaintiffs within the next 14 days, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said during a court hearing on Wednesday.

 
May 23 - Tyson Foods to set up beef processing plant in Kazakhstan eyeing China - FT 
Tyson Foods Inc is in talks to set up a beef processing plant in Kazakhstan, as part of the central Asian country's push to attract investment by projecting itself as an agricultural powerhouse on China's border, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing three people with knowledge of the discussions. The multibillion-dollar investment would allow the U.S. meat company to dodge high tariffs on American agricultural goods and give a backdoor access into China, FT said.

May 23 - French poultry group LDC sees further growth in profit next year 
France's largest poultry group LDC is targeting a 5% rise in operational profit next year, helped by further growth in its convenience and international divisions that allowed the group to post better than expected results on Wednesday. Reporting results for its financial year that ended on Feb. 28, LDC said full-year current operating profit rose to 190.1 million euros from 184.7 million euros a year earlier.

May 23 - Fonterra cuts guidance, shuts plant in 'new norm' for Australian dairy 
New Zealand's Fonterra on Thursday cut its annual earnings guidance and said it would close a more than 100-year-old facility in Australia as dry weather and increased costs continued to undermine the dairy producer's operations. The move marks yet another earnings cut for Fonterra, which has been struggling to cut costs and curb debt as its key operations in Australia and New Zealand continue to be battered by harsh weather conditions.

May 22 - LDC grows presence in Chinese alternative feed market with new plant (AgriCensus)
- Agricultural business major Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) will kickstart the construction of an animal feed plant in China, jointly owned with one of the largest Chinese feed makers Guangdong Haid Group Co Ltd, the company said on Wednesday. The joint venture – named Tianjin Rongchuan Feed Co. Ltd – will be located in Tianjin in northern China and is expected to start operations by the middle of next year, LDC said in a statement.
The plant will be used to produce high-end aquatic feed and fermented soymeal. It will have an annual production capacity of 300,000 mt, LDC added.
“As demand for protein rises in a number of markets and consumer demand for healthy meat alternatives grows in China, aquaculture represents an efficient and sustainable source of protein and our move into aqua feeds is consistent with that vision,” said James Zhou, LDC’s head of North Asia.
- The joint venture was formed between the two companies in December last year.
High-end aquatic feed is normally used to feed premium fish sold on a premium in the market, a China-based internal source at LDC told Agricensus. Fermented soymeal is used as a feedstock for livestock feed, including feed for pigs. China's pig population has been hit hard by ongoing African swine fever (ASF) epidemics since August last year. China has reported more than 120 outbreaks of ASF across all regions in the country since then and has culled at least 1 million pigs.
“The strategic goal of this joint venture was established when the factor of ASF was not incorporated,” the same source said, adding that the added production capacity from the plant next year does not necessarily reflect the company’s view on China’s feed demand

May 22 - Brazil farmer defaults burn soy traders betting on barter 
A spate of farmer defaults in Brazil's top grain-producing state is creating headaches for global traders who are among their main creditors and posing challenges to the widespread use of barter in the world's largest soybean exporter. The battles in Mato Grosso bankruptcy courts pit farmers against international trading houses, such as France's Louis Dreyfus Corp (LDC) and U.S.-based Bunge Ltd, which have been lending aggressively to producers through Brazil's unique barter system to protect profit margins from newer traders in China.

 
May 22 - U.S. to favor soybeans in trade war aid for farmers - Bloomberg 
The Trump administration is considering direct payments to U.S. farmers of $2 per bushel for soybeans as part of an aid package to offset the trade war with China, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, an offer that could encourage more soy planting despite record supplies. China is the world's top soybean importer, and for the second year in a row there is little prospect that it will buy much U.S. soy after an escalation in a trade war that has left U.S. farmers sitting on record volumes of crops.

 
May 22 - U.S. corn output in jeopardy on late planting, new trade aid - Braun 
U.S. farmers should be close to wrapping up corn planting by now, but persistent wet weather has limited that progress to just shy of halfway by Sunday, the slowest in 40 years of records. Corn yields are generally not maximized when the crop is planted so late. But with little precedent for the current situation, especially with uncertainties over the U.S.-China trade war, it is unclear just how much the final output may be reduced.

 
May 22 - Coceral raises EU soft wheat, maize crop estimates for 2019 
Grain industry lobby Coceral on Tuesday raised its forecast for EU soft wheat in 2019 due to improved weather conditions, and lifted maize output estimates on sharply increased harvest prospects in Romania and Germany. It pegged the soft wheat harvest at 140.3 million tonnes, up from its previous forecast of 139.8 million made in March.

 
May 22 - India set to plant more land with soybean crops as prices rally 
India is set to grow soybeans on more land in the 2019 crop year as higher prices for the oilseed push some farmers to switch from cultivating competing commodities such as cotton and pulses, an industry official and dealers told Reuters. Increased production of India's main summer-sown oilseed could help the world's biggest vegetable oil importer trim costly purchases from Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia and Malaysia.

 
May 22 - Brazil farmers struggle for internet signal as tech floods sector 
Brazil's lack of reliable internet accessibility in rural areas is an increasingly critical problem for its farmers, as more agricultural equipment arriving on the market is built to be updated online to work at full capacity. Brazil's agriculture has grown at a quick pace in the last decade, putting the country at the forefront of global food production. But infrastructure bottlenecks remain - including internet coverage.

 
May 22 - Cambodia's royal oxen predict plentiful rice harvest amid EU tariffs 
Cambodia's royal oxen predicted a plentiful harvest of rice, the country's biggest crop, at an ancient ploughing ceremony on Wednesday. King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the televised annual ritual in which two oxen are given offerings after ploughing a field, marking the start of the rice-growing season in the Southeast Asian country.

May 21 - Bean bailout prospects turn futures red as planting switch feared (AgriCensus)
New farmer aid plans, leaked to Bloomberg on Tuesday, have caused Chicago soybean futures to tank, eroding gains made since Monday on concerns that wet weather would halt US planting progress.
The July contract was at $8.29/bu at time of press, hitting a low of $8.19/bu, and down 10 c/bu from $8.39/bu at 1300 Eastern time.
The White House is preparing an aid package worth $15 billion to assist farmers hit by the latest escalation in the US-China trade war, which could see farmers receiving up to $2/bu for every bushell of soybean planted, Bloomberg reported.
Aid handouts for corn and wheat are expected to be less generous at 63 c/bu and 4 c/bu, respectively.
Most market participants now expect farmers to switch corn acreage for soybeans.
“If confirmed, $2/bu would be a huge incentive for those guys unable to get corn in the ground to plant soybeans,” Kelly Herrick, analyst at Advance Trading Inc said.
“We had rallied corn enough that it was making the prevented plantings decision a little tougher. This throws another variable into the mix,” he said.

May 21 - Rural Iowans ponder Trump alternatives as China trade war drags on 
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg asked a crowd of hot and sticky supporters packed into an Iowa brewery this weekend whether the United States has a plan to win the ongoing trade war with China. "Nooo," was the response. The world's two largest economies have been embroiled in a 10-month trade war that has roiled global supply chains and rattled financial markets. U.S. farmers, who helped carry Trump to his surprise 2016 election win, have been among the hardest hit as China has imposed tariffs on imports of U.S. agricultural products including soybeans, pork and grain sorghum in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

 
May 21 - U.S. garlic growers profit from trade war as most farmers struggle 
Unlike millions of other U.S. farmers, garlic growers are profiting from the trade war with China and have cheered President Donald Trump's latest economic attack accordingly. Sales of California-grown garlic are now increasing after decades of losing ground to cheaper Chinese imports. Sales are poised to get even better as Chinese garlic faces even higher tariffs, with no end to the trade war in sight.

 
May 21 - China soymeal futures hit 5-mth high as Sino-U.S. trade tensions deepen 
China's soymeal futures hit their highest level in five months on Tuesday, boosted by expectations of tighter supply as the Sino-U.S. trade conflict intensifies. Worries the United States and China are digging in for a longer, costlier trade war have weighed broadly on financial markets, with Beijing accusing Washington of harbouring "extravagant expectations" for a deal to end their dispute.

 
May 21 - Brazil corn ethanol industry booms as cereal's output nears 100 mln T 
The news back in 2014 of a group of investors launching a project to build Brazil's first ethanol plant based 100% on corn raised eyebrows in a country that had invented a national ethanol program entirely based on sugarcane. Analysts thought the plan carried risks associated with an unstable market for the fuel and uncertainty regarding corn supplies and prices, beyond the fact that there was a general assumption that it was more expensive to produce ethanol from corn than from sugarcane.

 
May 21 - EU monitor lifts wheat yield outlook, trims rapeseed on rain contrasts 
Yield prospects have improved for EU wheat and other cereals but have eroded for rapeseed, the European Union's crop monitoring service said as it factored in contrasting levels of rainfall last month. In a monthly report released on Monday, the MARS service raised slightly its forecast for the average soft wheat yield in the EU this year to 6.05 tonnes per hectare (t/ha), from 6.01 t/ha last month.

May 21 - Democratic hopeful Bennet unveils climate plan with farm, conservation focus 
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, unveiled a plan on Monday to tackle climate change with a focus on slashing emissions from farming and ranching and conserving nearly a third of U.S. lands. Bennet is distinguishing himself from rivals, such as Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, who are pressing for more aggressive plans to fight global warming, by making land management and agriculture a large part of his climate platform.

May 21 - Russian export prices for new wheat crop up with global benchmarks 
Russian export prices for the new wheat crop, which is going to start arriving on the market in summer, rose last week following an increase in global benchmark Chicago prices, analysts said on Monday. Black Sea prices for the new crop of Russian wheat with 12.5% protein content were $186 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, up $5 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note. 

May 20 - U.S. soy may lose China market share for good in lengthy trade war - executive 
The United States is likely to permanently lose soybean export market share in China the longer U.S.-China trade talks drag on, a top executive at the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) industry group said on Friday. China is also unlikely to ever return to importing record volumes of U.S. soybeans, as the world's top soy consumer did as recently as 2016, even if trade talks between the two countries wrap up promptly, said Paul Burke, USSEC's senior director of U.S. soy marketing, on a conference call with the media.

 
May 20 - Brazil rides wave of soybean sales to China as U.S. trade war rages 
Soybean trading in Brazil has gained momentum in recent days, driven by a wave of Chinese demand, boosting prices and premiums paid at ports amid a weakening of the Brazilian currency, according to analysts. An estimated 5.5 million tonnes of soybeans have traded over the past few days, and are slated to leave Brazilian ports in June, July and August, according to estimates by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea) issued on Friday.

 
May 20 - Funds keep big shorts in CBOT corn, soy despite slow U.S. planting - Braun 
Rain-driven planting delays for U.S. corn have been dragged out long enough to cause a noticeable rally in Chicago-traded futures, but speculators were not yet ready to shed their enormously bearish positions as of early last week. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 30% of U.S. corn acres were planted as of May 12, the fourth-slowest in records back to 1980 and well behind the five-year average of 67%. 

May 20 - EU wheat in good shape after rain eases concerns over dry spring 
Welcome rain in the four largest European Union wheat producers raised hopes for a good harvest this summer after a dry spring sparked fears of a repeat of last year's drought-damaged crop, experts said on Friday. "Some EU wheat was on a knife-edge as spring weather suddenly turned very dry and soil is still unusually parched after last summer's historic drought and heatwave," one German analyst said. "The rain caused sighs of relief."

May 20 - Bayer bets on 'silver bullet' defense in Roundup litigation; experts see hurdles 
Bayer AG plans to argue that a $2 billion jury award and thousands of U.S. lawsuits claiming its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer should be tossed because a U.S. regulatory agency said the herbicide is not a public health risk. Some legal experts believe Bayer will have a tough time convincing appellate courts to throw out verdicts and lawsuits on those grounds. Bayer has a better shot if a business-friendly U.S. Supreme Court takes up the case, experts said. But that could take years.

May 20 - Mississippi River barge shipping resumes after floods, but rains to return 
The upper Mississippi River fully reopened to boat and barge traffic this week for the first time since November as shippers scrambled to move a backlog of overdue fertilizer barges to farmers racing to sow corn before the end of the month. Some fertilizer shipments had been parked on river banks near St. Louis and further downriver for more than two months as the worst Midwest flooding since 1993 shuttered locks and triggered shipping restrictions on the flood-swollen waterway. 

May 20 - In case over biofuel law waivers, U.S. court denies temporary injunction 
A U.S. biofuels trade group on Friday lost a bid for a temporary injunction on the granting of exemptions to refineries from laws that require them to blend biofuels into gasoline. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington on Friday denied the Advanced Biofuel Association's request that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency be ordered to stop issuing hardship exemptions to small refineries.

May 20 - Japan opens doors to full access of U.S. beef imports - USDA 
Japan has agreed to eliminate its long-held restrictions on American beef imports, opening full access to U.S. cattle products after more than 15 years, the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement on Friday. "The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in the statement.

May 17 - Cofco, Sinograin snap up South American soybeans as trade talks rot (AgriCensus)
Sinograin and Cofco have started to aggressively snap up South American soybean supply with at least eight cargoes being bought up from Argentina and Brazil in the past five days for nearby loading on fears that stocks could dwindle. Five China-based market sources told Agricensus on Friday that the two-state-owned buyers had been sitting on their hands and avoiding contracting South American beans as they were waiting on a political signal to buy millions of tonnes of US soybeans. However, last week’s breakdown of talks between the US and Chinese governments has dashed fears of a resolution that could reopen Chinese markets to US supply, and has thus changed that dynamic.
“Sinograin and Cofco resumed buying a large amount of South American beans recently because they had previously saved capacities hoping to buy US beans once the [trade] talks are done. Hence, they did not buy enough beans for front-months,” said one market source with knowledge of the matter. China’s government had pledged to buy 20 million mt of US soybeans as a goodwill gesture to kickstart trade negotiations with the US.
But with only 12.5 million mt contracted – and a large part not expected to arrive until later than August – Cofco is now believed to be short beans.
“I heard they were forced to buy Brazil. The earliest vessel arrivals (if bought now) will be July 9th. Their supply could be cut out by the end of June,” said a second market source.
"Cofco apparently bought 4-5 cargoes on CFR basis on Thursday", the same source added.
Cofco has been active in the market this week with several deals reported out of both Argentina and Brazil on both an FOB and a CIF basis – a dynamic that has seen Brazilian soybean prices rally 7% in the last week. Out of Argentina, Cofco bought a cargo at 46 c/bu over futures on Thursday, equivalent to $325/mt and up 6% on the week. While out of Brazil several deals were heard on a CFR basis at 177 c/bu over July futures for June loading and 6 cents higher for a cross month shipment for June/July equating to $373-375/mt CFR North China, also up 6% on the week.

May 17 - China cancels U.S. pork import order as U.S.-China trade war drags on
The same week U.S. President Donald Trump announced sweeping increases on tariffs against Chinese goods, Chinese buyers dropped orders for 3,247 metric tonnes of U.S. pork - the biggest cancellation in more than a year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data released on Thursday. The cancellation came during the week ended May 9, a blow to the $6.5 billion export market for American pork, vital to the burgeoning U.S. meat industry.

May 17 - Trump EPA did not await court ruling to loosen biofuel rules for refiners
The Trump administration made it easier for oil refineries to get waivers from the nation's biofuel law at least four months before a 2017 court decision it often cites to justify the move to the corn lobby, and the move was motivated by a desire to save the oil industry money, Reuters has learned. The timing and motivation for the Environmental Protection Agency's policy change, revealed through court documents and an interview with a former top agency official, have not been previously reported.

May 17 - China's pork consumption falls as African swine fever spreads
A decline in Chinese pork consumption is keeping a lid on prices, an executive at China's top pig producer Wens Foodstuff Group said on Friday, even as pork output slumps in the country, the world's biggest producer of the meat. The fall in consumption comes as an epidemic of African swine fever has ravaged China's pig herd, the world's largest, curbing demand for the country's favourite meat.

May 17 - Canada's Nutrien sees swine fever hurting demand for grain, oilseed
African swine fever is likely to hurt demand for grains and oilseeds in the next couple of years, the chief executive of fertilizer dealer Nutrien Ltd said on Thursday, the latest threat to a sector already reeling from the U.S.-China trade war. CEO Chuck Magro, speaking at the BMO Farm to Market conference in New York, said agriculture markets will eventually correct themselves from the impact of the disease, which has killed much of China's hog herd.

May 17 - Argentine grains exchange boosts estimate for 2018/19 soy harvest to 56 mln tonnes
Argentine farmers are expected to harvest 56 million tonnes of soy for the 2018/19 season, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday, an uptick from its previous estimate of 55 million tonnes. The grains exchange cited stronger-than-expected crop yields as the reason for the boosted estimate, saying 76.7% of the planting area was already yielding crops.

May 17 - EU to compensate Irish beef farmers for Brexit price hit
The European Union will provide Irish beef farmers with 50 million euros of exceptional aid to compensate for the fall in beef prices suffered as a result of the Brexit process, the European Commission's agriculture chief Phil Hogan said. Ireland's economy is considered the most vulnerable among the remaining 27 EU members to the impact of its neighbour's decision to leave the bloc, particularly for sectors with close trading links to Britain such as agriculture.

May 17 - Genus shares surge on deal to market gene-edited pigs in China
British livestock genetics firm Genus agreed on Thursday to license its know-how on virus-resistant pigs to Beijing Capital Agribusiness Co Ltd, which will seek regulatory approval for the pigs in the world's biggest pork market. Genus has a global patent for commercialisation of pigs genetically edited to resist Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), also known as blue-ear disease, which causes billion-dollar losses for the global pig industry each year.

May 16 - Bunge says swine fever impact will be felt for several years (AgriCensus)
The head of agribusiness major Bunge said the impact on feed prices and the trade flows of meat and soybeans stemming from the current epidemic of African swine fever will likely be felt over several years, with the business benefitting from that opportunity. Speaking at the 14th Annual Farm to Market Conference, Gregory Heckman, CEO of Bunge, said that the US-based agribusiness major would benefit from changing trade flows as the company only has 15% of its crush capacity in China. Asked about the impact, Heckman said that any forecast had to take into account the loss in size of the pig herd, how long a vaccine would take to develop, how long it would take to rebuild the herd, and how much of that protein demand gets shifted from pigs to cattle and fish and in which region.
“But directionally we know it should be less beans more crush, that’s net positive for us. We think for it to be noticeable it is beyond 2019 and it is multi-year… and whichever species it is from cattle to aquaculture it is more feed and feed ingredients which net net is constructive to soymeal prices.”
“There is no doubt that margins are better in our crushing franchise than our in our distribution franchise. We would always rather crush a bean than move it,” he said. China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) said Tuesday that pig herds in the country are 21% lower than this time last year, down 2% on the month, as the ongoing African swine fever epidemic deters breeding.

May 16 - New Trump aid plan for U.S. farmers seen mirroring 2018 package
The Trump administration's second package of aid for U.S. farmers hit by the trade war with China is expected to total $15 billion to $20 billion and involve direct payments, the agriculture secretary said on Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still finalizing the plan, which is likely to prioritize hog and soybean farmers, the products most affected by the trade dispute between China and the United States, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and industry sources briefed on the plan said.

May 16 - New Bunge CEO looks to downsize company before growing again
The new chief executive of oilseed processor Bunge Ltd said on Wednesday that the company needs to downsize in the short term and earn "the right to grow again," by avoiding costly mistakes and operating with financial discipline. "We’re going to let the numbers drive what should happen for us. First, we need to shrink," Chief Executive Greg Heckman said at a BMO investors conference in New York. "We need to get the platform performing, improve the returns and position ourselves for the right to grow again."

May 16 - NOPA April soy crush slips to 159.990 million bushels, below trade expectations
The monthly U.S. soybean crush fell below the prior-year level for a second straight month in April and was below most trade estimates, according to National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) data released on Wednesday. NOPA members, which handle about 95 percent of all soybeans crushed in the United States, processed 159.990 million bushels of soybeans last month, down from 170.011 million bushels in March and below the 161.016 million bushels crushed in April 2018, the record for the month.

May 16 - Omega lambs and fitbit cows: New Zealand responds to alternative protein threat
At Dave Harper's family farm in New Zealand's scenic Canterbury region, a painstakingly bred flock of lambs is grazing, not on grass, but on a field of herbs selected to unlock healthy omega-3 fatty acids in the animals' meat. Known as 'Te Mana lambs', they are part of an effort by the island nation to future-proof its agricultural sector from the threat of meat and dairy substitutes based on synthetic proteins or plant-based alternatives.

May 16 - French wheat export forecast raised again but shy of 10 mln T mark
Farming agency FranceAgriMer on Wednesday raised its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the European Union in 2018/19 for a fourth straight month, confirming a brisk second half of the season for the EU's biggest wheat exporter. The increased outlook was nonetheless below the 10 million tonne-plus levels that some market players had anticipated during a flurry of shipments in March and April, with an end of season lull in demand curbing expectations, FranceAgriMer said.

May 15 - EU scraps AD duties on US ethanol, but impact could be small (AgriCensus)
- The EU's scrapping of anti-dumping duties on US ethanol has prompted sharply divergent assessments of the potential impact on European producers, with the main European lobby for the biofuel warning of cheap imports, while some traders point to other regulatory hurdles that would dent the attractiveness of US shipments.
- The EU Council, which includes representatives of member state governments, said that the duties of around €62 per tonne had been scrapped because the European Commission concluded that reoccurrence of US anti-dumping was "unlikely".
"Having considered all the evidence available before it... the Commission concluded that there is no likelihood of recurrence of dumping should the measures be allowed to lapse," the EU Council said in a document published in the EU's Official Journal on Wednesday.
The decision effectively ends a dispute that has been running since 2013 when European producers lobbied successfully for antidumping duties, prompting a rash of lawsuits and appeals from the US ethanol sector - a heavy user of corn.
- In view of its conclusion that there is no major likelihood that the dumping of US ethanol will reoccur, the announcement in the Official Journal added that there is no need to analyse the likelihood of recurrence of injury and the interests of EU producers.
It said: "The measures on imports of bioethanol originating in the US should therefore be repealed and the proceeding terminated."
European producers have said repeatedly that anti-dumping duties are justified because the US makes far more ethanol than can be consumed domestically, and could send close to 1.5 billion litres of their product to Europe because other countries such as China and Peru, have closed off their market to US ethanol.
- US producers have long contended that they had no unfair advantage from selling ethanol into the EU because of the extra costs involved in converting the biofuel so it is compliant for use in vehicles in the 28-nation bloc.
"The EU’s decision to repeal anti-dumping duties on fuel ethanol imports originating in the US risks having serious consequences for the entire value chain of the European renewable ethanol industry – which accounts for 55,000 direct and indirect jobs in the EU," industry body ePURE said in a statement.
"It would also affect EU climate ambitions by favouring US ethanol – which is more carbon-intensive than European ethanol," ePURE said.
However, it is this higher carbon-intensity that is cited as a reason why US ethanol, most of which is based on corn, will find it difficult to compete with European origins of the biofuel.
- US-based sources expected the impact to be minimal, however, as only a handful of producers are certified to export to the bloc, with one source estimating it may only bring 100 million gallons (378 million litres) of new demand.
Carbon footprint
- EU ethanol often has a considerably lower carbon footprint that is certified for use in the EU's renewable transport scheme, in theory making it much more attractive to blenders and fuel companies that are required to meet blending mandates. However, ePURE noted that the decision had come at a time when other key US export markets, including Brazil, China, Peru and Colombia, have already introduced or are considering measures to protect themselves from unfair US ethanol exports.
Arbitrage window
"This increases the risk that US exporters divert exports previously targeting these countries to the EU," ePURE said, although some market sources are sceptical that a sufficiently large 'arbitrage window' will open up for US ethanol into the EU. China on May 13 said it would impose an additional 25% tariff on US ethanol, one of 6,000 products that could be subject to extra duties from next month amid a major trade war escalation between the countries.

May 15 - Australia to import first wheat in 12 years as drought bites 
Australia will import its first shipment of wheat in more than a decade as a drought across the country's east coast wilts supply in the world's fourth largest exporter of the staple grain. Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said late on Tuesday that it has approved an import permit of Canadian wheat.

May 15 - IEG Vantage sees fewer U.S. corn acres than USDA - document 
Private analytics firm IEG Vantage, formerly known as Informa Economics IEG, on Tuesday projected U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 90.692 million acres, according to an IEG client note seen by Reuters. The IEG figure is below the U.S. Department of Agriculture's March forecast of 92.8 million acres.
The firm projected U.S. 2019 soybean plantings at 86.437 million acres, above the USDA's March forecast of 84.6 million.

 
May 15 - NOPA April U.S. soy crush seen at 161.607 mln bushels - survey 
The U.S. soybean processing pace in April was expected to be above last year and the highest ever for the month as soy plants took advantage of good margins and ample supplies of beans, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly industry report. Members of the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) likely crushed 161.607 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to the average of estimates given by 10 analysts in a Reuters survey.

 
May 15 - Germany’s 2019 wheat crop set to rise, rapeseed down 
Germany's 2019 wheat harvest will increase 19.8% on the year to 24.28 million tonnes as conditions point to a recovery after drought caused massive harvest damage last year, the country's association of farm cooperatives (DRV) said on Tuesday. Crops in Germany and much of western Europe suffered huge damage from a drought and heatwave in summer 2018.

 
May 15 - China's new slaughterhouse rules keep lid on pork prices for now 
China's pork prices are being kept in check even as pig production continues to drop, with tough new rules on slaughterhouses crimping trade and pushing frozen pork stocks onto the market, according to analysts. Hog prices in the world's top producer rose sharply in early March as losses from an epidemic of incurable African swine fever started to impact supplies.

 
May 15 - France sees bigger maize area as rapeseed, sugar beet shrink 
French farmers are expected to sow more maize in 2019, ending several years of decline as the crop benefits from a sharp drop in sowings of rapeseed and sugar beet, the farm ministry said on Tuesday. In its first estimate of the country's 2019 grain maize area, the ministry projected sowings at 1.43 million hectares (mln ha), up 4.9% from 2018. That remains 3.8% pct below the average of the past five years.

 
May 15 - Brazil's Fiagril turnaround on track after Chinese investors burned - exec 
China's Hunan Dakang found itself hemorrhaging money soon after it bought Brazilian grain company Fiagril in 2016, but it has turned around its subsidiary by focusing on selling farm inputs instead of grain origination, an executive said. Fiagril's troubles expose the challenges for newcomers operating in Brazilian agriculture at a time when traders' margins remain narrow due to abundant harvests and fiercer competition.

May 15 - Brazilian farmer soybean sales sluggish in April amid corn clearout (AgriCensus)
- Brazilian farmers continued to sell corn ahead of soybeans last month on the hope that prices would spike in May amid a collapse in trade talks between the US and China, official data and sources told Agricensus this week.
- Brazil soybean sales in the largest producing state of Mato Grosso were 71.8% of the expected harvest by the end of April, down on 79.7% at this point last year despite a much smaller harvest this year, according to the state’s institute of agricultural economics (IMEA). Meanwhile, corn sales for the year have reached 62.3% of the harvest, up five percentage points on last year, as the country labours under a record corn crop that some estimate to be as much as 100 million mt.
“We have a huge crop. There is too much corn and farmers (have) preferred to sell it ahead of soybeans,” said one market source.
- However, that may change given last week’s escalation in the trade war between the US and China, but only if soybean prices rise to meet farmer expectations – a dynamic that has yet to happen.
“The question now is how will China meet its (soybean) import needs? Without US and Canada supplying China, our premiums will skyrocket again,” the Brazil-based source said. Premiums over futures for Brazilian beans have risen sharply over the past week – surging to 90 c/bu from 53 c/bu for June cargoes since the start of the month. However, that rise has not even compensated for the fall in futures prices, with flat prices in reais terms remaining relatively low due to sluggish demand from China amid the ongoing outbreak of African swine fever and abundant global supply.
- Current prices for cargoes out of Brazilian ports priced stood at BRL1,308/mt on Monday, according to Agricensus data, versus an average of BRL1,337/mt for March and BRL1,330/mt for Q1. Nevertheless, the fall in soybean prices was outstripped by that in corn, with current corn cargoes in reais terms valued at BRL619/mt, compared with BRL660/mt last month and BRL700/mt in Q1 as prices have been dragged down by bumper supply.

May 14 - Trump says U.S. farmers to get $15 bln in aid amid China trade war

President Donald Trump said on Monday that his administration was planning to provide about $15 billion in aid to help U.S. farmers whose products may be targeted with tariffs by China in a deepening trade war. "We're going to take the highest year, the biggest purchase that China has ever made with our farmers, which is about $15 billion, and do something reciprocal to our farmers so our farmers can do well," Trump told reporters at the White House.

May 14 - California jury hits Bayer with $2 bln award in Roundup cancer trial
A California jury on Monday awarded more than $2 billion to a couple who claimed Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused their cancer, in the largest U.S. jury verdict to date against the company in litigation over the chemical. The large punitive damages award is likely to be reduced due to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that limit the ratio of punitive to compensatory damages to 9:1. The jury awarded a total of $2 billion in punitive damages and $55 million in compensatory damages.

May 14 - U.S. corn planting pace slowest since 2013; soybeans also lag
U.S. farmers planted 30% of the U.S. 2019 corn crop as of Sunday, the slowest pace for mid-May since 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported on Monday. The figure lagged the five-year average of 66% as well as the average estimate in a Reuters analyst survey of 35%.

May 14 - Brazil soybean premiums rise as U.S.-China trade war escalates

Brazil soybean premiums for June rose to $0.92 per bushel on Monday, in reaction to a U.S.-China trade war that is expected to spur demand, according to the Center for Studies in Advanced Applied Economics (Cepea). Amid a fall in the Chicago soybean contract and the weakening of the Brazilian currency against the U.S. dollar, port premiums at Paranaguá rose by almost 10 cents from Friday, reaching the highest level since Dec. 7, Cepea data showed.

May 14 - Vietnam to mobilise military in fight against African swine fever
Vietnam said it will mobilise its military and police forces to help combat the outbreak of African swine fever that has already resulted in the culling of about 4% of the country's pig herd. The virus, first detected in the Southeast Asian country in February, has hit farms in 29 provinces, and prompted the authorities to cull more than 1.2 million pigs.

May 14 - Cotton slumps to lowest since August 2016 as trade war tensions mount
Cotton prices slumped over 4% on Monday to its lowest since August 2016 as China's threat to impose additional tariffs on U.S. goods boosted investors' concerns about the crop's future. The most-active cotton contract on ICE Futures U.S. July fell for sixth straight session and settled down 3 cents, or 4.4%, at 65.45 cents per lb.

May 14 - Australia weather bureau sees reduced El Nino threat
A recent cooling of the Pacific Ocean has reduced the threat of an El Nino weather event developing this year, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday. While sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean remain close to El Nino levels, water beneath the surface has slowly cooled over the past few months, BOM said.

May 13 - Brazil soybean premiums rocket as buyers hedge upside risk

Cash premiums in the Brazilian paper Paranagua market rocketed late Friday as a “large volume” of soybeans was sold at 82 c/bu above the July futures contract for June loading as buyers hedged upside risk amid an escalation in the trade spat between the US and China.
The exact figure could not be confirmed, but Brazilian sources reported that the volume was close to 100,000 mt.
There has been a “huge volume on June,” a Brazilian source said late on Friday.
Typical deals on the paper Paranagua market are around 5-10,000 mt.
Chicago futures hit an 11-year low last week with the July contract losing 35 c/bu over the past week, hitting 8.09 c/bu by close on Friday.


May 13 - U.S. plans more aid for farmers amid China trade spat
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Friday that President Donald Trump had asked him to create a plan to help American farmers cope with the heavy impact of the U.S.-China trade war on agriculture. A new aid program would be the second round of assistance for farmers, after the Department of Agriculture's $12 billion plan last year to compensate for lower prices for farm goods and lost sales stemming from trade disputes with China and other nations.

May 13 - Bayer hires law firm to investigate Monsanto stakeholder file issue
Bayer said on Sunday it was hiring an external law firm to investigate French media complaints that Monsanto, the U.S. seed maker it took over last year, had compiled a file of influential personalities. The German life sciences and pharmaceuticals group said that, following an internal review, it understood that this initiative had raised concerns and criticism.

May 13 - USDA data backs up funds’ mega-bearish CBOT corn, soy bets - Braun
"Speculators increase bearish bets" is quickly becoming one of the most reusable headlines in Chicago-traded grains and oilseeds this year, and the title was applicable yet again last week as money managers’ combined net short position hit another record. Market participants have become increasingly discouraged over the U.S.-China trade negotiations, though the prospects of a deal supported Chicago futures in recent months. However, investors appear to have been on the right track with their building pessimism if the U.S. government’s latest supply and demand projections are any indication.

May 13 - Brazil and Mexico add rice and beans to their trade menus
Mexico will allow imports of Brazilian rice and Brazil will allow imports of Mexican beans, the two countries said in a statement on Saturday as top agriculture officials from both countries met in Japan. "The decision reinforces Brazil's position as one of the top 10 global exporters of rice and represents an important step to diversify commercial relations with Mexico, a country with over 120 million people that imports over 80 percent of the rice it consumes," the Brazilian government said in a statement.

May 13 - Brazil's BRF may return to European market sooner due to swine fever
BRF SA, the world's largest chicken exporter, believes Europe could lift an embargo affecting a dozen of its plants sooner than anticipated because of the global meat supply imbalance deriving from a deadly hog disease in China. In remarks to journalists regarding a third straight quarterly loss, BRF Chairman Pedro Parente said demand for meat products will grow globally, which could lead Europe to relax restrictions on Brazilian plants.

May 11 - Asia’s buyers target 330k mt Black Sea wheat spree as prices tumble
(AgriCensus)
- Asia’s end users have targeted milling wheat and feed wheat purchases from the Black Sea region, as they look to capitalise on lower prices ahead of the arrival of a big wheat crop expected in both Ukraine and Russia. The buying amounts to at least 330,000 mt across both milling and feed wheat. Market sources reported two trades of 55,000 mt feed wheat to the Philippines, one at $197/mt and another at $198.75/mt for July-August shipment, both CFR Subic and reportedly sold by Midstar.
- Indonesia also bought a 30,000 mt cargo of likely milling wheat from the Black Sea for August loading at $210/mt CFR.
Rumours in the market also suggested that a deal had been signed for Black Sea feed wheat to head to Vietnam at $205/mt CFR for July-August shipment, but details could not be confirmed.
- South Korea's MFG also got in on the action, buying two 65,000 mt feed wheat cargoes for October shipment on May 8, at average of $204.5/mt CFR, with fellow NOFI announcing a tender for 60,000 mt second half September-early October shipment. Glencore is believed to have sold the tender at $200.99/mt CFR for one port discharge, with the buying underlining the South Korean feed sector’s interest in wheat at the expense of corn.
- Prices for next crop feed wheat have fallen by around $3/mt in the last two weeks, as the expected size of the new crop has put pressure on them, and now old crop corn and new crop feed wheat are offered at the same level. Market sources said that they expect the price to come down further, but at the same time Asia’s buyers have taken a chance to buy cargoes at the current prices.
“Even if the outlook is bearish, they (Asia’s buyers) need to start covering at least a small portion to reduce their exposure”, a trader said.
- Ukraine and Russia are both expecting high wheat production this season, amid favourable weather, with Ukraine's wheat production estimated in the range of 25.3 million to 28 million mt. Russia’s production meanwhile is expected in the range of 79 million to 83.4 million mt, according to analytical agencies. The two countries harvested 24.5 million mt and 79.4 million mt respectively in the current marketing year.
With freight for a panamax-sized vessel from the Black Sea to the Philippines at around $30/mt, the FOB equivalent stands at around $168/mt FOB. Agricensus  APM-1 assessment for Ukraine feed wheat stands at $169/mt for July and $167/mt for August.


May 10 - Trump says will use China tariff funds to buy US agricultural goods (AgriCensus)
- US President Donald Trump said Friday that he will use funds raised from taxing imports of Chinese goods to buy US farm products and distribute them to developing countries in a move that throws doubt on whether China will fulfil a pledge to buy 20 million mt of US soybeans. Speaking on Twitter, President Trump said the process of placing additional tariffs of 25% on the remaining $325 billion worth of Chinese imports had started on Friday.
“With the over $100 billion in tariffs that we take in, we will buy agricultural products from our great farmers in larger amounts than China ever did and ship it (sic) to poor and starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance,” Trump tweeted.
“In the meantime, we will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes (sic) that they do not again try to redo deal. Our farmers will do better, faster (sic) and starving nations can now be helped,” he said.
- Chinese trade negotiators are due to meet US officials in Washington DC Friday to discuss how to overcome a year-long trade war that has seen the price of soybeans and corn slump 20%. However, analysts do not expect a resolution any time soon after US trade negotiators stunned markets by accusing China of backtracking on a deal that was meant to be unveiled Friday – throwing into doubt whether China will fulfil its goodwill pledge to buy 20 million mt of US soybeans this year. China state-owned industries have bought around 12.5 million mt of soybeans at levels above Brazilian supply, although there are now doubts the remaining 7.5 million mt will be contracted. Futures markets were unmoved by the news, with the July soybean contract on the Chicago Board of Trade down 2 c/bu on Thursday's close at $8.10/bu, although prices have fallen more than 3% this week already.
Support
- Farmers are a key support base for Trump, who will next year hope to achieve a second presidential term.
The government assistance will be the second policy measure that Trump has launched to bolster farmer incomes in the face of falling prices. Last year, his administration launched a $12-billion aid programme that sought to compensate farmers for low prices, bought surplus goods from the market and sent trade missions abroad to find new markets.
The overwhelming majority of the aid ended up going to soybean farmers, who have effectively been shut out of China, which imports around two-thirds of all soybeans sold internationally.

May 10 - India imports 27,000 tonnes non-GM corn from Ukraine at $205/T - trade sources
India has imported an extra 27,000 tonnes of non-genetically modified (GM) corn from Ukraine at $205 a tonne, including cost, insurance and freight, three trade sources said on Thursday, to offset a shortage triggered by pest infestations and dry weather. Earlier this year, the country imported 57,000 tonnes of corn, free of GM organisms, from Ukraine, in what was the country’s first overseas purchase since 2016. The latest purchase takes this year's total imports to 84,000 tonnes, the sources said.

 May 10 - U.S. soy exports will desperately ride on China in coming months -Braun
The United States this year shipped a record volume of soybeans for the month of March, but that did absolutely nothing to prevent Chicago soybean futures from plunging to more than decade lows on Thursday on huge supplies and tensions with top buyer China. U.S. soybean exports have been historically sluggish since Beijing imposed tariffs on the American oilseed mid-last year. But now, a lot depends on China in terms of U.S. exports reaching market expectations, and there may be a high likelihood of a disappointing outcome.

 May 10 - U.S. EPA proposes hike in biofuel mandate to 20.04 bln gallons in 2020 - sources
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed increasing the volume of biofuels refiners must blend into their fuel annually to 20.04 billion gallons in 2020, from 19.92 billion gallons in 2019, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The proposed mandate, now under review by other government agencies before being finalized, includes 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels like ethanol, unchanged from 2019. It also includes 5.04 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, like those made from agricultural wastes, up from 4.92 billion in 2019, the sources said.

 May 10 - U.S. farm incomes fall in 1st qtr; trade war remains top risk to agricultural economy - Fed banks
U.S. farm incomes in the Midwest and Mid-Southern states declined yet again in the first quarter of 2019 amid ongoing strain from low commodity prices, trade uncertainty and severe weather, according to banker surveys released on Thursday by the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis and Kansas City. Most bankers said one of the biggest risks to the farm economy this year remained the trade fight between the United States and China.

 May 10 - Disease to cut China pig meat output by at least 10 pct - FAO
An African Swine Fever outbreak is expected to cut China's pig meat output by at least 10 percent in 2019 and present opportunities for producers elsewhere, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said on Thursday. The shrinking of the world's largest hog herd will have a noticeable impact on meat and feed markets worldwide, with more than one million pigs culled in China so far in an effort to halt the contagion, the FAO said in a food outlook report.

 May 10 - China expects its 2019/20 soybean output to hit highest in 14 yrs
China expects its soybean output to hit the highest level in 14 years in 2019/20, boosted by a plan to revitalise the nation's production of the oilseed. The country will churn out 17.27 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2019/20 crop year, up 7.9% from the year before, its agriculture ministry said on Friday in a monthly crop report.

 May 10 - Malaysia end-April palm oil stocks fall to six-month low - MPOB
Palm oil inventories in Malaysia, the world's second-largest producer of the edible oil, eased to a six-month low at the end of April, official data showed on Friday, as exports edged up amid falling production. Benchmark palm oil prices have been range trading in recent weeks, capped by concerns of high stocks and flat demand. A fall in stockpiles could boost palm prices, which were last trading flat at 2,005 ringgit ($482.67) a tonne at the midday break on Friday.

 May 10 - EU commissioner says agriculture not on agenda for U.S. talks
The European Union intends to keep agriculture off the agenda in its trade talks with the United States and continues to support rules-based, open and predictable international commerce, the EU's agriculture commissioner said on Friday. A free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan is the "benchmark and ceiling" for the EU's negotiations with the United States for a trade pact, Phil Hogan said.

May 10 - Chinese crushers snap up Brazil soybeans as margins soar
Chinese crushers have bought at least 15 cargoes of Brazilian soybeans for May through July shipment this week as crush margins have soared, and more deals are expected to be signed throughout the rest of the week.
"Crush margins were too good," one analyst at an international crusher said.
Chinese crushers picked up five cargoes last night mainly for June and July shipments at stable flat prices that have not adjusted for lower futures on CBOT board.
Soymeal futures for September delivery trading on the Dalian exchange – the most liquid contract spiked this week – surging almost 5% – as traders placed bets that the price of Brazilian soybeans would rise after news emerged of a potential breakdown in China-US trade talks. However, an early soybean harvest has led to a steep carry in the Brazil market that has seen flat prices on a CNF basis delivered into China flatline over the past week. This has meant Brazilian premiums have risen to compensate weaker futures, but not yet spiked on the hope that Brazil may be the only origin for Chinese crushers.
"Crush margins reached CNY300/mt ($44.05/mt). Don't know if it will reach CNY400/mt as it did last year due to trade war," another market source said.
According to Agricensus data, crush margins using Dalian futures and cash prices for soybean cargoes have soared 36% since the end of last week to CNY294/mt, or $43.12/mt.
“Brazilian premiums you saw last night were not timely enough to reflect today’s market, and you will see that rise today,” said one China-based trader, explaining that soybean prices in Brazil will rise.

 May 10 - Oversupply problems in the U.S. corn market may just be getting started - Braun
Rising global supplies have been a major downer for corn market bulls over the last couple of months, and recent trade data suggests that U.S. supplies could build even further over the next year, potentially to multi-decade highs. Record U.S. corn exports set the tone in the market last year as South American droughts curbed crops there. U.S. corn demand caught fire and early on, domestic carryout was seen hitting a five-year low in the current year.

 May 09 - Bunge appoints new CFO, revamps operations for 2nd time in 18 months
U.S. agricultural commodities trader Bunge Ltd on Wednesday overhauled its global operations and named a new chief financial officer in the latest shake-up for the 200-year-old company hard hit by a years-long grain market downturn. The moves come as Bunge reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit due to higher soy crush margins in the United States, Brazil and Europe.

 May 09 - Profit runs dry at Australia's GrainCorp as drought withers crops
Australia's biggest listed bulk grain handler, GrainCorp Ltd, on Thursday reported a larger-than-expected half-yearly loss, as severe drought withers crops in one of the world's top exporters of commodities such as wheat. The firm also cut its dividend as it grapples with the fallout from the driest conditions in a century, with its shares falling to their lowest level in five months.

May 08 - Brazil on course for 99m mt corn, soybean harvest at 97% (Agrural)
- Brazil’s soybean harvest is 97% complete with yields robust enough to prompt an upward revision of total production, while the country’s corn harvest is likely to pass through 99 million mt, according to the latest revision from Parana-based consultancy Agrural.
With the soybean harvest grinding to its end, Agrural pushed its bean outlook up by 700,000 mt to top 115.3 million mt although the hot, dry weather at the end of 2018 has taken its toll.
“Despite the upward adjustment, production is still below the initial potential of 121.4 million mt,” the agency noted in a release accompanying the update, as dry weather “hampered the filling of the grains in areas where early soybeans were sown.”
- The agency also revisited its outlook for Brazil’s corn crop, as the “near-ideal climatic conditions throughout April” and early planting for the key second crop after the preceding soybean harvest wrapped up early have driven expectations higher. The agency increased its outlook for the Centre South region’s second corn crop to 69.5 million mt – an increase of 5.7 million mt. Taken together with the government agency Conab’s outlook for the North Northeast region, Brazil’s total safrinha crop could reach 73.5 million mt, a 6 million mt increase on last month’s estimate and “well above the 53.9 million mt in 2018… and the record 67.4 million mt made in 2017.”
With the first corn crop now 91% harvested as of May 2, production is likely to reach 25.7 million mt, down by 300,000 mt from last month’s forecast. Nonetheless, together the two harvests catapult Brazil’s total production to 99.2 million mt – just shy of the 100 million mt that some market sources are expecting – and 1.4 million mt ahead of the 2016/17 harvest.

May 08 - China's April soybean imports rise as buyers delayed cargoes on tax change
China's soybean imports in April jumped 10.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, customs data showed on Wednesday, as shipments delayed from March reached the world's top oilseed buyer. China imported 7.64 million tonnes of soybeans in April, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. That is up from 6.9 million tonnes a year earlier and up 55 percent from 4.92 million tonnes in March.

May 08 - U.S. to levy tariff on imported Mexican tomatoes in trade spat
The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it will begin imposing a 17.5 percent tariff on imported Mexican tomatoes, but said it is optimistic that a deal can be reached to extend a 2013 agreement that suspended a U.S. anti-dumping investigation. “The Department of Commerce remains committed to ensuring that American domestic industries are protected from unfair trading practices,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. "We remain optimistic that there will be a negotiated solution."

May 08 - Cargill Brazil head to step down as firm prepares transition
The chief executive of commodities trader Cargill Inc in Brazil since 2012, Luiz Pretti, is preparing to step down, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. Pretti, who one of the sources said would stay on until December, started at the company in 2005 in the financial department, according to his LinkedIn profile.

May 08 - South Korea's MFG tenders for 65,000 tonnes feed wheat
South Korea's Major Feedmill Group (MFG) has issued an international tender to purchase up to 65,000 tonnes of optional-origin feed wheat, European traders said on Wednesday. The tender also closes on Wednesday, May 8, and seeks wheat for arrival around Oct. 30 in South Korea.

May 08 - Grain trader Gavilon confirms departure of two Brazil executives
Brazilian commodities trader Gavilon do Brasil, a subsidiary of Japan's Marubeni Corp, on Tuesday confirmed the departure of two key executives. Fabricio Mazaia, a former Nidera executive who had been general manager for Gavilon since August 2017, and country controller Caio Silva, who had been with the company since December 2017, have departed, Gavilon said in a statement sent to Reuters.

May 07 - Gavilon parts company with Brazil senior staff

Commodity trading house Gavilon do Brasil has parted company with its general manager and a controller, the company said in a statement Tuesday but said it remained committed to its Brazilian operations.

"We confirm that Fabricio Mazaia and Caio Silva are no longer with Gavilon do Brasil," a spokesperson said.

"These personnel changes will not impact our Brazilian operations and we remain committed to serving our customers and continuing to grow our business".

Fabricio Mazaia, the former general manager, had been with the company 20 months, while Caio Silva was a controller that joined in December 2017. Gavilon trades bulk grain and oilseed commodities. It is a subsidiary of Japan's Marubeni Corp.

May 07 - Trump’s new tariff threats on China may finish off soybean bulls - Braun
The soybean market has not had a whole lot going for it in the past year with ample supplies after years of large global crops, weakening demand out of China, and the U.S.-China trade war. The trade war has undoubtedly, and perhaps single-handedly, kept Chicago-traded soybean futures afloat for the past several months, even in the face of overwhelmingly large U.S. stocks. The idea that China may remove tariffs and/or agree to buy a specified amount of U.S. beans as part of a deal has been the glue keeping the market together.

 May 07 - U.S. to impose tariffs on Mexican tomatoes as new pact remains elusive
The United States will impose a 17.5 percent tariff on Mexican tomato imports starting on Tuesday, as the two countries were unable to renew a 2013 agreement that suspended a U.S. anti-dumping investigation, a Mexican official said on Monday. The U.S. Commerce Department said in early February that the United States would resume an anti-dumping investigation into Mexican tomatoes, withdrawing from a so-called suspension agreement that halted the anti-dumping case as long as Mexican producers sold their tomatoes above a pre-determined price. U.S. growers and lawmakers say that deal has failed.

 May 07 - U.S. corn planting seen 25% complete, soybeans 8% - poll
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly crop progress report should show that farmers were able to plant 25% of their intended corn acres as of Sunday, according to the average estimate in a survey of 11 analysts on Monday. Trade estimates for the week ended May 5 ranged from 23% to 30%. The government was scheduled to publish its report at 3 p.m. CDT (2000 GMT).

 May 07 - Suitor quits $1.7 bln bid for Australia's GrainCorp, shares tumble
Australia's largest-listed grain handler, GrainCorp Ltd, said that suitor Long-Term Asset Partners (LTAP) has withdrawn its A$2.4 billion ($1.7 billion) takeover bid after due diligence, pushing shares to five-month lows. GrainCorp stock dropped 11 percent at the open of trade on Tuesday to hit close to where it stood preceding the bid, before recouping some of those losses to trade at A$8.18. The broader market opened half a percentage point higher.

 May 07 - China's Dalian exchange to open soybean, soymeal futures to foreign investors
China's Dalian Commodities Exchange aims to open one of its soybean futures contracts to foreign investors this year, along with futures for soymeal, soyoil and palm oil, a senior official from the bourse told reporters on Monday. Such access would highlight China's efforts to allow more foreign participation in its domestic futures markets, as well as its ambition to gain greater influence over the pricing of its major commodity imports.

 May 07 - Scientist to politicians: End oil, farm subsidies to save planet
Robert Watson chose his favourite accessories to deliver the scientific community’s starkest warning yet over the accelerating demise of Earth's life support systems: a tie with a dodo pattern, and cufflinks engraved with designs of tiny watches. A leading figure in the network of international experts who assess the twin threats posed by climate change and species loss, Watson uses the symbols to remind audiences that there is no special reason why human beings should not share the fate of the flightless bird, declared extinct at the end of the 17th century.

 May 07 - Brazil soy industry group raises crop view, boosts end-stocks
Brazilian soy industry group Abiove raised its estimate for the country's current soybean crop on Monday to 117.6 million tonnes from a March forecast of 116.9 million tonnes, as late maturing fields show better productivity. Abiove cut its estimate for Brazilian soybean exports in 2019 to 68.1 million tonnes from the 70.1 million tonnes projected in March, saying the African swine fever outbreak in China will reduce demand from its largest client.

 May 07 - India's MMTC postpones deadline in tender to buy corn - trade
Indian state-run trading company MMTC has postponed the deadline for offers in an international tender to import yellow corn (maize) to May 15 from May 8, European traders said on Monday.  Offers must now remain valid until May 31 versus May 26 previously.

 May 07 - Tyson Foods expects to profit from hog fever in China, warns it may hit U.S.
Tyson Foods Inc said on Monday that the U.S. meat processing industry could reap significant financial gains from a global shortfall in pork as an incurable hog disease spreads rapidly across Asia. Tyson projected its U.S. pork, chicken and beef units could all benefit from increased demand linked to outbreaks of African swine fever, after the Arkansas company reported quarterly profits above analysts' estimates.

 May 07 - Malaysia April palm stocks expected at 6-mth low - Reuters survey
Malaysia's palm oil stocks likely fell to a six-month low by end-April, according to a Reuters survey, recording a second straight month of declines as a slight gain in exports outpaced a dip in production. Stockpiles in Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer and exporter, likely lost 5 percent from March to 2.77 million tonnes in April, according to the median estimate of eight planters, traders and analysts polled by Reuters. That would be the lowest level since October.

 May 07 - Two more swine fever outbreaks detected in South Africa
Two more outbreaks of African swine fever were detected in South Africa in April, its agriculture ministry said, following a spate of the disease in the country's North West province earlier that month. The two further outbreaks were detected in the central province of Gauteng, home to the city of Johannesburg, and Mpumalanga, a province in the north. The ministry said the same virus was responsible for all three outbreaks.

May 06 - Manufacturers run out of cotton harvesters for Brazil for 2019
It is only May, but if a Brazilian cotton grower orders a new harvester now to cope with an expected larger crop this year, he will not get it in 2019. The industry has run out of them. Brazil is experiencing a boom in cotton production, a result of higher international prices and the 25 percent Chinese additional import tax on U.S. cotton amid the trade war.

 May 06 - India's rural pain goes beyond farmers, and it may be a problem for Modi
Three years ago, brick mason Pundlik Bhandekar was always busy as farmers in his tiny hamlet in western India commissioned new houses and nearby towns were undergoing rapid urbanisation. Now, as the rural economy sinks and the pace of construction slows, Bhandekar is struggling to get work. "I used to get a new construction project before I could even finish one. People would come to my house to check when I would be free to work for them," said Bhandekar, as he sat with friends under the shade of a tree on a hot afternoon.

 May 06 - Trump blows up trade complacency, commodities to feel pain: Russell
U.S. President Donald Trump has just given commodity markets a reminder that stormy waters can blow up quite quickly even if the voyage ahead was looking like smooth sailing. Investors were becoming complacent with the idea that the U.S.-China trade dispute was heading toward an eminently sensible and mutually beneficial resolution before Trump's latest Twitter outburst.

 May 06 - Funds dig deeper into bearish CBOT bets as heavy stocks, trade war weigh - Braun
Heavy world stocks, trade conflicts, and demand disruptions have led speculators to end April on a record bearish note across Chicago-traded grains and oilseeds, and a sharp reversal in investor attitude anytime soon seems unlikely. When combining money managers' net positions in CBOT corn, wheat, soybeans, soybean meal, soybean oil, along with Kansas City and Minneapolis wheat, the overall net short reached 683,501 futures and options contracts as of April 30, up from 656,078 a week prior, which was the previous record.

 May 06 - Louis Dreyfus could consider selling stake to regional player
Louis Dreyfus Company, one of the world's biggest agricultural commodities houses, may consider selling a stake to a regional player to support its development although there are no specific plans to do so, the company said on Friday. Agricultural commodities traders have been grappling with lower profits from sourcing and shipping commodities such as grain and oilseeds, prompting cutbacks in trading teams, investments in food processing activities and acquisition speculation.

 May 06 - Ukraine 2018/19 grain exports at 42.4 mln tonnes so far
Ukraine's grain exports have reached 42.4 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season compared with 33.9 million tonnes at the same point last season, the agriculture ministry said on Friday. Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70 million tonnes of grain last year, up from about 61 million tonnes in 2017.

May 03 - Australia’s farmers stick with barley planting despite China fears (AgriCensus)
Farmers in Australia look set to maintain barley planting acreage in the country despite fears that a trade spat with China will slash regional demand, market sources told Agricensus Friday.
Some anticipate the area may even increase as oilseeds plantings are hit by drought, bolstering the area planted with barley despite the backdrop of an ongoing Chinese anti-dumping investigation.
“The acreage has not dropped; it’s expected to increase,” one Australia-based barley exporter said, adding that “rapeseed acreage will decline,” as drought conditions mean farmers have missed the ideal planting window.
Other sources have said that they expect the ratio of wheat and barley in the overall plantings to remain as ‘normal’, with no reduction or increase.
Planting has just started, but with widespread rains reaching the country and alleviating drought conditions, the pace is expected to pick up, the exporter added.
The move is unexpected as ongoing trade issues with China has slashed export interest and seen a lack of reported barley sales to that destination.
Only 400 mt and 31,351 mt left Australia bound for China in November and December 2018 respectively, down sharply from nearly 300,000 mt and 331,300 mt that left in the same two months of 2017.
Disaster
China has been the main buyer for Australian barley in recent years, with 61% of the 6.82 million mt of barley imported in 2018 sourced in Australia, according to China’s customs data, and a fall in demand would potentially be devastating.
“It would be a disaster if China treats Australia like Canada. Our barley growers really do not realize how cheap their barley would be if China does not buy it”, a second source said, referencing a similar trade dispute that has hit Canada’s agriculture exports to China.
In lieu of China buying Australian barley, and with a similar planting outlook to last year, the country’s exporters will have to find other markets to sell into, with attention focused on Middle East buyers such as Saudi Arabia - the world's biggest importer of barley.
“(The extra production) will likely be used to replenish low national stocks, and to be exported to the Middle East,” the second source said.
But with fierce competition in the world market, selling to Saudi Arabia in particular will mean the grain has to price competitively, which is far from what farmers usually want.
“I think that we are pricing about $10-15/mt above Saudi's last purchase,” a trader said.
“Domestic demand has to price at a premium to export parity. If domestic demand goes away then prices might drop $20/mt, that's still not going to discourage farmers from planting,” the trader added.

May 03 - Label problem caused China's suspension of two Canadian pork shippers
China's suspension of two Canadian pork exporters' permits was due to a labeling problem, Canada's agriculture minister said, adding that she was hopeful of it being resolved. China's action against two Canadian pork companies, announced by Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau on Wednesday, widened a diplomatic rift between the countries.

 May 03 - Ongoing planting delays could sow more problems for U.S. corn - Braun
May is typically the busiest month for U.S. corn planting, but many Midwestern farmers are sidelined waiting for the rain to stop and the fields to dry out after a record wet off-season. Should planting be delayed too much, corn acres are bound to decrease and both growers and analysts alike fear that yields could ultimately suffer as well.

 May 03 - Bumper yields projected in Kansas wheat, but crop needs time - tour
Wheat yield potential in Kansas was estimated at 47.2 bushels per acre (bpa), crop scouts on the annual Wheat Quality Council crop tour said on Thursday. The figure is above the five-year crop tour average of 40.2 bpa and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2018 actual Kansas yield of 38.0 bpa, reflecting ample moisture and cool weather in recent months.

 May 03 - India's buffalo meat exports hit six-year low on weak China demand
India's buffalo meat exports fell 8.7 percent in 2018/19 from a year ago to the lowest level in six years, a government body said on Thursday, as demand moderated from the country's biggest buyer China. India's buffalo meat exports were 1.23 million tonnes in the fiscal year that ended March 31, the lowest since 2012/13, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) said in a statement.

May 02 - Swelling soybean stocks means futures are immune to trade talks (AgriCensus)
Despite signs this week from both US and Chinese negotiators that a resolution, or even a trade deal, to end a 12-month long trade spat between the world's two biggest economies could be reached very soon, soybean futures have actually fallen. Weighed down by the biggest ending stocks in history - estimated at 900 million bushels (24.5 million mt) - it appears it would take a monumental commitment from China to buy US soybeans in order for futures to budge. And even with a huge 5% cut in soybean acreage next year - as estimated by the USDA in March - US output would still reach 110-120 million mt based on typical yields.

With US crushing around 57 million mt, it will take a while to get those ending stocks down.
“There are ideas that a deal could be reached late next week. I do not believe this, but it sounds like they are getting closer. The outside markets are neutral to weaker. The globe won’t offer much influence,” Brian Henry from Benson Quinn Commodities said in a report published yesterday. Exactly what form the trade talks will take remains to be seen, with earlier reports suggesting that the US will insist on keeping tariffs on goods in place to enforce the terms of a deal that is likely to include restrictions on intellectual property theft. In this event it is also unclear whether China will remove the punishing additional 25% tariff on US soybeans, perhaps preferring to mandate purchases of soybeans to erode the trade deficit, which is also a key focus of Trump's. With a Chinese delegation due in Washington next week to finalise details “supposedly the how and when of lifting tariffs will be the last thing negotiated,” Charlie Sernatinger from EDF Man Capital said.

Regardless, of whether the tariffs will disappear or not, in order to bring down US stocks to more traditional levels of 350-400 million bushels, China would need to buy its typical figure of 30 million mt of US soybeans as well as a further 12 million mt next year.
It boils down to this. With African swine fever killing pigs and deterring breeding in China, any hope President Trump had for a pre-election rally in futures to shore up support among his key farmer support base may be dashed. Furthermore, record harvest yields in Brazil and Argentina have put pressure on exporters to offload the crop as quickly as possible with a weaker real and peso against the US dollar aiding this. Oversupply is by no means limited to the US but with no tariffs on Brazilian and Argentinian beans, private Chinese crushers have more incentive to purchase from South America.
“We’ll never get 100 percent of our exports back from our number one customer,” John Heisdorffer, Chairman of the American Soybean Association (ASA) said during a panel discussion in Iowa last week.
“We’ve got some real competition out there,” Heisdorffer added.

May 02 - Canada farm minister informed that China has blocked two Canadian pork exporters
Canada's agriculture minister said on Wednesday that her department officials have told her the Chinese government has suspended the export permits of two Canadian pork exporters, marking the latest irritant in a widening diplomatic dispute. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in an interview with Reuters that she has not yet received an official notice from China of the permit suspensions, and would not identify the companies involved. She said both pork producers are based in the country's eastern province of Quebec.

 May 02 - Canada unveils measures to help canola farmers hit by China ban, seeks to boost Asian exports
The Canadian government, as expected, on Wednesday offered more financial assistance to canola seed farmers who have been hit by a Chinese ban on imports and said it was looking to diversify into other markets. China is blocking imports of canola seed from two companies on the grounds that it discovered pests. The ban threatens to cause major problems for farmers, given that China is Canada's biggest export market for canola.

 May 02 - Crop tour finds strong wheat yield potential in southwest Kansas
Hard red winter wheat fields in southwestern Kansas were in good shape and showed better-than-average yield potential, but the crop is less mature than normal for this time of year, scouts on an annual crop tour said on Wednesday. Planting delays last fall and cold weather over the winter and spring slowed the crop's development, which could leave the wheat vulnerable to weather stress in the coming weeks.

 May 02 - Climate change has U.S. fund managers adjusting agriculture investments
After historic floods devastated Midwestern agricultural states this spring, some fund managers are evaluating how climate change will affect the long-term value of companies that make or sell products ranging from tractors to fertilizer. The issue is not simply the unpredictability of weather. Instead, fund managers say, they are struggling to model how extreme weather events from droughts to more powerful storms will affect commodity prices and, in turn, spending by farmers on equipment or seeds.

 May 02 - EPA has received DOE input for 2018 small refinery waivers -sources
The Department of Energy has given the Environmental Protection Agency its scoring results for the 40 outstanding 2018 applications made by small refineries for waivers from U.S. biofuel laws, four sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The recommendations from the Energy Department are a crucial step in the EPA’s process for weighing the exemption requests, which can save refineries millions of dollars in regulatory costs and have become the center of a bitter dispute between the rival oil and corn industries.

May 01 - Argentine government eyes sunflower oil exports to India (AgriCensus)
Argentina Agriculture Secretary Luis Etchevehere and representatives from the country’s oilseed industry chamber Ciara will visit India in July in a bid to boost sunoil exports to the world's biggest vegoil importer, Gustavo Idigoras, head of Ciara, told Agricensus. The executive said that Argentine sunflower oil exports to India had been displaced five years ago due to growing supply from Ukraine. Another goal of the mission would be to consolidate previous negotiations carried out during a trade mission to India headed by President Mauricio Macri in February this year.
“We aim to reach long-term agreements and contracts in the soy oil segment in order to consolidate this business and increase export volumes for 2020,” Idigoras said.
During this previous visit, Ciara signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA), with the aim of promoting vegetable oil production and trade. Argentina is expected to export 4.87 million mt of soyoil this year, up from 4.2 million mt in 2018, Federico Di Yenno, an analyst with the Rosario Board of Trade (BCR), recently told Agricensus. Di Yenno also said that India will represent nearly 50% of total exports in the soyoil segment.

May 01 - Canada promises farm aid amid China canola spat, shuns calls to pull out of Beijing-led bank
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said Ottawa would soon announce help for canola farmers hurt by a China ban on imports of the oilseed but brushed off calls to pull funding for a Chinese-led investment bank. China and Canada are locked in a diplomatic and trade dispute that has resulted in China blocking imports of canola seed from two companies. China, Canada's biggest export market for canola, cited the discovery of pests, a charge Canada dismisses.

 May 01 - Trade war and sagging prices push U.S. family farmers to leave the field
Shuffling across his frozen fields, farmer Jim Taphorn hunched his shoulders against the wind and squinted at the auctioneer standing next to his tractors. After a fifth harvest with low grain prices, made worse last fall by the U.S.-China trade war, the 68-year-old and his family were calling it quits. Farming also was taking a physical toll on him, he said; he'd suffered a heart attack 15 months before.

 May 01 - China tells pork producers to secure swine fever-free certificates
China has asked pork processors and pig dealers to obtain certificates proving their products are free from African swine fever, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday. The disease has spread rapidly in the world's biggest producer and consumer of pork, reaching every province on the Chinese mainland since its initial detection there last August.

 May 01 - U.S. EPA says popular weed killer glyphosate is not a carcinogen
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday that glyphosate, a chemical in many popular weed killers, is not a carcinogen, contradicting recent decisions by U.S. juries that found that it caused cancer in people. The EPA announcement reaffirms earlier findings from the agency about the safety of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Bayer's Roundup. The company faces thousands of lawsuits from Roundup users who allege it caused their cancer.

 May 01 - Kansas wheat yields set to banish bad memories of last year's harvest - Braun
Crop scouts in Kansas are likely to observe one of the best winter wheat crops the state has ever produced, even though the plants are behind in maturity. Kansas produces about a quarter of all U.S. winter wheat, and current conditions are among the best in recent memory. The annual Wheat Quality Council tour is under way in Kansas, and tour scouts are gauging yield potential for the hard red winter wheat crop prior to the first forecast of the season from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, due at the end of next week.

 May 01 - Argentina approved to export pork to China
Argentina announced on Tuesday it had struck a deal with Chinese authorities that would allow it to begin exporting pork to the Asian giant from 25 of the country's meat-packing plants. The South American nation has been pushing to increase agricultural trade with China to help bolster Argentina's trade balance amid increasing volatility of its peso currency. U.S. may push for quick, narrow trade deal with Japan -Perdue The United States may push for a quick trade deal with Japan to gain the same access to agricultural markets as some other Japanese trade partners, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday.

 Apr 30 - PepsiCo accused of coercing farmers by group close to India's ruling party
An influential Hindu nationalist group with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused PepsiCo Inc of coercing four Indian farmers who have been sued by the U.S. company for allegedly infringing a patent. After suing four farmers for cultivating the FC5 potato variety, grown exclusively for PepsiCo's popular Lay's potato chips, the snack food and drinks maker on Friday said it wants to "amicably settle" the issue.

 Apr 30 - Fund versus farmer: the standoff in CBOT corn continues -Braun
Speculators are closing out April with their most pessimistic views of all time toward Chicago-traded corn and soybeans, and as futures decline, farmers are even more reluctant to sell off their large inventories. Commodity funds are likely more comfortable than usual in taking massive short positions in grains and oilseeds because of the ample stockpiles, particularly in the United States. They also know that the producers will eventually have to sell, potentially at unfavorable prices, but producers are hoping that funds will be forced to cover shorts first.

 Apr 30 - U.S. corn planting seen 14% complete, soybeans 4% - poll
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) weekly crop progress report should show that farmers were able to plant 14% of their intended corn acres as of Sunday, according to the average estimate in a survey of 13 analysts on Monday. Trade estimates for the week ended April 28 ranged from 10% to 19%.

 Apr 30 - Trump administration eyes more aid to farmers if necessary - White House aide
The Trump administration is ready to provide more federal aid to farmers if required, a White House adviser said on Monday, after rolling out up to $12 billion since last year to offset agricultural losses from the trade dispute with China. "We have allocated $12 billion, some such, to farm assistance. And we stand ready to do more if necessary," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters.

 Apr 30 - China pork producer WH Group quarterly profit falls 21 pct
Chinese pork producer WH Group on Monday report a 21 percent fall in first-quarter attributable profit, dragged down by weak fresh pork prices in all markets and lower sales volumes in the United States. Higher raw material and other costs in China and oversupply in the U.S. hog market hurt overall profits, said the company, the world's largest pork producer. The average hog price in the United States decreased 17 percent in the quarter versus the same period last year.

 Apr 30 - Palm oil analyst Mistry raises 2019 Malaysia output forecast to 20 mln T
Malaysia's palm oil output is forecast to rise to 20 million tonnes in 2019, up from as much as 19.5 million tonnes forecast earlier, industry analyst Dorab Mistry said on Monday, though production gains would be capped by aging trees. Malaysian palm oil output levels for January, February and March have set monthly records, according to Refinitiv Eikon records going back to January 2000. 

 Apr 30 - Strategie Grains cuts EU 2019 rapeseed crop forecast to 12-year low
Strategie Grains has lowered its forecast for the 2019 European Union rapeseed harvest to its lowest in about 12 years to reflect downward revisions in France and Hungary where crops have suffered from dry weather. The France-based consultancy in its monthly oilseed report said it expected an EU 2019 rapeseed production of 18.85 million tonnes, down from an estimate of 19.32 million a month ago and 5.7 percent smaller than the 2018 crop.

 Apr 30 - Cargill's profits in Brazil grow 15 pct to 680 million reais
Grains trader Cargill Inc grew its profits in Brazil by 14.6 percent to 680 million reais ($173 million) in 2018, the company said on Monday, as it prepares to invest 500 million reais in the country throughout 2019. Cargill is Brazil's second largest exporter of soy and corn, according to Williams Shipping Agency, a Brazil-based firm. Revenue in 2018, which includes agricultural products as well as animal feed, grew to 46.5 billion reais.

Apr 29 - Bolsonaro freight pledge to freeze markets if enforced: sources
- Pledges made by Brazil’s president to hike minimum truck freight rates, and enforce them in order to head off a new trucking strike, would cripple internal trade in soybeans and corn, market sources said Monday. Last week, President Bolsonaro pledged to reflect an 11% rise in diesel prices in government-set minimum freight rates, a move that came after several trucking unions warned that they would repeat last year’s strike in response to rising diesel prices.
- A repeat of a strike would likely once again cripple the economy and movements of Brazil's commodities. Although wholesale diesel prices fell sharply in October and November last year and were largely stable in December and January, prices shot up nearly 11% in February and again in March. They have risen an additional 5.6% in April so far, while minimum freight rates have been held unchanged.
“The agreement is not 100% clear because it was just an attempt to avoid a strike. We don’t know what the new rates will be, but a sort of agreement has been reached. But like any other cost, it is the farmer who will in the end have to pay for it,” said Steve Cachia, of Brazil-based brokerage Cerealpar. Cachia estimates that freight rates will have to increase 4% to compensate for rising diesel prices. Last year, the minimum freight table was brought in to compensate truckers for what they said were unsustainable price hikes in the cost of diesel.
- In Brazilian law, the minimum freight rate has to be revised if diesel prices move 10%. While initial estimates suggested that it could add $50-80/mt on the cost of shipping soybeans and corn from the interior to the ports, enforcement of the law has not been robust.
 “At first, sellers only wanted to sell (crops) FOB interior and buyers only want to buy CIF delivered. So far, there is no news of inspections and fines and freight rates for spot positions are negotiating below the table anyway,” one market source said, requesting anonymity.
“If they follow the table, inspect and fine, the market will come to a halt and it will take some time to adjust,” the source said, adding that costs are transferred to the ones who contract the freight. A third source agreed.
“There is some buying FOB interior, but many won’t take the risk. We saw this last year and I expect we will see the same [reaction] if the government is serious,” said the third source, who also requested anonymity. The news of higher costs comes as the price of soybeans futures has fallen sharply, dragging soybean prices in real terms at the port of Paranagua to a three-month low, according to Agricensus data.
“I'll tell you the truth, nobody knows what will happen, probably [not even] even Bolsonaro,” said Aldo Lobo, an analyst with brokerage Granopar.

Apr 29 - Canadian farm exports run into Chinese wall amid diplomatic dispute
An expanding list of Canadian farm exports is hitting obstacles at Chinese ports, leaving sellers of soybeans, peas and pork scrambling amid a bitter diplomatic dispute. China has already blocked Canadian canola from Richardson International and Viterra, two of Canada's biggest farm exporters, saying that shipments had pests. Other China-bound canola cargoes have been cancelled, forcing exporters to re-sell elsewhere at discount.

 Apr 29 - Brazil's 2018/19 soybean crop could be second-highest on record
Brazil's 2018/19 soybean crop is poised to be the second largest on record, as good agricultural yields in late-maturing fields partially offset losses caused by a dry spell in December and January, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. According to the average of 12 forecasts, farmers will collect 115.46 million tonnes of the oilseeds this season, 1 million tonnes above the average forecast on a previous Reuters poll and below only last year's record output of 119.3 million tonnes.

 Apr 29 - India hikes wheat import duty to support local farmers
India has raised its import duty on wheat to 40 percent from 30 percent, the government said late on Friday, as the world's No. 2 producer of the grain tries to support local farmers. The step comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party looks to contain rural discontent due to lower crop prices amid voting in a general election that began on April 11 and ends on May 19.

 Apr 29 - Showers to help EU wheat crops but analysts wary of repeat drought
Showers have brought some relief to thirsty wheat crops in the European Union, but more rain will be needed in the coming weeks to avert a second successive year of drought damage, analysts said. An increase in wheat sowings by farmers followed by a mild winter has put the EU on course for a rebound from last year's drought-hit harvest.

 Apr 29 - Brazil's BRF sees China certifying meat plants after U.S. deal
Brazilian food processor BRF SA's chief executive said Chinese authorities are only likely to make a decision on whether to approve more Brazilian meat plants when the United States and China have a deal to end a trade war. Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in São Paulo, Pedro Parente said that while an outbreak of African swine fever "puts pressure" on Chinese authorities to certify more plants, Beijing is unlikely to make a move before settling on new farm trade terms with Washington.

 Apr 29 - ADM considers ethanol spinoff as Q1 profit falls on severe weather
Archer Daniels Midland Co said on Friday it was considering spinning off its ethanol business after slim biofuel margins and Midwestern floods slammed the U.S. grains merchant's profit, which tumbled 41% in the first quarter. A major cause was the "bomb cyclone" blizzards that devastated the Midwest and Great Plains this year, causing massive flooding across Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri, washing out rail lines and wreaking havoc in the moving and processing of grains. One-sixth of U.S. ethanol production was halted.

 Apr 29 - Winter tries a comeback in U.S. Midwest with up to a foot of snow
The phenomenon known as thundersnow announced the arrival of a storm expected to dump more than a half-foot of snow on the U.S. Midwest on Saturday, more than a month into spring. Midwesterners retrieved their winter wear from storage to trudge through a possible 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) of snow predicted by evening in the Chicago area and more than a foot (30 cm) in some isolated areas of Minnesota, Iowa, southern portions of Wisconsin and northern Illinois, forecasters said.

Apr 26 - IGC raises 2019/20 wheat crop outlook on Russia upgrade
The International Grains Council (IGC) on Thursday nudged up its forecasts for world wheat production in the 2019/2020 season, largely reflecting an improved outlook for Russia's crop. The inter-governmental body, in a monthly update, increased its global wheat crop forecast by 3 million tonnes to 762 million tonnes with Russia's production seen at 79.5 million, up from 77.1 million seen previously.

 Apr 26 - China’s huge grain stockpiles set to linger through next year - Braun
China may be a minor participant in global grain trade, especially relative to the volume it consumes, but recent policy changes, the trade war with the United States, and the spread of African swine fever in its hog herds have drawn traders' attention to all things China. The general theme of large grain stockpiles in China is not expected to change anytime soon, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s attaché in Beijing, but the prognosis is more encouraging for corn than for wheat when it comes to reducing inventory.

 Apr 26 - China's imports of U.S. soybeans rise in March from a month earlier
China's imports of soybeans from the United States, the second-largest supplier to the country in 2018, rose in March from the previous month as more cargoes booked during a truce in the trade dispute between the two countries arrived. China, the world's biggest soybean buyer, imported 1.51 million tonnes of soybeans from the United States in March, data from the General Administration of Customs released on Thursday showed, up from February's shipments of 907,754 tonnes.

 Apr 26 - Australian weather bureau sees above average rains in boost for wheat growers
Australia's west coast will experience wetter than average conditions over the next three months, the country's weather bureau said on Friday, in a boost to wheat production in the world's No. 4 largest exporter. There is a 70 percent chance that Australia's west coast will record more rain than typical between May 1 and July 31, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said.

 Apr 26 - Bunge names acting CEO Gregory Heckman as new chief executive
Bunge Ltd on Thursday named Gregory Heckman as its new chief executive officer, three months after he stepped in as acting CEO at the embattled global grains merchant stung by slumping grain prices and a bruising U.S.-China trade war. Heckman, a founding partner of private investment firm Flatwater Partners and the former chief executive of grains trader Gavilon Group, was appointed acting CEO in January after long-serving CEO Soren Schroder was removed.

 Apr 26 - Brazil foreign minister urges China to improve GMO approvals
Brazil Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said on Thursday that the country must work with China to reduce non-tariff barriers to agriculture trade, including improving the process for genetically modified goods. Brazil is the world's largest exporter of soybeans, the vast majority of which are genetically modified organisms (GMO). Many newer GMOs, however, are not used in Brazil because they are not approved for sale in China, the largest customer for the Brazilian farm sector.

 Apr 26 - JBS to ship Brazil's first chicken cargo to India
Brazilian meat processor JBS SA said its Seara processed foods unit will start selling chicken products to India, as the group explores new markets in a year when poultry is poised to become the most demanded meat protein in the world. In a statement sent to Reuters on Thursday, JBS said Seara became the first company in Brazil authorized by India to sell chicken products in the Asian nation.

Apr 25 - Ukraine overcomes Iran concerns to see corn export sales bloom (AgriCensus)
- Ukraine’s corn exporters appear to have resolved some of the concerns around trading with Iran as line up data and trade sources see a rush of cargoes heading to the Middle East country in a final flourish for the record-breaking Ukrainian crop.
The move could spell bad news for Brazil, which has seen a roaring trade in meeting Iranian demand in recent months.
- According to line-up data, around 411,600 mt of corn has either loaded or is expected to load through April with Iran as the nominated destination, with about 712,000 mt already sailing over the course of the marketing year. Some market sources have suggested that the number could be even higher as fears that the trade could impinge on US sanctions targeting the destination means some of the exports are done under the radar.
“It’s not the full picture, as it’s also common practice for destinations to change after the vessel leaves Ukrainian ports,” one market source said.
And, while Ukraine’s FOB prices have remained higher versus other origins, there are signs that interest for suitable cargoes for Iranian buying is being seen in the market.
“I see great demand for May, June and even July,” one broker told Agricensus, although deals have slowed in recent days as corn prices globally plunge and Ukraine FOB prices have been slow to follow the price lower.
“What is worrisome is that now there are no new deals, although the demand is there but Ukraine sellers will have to go down,” a second broker added.
Sanctions favour Brazil
- Iran has been subject to ramped up US sanctions as the administration of President Trump sought to isolate the country after accusing it of violating an agreement on nuclear weapons research. That reportedly made Ukraine’s corn exporters wary of selling into the country, despite a series of tenders mounted by the state importer SLAL as the country sought to import up to 300,000 mt of corn per tender.
Funding has been one of the main obstacles facing Ukraine exporters, with only two European banks said to be prepared to provide trade finance when it comes to dealing with Iran, according to a market source. The impasse was a boon to Brazil’s corn exports with the country seeing an unseasonal spike in exports from its southern provinces, as Brazil looked to cash in the premium that accompanies Iranian buying.
Iran is already the biggest buyer of Brazilian corn, with the South American country seemingly unfazed by the arrival of sanctions and current line up data shows 459,568 mt of corn is currently loading or waiting to load in Brazilian ports.
- At the same time, Ukraine was facing a potential problem in generating enough regional demand to place its own record corn crop, with exports to Iran drying up shortly after the US imposed new sanctions back in August 2018.
For Ukraine, the boost through April could set the seal on another impressive monthly export figure despite the end of the marketing year rapidly approaching, traditionally a time when export pace may slow down.
- The signs that Ukraine is stepping into the Iranian supply chain is likely to slow exports from Brazil just as the country prepares to harvest its own huge corn crop, which could ultimately total 100 million mt.

Apr 25 - Australia begins wheat planting season on Anzac Day under cloud of 3rd year of drought
Australian farmers kicked off this year's wheat planting season on Anzac Day in bone-dry soil conditions as a third consecutive year of drought across the country's key growing regions casts a pall over production prospects. In a further blow to Australian farms wilting under the drought, planting season comes even as crop-friendly growing conditions in the northern hemisphere are expected to boost world supplies, keeping a lid on international prices.

 Apr 25 - Canadian farmers to reduce canola plantings by 7% amid China dispute
Canadian farmers intend to plant 7% fewer acres of canola this spring compared with a year earlier, even less than expected by analysts and traders, as a dispute with China hampers demand, a government report showed on Wednesday. China and Canada are locked in a diplomatic and trade dispute that has resulted in China blocking imports of Canadian canola from two companies. ICE nearby canola futures touched a more than four-year-low on Tuesday.

 Apr 25 - Argentina touts its soymeal in China, seeking import approval
Argentine officials are in China this week, promoting the country's soymeal products to win over local buyers and gain long sought approval from Beijing to sell soy-based livestock feed to the world's top consumer. China is the No. 1 buyer of Argentine soybeans but does not import any of its higher-margin processed meal, which could be used to help feed the world's biggest hog heard as consumers in the country shift toward a diet of meal-fed pork and poultry.

 Apr 25 - Good weather puts Russia, Ukraine on track for large grain crop
Favourable weather during spring grain sowing in Black Sea producers Russia and Ukraine is increasing the chances of another large grain harvest due to healthy levels of soil moisture, analysts and traders said. Russia, a major global wheat exporter to North Africa and the Middle East, is so far on track to harvest a grain crop of 118-129 million tonnes, according to official and local analysts' estimates, up from 113 million tonnes in 2018.

 Apr 25 - Walmart creates Angus beef supply chain, cutting out meat processors
Walmart Inc is taking control of the supply chain for Angus beef sold in some of its stores, cutting out meat processors as the company looks to offer higher quality products in an intensely competitive grocery industry. The world’s largest retailer said on Wednesday that the move would allow it to ensure supplies of quality Angus beef and meet demands from customers who want to know the origin of their meat. Normally, Walmart would buy Angus beef from companies like Tyson Foods Inc and Cargill Inc.

 Apr 25 - Bayer asks California appeals court to throw out $78 mln Roundup verdict
Bayer AG on Wednesday asked a California appellate court to throw out a $78 million judgment it was ordered to pay to a school groundskeeper who claimed the company's weed killers gave him cancer. In a filing in California's Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, the company said that there was "no evidence" that glyphosate, a chemical found in the company's Roundup and Ranger Pro products, could cause cancer.

 Apr 25 - Top China pig farmer falls into red on weak hog prices, hygiene costs
China's biggest pig and poultry producer, Wen's Foodstuff Group, said on Wednesday it recorded a loss of 460.5 million yuan ($68.6 million) for the first three months of the year as weak hog prices eroded earnings and it spent more on protecting its herds from disease. The firm, which produced 22 million pigs in 2018, reported a profit of 1.4 billion yuan in the same quarter a year earlier.

Apr 24 - Argentina eyes expanded farm trade with China as harvest nears
Argentina is pushing to increase agricultural trade with commodities-hungry China, as farmers on the country's Pampas grains belt prepare for what is expected to be an bumper soybean harvest over the weeks ahead. China is the world's biggest international buyer of soybeans, which are then ground into meal to feed the world's biggest pig herd as middle class Chinese increasingly demand pork and other meat as part of a shift in diet away from rice.

 Apr 24 - Russia tightens grip over grain exports with state-led association
Major grain traders in Russia have agreed to create a new exporters' association led by a state-controlled firm, increasing the government's influence over supplies from the world's biggest wheat exporter. Russia's agriculture ministry has been meeting regularly with big exporters since September to monitor exports amid a lower 2018 crop. In February, it asked the industry to set up a new grain exporters' union, saying that would help it to better understand the needs of the market.

 Apr 24 - Brazil grain growers launch hotline to report Bayer's market practices
A Brazilian grain growers association has launched a hotline to encourage farmers to report practices on the part of Germany's Bayer SA that potentially could be anti-competitive, according to statement sent to Reuters on Tuesday. Aprosoja Brasil, which called the initiative "an awareness campaign," aims to galvanize farmers to report possibly unfair practices in the market for seeds, agrochemicals and sale of genetically modified (GM) seed technology carried out by Bayer or its subsidiary Monsanto.

 Apr 24 - USDA will not survey for volume of grain lost to U.S. March flood
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's statistical arm will not collect data on the volume of harvested grain lost when farms from the Dakotas to Missouri were hit by flooding in March that burst grain storage bins, a government official said on Tuesday. However, the figures in the USDA's regular quarterly stocks report for June will reflect losses due to flooding as well as from more typical usage by processors, exporters and livestock feeders over the preceding three months.

 Apr 24 - Lawsuit says Tyson, Cargill, JBS conspired to suppress beef prices paid to U.S. ranchers
Four of the largest U.S. beef-packing companies were accused in a lawsuit on Tuesday of violating federal antitrust law by conspiring to drive down prices they paid ranchers for cattle, even as retail beef prices hovered near record levels. Tyson Foods Inc, Cargill Inc, the JBS USA unit of Brazil's JBS SA and National Beef Packing Co were accused of colluding since Jan. 2015 to suppress the price of "fed" cattle, which is cattle raised specifically for beef production, with a goal of improving margins and profitability.

 Apr 24 - U.S. tractor maker AGCO rolls out Fendt line for Brazil farmers
U.S. agricultural machine maker AGCO Corp said on Tuesday it would launch its flagship Fendt line of equipment in Brazil later this year, targeting large soybean farmers in the vast center-west region. AGCO will first bring the German-made line of Fendt Vario high-power tractors to Brazil's grain heartland, the company's South America chief Luís Felli said at a presentation in Sao Paulo.

 Apr 24 - Syria establishes new state grain company 
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree establishing a grain company to replace the state silos, mills and grain buyer (Hoboob), state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday. The headquarters of the new General Organization for Trade, Storage and Grain Processing will be located in the northeastern city of Hasaka and will headed by the country’s internal trade minister.

 Apr 24 - Some 156 people in 10 states infected with E. coli from ground beef - CDC
A total of 156 people in 10 states have been infected with E. coli after eating tainted ground beef at home and in restaurants since the beginning of March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday. No deaths have been reported but 20 people have been hospitalized after they were infected with the strain E. coli O103 since March 1, the CDC said on its website.

Apr 23 - Argentina soybean crush slows as poor-quality beans weigh (AgriCensus)
The pace of soybean crushing in Argentina is slowing as the freshly-harvested bumper crop forces crushers to improve their dehulling of the beans in order to meet minimum protein requirements, market sources have told Agricensus. Lower protein levels, due to the higher yields of the beans, is forcing crushers to slow operations by about 25% as they seek to achieve the minimum protein level of 45.5% in soymeal by removing more of the hull.
“The official crush for March was 2.9 million mt, versus market expectations of 3.5 million mt,” an Argentine broker said.
As a result, soyoil production in the world’s number one producer has slowed in recent weeks, at a time when the oil's flat price remains highly attractive to Indian and Chinese importers versus other soft oils.
"You crush less, you produce less soyoil," a second Argentine broker said.
And with more demand and less supply, premiums for Argentine soyoil were quick to react moving from 100 points under the July contract for June loading to 10 points under July on Tuesday. However, the upward move on flat prices was limited, gaining just 0.5% week-on-week to $626.5/mt FOB Up River for June loading, as the underlying futures contract plummeted to a 2019 low. At the time of writing, the July contract was trading on the Chicago Board of Trade at 28.51 ct/lb ($628.5/mt), down 2.5% on the week.  Argentinian crushers typically import Paraguayan soybeans to blend with domestic production as they tend to have a higher protein content.

Apr 23 - Swine fever will hurt Brazil soy exports, lift China meat sales - minister
Brazilian soy exports to China will definitely decline this year as African swine fever in the world's No. 2 economy cuts demand for the animal feed, but potential growth in meat exports would offset this, Brazil's agriculture minister said on Monday. Speaking in a huddle with journalists, Tereza Cristina Dias said a Chinese outbreak of African swine fever, which kills pigs but poses no danger to humans, threatens yet offersopportunities for Brazil's agricultural exports.

 Apr 23 - Paperwork problem delays Canadian pork shipments to China
Some Canadian pork shipments to China have been delayed by exporters using outdated forms to certify that the cargoes meet Chinese requirements, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said on Monday. The snag comes as Canada has shipped more pork this year to China, where the domestic pig herd has been ravaged by African swine fever. The two countries are also locked in a diplomatic and trade dispute that has resulted in China blocking imports of Canadian canola from two companies.

 Apr 23 - Funds set new bearish benchmark across CBOT grains and oilseeds - Braun
Speculators reached record levels of bearishness in Chicago-traded grain and oilseeds last week as global supplies continue to expand in the absence of any serious threats to crops on the horizon. Commodity funds were net sellers across the board last week and they have not changed their minds in the days since.  Traditionally, investors are unlikely to turn too pessimistic on grains and oilseeds heading into U.S. corn and soybean growing season. But the extreme short position holds much lower risk than usual for commodity funds, particularly in corn, because the producers’ bins are still stuffed with the yellow grain.

 Apr 23 - Seeds of discontent: Argentina's farmers turn cool on their man Macri
Argentine President Mauricio Macri rode to power in 2015 promising to bolster the farming sector and cut back taxes that had stymied exports. The country's backbone industry welcomed him with open arms after years of export controls aimed at keeping domestic prices low. The powerful sector is now cooling on the center-right president, frustrated by revived export tariffs and sky-high borrowing rates that have bruised smaller farmers, a concern for Macri ahead of national elections later in the year.

 Apr 23 - Egypt's supply ministry warns farmers over wheat moisture levels
Egypt's supply ministry cautioned local farmers against selling the government wheat with moisture levels that are higher than the allocated range. Cold weather and climate change have led to a higher moisture content in some of the local crop which some farmers have tried to sell to the government, the ministry said in a statement.

 Apr 23 - Brighter crop prospects, weak demand drive Russian wheat prices down
Russian wheat export prices fell last week with prospects for the upcoming 2019 crop improving while demand weakened, analysts said on Monday. Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in May were $221 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $4 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said. 

 Apr 23 - Ukraine 2019 spring grain sowing reaches 93 pct of expected area
Ukrainian farmers have so far sown 2.1 million hectares of spring grain crops for the 2019 harvest, or 93 percent of the expected area, the agriculture ministry said on Monday. The ministry has said Ukraine's 2019 early spring grain sowing area is likely to total 2.284 million hectares and would include 175,000 hectares of spring wheat, 1.571 million hectares of spring barley and 347,000 hectares of peas.

Apr 18 - Market sceptical of ban as EU glyphosate review gets underway (AgriCensus)
- The herbicide glyphosate will continue to be used by farmers globally for the foreseeable future unless a suitable and safe alternative is found, despite the recent rise in public concern on the safety of its use, market sources told Agricensus.
Pressure on the use of the herbicide and its maker Monsanto, now owned by Germany's Bayer AG, has mounted in recent months after two US cases ruled that the chemical caused cancer in two groundsmen.
- Bayer has been ordered to pay a combined $114 million in damages and has seen its share price fall by over 20% since last August. A similar case in France ruled in favour of a farmer who is now seeking €1 million ($1.1 million) in damages from Monsanto. And most recently Vietnam has announced it will ban the use of the crop. But the biggest threat to Monsanto is an EU decision over whether to renew its licence when it expires in 2022. That process will start in December this year, with the review led by the Netherlands, France, Hungary and Sweden, which together have accepted the heavy workload this Monday. Despite several EU member states indicating that they could ban its use, few think the EU will announce a blanket ban, preferring instead to leave it to member states.
“There will be immense pressure both ways, but without a reliable, safe alternative I think they’ll extend for another five years,” one market source said regarding the EU’s licence renewal.
- The stakes are high, with the EU claiming that the review will be undertaken by experts in four countries and not just one, as is the usual process, claiming the “very large application dossier and the related high workload” was too much for one member state.
Besides, no country volunteered to review the chemical on behalf of the bloc, not after the controversy of the last review, where German agencies were accused of bias by relying too heavily on scientific evidence submitted by Bayer.
Prevalent
The use of glyphosate – commonly known as Roundup – is so prevalent that there are nearly 200 retail products on sale in the US alone that contain it. On an industrial scale it is estimated to be used on 80% of genetically modified crops – that amounts to the vast majority of soybean and corn production globally. Proponents of its use say that there is no alternative and that it prevents crop failures by maintaining row crops.
Opponents say that there are biological and natural substitutes.
In writing this piece, Agricensus contacted eight consultants and analysts for comment. None were willing to speak publicly about the herbicide, with several stating that they did not want to anger big clients. A US-based market analyst speaking on condition of anonymity said about potential safety reviews of its use that “it’s going to be years before it really has any market impact,” as there is no clear substitute available. Over 95% of the corn and soybean planted in the US is genetically modified to make it resilient to Roundup and dubbed Roundup-ready seeds. Those seeds, also sold by Monsanto, give higher yields as weeds are more easily removed by blanket application glyphosate enabling more space and nutrients to get to the crop. Yet a ban would not be as dramatic to yields as initially thought as alternatives have been found for other once key banned herbicides and pesticides over the years.
Glyphosate is unlikely to be any different.
Brazilian famers used the same GMO seeds as they apply a no-tilling approach to farming, a technique that reduces erosion of lands, but which requires significant amounts of glyphosate. “Farmers will fight any national ban that might come up – and farmers have huge influence on Congress and government here,” a Brazilian market analyst said, who again spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, if there is a push from the buyers of soybeans and corn – for this read China, Southeast Asia and the EU – to ban row crops that have been treated with the herbicide, then that may pressure growers in North America and South America. And collectively, the Americas accounts for more than 70% of the world's corn exports and 80% of soybeans.
“If bans occur in countries that import Brazilian soybeans, that’s a different story. If they stop buying, Brazilian farmers will have to adapt,” the analyst added. A ban on the chemical is therefore not expected to impact yields drastically, rather the profitability of farms using glyphosate-intense techniques such as no-tilling will be hit badly.
The EU review is due to conclude in October.

Apr 18 - China still dominates U.S. soybean exports despite trade war - Braun
Even with an ongoing trade war, China was the top destination for U.S. soybeans during the first half of the current marketing year, and the Asian country will help determine whether American beans can meet the U.S. government's full-year export targets. Data published by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday showed that the United States exported 4.58 million tonnes of soybeans in February, the largest volume for the month in three years.

 Apr 18 - Australia's GrainCorp flags $29 mln earnings hit as China probes barley imports
Australia's GrainCorp Ltd said on Thursday it will take a A$40 million ($28.7 million) hit to half-year earnings, blaming international trade tensions and a severe drought, sending its shares to a three-week low. The country's largest listed agribusiness did not give further details, but industry sources said there had been a slowdown in Chinese demand for barley as Beijing considers whether to introduce tariffs on Australian supplies.

 Apr 18 - InVivo's grain trading chief leaving French firm
Stephane Bernhard, head of grain trading at InVivo, is leaving the French agricultural group, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday, confirming earlier comments from sources familiar with the move. Bernhard joined InVivo as head of trading five years ago after previously working for global trading house Louis Dreyfus and as an investment fund manager.

Apr 18 - U.S. Wheat hopes to grab 80 pct of Brazil tariff-free import quota

U.S. Wheat Associates, the group representing the United States wheat industry, is eying an 80% chunk of Brazil's 750,000-tonne tariff-free wheat import quota, Vince Peterson, the group's president, told Reuters on Wednesday. Peterson is leading a delegation of U.S. wheat producers and merchants visiting Brazilian wheat mills and food processors this week to gauge sales potential for coming months once a tariff-free quota is implemented.


Apr 17 - Brazil competition obliterates Argentina’s FOB Up River corn basis (Agricensus)
Basis values for Argentina’s August and September loading FOB Up River corn cargoes could fall below the price of Chicago corn futures as the country’s exporters try to maintain their competitive edge as Brazil’s safrinha corn production reaches its peak.
“It is quite possible that Argentina’s corn premiums will come down to zero,” one market source said, referring to the differential between local corn prices and those seen on the Chicago Board of Trade’s corn futures contract.
The difference between the local physical market and the Chicago value is often referred to as the basis price, with some sources floating the possibility that Argentina’s basis could even dip below the values seen on the Board.
“I think it could turn negative; it depends on Brazil levels. We still need to have a big export programme for August, September and October out of Argentina,” a second source said.
Offers for August and September FOB Up River loading cargoes were heard as low as 3 cents over the September futures contract on Tuesday – down from premiums of around 20 cents over September that were circulating at the beginning of March.
Meanwhile, bids for larger panamax-sized cargoes, which tend to trade at a higher price to FOB Up River cargoes, were heard at just 2 cents over September for September loading.
While Brazil is the biggest single factor responsible for the collapse in Argentina’s values as cited by market sources, Argentina’s currency and its own huge corn crop are creating a powerful cocktail that is depressing prices.
Early April saw rumours that Brazil could be looking at a crop of up to 100 million mt, while strong yields in Argentina’s early harvest have also boosted expectations for Argentina’s final production figure – with some mooting 50 million mt as possible. Any spike in corn futures prices on the Board could tip Argentina’s values into negative territory, while the country’s currency has laboured on international markets, losing value to the US dollar as it slumped to 42 pesos to 1 US dollar, versus 20 pesos a year ago.
“Currency depreciation brings huge pressure for premiums… if the local currency keeps losing ground against the dollar, premiums will fall,” the first source said.
“Brazil's struggles with bad logistics could stop it from going negative, but it all indicates Argentina will end in a discount,” a third source said.
“Which means nothing – what’s important is how flat prices fluctuate really, and then how the farmer sells their programs,” he said.

Apr 17 - China warns of soaring pork prices as virus curbs output
Chinese pork prices are set to jump 70 percent in the second half of the year, a senior official said on Wednesday, after data showed an outbreak of African swine fever cut the world's largest hog herd by 10 percent in the first quarter. China's pork production fell 5 percent in the first three months of 2019 and much bigger declines are expected in coming quarters, analysts said, as the country struggles to contain the spread of the deadly disease.

 Apr 17 - China eyes U.S. poultry, pork imports in trade talks - sources
China would likely lift a ban on U.S. poultry as part of a trade deal and may buy more pork to meet a growing supply deficit, but it is not willing to allow a prohibited growth drug used in roughly half the U.S. hog herd, two sources with knowledge of the negotiations said. The United States and China are trying to hammer out a deal to end a months-long trade war that has cost the world's two largest economies billions and roiled global financial markets and supply chains.

 Apr 17 - German wheat crop to increase sharply after drought
Germany's 2019 wheat harvest will jump 20.6 percent on the year to 24.44 million tonnes with rising expectations of a recovery after the drought-reduced harvest last year, the country's association of farm cooperatives (DRV) said on Tuesday. The German crop in 2018 suffered enormous damaged from a drought and heatwave which hit much of western Europe.

 Apr 17 - China could agree to import more Brazilian meat from next month - ambassador
China could agree to allow more Brazilian meat imports following high-level talks set for May, the Chinese ambassador to Brazil told Reuters on Monday. Yang Wanming declined to comment on how many meat processing plants could be approved to export to China but said the issue would be discussed when Brazil Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias travels to China in May.

 Apr 17 - Global dairy prices climb higher, volumes drop at auction
Global dairy prices rose for a tenth consecutive time at a fortnightly auction on Wednesday, although prices for whole milk powder (WMP), the most-traded item, eased again due to lower demand. The GDT Price Index climbed 0.5 percent, with an average selling price of $3,447 per tonne. This was slower that the 0.8 pct rise in the previous auction, according to GDT Events.

Apr 16 - Argentina likely to increase export duties if devaluation sharpens: economist (AgriCensus)
Argentina's government is likely to increase fixed export duties this year if the local currency experiences a sharp devaluation against the US dollar, Marina Dal Poggetto, head of local economic consultancy firm Estudio EcoGo, told Agricensus.
 “The possibility for the government to raise fixed export duties of three and four pesos will depend on the evolution of the foreign exchange market, which will also depend on the electoral scenario,” Dal Poggetto said. In September last year, Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne announced that the duties on soybean exports would be immediately cut to 18% from 25.5%, while soyoil and soymeal duties were cut to the same level from 23%.
However, simultaneously the country reintroduced a retention tax on all primary exports of 4 pesos for every US dollar of goods exported, which would be valid until the end of next year.
Any rise in duties will likely anger farmers, who have been reluctant sellers of the crop so far due to relatively low global prices. Farmers were enthusiastic supporters at the outset of the current government following its promise to lower export taxes. The government had undertaken to lower duties at the end of 2020, but Luciano Cohan, partner at economic research firm Elypsis, said that the national government would probably not be in a position to do so.
“For 2020, and regardless of who wins the presidential elections, I find it hard to believe that the fiscal situation will allow the government to implement reduction in the tax burden on exports,” Cohan said. The national government is trying to slash the country's budget deficit as part of its 2018 loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

Apr 16 - China starts review of anti-dumping measures on U.S. distillers grains
China's Ministry of Commerce confirmed it is starting a review on Monday of its anti-dumping tariffs on imports of distillers grains (DDGS) from the United States and said the investigation should be completed in a year. The review comes amid trade talks between Beijing and Washington aimed at ending a months-long tit-for-tat tariff row that has roiled global markets. Beijing has pledged during these talks to increase its imports of U.S. farm goods.

 Apr 16 - NOPA March soy crush at 170.0 million bushels tops avg trade estimate
The U.S. soybean crush increased by more than expected in March to the second-largest on record for the month, according to National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) data released on Monday. NOPA members, which handle about 95 percent of all soybeans crushed in the United States, processed 170.011 million bushels of soybeans last month, up from 154.498 million bushels in February and just below the 171.858 million bushels crushed in March 2018, the record for the month.

 Apr 16 - US wheat delegation in Brazil to gauge import demand under quota
A delegation representing the United States wheat industry is visiting Brazil this week to talk to millers and food industries to gauge potential for higher import demand once a tariff-free quota is implemented, a local wheat group told Reuters on Monday. Rubens Barbosa, president of Brazil's wheat milling association Abitrigo, said he met the head of U.S. Wheat Associates, Vincent Peterson, and the chief executive of the Kansas Wheat Commission, Justin Gilpin, on Monday to discuss the U.S.-Brazil wheat trade.

 Apr 16 - China urges large pig farms to test for African swine fever
China will allow large-scale pig farms and breeding farms to test for African swine fever in a bid to help early detection of the disease, overturning an earlier prohibition on commercial firms carrying out their own testing. The agriculture ministry has asked local husbandry bureaus to encourage large farms to obtain testing kits for the deadly virus that has swept through the country, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on its website on Tuesday.

Apr 16 - Brazil farmers harvest 88 pct of estimated soy area - AgRural
Brazilian soybean farmers have collected 88 percent of the area under cultivation in the country, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said in a statement on Monday. Harvesting is ahead of last year's 85 percent level, which represents Brazil's five-year average for this period in the season.

 Apr 16 - Dryness dents grain yields in Spain, southeast EU - crop monitor
Dry conditions in Spain and southeast Europe have hurt yield prospects there for this year's grain harvest, the European Union's crop monitoring service said on Monday. After flagging dryness in southern Europe as a risk last month, the MARS said a persistent lack of moisture had led it to lower its yield projections for crops in Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece.

 Apr 16 - SovEcon ups forecast for Russia's 2019 wheat crop to 83.4 mln T
Russia's SovEcon agriculture consultancy has raised its forecast for the country's wheat crop in 2019 to 83.4 million tonnes from 80 million tonnes because sowings are in good condition in the majority of Russia's regions, it said on Monday. SovEcon has also raised its overall grain forecast to 129.1 million tonnes from 126.1 million tonnes, it said.

Apr 15 - China March soy imports jump from Feb as U.S., Brazil beans arrive
China's soybean imports in March jumped 10 percent from the previous month, as shipments from both the United States and Brazil reached the world's top oilseed buyer, customs data showed on Friday. China imported 4.92 million tonnes in March, up from 4.46 million tonnes in February, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

 Apr 15 - NOPA March U.S. soy crush seen at 168.028 mln bushels - survey
Rising overseas competition for soymeal exports led to a slowdown in the pace of U.S. soybean crushing during March compared to a year earlier, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly National Oilseed Processors Association report. NOPA members likely crushed 168.028 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to the average of estimates given by eight analysts in a Reuters survey.

 Apr 15 - Funds hit new record short in CBOT corn but load up on hogs - Braun
Speculators established yet another record bearish position in Chicago-traded corn last week, but any short-covering rally in futures that might result is likely to be lackluster. U.S. corn inventory has swelled to much larger levels than market participants were originally expecting, and the harvests in Brazil and Argentina may be bigger than previous predictions.

 Apr 15 - Egypt accepts French wheat cargo after re-testing
A French wheat cargo Egypt had rejected by Egypt due to high levels of the grain fungus ergot has been re-tested and found to have acceptable levels, a ministry document showed and an Egyptian official said. The cargo at the Red Sea port of Safaga will be offloaded and distributed to mills after the test showed a 0.01 percent ergot level, Othman Mohammad Younes, general manager of the Safaga silo, told Reuters. A ministry of agriculture document, obtained by Reuters, also showed a test result of 0.01 percent.

 Apr 15 - U.S. EPA revives provision that may name refiners applying for biofuel waivers
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday took the first step to revive part of a rule that could, if finalized, reveal the names of oil refineries which applied for exemptions from the nation's biofuel laws. The move is seen as a win for the corn industry, which has criticized the waiver program due to its lack of transparency. The EPA only in 2017 first began releasing the number of waiver petitions it has received and granted but the names have been kept confidential so far.

 Apr 15 - EU farmers set to plant more maize as drought risks weighed
Maize planting is getting going in the European Union and farmers are expected to expand the crop area this year, encouraged by mild weather and the need to replace drought-hit rapeseed fields, analysts said. Widespread dryness, after sporadic rainfall in recent months has failed to replenish soil moisture after drought last year, raising some early concern about the growing season.

 Apr 15 - Egypt buys 240,000 tonnes of Romanian and Ukrainian wheat
Egypt's state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) bought 240,000 tonnes of wheat in an international tender on Friday to be sourced from Romania and Ukraine, GASC said. The purchase involves 180,000 tonnes from Romania and 60,000 tonnes from Ukraine. GASC had sought an unspecified volume of wheat for shipment from May 20 to June 5.

 Apr 12 - Blizzard forces closure of some U.S. grain processors and elevators
A second "bomb cyclone" blizzard hitting the United States was limiting the movement and processing of corn, soybeans and wheat around the Midwest and Plains on Thursday. Grain trader Cargill Inc said it was closing three of its grain handling facilities in Minnesota, two in South Dakota and one in Nebraska on Thursday because of the storm. It also was closing a beef processing plant in Colorado.

 Apr 12 - Strategie Grains cuts EU wheat, barley crop forecasts on dry weather
Dry conditions have worsened prospects for this summer's wheat and barley harvests in the European Union, crop consultancy Strategie Grains said as it cut production forecasts for both cereals. In a monthly cereal report published on Thursday, the French firm reduced its projection of EU soft wheat production in the upcoming 2019/20 season to 144.8 million tonnes from 146.1 million forecast in March.

 Apr 12 - Measuring China’s growing footprint on U.S. pork trade - Braun
China just made a stunningly large purchase of U.S. pork despite hefty trade tariffs, the latest sign that the deadly African swine fever will make a serious dent in Chinese pork supply. African swine fever, or ASF, has been spreading through China’s hog herds since last August, prompting analysts to slash Chinese pork production by as much as 30 percent. China is both the largest producer and consumer of pork.

 Apr 12 - U.S. criticizes Vietnam ban of glyphosate herbicide imports
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Thursday criticized Vietnam's move to ban imports of glyphosate-based herbicides, saying the decision would have "devastating impacts on global agricultural production." Vietnam's government said in a statement that the toxic level of herbicides containing glyphosate had long been of concern, in the latest display of global worries over the product's impact on human health. State media reports said the ban would take effect in June.

 Apr 12 - French court finds Bayer's Monsanto liable for farmer's sickness
A French court has ruled that Monsanto was liable for the sickness of a farmer who inhaled one of its weedkillers, in another legal setback for the Bayer-owned business over health claims. In the latest stage of a decade-long legal tussle, the appeals court in Lyon on Thursday found in favour of farmer Paul Francois' claim that Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller had made him sick and that the product's labelling had been inadequate.

 Apr 12 - China investigating U.S. request to lift anti-dumping tariffs on DDGS
China's commerce ministry confirmed on Thursday that it was examining an application from a U.S. trade association requesting a review of its anti-dumping tariffs on imports of distillers grains (DDGS) from the United States. China's Ministry of Commerce was set to review the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs imposed on DDGS imports from the U.S. in 2016, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a document issued by the China Alcoholic Drinks Association.

 Apr 12 - U.S. EPA may grant fewer biofuel waivers due to low credit prices - Wheeler
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could grant fewer waivers exempting small refineries from the country's biofuel policy as lower prices for blending credits have reduced the cost of compliance, the agency's administrator Andrew Wheeler told Reuters on Thursday. The Trump administration's use of such waivers to save the oil industry money has become a lightning rod of controversy for the powerful corn lobby, which claims the exemptions have been over used and threaten demand for corn-based ethanol at a time farmers are already struggling.

 Apr 12 - Egypt's GASC seeks wheat for May 20-June 5 shipment
Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) set a tender on Thursday to buy an unspecified amount of wheat from global suppliers for shipment from May 20 to June 5. GASC Vice Chairman Ahmed Youssef said the authority was seeking to buy cargoes of soft and/or milling wheat from the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Poland, Argentina, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Paraguay and Serbia.

 Apr 12 - Argentina soy forecasts jump higher on better than expected yields
Argentina will harvest 55 million tonnes of soy this season, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said on Thursday, citing high yields as it raised its previous forecast a day after the Rosario exchange also increased its estimate for the crop. Mild weather for the Pampas farm belt over the last month has pumped yields to higher-than-expected levels as growers bring in the crop.

 Apr 12 - Farmers dip toes into global crop insurance platform
Farmers can now for the first time insure their produce against price volatility as easily as insuring their homes, with a global platform based on hundreds of niche commodity indexes, underwritten by Lloyd's of London syndicate Ascot. Crop insurance has existed since the 1930s in the United States but is heavily subsidised by the government to provide protection against damage to produce and price risks.

 Apr 12 - Mosaic suspends phosphate mines in Brazil after new rules for dams
The Mosaic Company, a Brazilian fertilizer maker, said on Thursday it will suspend production at its phosphate mines of Tapira and Catalão after failing to obtain a deadline extension in order to provide stability certification for three of its tailings dams. Phosphate is a crucial fertilizer ingredient and Mosaic's operation is the largest in Brazil, which is a global leader in agriculture, producing more than 220 million tonnes of grains and 570 million tonnes of cane per year, among other products such as coffee, tobacco, cotton and fruits.

 Apr 12 - Cambodia takes EU to court over rice import tariffs
Cambodia has filed a challenge at the European Court of Justice against the European Union's decision to impose import duties on Cambodian rice. The bloc imposed tariffs for three years in January on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar to curb what it said was a surge in imports as a safeguard to protect EU producers such as Italy.

Apr 11 - Brazil's April soybean exports seen at 4-year low - data
Brazilian soybean exports are expected to end April at the lowest level for that month in four years, based on government figures for the first few days of the month, ship lineup data going forward and industry source estimates. According to Williams' shipping schedules from April 10 to April 29 released on Tuesday, Brazil will export about 5.8 million tonnes of soybeans in this period.

 Apr 11 - China's African swine fever will leave gaping hole in world pork supply - Braun
The global pork market may still be in for a sizable jolt in the near term as African swine fever is set to reduce China's pig production by 134 million pigs on the year, roughly the size of the entire U.S. crop. African swine fever, or ASF, is a deadly disease that affects populations of pigs, but it is not harmful to humans. As of Monday, there had been at least 123 reported cases of the disease reported throughout China since August, and it has been detected in other Asian countries as well.

 Apr 11 - U.S. grain trader ADM says to seek early retirements, may cut jobs
U.S. grain trader Archer Daniels Midland Co said on Wednesday it will seek voluntary early retirements by some North American employees and may eliminate individual jobs as part of a restructuring of specific areas. The actions are needed to strengthen ADM's core business and establish the company as a global leader in nutrition, the company said in a statement.

 Apr 11 - U.S. farmers, still reeling from floods, face new storm
U.S. farmers, who have spent the last month sifting through damage left by a storm that flooded more than a million acres of crop land, now face a blizzard ahead of planting season. The storm hit the U.S. Rockies on Wednesday and was forecast to move eastward, threatening to bring as much as 30 inches of snow to western Minnesota and southeast South Dakota and another round of flooding to the Plains states.

 Apr 11 - Argentina grain exchange hikes soy harvest forecast to 56 mln tonnes
Argentina's soy production will likely reach 56 million tonnes for the 2018/2019 season, 2 million tonnes more than previously estimated, the Rosario grains exchange said on Wednesday, a fillip for the sector that was battered by drought last year. Argentina, one of the world's biggest grain exporters, has being buoyed by early season rains followed by drier weather, bolstering yields of the country's main cash crop soy as well as other grains such as corn and wheat.

Apr 11 - Bayer shareholder Deka joins chorus of complaints over Monsanto
One of Bayer's largest shareholders tore into the company's management on Wednesday for underestimating the legal risks of its takeover of Monsanto, setting the stage for a fiery annual general meeting after a 30 percent plunge in the shares. Bayer has seen about 30 billion euros ($34 billion) wiped off its market value since August, when a U.S. jury found Bayer liable because Monsanto had not warned of weedkiller Roundup's alleged cancer risks. It suffered a similar courtroom defeat last month.

Apr 11 - Egypt says re-testing French wheat cargo after initial rejection
Egypt is re-testing a French wheat import cargo after it failed an initial test, a spokesman at the Egyptian agriculture ministry told Reuters on Wednesday. Sources said on Tuesday that a cargo of 63,000 tonnes of French wheat had been rejected at Egypt's Red Sea port of Safaga for exceeding authorised levels of the grain fungus ergot.

 Apr 10 - ADM to make redundancies in North America revamp (AgriCensus)
- Agribusiness major Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) is to offer an unspecified number of employees voluntary redundancy across its US and Canadian operations to “enhance operational agility, maximise productivity and strengthen services to customers,” a spokesperson told Agricensus Wednesday. In a notice to employees, ADM’s president said the company was bracing itself for consolidation in an attempt to capture synergies from recent acquisitions, according to company sources.
“Beyond the planned post-acquisition synergies, there may be some individual positions eliminated as part of the restructuring of specific areas of our organization,” the spokesperson said.
“These actions are necessary to strengthen the core of our business and establish ADM as a global leader in nutrition as we continue to grow and transform our business,” she added. Last month, ADM said its Q1 profits faced a $50-60 million hit caused by the recent floods across the US that has destroyed stocks and silos of grain.
- The current announcement will be the second shake up for ADM in a year.
In March 2018, ADM said it was restructuring operations as it sought to remain competitive in the oversupplied grain markets.
Part of the ABCD agribusiness quartet that includes Bunge, Cargill and Louis Drefyus Companies that dominate trade in food and foodstuffs, ADM has been trying to diversify into other sectors to compensate for poor margins in the grain handling business.
Sources in the grain handling market have told Agricensus that the company may be looking to dispose part of its grain handling business in North America as part of that shake up. A company spokesperson said: “Nothing along those lines was communicated today. This is purely focused on organization actions being taken to support our growing business.”

Apr 10 - USDA raises corn, wheat supply view; trims soybean stocks
The U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday raised its outlook for how much corn will be left in grain elevators ahead of harvest this year due to falling demand from the export, feed and residual and ethanol sectors. The government also boosted its estimate of domestic wheat supplies. But it trimmed its outlook for soybean stocks for the third report in a row.

 Apr 10 - Talks with China to cut ethanol tariffs 'positive' -U.S. agriculture secretary
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that talks with China about reducing Beijing's tariff on U.S. ethanol products were "positive," but cautioned the discussions were not over. "There have been conversations with China on reducing that tariff on ethanol, which would obviously be good for our domestic corn industry," he told reporters. "While things look positive, it's never over till it's over with the Chinese."

Apr 10 - Egypt's GASC buys 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat in direct deal - traders
Egypt's grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC,) bought 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat to replace a shipment of the same origin that was rejected at the port, traders said on Tuesday. The cargo was sold by Ameropa in a direct purchase agreement, they added.

 Apr 10 - Egypt rejects French wheat cargo over ergot fungus level
Egypt has rejected a French wheat shipment for exceeding authorised levels of the grain fungus ergot, sources said on Tuesday, in an echo of problems three years ago over testing rules in the world's biggest wheat importer. The cargo of 63,000 tonnes of French wheat was rejected at Egypt's Red Sea port of Safaga and negotiations were underway to resolve the issue, the sources said.

Apr 10 - Malaysia to provide $1.5 bln in aid to state palm oil firm Felda
Malaysia will provide state-owned palm oil plantation agency Felda with financial aid of 6.23 billion ringgit ($1.52 billion) following a government inquiry into the company whose losses and debt have soared over the past decade. The agency's total liabilities had risen 12-fold over 10 years, from 1.2 billion ringgit in 2007 to 14.4 billion ringgit in 2017, according to a white paper released to parliament on Wednesday that cited poor management and low integrity.

Apr 10 - France sees less sugar beet and rapeseed sowing, more wheat and barley
French farmers are expected to cut sharply their sowings of sugar beet and rapeseed for this year's harvest while increasing the area for soft wheat and barley, the country's farm ministry said on Tuesday. In its first estimate of the 2019 sugar beet area, the ministry pegged sowings at 455,000 hectares, down 6.3 percent from 2018.

Apr 10 - Louis Dreyfus announces new Biosev chairman, other management changes
Commodities house Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) announced a new chairman on Tuesday for its loss-making Brazilian sugar subsidiary Biosev, which has triggered other management changes at the group. Adrian Isman will take over as Chairman of Biosev with immediate effect, replacing Patrick Treuer who will remain on Biosev's board as vice-chairman while focusing on his role as LDC's Chief Strategy Officer, the group said.

 Apr 09 - Indonesia, Malaysia mount protest to EU over palm curbs
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad have signed a joint letter of objection to the European Union over its plan to phase out the use of palm oil in renewable fuel, and sent delegations to complain in Brussels. The letter was sent to the EU over the weekend, said Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs, who also oversees natural resources issues. He declined on Monday to disclose the content of the letter.

 Apr 09 - Egypt working to build 5-6 month supply of strategic commodities - cabinet
Egypt's supply ministry is working to build a five to six month store of strategic commodity reserves, up from three months previously, the cabinet said in a statement. The government is also seeking an abundance of commodities, especially vegetables, meats and fish, the statement said, adding this was reflected in the reduction in prices.

 Apr 09 - Asian buyers bought feed wheat, corn last week from Black Sea
A series of Asian importers last week again purchased an undisclosed volume of feed wheat and corn be sourced from the Black Sea region, European traders said on Monday. New crop Black Sea feed wheat was bought at about $206 to $207 a tonne c&f South East Asia for July, August and September shipment. Shipment was by panamax bulk carrier.

 Apr 09 - Zimbabwe to start paying white farmers compensation after April
Zimbabwe is to start paying compensation this year to thousands of white farmers who lost land under former president Robert Mugabe's land reform nearly two decades ago, the government said, as it seeks to bring closure to a highly divisive issue. Two decades ago Mugabe's government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 black families, arguing it was redressing imbalances from the colonial era.

 Apr 09 - Brazil tribal lands under new threat from farmers, miners
A decade after the Macuxi people won a bloody legal battle to expel rice planters from their reservation in a remote part of Brazil, their hold over ancestral lands has come under threat again from new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The sprawling 1.7 million hectares (6,600 square miles) of savannah on the border with Venezuela — a reservation called Raposa Serra do Sol — is home to 25,000 native people whose main livelihood is raising cattle.

Apr 08 - Brazil weather fires corn crop hopes as 100m mt "absolutely possible"
- Good weather and early planting are firing expectations of a much larger corn crop in Brazil, with some industry sources in the country now anticipating a crop that could reach as high as 100 million mt, market sources have told Agricensus.
“Yes, 100 million mt is on the cards now. We need some weather yet, but I guess 100 million for Brazil and 50 million for Argentina are absolutely possible,” one market source said, warning that the figure was dependent on the right weather for April and May.
- “Today I would say the crop is 100% (in line) considering the best results for yields in the past. Eventually, we must see more than 95 million mt, with the upside potentially of 100 million mt,” a second source said. Most outlooks from national and international agencies are currently congregating around the 94 million mt level, with the USDA currently expecting the total corn harvest to reach 94.5 million mt.
- However, with Brazil’s primary soybean crop planted and harvested early, the country’s critical second crop – the safrinha corn crop – has seen near perfect growing conditions govern its early stages, prompting domestic Brazilian agencies to work privately with much higher figures.
“Our official number is 97 million mt… we have a little weather concern in the north of Parana, but the rest of the crop is going very well. Therefore, I would guess a number between 98 and 99 million mt,” a third market source said. If that is realised, then 100 million mt could well be attained, sources agreed.
- “The safrinha is developing very well, but we still have April and May to go,” Agrural’s Daniele Siqueira told Agricensus, with May likely to see an end to the rains that have helped support expectations of big yields, while some regions may start to experience frosts.
“The crop potential is huge; it was planted earlier than normal which is very good, but we still need to cross the bridge until harvest – and that bridge is not exactly short,” Siqueira said.
- For the most part, Brazil’s first corn crop is expected to deliver around 26 million mt, most of which heads into the domestic feed market.
Key will be the developing second corn crop, which will need to break records if it is to hit the 100 million mt level as the country’s emergence as a soybean superpower has seen the first, domestic corn crop lose ground to burgeoning bean plantings.
“I think 100 million mt is very unlikely… we got close to this amount in the 2016/17 season, where we had a summer crop of 30.4 million and a winter crop of 67.3 million mt,” a fourth source said. “To reach 100 million, we would need a 74 million mt second crop, which would be an all time high,” the source said. “Technology is adding yields every year, but this campaign is coupled with excellent weather conditions… anything is possible,” the second source said.

Apr 08 - Midwest floods hammer U.S. ethanol industry, push some gasoline prices toward 5-year high
The March floods that punished the U.S. Midwest have roiled the ethanol industry, hammering prices and trapping barrels in the country's interior while the U.S. coasts suffer from shortages of the biofuel. The historic March floods have dealt a series of blows to large swaths of an ethanol industry that was already struggling with high inventories and sluggish domestic demand growth.

 Apr 08 - Brazil bridge collapse could affect grain shipments in north
Part of a bridge over the Moju River in Brazil's Para state collapsed early on Saturday, potentially affecting shipment of grains such as soybeans and corn through northern ports, local authorities and an agribusiness consultant said. The bridge fell after it was hit by a boat, Governor Helder Barbalho said on Twitter, where he also posted videos of a large section of the bridge in the water. He said this was not the first time such an accident had occurred.

 Apr 08 - Insects, drought may curb EU rapeseed's recovery from sowing troubles
A mild end to winter has boosted the growth of rapeseed crops in Europe but also led to insect damage and kept some regions dry, limiting prospects for a recovery from a drought-hit sowing campaign, analysts said. Severe drought last year caused a sharp drop in the area sown with rapeseed in the European Union. That has led forecasters to project this summer's EU harvest will be in line with or below a weather-hit 2018 crop of 20 million tonnes that was a six-year low.

 Apr 08 - French rapeseed farmers destroyed 18,000 hectares over GMO risk - Bayer
French farmers destroyed a total of 18,000 hectares of rapeseed, more than double the area initially expected, following the discovery of a non-authorised genetically modified organism (GMO) in seeds, German group Bayer said on Friday. Bayer had announced in February that farmers in France and Germany were turning over thousands of hectares of rapeseed crops after traces of a GMO variety grown in Canada were detected in batches of seed sold in Europe.

 Apr 08 - Brazil soybean sales lag, spurring worries over corn storage space
The sale of Brazilian soybeans has lagged due to a fall in port premiums, raising the prospect for a lack of storage space for the country's winter corn, which is planted after the oilseeds are harvested, according to analysts. Soybean premiums started April at 40 cents per bushel, according to Esalq, the University of Sao Paulo's Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea).

 Apr 08 - Funds show no love for CBOT corn, soy with large U.S. stocks - Braun
Speculators dialed up their bearish bets in Chicago-traded corn and soybeans last week as larger-than-expected U.S. inventories and trade uncertainties between the United States and China took center stage. The negative outlook prevailed across all CBOT grains and oilseeds, including Minneapolis wheat, as the week ended April 2 was just the fourth week on record that money managers held net short positions in each of the seven contracts.

 Apr 08 - Indonesian, Malaysian send joint letter of objection to EU over palm - Indonesian minister
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad have signed a joint letter of objection to the European Union over its plan to phase out the use of palm oil in renewable fuel, an Indonesian official said. The letter was sent to the EU over the weekend, said Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs who also oversees natural resources issues.

 Apr 08 - Novozymes gets more partners for bio-agriculture arm beyond Bayer
Novozymes has signed up two new partners for its biological agriculture business (BioAg), adding to its previously exclusive partnership with German chemicals giant Bayer in a drive to boost growth. The Danish company is the world's largest maker of industrial enzymes and with BioAg produces microbes such as bacteria and fungi to protect plants from pests and help them to grow faster.

Apr 05 - Indian demand pulls Argentina soyoil to 2-week high on palm scare (AgriCensus)
A rally in palm oil prices has rekindled demand for soyoil and driven prices to a two-week high as Indian importers look to switch to cheaper vegoil supplies, market sources have told Agricensus Friday. Malaysian palm oil futures strengthened to their highest level in six weeks on Thursday, with price gains continuing into Friday as survey data showed a strong March export programme had sent palm oil stocks to a four-month low; down nearly 6% on the month.
“Palm was too much undervalued,” a Europe-based broker said, with palm futures adding another 0.8% Friday to close the week 6% higher at MYR2,221/mt ($544.2/mt).
The jump in palm oil prices scared Indian vegoil importers, who turned their attention to Argentinian soyoil. Soyoil trades on a CIF India basis were heard at $680/mt on Thursday, up $25/mt from the start of this week, with offers heard around $685/mt. On the Argentinian side, physical premiums for May loading moved from a 90 point discount to the May Chicago futures on Monday to 40 points under on Thursday, boosting outright prices to $632.75/mt FOB Up River, its highest level in two weeks.
“There is more demand and not much oil left,” an Argentina-based broker said, after local crushers slowed operations on weakening crush margins.
“(Premiums) still look very aggressive... demand is very good in India for bean oil and you can expect new numbers today,” an India-based broker said on Friday.
Flat prices were further supported by a rebound in the underlying futures on the Chicago Board of Trade as the prospect of closing a US-China trade deal raised the possibility of increased US exports to China. A recent strengthening in the Indian rupee has also allowed importers to pick up purchases faster, while the prospects of a weak monsoon might see lower domestic oilseed production, leaving the country more dependent on imports, an India-based source said. The source added that the spread between refined palm oil and refined soyoil in the domestic Indian market has narrowed to $90/mt from $140/mt two weeks ago, meaning that soyoil is relatively cheaply priced compared to palm oil and primed for a price rise. India imports roughly 15 million mt of vegoils a year, with palm oil contributing half that volume, one third soyoil and the balance split between sunoil and rapeseed oil.
Black Sea reacts
Thursday’s activity on the Argentine soyoil market spilled over in the Black Sea sunoil market on Friday, with May loading cargoes hitting a two-week high of $658/mt FOB Chornomorsk.
“With soyoil on CBOT and crude palm oil in Malaysia skyrocketing, I was expecting it,” the Europe-based broker said.
The Black Sea market has been struggling to attract fresh overseas buying interest for sunoil, as palm oil and soyoil prices have been hovering near a three-month low, making sunoil less attractive to Indian importers compared to other vegoils. The last trade heard on a CIF India basis was at $702.5/mt earlier this week before the rally, its lowest level since mid-January.

Apr 05 - Good yields may propel Argentine soy crop over 53 mln tonnes - exchange
Argentina's soy harvest has progressed at a brisk pace over recent days, showing "excellent" yields that could push the crop higher than the currently forecast 53 million tonnes, the Buenos Aires Grains exchange said in a report on Thursday. Average yields were running higher than 4.3 tonnes per hectare in the central Pampas farm belt, the crop report said.

Apr 05 - CBOT soybeans mark one-year anniversary of China’s tariff threat - Braun
One year ago, the U.S. soybean market realized its worst fear: China announced plans to put tariffs on the U.S. oilseed along with a handful of other imports in response to the U.S.-imposed duties on Chinese goods. While market participants knew that the April 4, 2018 announcement was possible, it hardly seemed feasible given China’s historic reliance on U.S. soybeans.

Apr 05 - Cargill names new head of grain trading and processing
Food and agriculture group Cargill Inc has appointed Joe Stone as its new head of agricultural supply chain, effective June 1, the U.S.-based company said on Thursday. David Webster will take over the head of Cargill's feed making animal nutrition business, a role vacated by Stone, Cargill said in a statement.

Apr 05 - Iran reports massive flood damage to farms
Flooding has caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to Iranian agriculture, an official said on Thursday, as the parliament speaker questioned whether government funds would be adequate to compensate communities and farmers. About 1,900 cities and villages have been affected by floods and exceptionally heavy rains since March 19.

Apr 05 - Biotech crops still a sticking point in U.S.-China trade deal - sources
China's lengthy approval process for genetically modified crops remains a sticking point in talks to end the trade war between China and the United States, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks. Beijing has taken years to approve new strains of GM crops, which U.S. companies and farmers have complained stalls trade by restricting the sales of new products from companies such as DowDuPont Inc, Bayer AG, and Syngenta AG.

Apr 05 - Malaysia March palm oil stocks to come in at 5-mth low - Reuters survey
Malaysia's palm oil stockpiles likely dropped during March to less than 3 million tonnes and the lowest mark in five months, according to a Reuters survey, as a hefty jump in exports outpaced production gains. March inventories in Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer and exporter, are expected to have fallen 6.4 percent from February to 2.85 million tonnes, the lowest since October 2018, based on the median estimate of eight planters, traders and analysts polled by Reuters.

Apr 05 - U.S. 'clamoring for avocados' after Trump threat to shut Mexico border
U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to shut the border with Mexico are now affecting what some might argue is the softest spot in bilateral relations - avocados. Fearing that a border lockdown would prevent Mexico from shipping the 80 percent of avocados that the United States consumes, processors and wholesalers have started stockpiling the prized fruit used in guacamole or as spread on toast.

Apr 05 - Indonesia blocks EU spirits, link seen to palm oil spat - industry
European spirits makers say they are facing difficulties exporting drinks to Indonesia amid tension after Jakarta said it was unhappy with an EU decision that palm oil should not be considered a green fuel. SpiritsEurope, which represents major European spirits makers and national associations, said on Thursday it had learnt from members with business in Indonesia that they were suffering delays in securing approval to import EU products into the country.

Apr 05 - World food prices steady in March - UN FAO
World food prices were broadly steady in March, with a jump in dairy prices offset by drops in cereal, vegetable oil and sugar price quotations, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) food price index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 167.0 points last month up from 166.8 in February.

Apr 04 - A U.S.-Mexico border closure would cause giant headache for agriculture - Braun
As if the ongoing trade war with China is not enough, the U.S. agriculture market is now uneasy over a potential border closure with vital agriculture trading partner Mexico as immigration issues continue to flare in Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump, who has taken a tough stance on immigration, threatened last week to close the southern border if Mexico did not stop migrant caravans from reaching the United States.

Apr 04 - Brazil can sell China more pork with swine fever outbreak - BRF
Brazil is in a position to step up pork exports to China where an African swine fever outbreak has become a "transformational event" for the global meat industry, Pedro Parente, chief executive of Brazilian food processor BRF SA, said on Wednesday. The increase would depend on plants in Brazilian states other than Santa Catarina in the south getting certified, he said at a conference. BRF only has one unit in Brazil authorized to sell pork to China, he added.

Apr 04 - China has not escalated canola seed dispute with Canada - Ottawa
China has not escalated a dispute with Canada over the export of canola seeds and comments by the Canadian farm minister on the matter have been misunderstood, an agriculture ministry official said on Wednesday. China - embroiled in a major diplomatic dispute with Ottawa - has blocked imports from two major Canadian exporters and on Tuesday Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said a third company had received a Chinese notice of non-compliance.

Apr 04 - Australian takeover target GrainCorp to split business, spin off malting arm
Australian takeover target GrainCorp Ltd said on Thursday it plans to separate in two, spinning off and listing its global malting business which contributed over half the company's earnings last year. At the same time, GrainCorp said it continues to engage with suitors, including Long-Term Asset Partners (LTAP), a little known asset manager that last year made an unsolicited A$2.38 billion ($1.69 billion) takeover bid for the grains group.

Apr 04 - IEG Vantage sees U.S. winter wheat harvest at 1.276 bln bushels - trade
Private analytics firm IEG Vantage, formerly known as Informa Economics IEG, projected the U.S. winter wheat harvest for the 2019/20 marketing year at 1.276 billion bushels, trade sources said on Wednesday. The firm raised its forecast of Brazil's 2018/19 corn harvest to 94.5 million tonnes, up 500,000 tonnes from its previous figure, and estimated Brazil's soybean crop at 114.5 million tonnes, they said.

Apr 04 - Jordan issues new tender to buy 120,000 tonnes wheat
Jordan's state grain buyer has issued an international tender to buy 120,000 tonnes of milling wheat which can be sourced from optional origins, European traders said on Wednesday. Tender deadline is April 9.

Apr 04 - Ukraine 2018/19 grain exports at 38.3 mln tonnes so far
Ukraine's grain exports have reached 38.3 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season compared with 31 million tonnes at the same point last season, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70 million tonnes of grain last year, up from about 61 million tonnes in 2017.

Apr 04 - Tyson unit recalls 20,000 pounds of frozen beef patties
Tyson Foods Inc is recalling about 20,000 pounds of ready-to-eat beef patties due to plastic contamination, marking its third major product recall this year. A Tyson unit, AdvancePierre Foods, is recalling 'fully cooked flame broiled beef patties' after two consumers complained about soft purple plastic in the product, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service said on Tuesday. The USDA categorized the recall as 'Class II', which indicates a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.

Apr 03 - REUTERS TECHNICAL ANALYSIS Q2 OUTLOOK 2019 - WANG TAO

Oil and spot gold may extend gains moderately in Q2 before reversing the uptrend. Palm oil is expected to complete a corrective cycle by approaching a key resistance at 2,398 ringgit again.  Grains and cocoa are bullish, while base metals and the peaking spot palladium look very bearish. Special attention is drawn to dollar index which is poised to soar. To read the full report, click here.

Apr 03 - Canada says third canola exporter has run into trouble in China
Chinese authorities have filed a quality complaint against a third Canadian exporter of canola, Canada's agriculture minister said on Tuesday, potentially deepening a trade and diplomatic dispute between Beijing and Ottawa. Early last month, China cited the discovery of pests as the reason for blocking shipments of canola seed from Richardson International.

Apr 03 - Current U.S. corn, soy supply calls for record use in coming months -Braun
There is no shortage of corn and soybeans in the United States right now, which is why record use of both in the next several months will be necessary to meet current year-end supply forecasts from the government. Skepticism over whether this is possible is valid, given some of the major demand hurdles as of late. Digging into the numbers more closely should ease some of the concerns, though record use might prove more challenging for corn than soybeans.

Apr 03 - Brazil ports linked to Bunge, Cargill seek lower Panama Canal fees
Brazilian port operators including units of global grain traders Cargill Ltd and Bunge Ltd will unveil a proposal this week to lower Panama Canal tariffs and cut their costs in shipping agricultural commodities to their main market China. They will argue that at current tariffs, shipping grains from Brazil's northern ports via the Cape of Good Hope is almost $206,000 cheaper on a per-ship basis than using the Canal, despite the shorter distance.

Apr 03 - In Egypt, rice import samples are judged in the kitchen
With steaming plates of rice and freshly sliced apples on the side, a group of Cairo-based food scientists work in their lab to decide whether the foreign grains will suit Egyptian palates. The scientists cook and taste samples of rice on offer at state tenders before they are accepted. The process, which began late last year, has so far eliminated Indian origin rice and approved of Chinese and Vietnamese offers.

Apr 03 - Bayer board says pursuit of Monsanto was done diligently
Bayer's non-executive board reaffirmed its support for top management's decision to acquire seed maker Monsanto last year, after losing high-profile lawsuits to U.S. plaintiffs who claimed Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller caused their cancer. In documents posted on the company's website on Monday, the non-executive supervisory board said an expert opinion it commissioned from lawfirm Linklaters found that Bayer's management had complied with their duties when acquiring Monsanto for $63 billion last year.

Apr 03 - EPA waits on DOE input to process small refinery waivers for 2018 from U.S. biofuel law
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is waiting to receive input from the Department of Energy to process 2018 applications exempting small refineries from U.S. biofuel laws, the agency's administrator Andrew Wheeler said on Tuesday. Speaking at a hearing at the House Appropriations Committee, Wheeler said he expected to receive the DOE input over the next couple of days and would process the applications "on a timely basis." "As far as the 2018 applications we have not received the official applications from DOE yet," Wheeler said at the hearing about EPA's budget.

Apr 03 - Russian poultry group Cherkizovo in talks to buy rival Prioskolie - sources
Russian poultry producer Cherkizovo Group is in talks to buy major local rival Prioskolie, two industry sources and an official in Belgorod, one of the country's leading agricultural regions, told Reuters. A deal would cement Cherkizovo's position as the largest producer of poultry meat in Russia.
"The process (of talks) has been going on for a long time," the official, who asked not to be identified, said. The sources did not disclose a value for the deal if it goes ahead.

Apr 03 - Jordan buys 60,000 tonnes hard wheat in tender - trade
Jordan's state grains buyer purchased 60,000 tonnes of hard milling wheat to be sourced from optional origins in a tender for up to 120,000 tonnes which closed on Tuesday, traders said. It was bought at $222.50 a tonne c&f for shipment in the first half of September. Seller was trading house CHS.

Apr 03 - Prices for whole milk powder ease on lower global demand
Global dairy prices rose for the ninth time in a row at an auction on Wednesday but prices for whole milk powder, the most-traded item, edged down due to lower demand. The GDT Price Index climbed 0.8 percent, with an average selling price of $3,483 per tonne, in the sale held in the early hours of the morning. That was a slowdown in pace from the 1.9 percent jump at the previous auction.

Apr 02 - Brazil first quarter soybean exports surge 30% (AgriCensus)
- Brazil exported 17.2 million mt of soybeans over the January-March period, an increase on the 13.2 million mt exported over the same period last year because of an earlier harvest this year. The most apparent gains were made in February when exports more than doubled year-on-year to 6.1 million mt. Brazil exported 8.96 million mt of soybeans during March, up almost 2% from the same month last year, government data shows. Volumes in March are typically higher than the first two months of the year as the harvest picks-up pace hitting a peak in April and May.
- The year-on-year increase in March was due to an earlier harvest alongside heavy rainfall in some states that affected the pace of progress for most of the month. But analysts have said dryer weather toward the end of the month prevented a decline in production and continuing dry weather could result in better yields in April as the southernmost states increase planting, putting pressure on farmers to sell more beans.
- Official estimates suggest Brazil will export 70 million mt of soybeans this year, down sharply from the 84 million mt exported last year. For corn, exports over the first quarter totalled close to 6.9 million mt, up 41% on the first quarter of last year when exports totalled 4.9 million mt.  Exported volumes over March totalled 891,900 mt, up 47% on March 2018's volume of 605,300 mt volume but down on February and January's totals of 1.75 million mt and 4.22 millon mt respectively.

Apr 02 - U.S. disaster aid won't cover crops drowned by Midwest floods
The Black Hawk military helicopter flew over Iowa, giving a senior U.S. agriculture official and U.S. senator an eyeful of the flood damage below, where yellow corn from ruptured metal silos spilled out into the muddy water. And there's nothing the U.S. government can do about the millions of bushels of damaged crops here under current laws or disaster-aid programs, U.S. Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey told a Reuters reporter who joined the flight.

 Apr 02 - China books fresh deal for 828,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans
U.S. exporters sold 828,000 tonnes of soybeans to China, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Monday, the second sale announced since the two countries concluded their latest round of negotiations last week to end their trade war. The USDA, in its daily reporting system, said that private exporters indicated the deal was for the 2018/19 marketing year, which ends on Aug. 31.

 Apr 02 - Brazil 1st-qtr soy, corn exports surpass year-ago levels
Brazilian exports of soybeans and corn in the first quarter were larger than seen in the same period a year earlier, data released on Monday by the country's economy ministry shows. Brazil shipped 8.95 million tonnes of soybeans in March, more than the 8.81 million tonnes in the same month last year, leading total exports in the quarter to 17.2 million tonnes. Soy exports in the first quarter of 2018 reached 13.2 million tonnes.

 Apr 02 - Former Louis Dreyfus boss was ousted after Glencore overture - FT
The previous chief executive of crop merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) was ousted after trying to start talks with Glencore Agriculture and other rivals, the Financial Times reported on Monday. LDC, one of the world's largest agricultural commodity traders, announced last September the surprise departure of Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena, along with that of its finance chief, the latest in a series of management reshuffles under controlling shareholder Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

 Apr 02 - Hunger stalks Mozambique after deadly cyclone destroys farmland
Fulai Joaquim has enough food to feed his 10 children for another week, maybe two. Then, he says, it is in the hands of God. A cyclone ripped his cassava crop from the ground, leaving the roots to rot in the field, and the floods that followed washed away his maize.

 Apr 02 - Indonesia Feb palm oil exports rise 17 pct y/y - GAPKI
Indonesia's palm and palm kernel oil exports in February rose 16.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.77 million tonnes, the Indonesia Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) said in a statement on Tuesday. On a monthly basis, shipments dropped almost 11 percent in February, which the association said was due to fewer working days in the month.

Apr 01 - NOFI buys more corn as Korea looks to wrap up October imports (AgriCensus)
- South Korea’s feed sector has capitalised on last week’s huge falls in corn prices in a spate of fresh buying, led by the country’s biggest manufacturer returning to secure more corn via tender. Glencore was said to have sold to NOFI at $189.82/mt for 69,000 mt, with the cargo to arrive by October 25, according to market sources. The move comes on the back of NOFI picking up 140,000 mt of corn on Friday and MFG buying privately from Cargill, before a bearish data release saw corn prices shed close to $0.20/bu.
- Market sources anticipate a burst of private buying following this tender, with the country poised to wrap up its October import needs perhaps by the middle of the week, as Monday’s tender took buying to 398,000 mt in a matter of days. Two additional deals were said to have followed the Friday NOFI tender, with negotiations continuing long into the night as corn prices collapsed after the USDA revealed a big switch towards corn in its planting update and the third largest corn stock levels ever. FLC and KFA picked up cargoes privately, according to market sources, with FLC buying from Cofco at $191.49/mt for October 20 arrival, and KFA buying 65,000 mt corn for delivery into Incheon at $188.50/mt for October 30 arrival.
“All buyers will cover the balance of their October arrival feed corn within the next three days,” one market source told Agricensus on Monday.
South Korea needs to import around 10.2 million mt of corn according to the USDA’s 2018/19 estimate – with feed corn accounting for around 8 million mt.
- Major price falls through February and March drove the country’s four main manufacturers – NOFI, MFG, KFA, and FLC – to pick up 2.4 million mt in six weeks, through a combination of tenders and private deals. Corn processing association KOCOPIA also picked up a further 130,000 mt at tender, taking the buying to a quarter of the country’s total import needs in a concentrated buying burst.
“This price fall will definitely attract other buying groups to consider buying and fix cheaper corn... to fill up October arrival,” a second market source said.
“Since the speed of corn purchasing is already faster than normal years, I don’t see that they will buy as they did in February and early March,” the source warned.

Apr 01 - More than 1 million acres of U.S. cropland ravaged by floods
At least 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of U.S. farmland were flooded after the "bomb cyclone" storm left wide swaths of nine major grain producing states under water this month, satellite data analyzed by Gro Intelligence for Reuters showed. Farms from the Dakotas to Missouri and beyond have been under water for a week or more, possibly impeding planting and damaging soil. The floods, which came just weeks before planting season starts in the Midwest, will likely reduce corn, wheat and soy production this year.

 Apr 01 - Funds cover CBOT shorts but retreat on heavy USDA data - Braun
Speculators began to cover massive short positions in Chicago-traded grains and oilseed futures last week, but they were sent back to their bearish ways with weighty supply numbers from the U.S. government on Friday. It is somewhat unusual for funds to build such large shorts just ahead of the all-important U.S. corn and soybean growing season, but swelling domestic stockpiles mean there is a larger cushion than before.

 Apr 01 - Brazil's JBS says profits will be stronger this year
JBS SA executives said on Friday the Brazilian meat company will deliver higher earnings in 2019 on strong demand for beef in the United States and Australia as well as growing Chinese demand for various proteins. Still, first-quarter results will reflect lower cattle availability in the United States due to rains and a severe winter, which affected the company's beef and pork plants, they said.

Apr 01 - Zimbabwe has up to seven months' supply of grain, after drought damage - official
Zimbabwe has up to seven months' supply of the staple maize after drought ravaged crops and it needs to start importing grain now to avert shortages, the secretary for agriculture said on Friday. Besides the El Niño-induced drought, Zimbabwe was also hit by a cyclone, which devastated the eastern parts of the country, sweeping away what remained of the crop in the area.

 Mar 29 - Futures crash 4% as US corn plantings surge 4% on trade war (AgriCensus)
- Corn futures crashed on Friday after it emerged that the grain will be planted on 92.8 million acres across the US in the next marketing year, up 4% on the previous year to hit a three-year high and 1.5 million acres more than a poll by analysts had suggested.
The rise in corn plantings came at the expense of soybean acreage, which fell far more than analysts expected at 84.6 million acres, down 5% on the year and compares with analyst expectations of 86.2 million acres. Corn futures fell 4% to a contract low of $3.58/bu on the prospect of rising US stocks at the end of the next crop year in August 2020, and which comes in a globally supply-laden market.
The rise in planted acreage far outweighed a 3% fall in corn stocks on March 1, which stood at 8.6 billion bushels (218 million mt). The trade was expecting a much bigger decline.
- Meanwhile, soybean futures largely flatlined, despite a greater cut in planted acreage than anticipated, while March 1 stocks were largely in line with trade estimates at 2.7 billion bu (73 million mt). The stock levels are the biggest on record for soybeans at the start of the planting season, and the third largest for corn.
- Those figures will likely feed into the next WASDE report and come amid surging global corn crops in Ukraine, Argentina and Brazil.
The survey, which is released annually, was conducted in the first two weeks of March and there is still some uncertainty around how much the planting intentions were impacted by floods that affected large areas of the Midwest earlier this month.
“So our producers get a card in the mail and are asked: What are your intentions as of March 1. The problem is they have a couple weeks to respond,” said Terry Reilly, an analyst at Futures International, adding it is unclear whether the actual planted figure will rise or shrink from this level.
- The corn market has been anticipating a rise in planted area with traders pointing to anything over 92 million acres as extremely bearish for the market. This year farmers are looking to unwind a significant shift from corn to soybean acres due to an ongoing trade war between the US and China that has wiped $1.50/bu off soybean prices. And with doubts lingering over whether US state support in the form of the Market Facilitation Program will continue next year, many farmers are preferring to plant corn despite the global outlook for rising supply. The collapse in futures is good news for investment funds who had built up record short positions in the corn markets. However, those positions should limit falls further, sources said.

Mar 29 - Canada takes tougher line with China on canola ban, demands evidence
Canada on Thursday took a notably tougher line with China over its ban on Canadian imports of canola seed, saying Beijing had provided no scientific evidence to justify the move and was hurting its own reputation. China, citing the discovery of pests, expanded its ban on canola seed imports on Tuesday to include shipments from a second major exporter, Viterra Inc.

 Mar 29 - China buys more U.S. soybeans as trade talks kick off - traders
Chinese state-owned firms bought about 1.5 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Thursday for shipment in July and August, in their second major purchase of U.S. supplies this month, three traders with knowledge of the deals said. The purchases come as U.S. and Chinese officials meet in Beijing for negotiations aimed at ending a protracted trade war between the two economic giants that has slashed U.S. commodity exports to China, most notably soybeans.

 Mar 29 - Brazil soybean forecast revised upward as crop tour ends - Agroconsult
Brazilian farmers are expected to collect 118 million tonnes of soybeans in the 2018-19 season, agribusiness consultancy Agroconsult said on Thursday, as higher yields in Brazil's new agricultural frontier of Matopiba and in Rio Grande do Sul state bolstered crop prospects. Last month, Agroconsult had forecast output at 116.4 million tonnes, and the revised figures reflect findings of a crop tour of the country's top producing regions that started in January and ended earlier this month.

 Mar 29 - Argentina 2018-19 corn crop forecast raised to 46 mln tonnes -e xchange
Argentina's 2018-19 corn harvest is estimated at 46 million tonnes, the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange said in a report on Thursday, citing higher-than-expected yields as its reason for raising its forecast from a previous 45 million tonnes. Good weather on Argentina's Pampas farm belt has benefited both corn and soy crops in the 2018-19 crop year.

 Mar 29 - USDA data may hold higher stakes for corn than soybeans - Braun
Corn might be best poised to lead any moves in Chicago-traded futures on Friday when the U.S. government publishes planting and stocks data, as the current supply situation for the crop is more precarious than that of soybeans. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its annual prospective plantings report along with quarterly grain stocks on Friday at noon EDT (1600 GMT), and these reports have historically produced large moves in CBOT markets.

 Mar 29 - Cargill Q3 profit jumps 14 pct; cost cuts offset swine fever, trade war
Grains trader Cargill Inc on Thursday reported a 14 percent jump in fiscal third-quarter 2019 net earnings, as spending cuts buoyed profits that were weighed down by factors as varied as the U.S.-China trade war, swine fever in Asian hogs and slumping U.S. ethanol prices. The Minnesota-based food commodities firm, the largest privately-held U.S. company, reported a slump in revenues for all four business units.

 Mar 29 - IGC sees global grains stocks falling in 2019/20
The International Grains Council (IGC) on Thursday forecast that grains stocks would fall further in the 2019/20 season with an anticipated rise in both wheat and corn production insufficient to satisfy record demand. The inter-governmental body, issuing its first full set of supply and demand projections for 2019/20, saw total stocks of grain falling by 29 million tonnes in the season to 575 million tonnes following a 44 million tonne drawdown in 2018/19.

 Mar 29 - EU risks "trade war" with Malaysia over palm oil - Mahathir
The European Union risks opening up a trade war with Malaysia over its "grossly unfair" policies aimed at reducing the use of palm oil, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday. This month, the European Commission concluded that palm oil cultivation results in excessive deforestation and its use in transport fuel should be phased out by 2030.

 Mar 29 - Brazil's JBS swings to profit in Q4 but misses estimates
Brazil's JBS SA posted fourth-quarter results that missed analysts' estimates due to challenges at its U.S. chicken and pork businesses, according to a securities filing on Thursday. The meat company, which has large operations in the United States aside from Brazil and Australia, reported a net profit of 563.2 million reais ($144.43 million), reversing a 451.7 million reais loss in the 2017 fourth quarter.

 Mar 29 - Bayer shares sag after U.S. jury verdict in Roundup cancer trial
Bayer AG shares sank to their lowest in almost seven years on Thursday after a U.S. jury awarded $80 million to a man who claimed use of the group's weed killer Roundup caused his cancer, with thousands of similar lawsuits looming. The jury in San Francisco federal court on Wednesday found Bayer liable because its Monsanto unit did not warn plaintiff Edwin Hardeman of the herbicide's alleged cancer risks.

 Mar 29 - DowDupont cuts sales forecast as Midwest floods hit agri division
DowDuPont Inc cut its forecast for first-quarter sales on Thursday, citing the impact of U.S. Midwest floods on its agri business as well as weakness in its packaging and specialty plastics division. Record floods have devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states, idling ethanol plants, slowing rail shipments of agricultural products and swamping storage bins holding grain from previous harvests.

Mar 28 - Egypt’s GASC buys 84,500 mt of vegoils as prices fall (AgriCensus)
- Egypt’s state buyer GASC bought 84,500 mt at tender on Thursday – its single largest volume in over a year – as global vegoil prices hover near two-month lows, market sources told Agricensus. After skipping buying sunoil at its earlier March tender, GASC bought 32,000 mt at a price of $694/mt CFR Egypt, over $10/mt cheaper than the most competitive offer earlier in the month, and $4/mt cheaper than what it paid in February. The volumes were split between two suppliers, with Aston supplying 17,000 mt and Hakan Agro the balance. It also bought 52,500 mt of soyoil with 30,000 mt of overseas product supplied by ADM at a price of $676.5/mt CFR, down $8.5/mt from its January tender when it last bought imported soyoil.
The balance of the soyoil volume was supplied domestically at a price of EGP11,750/mt ($678/mt) down from the price of EGP12,460/mt ($713/mt) it paid at its previous tender. Alex Seeds supplied 12,000 mt with 10,500 mt supplied by Wataniya/Cargill.
- All volumes are for arrival May 1-20, apart from the overseas soyoil supplied by ADM which has a longer arrival period of May 1-31

Mar 28 - After drought and floods, Afghanistan confronts critical harvest Afghanistan's summer harvest will be one of the most critical in years, especially of wheat, its biggest cereal crop, as the country recovers from floods and the worst drought in decades, government and aid organization officials say. Ample snow and rain during winter partly replenished soil moisture and raised hopes for a better wheat crop, which is a food source for rural families who turn their harvested grain into bread.Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - Sow herd falls 41 pct in major China hog region on disease outbreak
Stocks of breeding pigs in a major Chinese hog producing region plunged 41 percent in the seven months to February, provincial authorities said, underlining fears about a hit to pork supplies from an epidemic of deadly African swine fever. The drop covered key farms in Shandong province, northern China's biggest producer of hogs, according to a report published earlier this week on the website of the provincial husbandry and veterinary bureau. Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - U.S. corn export outlook a bit less sunny as S. American crops rebound - Braun
The 2018-19 marketing year has so far been the busiest for U.S. corn shippers in more than a decade, but the export pace in the final few months of the season might turn out to be less exciting. U.S. corn exports have been very healthy since about one year ago, when the harvest of competitor Argentina shrank 22 percent from a year earlier due to historic drought. Unfavorable weather had also reduced Brazil’s total corn crop by 17 percent on the year. Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - U.S. jury says Bayer must pay $80 mln to man in Roundup cancer trial
A U.S. jury on Wednesday awarded $80 million to a man who claimed his use of Bayer AG's glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup caused his cancer, in the latest legal setback for the company facing thousands of similar lawsuits. The jury in San Francisco federal court said the company was liable for plaintiff Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - Brazil second corn crop bolstered by good weather - Reuters poll
Brazil's second corn crop, which is planted after soybeans are harvested, will rise significantly from the previous cycle thanks to beneficial weather and a bigger planted area, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. According to the average estimate of 10 forecasters, Brazil may harvest 66.22 million tonnes of second-crop corn in the 2018-19 season, or 22.9 percent above 2017-18, when adverse weather conditions slashed yields. Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - Indonesia threatens to quit Paris climate deal over palm oil
A senior Indonesian minister warned on Wednesday Southeast Asia's biggest economy could consider exiting the Paris climate deal if the European Union goes ahead with a plan to phase out palm oil in renewable transportation fuel. Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, has lashed out at the EU after the bloc classified palm oil as a risky crop that caused significant deforestation and ruled that its use in renewable fuel should stop by 2030. Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - India's monsoon should be robust provided no El Nino surprise - top govt forecaster
 

India's monsoon, crucial for Asia's third largest economy, is likely to be a robust and healthy one this year provided there isn't a surprise El Nino phenomenon, Indian's top government weather official said on Wednesday. Monsoon rains, the lifeblood for India's farm-dependent $2.6 trillion economy, arrive on the southern tip of Kerala state around June 1 and retreat from the desert state of Rajasthan by September. Click here to read full stories

Mar 28 - Brazil soybean crop seen at 114.24 mln tonnes as drought eases -poll
Brazil's 2018-19 soybean crop will total just above 114 million tonnes as the return of rains in February helped stem losses caused by a drought earlier in the season, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. Brazil, the world's largest soybean exporter, was initially expected to produce more than 120 million tonnes of soybeans in the current season after an expansion of the planted area to 36 million hectares. Click here to read full stories

Mar 27 - As peso hits record low, Arg. farmers may still sit on beans (AgriCensus)
The recent slump in the value of the Argentine peso versus the US dollar is pushing export prices of soybeans in pesos to the highest they have been in almost six months, Agricensus data shows. Rising inflation pushed the value of the peso to a record low of 42.65 versus the dollar on Tuesday, which has in turn underpinned a rise in the value of soybeans in the domestic currency. According to Agricensus data, the price of soybeans loaded on to vessels in the Up River complex were $330.25/mt on Tuesday, but in peso terms that equates to ARS14.095/mt - the highest since September.
However, trade sources were split as to whether this would increase farmer selling, which is currently very low. One market source said he expected the upcoming harvest combined with the weaker peso to see farmers price more of their crop, but other sources were less optimistic.
"I expect by far more corn selling and pricing than beans ... farmers hold on tight to their beans since they know how to make money with crushers needs. Farmers finance their activity selling grains... [so] beans at this prices (very low) should not be sold by them," a second market source said.
In South American countries, farmers tend to contract the beans and price them at a later date. Official Argentine government data released for the period up to 13 March supports this trend, showing that of 8.7 million mt exported this marketing year, less than a quarter (2.01 million mt) had so far been priced. But this data also shows a similar trend for corn. Only 13% of the 2017/2018's 23.7 million mt harvest has been priced as of 13 March.
Soybean prices in Argentina have slumped over recent months as Chinese buying interest has dissipated, as a thaw in trade relations with the US has seen state-owned buyers purchase 12 million mt of American beans since December.

Mar 27 - China widens ban on Canadian canola imports to second firm, Viterra

China expanded its ban on Canadian canola seed imports on Tuesday to include shipments from Viterra Inc, the latest development in a wider trade dispute between the two countries. Viterra is the second canola exporter to have its registration cancelled, after Beijing halted shipments from top exporter Richardson International earlier this month.  Click here to read full stories.

Mar 27 - Ten more Brazilian states' soy growers join Bayer patent dispute

Soy producer associations in 10 Brazilian states have filed a legal petition to join with growers from Mato Grosso state and get Bayer to deposit royalties related to a soy seed technology into an escrow account, according to a document seen by Reuters. Mato Grosso growers have sued agribusiness giant Bayer following its acquisition last year of U.S.-based Monsanto Co. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 27 - After devastating floods, U.S. Midwest farms need more than 'paper towels' to recover

Missouri farmer Richard Oswald needs a lot of help to recover from flooding that left his home and farm looking like a manmade island in an inland sea. Relief groups are giving tetanus shots and handing out free meals and cleaning supplies near his farm in the Langdon-Rock Port area, about 100 miles (161 km) northwest of Kansas City. But what Oswald really needs is money. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 27 - COFCO Int'l aims to double grain purchases in Black Sea region

COFCO International plans to double its grain purchases in the Black Sea region as part of a global expansion to help serve markets beyond China, the chairman of the Chinese-owned agricultural trading group said on Tuesday. The Black Sea region has become a major supply hub for staple crops, with Russia now the world's largest wheat exporter and Ukraine one of the biggest corn exporters. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 27 - Czechs end mandatory inspections of beef imported from Poland
The Czech government will stop testing of all beef imported from Poland as of Wednesday, the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday. The Czechs ordered mandatory checks of all beef from Poland in February after discovering salmonella in one shipment from the neighbouring EU country. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 26 - Heavy N.Dakota snows threaten wheat planting in latest U.S. weather woes A blanket of heavy, wet snow covering most of North Dakota, the top U.S. wheat state, threatens to delay planting of spring wheat in another blow to a U.S. farm belt already facing billions of dollars in damage from flooding. Farmers from Missouri to South Dakota have seen their corn and soybean fields flooded by swollen rivers as winter snow melts, a sign of what may be in store for North Dakota when temperatures warm. Click here to read full stories.

  Mar 26 - Grains trader ADM says U.S. floods to cut Q1 operating profit by $50-$60 mln Flooding and severe winter weather in the U.S. Midwest will reduce Archer Daniels Midland Co's  first-quarter operating profit by $50 million to $60 million, the U.S. grains trader said on Monday. Record floods have devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states. Click here to read full stories.

  Mar 26 - Funds keep record short bets in CBOT corn despite U.S. flooding - Braun Speculators were not spooked out of their record bearish bets last week in Chicago-traded corn, even as rising flood waters in the U.S. Midwest added to market concerns that farmers would delay or reduce corn plantings. In partial defense of the stubbornly bearish investors, the true extent of the flooding only started to emerge in the middle of last week, as it became clear that corn planting will probably be disrupted in key parts of the U.S. Corn Belt.  Click here to read full stories. 

 Mar 26 - Indonesia pushes palm companies to take legal action against the EU Indonesia's government said on Monday it will encourage the country's palm oil companies to file lawsuits against the European Union if the bloc goes ahead with a plan to phase out use of the commodity in renewable transport fuel. Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, has strongly condemned the EU move to classify palm as a crop that causes deforestation that should be phased out by 2030 in transport fuel under the bloc's Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). Click here to read full stories.

  Mar 26 - Fed is monitoring increase in problem farm loans - Bowman The U.S. agricultural economy appears stable but the Federal Reserve is monitoring an increase in problem loans, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said on Monday. Bowman said farmland values remained at "exceptionally high levels," a factor which has helped farmers keep access to credit. But weakness in commodity prices and farm incomes point to risks, she said. Click here to read full stories.

  Mar 26 - South Africa's 2019 maize crop seen down 16 pct on drought conditions
South Africa is likely to harvest 16 percent less maize in 2019 compared with the previous season after drought delayed plantings, a Reuters poll showed on Monday. The government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which will provide its second production forecast for the 2019 crop on Tuesday, is seen pegging the harvest at 10.482 million tonnes, down from the 12.510 million tonnes in the 2017/2018 season, the poll six traders and market analysts showed. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 25 - China buys most U.S. corn in 5-1/2 years as trade war persists Chinese importers booked their largest U.S. corn purchase in at least 5-1/2 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Friday, a rare sale of the grain in the middle of the U.S.-China trade war. The USDA, via its daily reporting system, said private exporters sold 300,000 tonnes of the grain for shipment in the 2018/19 marketing year, which ends on Aug. 31. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 25 - Canada optimistic about making progress to end China canola ban - PM Canada is optimistic it can make progress this year in talks to persuade China to allow imports of Canadian canola seed to resume, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, even as tensions between Ottawa and Beijing reach new highs. Trudeau spoke hours after an industry group said Chinese importers had stopped buying Canadian canola, addingthat purchases from the major customer were not expected to resume anytime soon. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 25 - Louis Dreyfus results to gauge turnaround effort, trade-war fallout Louis Dreyfus Company will be in the spotlight next week as its annual results indicate whether it has recovered from a bruising period in agricultural commodities and how well the firm has managed the fallout from a U.S.-China trade dispute. LDC, known as Dreyfus, is the 'D' of the so-called ABCD quartet of global farming merchants alongside Archer Daniels Midland Bunge and Cargill. They each handle tens of millions of tonnes of crops every year. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 25 - Bayer CEO says his team retains backing of supervisory board - report Bayer's management retains the backing of its supervisory board, its chief executive said, after pressure on the company increased when a second jury in the United States ruled its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Bayer, which denies allegations that glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer, acquired Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, for $63 billion last year. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 25 - Farm Futures survey sees more U.S. corn acres in 2019, fewer soy U.S. farmers are likely to plant a 90.9 million acres (36.78 milion hectares)of corn in 2019, up about 2 percent from the previous year, and 85.9 million acres (34.76 million hectares) of soybeans, down nearly 4 percent, according to a Farm Futures survey of nearly 1,000 growers released on Friday. The plantings survey, conducted by email from March 4 to March 21, projected U.S. all-wheat plantings for harvest in 2019 at 45.9 million acres (18.57 million hectares). Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 25 - Brazil agribusiness group seeks bankruptcy protection - letter
Privately owned Brazilian agribusiness group Itaquere has filed for bankruptcy protection to restructure 482 million reais ($127 million) of debt, according to a letter from management seen by Reuters. In the letter dated March 21, the group, based in Brazil's top grains state Mato Grosso, blames a prolonged economic crisis, along with adverse climate conditions and currency swings, for its financial woes. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 22 - USDA confirms Thursday's reports China bought US corn (AgriCensus)
- The USDA said Friday that Chinese buyers purchased 300,000 mt of US corn, confirming reports that state-owned agribusiness Cofco was buying barges in the US Gulf and trains to ports in the Pacific Northwest. The purchase comes after weeks of rumours that China’s government could source large volumes of corn to appease US demands to address the trade balance ahead of a new trade deal.
- The price of barges surged by 5c/bu ($2/mt) on Thursday before easing back down as Cofco snapped up parcels, according to market sources. News of the purchases sent corn futures to their highest level in more than two weeks. “Cofco Chicago is buying barges out of the US Gulf (for April/May delivery pushing prices) up 6 c/bu ($2.40/mt). Also buying May PNW trains. Heard 111 (C/bu over May futures) traded,” said one market source on Thursday.
- It is unclear whether the purchases by Cofco are part of a wider state-sponsored buying scheme, although market sources point out that there are cheaper alternative origins for corn. "We have not seen a sale of more than 300,000 mt to China in years," said Terry Reilly, a market analyst with Futures International.

Mar 22 - China urges subsidies to help disease-hit pig farms restock

China has urged rural governments to offer temporary subsidies to pig breeding farms and large-scale producers to help stabilise hog production, as fears grow about the impact of a severe disease outbreak on pork supplies. Factory prices for pork, by far the country's most popular meat, have jumped sharply in recent weeks, while official figures show the size of the country's pig herd has slumped by nearly 17 percent on a year ago. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 22 - Grain markets walled off from flood impacts by mountains of supplies
A massive supply of grains has shielded the futures markets from the impact of flooding in the U.S. Midwest so far, with traders largely shrugging off this week's reports of destroyed storage bins, swamped elevators and questions about if waters will recede in time for planting. The problem is grain glut that has long weighed over commodities markets, said Tom Grisafi, a market advisor at commodity brokerage Advance Trading.Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 22 - Floods shut nearly a sixth of U.S. ethanol production
Massive flooding in the U.S. Midwest has knocked out roughly 13 percent of the nation’s ethanol production capacity, as plants in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota have been forced to shut down or scale back production following the devastation. Production facilities owned by large companies like Archer Daniels Midland Co and Green Plains Inc were still operating despite days of snowstorms followed by rains that sent record floods into the Farm Belt. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 22 - In post-coup election, Thai rice, rubber farmers rethink old divide
In the rice-growing heartland of Thailand's northeast, Kamol Suanpanya, 80, meets in the off season with fellow farmers at a community centre, where they discuss Sunday's election, the first after nearly five years of military rule. Like most in the area, Kamol will vote for Thailand's largest party, Pheu Thai, whose government was overthrown in 2014. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 22 - U.S. generation of renewable fuel credits fell in February - EPA
The United States generated lower numbers of renewable fuel blending credits in February than January, the Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday. Some 1.15 billion (D6) blending credits were generated in February, down from 1.21 billion in December, and 293 million biodiesel (D4) blending credits were generated in February, compared with 260.1 million a month earlier. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 22 - Bunge says strike at French oilseed crushing factory is over
U.S. agribusiness group Bunge said on Thursday that a strike that stopped production at its oilseed crushing factory in Brest, France, is over after an agreement was reached with employees. The workers had called the strike on March 12 due to safety concerns regarding a fire, local media reported, with striking workers also making salary demands. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 22 - Explosion at Chinese chemical plant kills 47, injures 640
An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured more than 600, state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public. The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00 a.m. on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 22 - China US pork purchases slow as prices rocket (AgriCensus)
- Chinese purchases of US pork fell sharply last week compared to the week before amid skyrocketing prices and despite more outbreaks of African swine fever.
Just 3,000 mt of US pork was sold last week, down almost 90% on the 24,000 mt that was purchased the week before.
- China is suffering from a 15-20% reduction in the size of its pig herd – the world’s largest.
The USDA expects pork imports will increase by a third with chicken meat up 8% as importers seek to work open arbitrage opportunities. However, reports that the deadly virus is sweeping across other southeast Asian nations have caused lean hog futures on the Chicago Board of Trade to spike 40% to 76 c/lb ($1,672/mt) over the last three weeks and 15% in just a week.
That price compares with Chinese lean hog prices at the factory gate of around CNY20.16/kg ($3,010/mt), up 37% on the year and 14% on the month.
- But with a 70% import tax on US pork, as well as freight and unloading costs to take into account, the profit margin of buying US pork and selling it into China is thinning. On Thursday China’s agriculture ministry reported another outbreak of African swine fever in Chongqing city. The outbreak occurred at a farm with 91 live pigs, of which nine were infected and six were killed by the disease, with the ministry implementing an emergency response plan to isolate the event.
“All pigs and their products are prohibited from being transferred out of the blockade, and pigs are prohibited from being transported into the blockade,” the ministry said.

Mar 21 - U.S. farmers face devastation following Midwest floods 

Midwestern farmers have been gambling they could ride out the U.S.-China trade war by storing their corn and soybeans anywhere they could - in bins, plastic tubes, in barns or even outside. Now, the unthinkable has happened. Record floods have devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states. Early estimates of lost crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 21 - Weather, economics seen shrinking U.S. corn acres, lifting soy - Braun

U.S. farmers may plant fewer corn acres and more soybean acres in 2019 than market participants originally expected due to the recent excessively wet weather and disappointing profitability of corn relative to soybeans. This is an interesting scenario given that speculators have recently established a record short position in Chicago-traded corn, and primary soybean buyer China maintains trade tariffs on the U.S. oilseed. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 21 - As bumper harvest nears, Argentina's soy farmers stall deals waiting for trade war's end

Francisco Santillan, 55, a grains farmer from the heart of Argentina's soybean country, has two things on his mind: the rains and twists and turns in a bitter trade war between the United States and China that has hurt prices. The weather-worn farmer, who rides a Harley-Davidson around the 4,500 hectares of farmland he manages, is expecting a bumper soybean crop when he begins harvesting this month, but he and his neighbors are holding off from sealing deals with buyers in the hope a trade war breakthrough will bolster prices. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 21 - China 2019 pork production to fall 10-20 pct year on year - Rabobank

China's imports of pork will increase 'substantially' after the first quarter, following an epidemic of African swine fever that has reduced pig production, a leading analyst said on Thursday. Domestic production of pork by China, which produces about half of the world's total, will fall by up to 20 percent in 2019, said Oscar Tjakra, director, Food & Agribusiness research at Dutch lender Rabobank. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 21 - Jury finding upends Bayer's Roundup defense strategy - experts

Bayer AG had hoped a new trial strategy focusing jurors on scientific evidence could stem a burgeoning tide of U.S. lawsuits over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, but a second jury finding on Tuesday that the product caused cancer has narrowed the company's options, some legal experts said. Bayer shares tumbled more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a unanimous jury in San Francisco federal court found Roundup to be a "substantial factor" in causing California resident Edwin Hardeman's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 21 - EPA likely to grant partial waivers from US biofuel laws for 2018 - sources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is likely to issue partial waivers to some of the 39 small refineries seeking relief from the nation's biofuel laws for 2018, in an unusual option to balance the competing interests of oil and corn producers, two sources briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. The agency typically either approves or denies a waiver request in full, and has only granted one partial exemption since the start of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard program more than a decade ago, Reuters has previously reported. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 21 - Brazil wheat imports to drop because local output will increase - INTL FCStone

 Brazil, one of the world's largest wheat importers, is expected to buy less of the cereal in the new season that starts in August because of a favorable outlook for local production, broker and analyst INTL FCStone said on Wednesday. FCStone sees imports in 2019-20 (August-July) falling to 5.7 million tonnes from 7 million tonnes in 2018/19.

 Mar 21 - Ukraine 2018/19 grain exports at 35.6 mln tonnes so far

Ukraine's grain exports have reached 35.6 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season compared with 29.5 million tonnes at the same point last season, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70 million tonnes of grain last year, up from 61.3 million in 2017. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 21 - Russia's agmin ready to work with grain export union

Russia's Agriculture Ministry is ready to work with the existing union of grain exporters, but it would still like to change how exporters work and for there to be tougher quality controls on grain exports, ministry officials said on Wednesday. The agriculture ministry said last month that it planned to set up a new association of grain exporters to better understand the needs of the market.  Click here to read full stories.

Mar 20 - Ukraine grain exports hit 4-week high (AgriCensus)
Ukraine's weekly grain export hit a four-week high of 1.3 million mt last week, the ministry of agriculture said Wednesday, as 1.13 million mt of corn, 177,000 mt of wheat and a paltry 1,000 mt of barley was shipped.
The figures leave grain exports since the start of the marketing year at 35.6 million mt, 20.8% up on the same point last year.
Of that, corn exports stand at 18.7 million mt, around 64% up from last year, while wheat exports stand at just under 13 million mt, 6.6% down from last season's figure.
Barley exports so far have totalled 3.3 million mt, down 18.7% year-on-year.

Mar 20 - Crop-damaging armyworms raise growing sense of alarm in Asia, FAO says Farming in several Asian countries is under threat from a type of crop-damaging insects that have munched their way from the Americas and across Africa, the United Nations' food agency said on Wednesday as global experts commence a three-day meeting to discuss ways to limit the damage. 'Fall armyworms' are native to the Americas but they have been moving eastwards since 2016, sweeping across Africa, where they caused $1-3 billion in damage, before arriving in Asia. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 20 - U.S., Brazil take steps to cut agricultural trade barriers The United States and Brazil have agreed to steps aimed at lowering barriers to agricultural trade, focusing on wheat, pork and beef, the presidents of the two nations said in a joint statement on Tuesday. Brazil will allow the United States to export 750,000 tons of American wheat with no tariffs, while the two countries agreed to "science-based conditions" to allow the United States to export pork to Brazil, U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 20 - Pets, livestock among victims of Midwest flooding The floods that have devastated large swaths of Nebraska and Iowa since late last week left house pets homeless, inflicted an unknown toll on livestock and led to several daring water rescues of animals from dogs to horses. Rescuers in the Omaha area, where the Platte, Elkhorn and Missouri rivers began spilling over their banks last week, have been working overtime to save dogs and cats along with their owners, sometimes at risk to themselves. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 20 - Pork for pollution? S.Koreans fight smog with grease Whenever dust particles hang thick in the air in South Korea, sales of pork rise. This quirky correlation in Asia's fourth-largest economy, where air pollution outstrips industralised peers, stems from an old belief attributed to coal miners, that the slippery pork oil helped cleanse dirt from their throats. For middle school student Han Dong-jae, eating greasy barbecued pork belly on a smoggy day is a life lesson imbibed from his mother. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 20 - Second U.S. jury finds Bayer's Roundup caused cancer A U.S. jury on Tuesday found Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer, a blow to the company eight months after another jury issued a $289 million verdict over similar claims in a different case. Tuesday's unanimous jury decision in San Francisco federal court, which came after five days of deliberation, was not a finding of Bayer's liability for the cancer of plaintiff Edwin Hardeman. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 20 - Australia's Nufarm posts H1 loss as drought persists
Australian crop protection company Nufarm Ltd posted a half-year loss and cut its fiscal 2019 outlook on Wednesday as dry weather sapped demand for herbicides and fertilisers, sending its shares down more than 10 percent. Nufarm said it recorded a net loss for the six months to Jan. 31 of A$13.6 million ($9.6 million), compared with a profit of A$12 million in the same period last year. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 20 - FAO calls on Vietnam to declare swine fever a national emergency The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday advised Vietnam to declare a rapidly spreading outbreak of African Swine Fever as a national emergency. The virus was first detected in the Southeast Asian country a month ago at three farms in two northern provinces and has spread to 17 provinces in northern Vietnam with 239 outbreaks confirmed, the FAO said in a statement. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 19 - China likely to buy US corn, DDGS, meat, but only as part of a deal: Perdue
A US-China trade deal will likely include Chinese commitments to buy a certain volume of US corn, soybeans, meat, DDGS, and ethanol, but any purchases would only likely appear after a deal has been struck, the US agriculture secretary told Bloomberg in a televised interview.
In the interview, aired late Monday, Perdue said that there had been firm numbers talked, but refused to disclose the volume or value.
“They (the commitments) are really all over the board: in the meat sector; in the cereal sector; the grain and oilseed; as well as DDGS and ethanol. So really it’s a broad array that would be very good for agriculture if we can consummate the deal," Perdue said.
“There have been numbers that have been discussed… it’s not appropriate to talk about that because negotiations are ongoing. But it would be the easiest way for China to help reduce quickly the trade deficit with the United States,” he said. The statement is the first confirmation from either side that a trade pact will involve multi-year commitments to buy a range of US agricultural goods. It is unclear when a deal will be discussed, but reports suggest that it will not be until June at the earliest following the cancelation of a trade summit in Florida next week.
$50-100bn
The US and China are locked in talks about the terms of a new trade deal, with US negotiators keen to reduce the trade deficit and stop what they say amounts to intellectual property theft.
Meanwhile, China wants US tariffs on Chinese imports on an array of goods removed.
In a gesture of goodwill, Chinese officials have pledged to buy a total of 20 million mt of soybeans from US farmers, with around 60% of those beans being contracted already.
However, rumours in the market that similar pledges have been made for ethanol and corn have proven to be erroneous and Perdue told Bloomberg that any further commitment would likely be “part of the package” of the final deal. In 2017, the US exported $24 billion worth of agricultural goods to China, although Perdue said this figure could easily be dwarfed by a new trade deal.
“We could easily see doubling or tripling that kind of number over two to four to five years,” he said.
Yet while Perdue talked up the chance of a trade deal with China, he was pessimistic of one with the EU, saying the talks have reached a stalemate over the issue of agriculture.
“This is just simply intractable they have refused to negotiate on agricultural issues, taking a very protectionist view on agricultural products going into the EU,” he said, adding that the US cannot do a trade deal with the EU without the sector being included.

Mar 19 - Taking a rain check: Australian farmers shun fertiliser purchases as drought lingers Australian farmers are postponing buying fertiliser and other products they typically use to protect their crops as a drought across the country's east coast darkens the outlook for the rural sector in one of the world's top exporters of grains. Farmers usually begin sowing wheat, the nation's biggest rural export, in late April, but this year they are trying to minimise expenditure on items such as fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides amid the threat of a second-straight crop failure following the hottest summer in records going back to 1910. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 19 - African swine fever may shift Chinese soy demand for years - Braun
Rampant outbreaks of African swine fever in pig herds across China have inadvertently helped Beijing in its recent efforts to avoid U.S. soybeans amid the ongoing trade war. But the deadly disease could have longer-term effects on trade between the two countries as the impacts may linger for years. China is the global leader in pork consumption and requires an enormous quantity of soybeans to crush into high-protein meal to feed its hog herd, the world’s largest. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 19 - EU winter grains mostly in good shape, south needs rain - monitor
Cereal crops in the European Union are generally in decent condition after a mild winter but more rain is needed in a dry swathe of southern Europe, the EU's crop monitoring service said on Monday. Crops suffered minimal frost damage this winter and benefitted from unusually warm temperatures last month to advance in their growth, the MARS service said in a monthly report. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 19 - Brazil soy exports strong in March, but seen sliding in 2019
Brazilian soybean exports are expected to fall almost 20 percent this year from a record above 80 million tonnes in 2018, but official trade data released on Monday shows strong outflows of beans to foreign destinations, at least for now. The Safras & Mercado consultancy on Monday forecast that total soybean exports from the world's leading seller would reach 70 million tonnes compared with 83.86 million tonnes in 2018. Click here to read full stories.


Mar 19 - Strike halts production at Bunge's French oilseed factory
Production at Bunge's oilseed crushing factory in the northwestern French port of Brest has been at a standstill for the past week due to a strike following a fire in a storage silo, the U.S. agribusiness group said on Monday. Production was stopped last Monday ahead of strike action which began on March 12, Bunge said in a statement emailed to Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 18 - Ukraine corn exports push grain volumes 20% higher to 35m mt (AgriCensus)
Ukraine has exported an additional 700,000 mt of grain since last Wednesday, with corn sales driving overall grain exports up 20% from last year to 35 million mt, government data showed Monday.
Corn exports have surged ahead this year and total volumes are now 69% higher than last year at 18.4 million mt, data from the State Committee for Consumer Goods and Consumer Protection showed.
Total wheat exports, meanwhile, are 12% lower than last year at 12 million mt, with an 8% increase in milling wheat exports to 8.1 million mt offset by a 23% reduction in feed wheat to 4.6 million mt as corn sales have been prioritised.
Barley exports are down 21% at 3.1 million mt.

Mar 18 - Indian antitrust watchdog raids Glencore business, others over pulse prices - sources

India's antitrust watchdog raided units of global commodities trader Glencore and two other firms in Mumbai on Saturday in an inquiry into alleged collusion on the price of pulses, four sources with knowledge of the raids told Reuters. More than 25 antitrust officials carried out the raids at the offices of local units of Glencore and Africa's Export Trading Group, and India's Edelweiss group which previously had a commodities business, two government sources told Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 18 - U.S. seizes 1 mln pounds of pork from China on swine fever concerns

U.S. border agents have seized around 1 million pounds of pork from China, a spokesman for the agency said on Friday, over suspicions that it might contain African swine flu disease which has hit Chinese pork output. Federal agents have seized the supplies over the past week in New York. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 18 - U.S. farm belt slammed by floods, heavy snow from bomb cyclone

A harsh late winter storm broadsided a vast swathe of the U.S. agriculture industry this week as heavy snow closed roads and buried cattle in the Plains while excessive rain flooded Midwest farm fields and swamped grain elevators. A "bomb cyclone" hurled hurricane-force winds, sparked tornadoes and dumped heavy snow and rain across the Plains and western Midwest on its march across the United States this week. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 18 - unds smash previous record short stance in CBOT corn - Braun

The recent selloff in Chicago-traded grain and oilseed futures and options has finally culminated in an all-time record short speculative position across that market. It is very unusual for funds to get record short when the U.S. corn and soybean growing season is just around the corner, as both crops are the largest in the world. However, funds did the same thing two years ago, just one month later. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 18 - Brazil import quota for U.S. wheat could come with Bolsonaro visit - source

  Brazil is considering granting an import quota of 750,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat per year without tariffs in exchange for other trade concessions, according to a Brazilian official with knowledge of the negotiations ahead of President Jair Bolsonaro's visit to Washington. That is about 10 percent of Brazilian annual wheat imports and is part of a two-decades-old commitment to import 750,000 tonnes of wheat a year free of tariffs that Brazil made during the World Trade Organization Uruguay Round of talks on agriculture but never adopted. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 18 - NOPA February soy crush below expectations at 154.498 million bushels

The U.S. soybean processing pace slowed by more than expected in February, although the crush was still the largest on record for the month, according to National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA) data released on Friday. NOPA members, which handle about 95 percent of all soybeans crushed in the United States, processed 154.498 million bushels of soybeans last month, down from 171.630 million bushels in January but up from 153.719 million bushels in February 2018, the previous record for the month. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - S Korea’s MFG probes switch from corn with feed wheat tender (AgriCensus)
- South Korea’s feed maker MFG has tendered for feed wheat looking for new crop, Black Sea supply for September 5 arrival, according to market sources.
- Cargill is believed to have sold a 65,000 mt cargo at $214.24/mt CFR, according to one source. The move sees a feed manufacturer probing the narrowing differential between corn and feed wheat, with sources indicating that MFG was looking for a price that is low enough to make the switch viable. South Korea's feed makers bought wheat earlier this week, with market sources attributing that to buying to meet their regular need, rather than an effort to optimise feed wheat over corn.
“The possibility is that they will pass if they find a really cheap offer does not come out, so this tender you can think as (MFG) trying to consider switching away from corn,” one market source said, noting that the spread between corn and feed wheat “is narrowing”.
“In Ukraine, the spread between corn and feed wheat is not more than $10/mt for July,” a Black Sea source said, with Black Sea-North - Asia freight estimated at around $30/mt, or an FOB Black Sea equivalent price of around $179/mt. According to Agricensus data, APM-11 FOB Ukraine HIPP vessels loading in July were assessed at $177/mt Thursday, with APM-1 FOB Ukraine feed wheat assessed at $175/mt – versus a $40 premium for feed wheat over corn for prompt loading.
“NOFI has firm demand – they always need to buy feed wheat regardless of the corn/wheat price spread, but others are quite flexible,” one market source said, with NOFI the biggest feed manufacturer in the Korean market.
- The tender was for 55,000-70,000 mt of feed wheat from the Black Sea with a full month July shipment and arrival on September 5 into the ports of Kunsan and Pyeontaek.

Mar 15 - China makes major U.S. pork purchase despite steep import tariffs, as hog virus takes toll

China made its biggest purchases of U.S. pork in nearly two years last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday, as Chinese hog prices surged after an outbreak of a deadly swine disease. Buyers in the world's biggest hog producer and pork consumer struck deals for the meat despite import tariffs of 62 percent imposed by China on U.S. pork as a consequence of the trade war between the two countries. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 15 - No U.S.-Brazil beef deal ready for Bolsonaro visit next week - sources

The United States and Brazil will not be able to reach a deal on allowing fresh Brazilian beef imports in time for President Jair Bolsonaro's official visit to Washington next week, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday. The United States barred imports of fresh Brazilian beef roughly two years ago in the wake of a food safety scandal in South America's biggest economy. Brazil is the world's largest beef exporter. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 15 - U.S. ethanol exporters to face more competition in north Brazil

United States ethanol exporters are likely to face increased competition in one of the few foreign markets where they have been able to deliver large volumes in recent years, the North and Northeast regions of Brazil, an industry association chief said. Ironically, that competition would come in the form of corn-based ethanol common in the United States, not sugar-based ethanol that has traditionally dominated in Brazil. Corn ethanol is taking off in Brazil's grain heartland of Mato Grosso state, where production is expected to grow more than 50 percent in 2019 from a year earlier. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 15 - Brazil may auction up to 500,000 tonnes of corn in March - official

Brazil's food supply and statistics agency Conab may sell as much as half a million tonnes of public stocks of corn stored in Mato Grosso after prices spiked in the internal market catching hog producers off guard, an official told Reuters on Thursday. Rogério Gonçalves, Conab superintendent of commercial operations, said in a telephone interview that the exact quantity to be sold by the government at one or more auctions will be determined by the Agriculture Ministry, which has yet to formally authorize the sales. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 15 - Argentina grains exchange raises soybean harvest view to 54 mln T Argentina's soybean harvest will likely be 54 million tonnes in the 2018/19 season, an increase from the previous estimate of 52 million tonnes, the Rosario grains exchange said late Wednesday, a boost for one of the world's key grains exporters. The exchange also increased its projected corn harvest estimate to 47.3 million tonnes from 46.5 million tonnes previously. Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 15 - Farm co-operatives expect sharp rise in 2019 German wheat harvest  Germany's 2019 wheat harvest will rise by 19.4 percent against last year's output to 24.20 million tonnes, the German association of farm cooperatives said on Thursday in its first forecast for the new crop. The German harvest in 2018 was sharply reduced by a drought and heatwave but the unusually mild winter so far has helped wheat crops after sowed area was expanded, the DRV said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 14 - Hakan Agro takes bulk of Turkey's TMO first round wheat tender (AgriCensus)
- Dubai-headquartered Hakan Agro is in pole position in Turkey’s latest wheat import tender, with the company showing the lowest prices in 23 of the 29 positions that state grain importer TMO is looking to fill, according to market sources. The tender, issued on March 8, closed Thursday with all offers now having to stay valid for 24 hours while TMO officials conduct further negotiations.
- The importer is looking to secure 290,000 mt of milling wheat in 10,000 mt cargoes into the ports of Mersin (7 cargoes), Derince, Iskenderun, Izmir (5 cargoes each), Tekirdag (3 cargoes), Samsun (2 cargoes), Bandirma and Trabzon (one cargo each).
The wheat is for shipment between March 21 and April 5, according to the document seen by Agricensus, with the final prices likely to be lower after negotiations conclude. For Derince port, Hakan offered three positions at $245.30/mt, with Aston offering the two remaining cargoes at $244.78/mt, and $242.49/mt.
- In Iskenderun, Hakan’s offers are the lowest for all five positions, at $243.80/mt, while Hakan also shows the lowest offer for all seven of Mersin’s positions at $239.80/mt.
- Izmir’s volume is currently shared between Solaris with three positions at $244.12/mt, with Hakan also occupying two positions with offers at $245.60/mt.
- In the final ports, Bandirma’s one cargo position shows Hakan as the most competitive at $239.80/mt, with Trabzon’s one position also showing a Hakan offer at $238.80/mt.
- For Tekirdag’s three positions, Hakan occupies two with offers at $238.80/mt, with Orsett in the final position at $238/mt.
- Finally, Samsun’s two requirements are both currently occupied by Hakan at $240.30/mt and $239.80/mt, according to the document.

Mar 14 - Why U.S. growers are betting the farm on soybeans amid China trade war  U.S. farmers are gearing up to plant what could be their third-largest soybean crop ever despite failing to sell a mountain of beans from their last harvest due to a U.S.-China trade war that remains unresolved. Soybeans were the single most valuable U.S. agricultural export crop and until the trade war, China bought $12 billion-worth a year from American farmers. Click here to read full stories.


Mar 14 - CBOT market worn out by stagnant U.S.-China negotiations - Braun  Chicago-traded futures have endured a rough few weeks, and while it is not the only explanation, the lack of a trade deal between the United States and China has likely been an anchor on prices. Originally, December’s agreement between the two sides to talk and establish a trade deal within 90 days was supportive of prices, as U.S. leaders suggested that China might return to the U.S. agriculture export market in a big way.  Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 14 - Argentina wheat planting area seen rising again after bumper harvest
Argentina's wheat planting area will rise again in 2019/20, industry experts told Reuters, which could mean another bumper harvest after a record wheat crop last season. The area could reach up to 6.9 million hectares, analysts and farmers said, which would be the fourth consecutive increase and a rise from 6.3 million hectares in the 2018/19 season when the country produced a record 19.5 million tonnes of wheat.  Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 14 - French wheat exports still have upside after forecast hike - agency
Farming agency FranceAgriMer raised sharply its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the European Union in 2018/19 and said there was scope for more upgrades as competitively priced French wheat draws late-season demand from importers. Traders have been anticipating that France, the EU's biggest grain producer, would see an upturn in wheat shipments as supplies run low in cheaper exporting countries such as Russia and Ukraine. French successes in recent tenders by top importer Egypt have bolstered sentiment.   Click here to read full stories.

Mar 14 -  K+S sees significant rise in 2019 earnings on rising potash production
German minerals miner K+S forecast core profit to rise significantly this year, helped by favourable demand for fertilizers and rising potash volumes after a severe drought in Germany halted production at its main mine last year. The company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were likely to come in between 700 million and 850 million euros ($792 million-$962 million) in 2019, versus 606 million euros last year.   Click here to read full stories.

 Mar 14 -  Hot weather to linger across Australia in blow to rural sector
Hot weather will linger in Australia for at least another three months, the country's meteorology bureau said on Thursday, piling pressure on the rural sector in one of the world's top exporters of commodities such as wheat. The entire country has a 70 percent chance of temperatures exceeding average levels between April 1 and June 30, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.   Click here to read full stories.
 

Mar 13 - Ukraine’s agroholdings mull storing corn on poor price outlook (AgriCensus)
- Ukraine’s agroholding companies – large, integrated producers – are poised to cut the supply of corn to the FOB export market as they consider holding stocks rather than pushing them out into the market, sources have told Agricensus.
“I heard that remaining corn left is almost all stored by agroholdings, and they will make the decision to leave it in storage until the next crop,” one market source said.
“If you deduct done deals and guaranteed futures deals from the remaining exportable surplus, then there is one conclusion left: it shouldn’t be a big risk for the agroholding companies to not supply the market at the current relatively low levels,” a second source said.
- Ukraine has set a phenomenal export pace through the early part of the year, cashing in on a welter of bookings made at the end of 2018 to shift huge volumes on a weekly basis. The country has had to maintain that pace as it was facing a huge corn crop, estimated at 35 million mt or higher. But sources reported that a large portion of corn supply was being held in temporary bags that would need to be cleared out before the arrival of warmer weather. With Ukraine seeing a relatively mild winter and an early spring, those volumes may have been released, pushing down prices to levels that now look unpalatable for sellers.
- At the same time, the record export pace has freed up more robust, permanent storage solutions which now gives the market an option to store rather than try and compete with lower prices stemming from South America’s record corn crops.
“I don’t think the agroholding companies will keep storing it – the corn will slowly be thrown into the market as the next crop is also forecasted to be a big 29-30 million mt crop so far,” a third source said.
“Agroholdings are holding corn due to the low, and getting lower, price and the firm currency right now – they will wait for a better time to sell it. Now it’s better to sit on the product,” a fourth source said.
- Any attempt to stymie the supply of corn to the FOB market will likely put a floor under recent price falls, with the physical offering of cargoes already showing signs of slowing down outside of the very prompt March or April loading. Agroholding companies, such as Kernel or MHP, play a significant role in Ukraine agriculture. They both hold and farm land as well as operating processing capacity, besides having the biggest role in the export market of any agricultural enterprise.

Mar 13 - Surprise Black Sea wheat sales to Asia curb U.S. export prospectsBlack Sea wheat exporters are boosting sales to Asia from the crop harvested last July in a surprise move, denting demand for U.S. shipments which were expected to pick up in the second quarter of this year. The benchmark Chicago Board of Trade wheat contract has fallen more than 10 percent so far this year, losing more than half of the gains made in 2018 on expectations of strong demand for U.S. supplies. Click here to read full stories

 Mar 13 - Trump's EPA unveils plan to pump up ethanol as Big Oil cries foul
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposed rule lifting a summer ban on higher-ethanol blends of gasoline to help farmers, putting the agency on a collision course with Big Oil which has called the move illegal. The proposal to broaden sales of the so-called E15 rule marks the latest flashpoint in an ongoing battle between the corn and oil industries - two crucial constituencies for President Donald Trump - over America's biofuels policy. Click here to read full stories

 Mar 13 - NOPA February U.S. soy crush seen at 158.730 mln bushels - survey
Profitable U.S. soy crush margins and ample supplies of beans encouraged soy processors to continue their recent active crush pace in February, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly National Oilseed Processors Association report. NOPA members likely crushed 158.730 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to an average of estimates given by 10 analysts in a Reuters survey. Click here to read full stories

 Mar 13 - U.S. Bayer Roundup cancer trial goes to jury after closing arguments
A trial in which a California man alleged his use of Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused his cancer went to a federal U.S. jury after lawyers for both sides delivered their closing arguments on Tuesday. The closely-watched case brought by plaintiff Edward Hardeman is only the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial in the United States. Another California man was awarded $289 million in August after a state court jury in August found Roundup caused his cancer, sending Bayer shares plunging.  Click here to read full stories

 Mar 13 - Brazil, U.S. to discuss meat, sugar, ethanol trade - farm minister
Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said on Tuesday that she will discuss U.S.-Brazil trade in meat, sugar and ethanol in talks next week between officials of the two countries. Dias, who will travel with President Jair Bolsonaro to the United States, said one of her priorities is to reopen the U.S. market for Brazil's fresh beef exports, which were suspended almost two years ago over safety concerns. Click here to read full stories

 Mar 13 - Conditions for Russia's winter grain sowings unchanged from Jan - weather service
The condition of Russia's winter grain sowings is largely unchanged from January, an official at the Hydrometcentre weather forecasting service said on Tuesday. Weather conditions have been favourable for Russian grain sowings for a fifth winter in a row, the centre's head of research was quoted as saying in late January. Click here to read full stories

Mar 12 - Brazil's Amaggi and Big 4 grain traders mull road, railway venture
The world's big four agriculture traders and Brazilian rival Amaggi could make a joint bid to operate a road connecting the country's grain belt to northern ports, while also considering an investment in a parallel railway, the firm that conducted a study on the potential venture said on Monday. Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM), Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc, Louis Dreyfus Co (LDC) and Amaggi have commissioned a study on operating a 968-kilometer stretch of the BR-163 highway for 10 years, according to infrastructure and logistics business development firm EDLP.  Click here to read full stories.

Mar 12 - Trump budget proposes steep subsidy cuts to farmers as they grapple with crisis
President Donald Trump's 2020 budget on Monday proposed a 15 percent cut for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, calling its subsidies to farmers "overly generous" at a time when they are going through the worst crisis in decades because of depressed commodity prices and Trump's trade tariffs. The Republican president's budget requested $20.8 billion for the USDA, a cut of $3.6 billion, or 15 percent, from the 2019 estimate, according to the proposed budget text. It proposes reducing premium subsidies for crop insurance, limiting the number of producers who would be eligible and tightening commodity payment limits. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 12 - In fresh blow to Monsanto, India cuts GM cotton seed royalty
India has cut the royalties that local seed companies pay to German drugmaker Bayer AG's Monsanto unit for the third time in four years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has decided to reduce royalties paid by Indian seed companies to Monsanto for its genetically modified (GM) cotton by 49 percent to 20 rupees for a packet of 450 grams, according to a farm ministry order. Before it was 39 rupees. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 12 - Malaysian palm oil firm Sime Darby Plantation looks downstream for growth
Malaysian oil palm grower Sime Darby Plantation plans to boost its refining capacity and produce more higher-margin products in a bid to cut its exposure to volatile palm oil prices, an executive told Reuters. Plantation company profits were hammered last year by a 15 percent fall in benchmark palm oil prices to a three-year low. Prices are expected to recover this year, but only by 3 percent, according to a Reuters poll. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 11 - Argentina's soymeal plants battered by trade war and taxes
In the grains hub of Rosario on the banks of Argentina's Parana River, the local soy crushing factories are feeling the chill of a trade war between the United States and China. Some of the massive plants along the river have been idled; some have laid off workers. All of them are hurting, as the industry loses market share for the soymeal produced from raw soybeans. Click here to read full stories

 Mar 11 - Malaysia end-Feb palm oil stocks rise, focus turns to exports
Malaysian palm oil inventories rose marginally last month to above 3 million tonnes as exports fell sharply, official data showed on Monday, although industry focus is turning to the prospect of rising sales in March. February stockpiles rose 1.3 percent from the previous month to 3.05 million tonnes, industry regulator the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said. Click here to read full stories

Mar 11 - Funds speed toward record short bets in CBOT grains - Braun
Speculators continued their aggressive sell-off in Chicago-traded grain futures into the first week of March, and they likely increased those bearish positions by the end of last week. In the four weeks ended March 5, hedge funds and other money managers sold 286,707 grain futures and options contracts, including CBOT corn and wheat, and Kansas City and Minneapolis wheat. Click here to read full stories

Mar 11 - Falling exports, ethanol production boosts U.S. corn stocks - USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a surprise boost to its outlook for domestic corn supplies on Friday by trimming its estimate of how much will be used by exporters and ethanol producers. The government also lowered its outlook for domestic soybean supplies, bumping up its estimate of the crush, and raised its wheat stocks view as export prospects worsened. Click here to read full stories

Mar 11 - Malaysia says EU palm oil curbs lack scientific proof, breach WTO rules
A European Union proposal to limit the use of palm oil lacks comprehensive scientific evidence and breaches global trade rules, Malaysia's marketing agency for the edible oil said on Friday. Malaysia, the world's second largest palm oil-producing country, which accounts for two-fifths of global production, has along with world number one Indonesia and other producing countries challenged the EU move announced in January last year. Click here to read full stories

Mar 11 - Warm winter generates optimism for large EU wheat crop
Europe’s unusually warm winter has created good initial conditions for this summer's harvest, with frost damage hardly seen in top producing regions, traders and analysts said on Friday. Farmers are also starting early with fertilizer spraying, giving wheat an early boost. Click here to read full stories

Mar 11 - Brazil reopens traffic on key soy export highway
Traffic on Brazil's key grain shipping highway BR-163, linking the agriculture belt to northern ports, was totally re-established by late on Thursday after being deemed "unnavigable" earlier in the week, transport authority Dnit said. The poor state of the road, parts of which are unpaved, had led authorities to block traffic as emergency repairs were made. Dnit had previously said roads would be closed until at least Friday. Click here to read full stories
 

Mar 08 - China soybean imports to rise on Canada rapeseed embargo ( ministry )
- China’s soybean imports are to rise 1.6% more than previously expected, the country’s agriculture ministry said Friday, as a shortage of rapemeal will see higher demand for soymeal. In its monthly update of Chinese supply and demand for agricultural products, the ministry said it expected soybean imports this marketing year to reach 85 million mt.
“As China has suspended customs clearance for some Canadian rapeseed exporters, [we] expect rapeseed import volumes to decrease. - The substitution of soymeal from rapemeal could slow and boost soymeal consumption,” the ministry said on Friday.
Crushing rapeseed produces rapemeal – a substitute in animal feed for soymeal. China Customs this week formally suspended rapeseed exports from Canada's largest independent rapeseed exporter Richardson International, saying it had found “hazardous pests” in cargoes imported by the company – a claim the company denies. Market sources say six cargoes carrying Canadian rapeseed have been detained at Chinese ports in the past month as a diplomatic spat over the arrest of an executive with telecoms giant Huawei has spilled over into commodity trade. While soybean imports are now expected to rise marginally compared with the ministry’s last estimate in February, they will remain 10% down on the last marketing year, which ran from October 2017 through September 2018. That fall is due to a trade war with the US that has seen the country use less soymeal as feed.
But it has also been impacted by the ongoing outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) that has seen pig breeders to reduce the size of their herd.
“China’s ASF epidemic is generally controllable, and prevention and control of the situation is gradually improving. Considering that the reduction rate of live pigs and fertile sows is large, pig feed demand has fallen,” the ministry said in its monthly outlook.
- Analysts in China expect pig stocks could decline 15-30% on the previous year while the ministry recently said the impact of ASF is likely to be felt in the fourth quarter of this year.

Mar 08 - China Feb soybean imports fall to 4-year low amid tariffs, flat demand

China's soybean imports in February fell to their lowest monthly level in four years, as buying slowed amid uncertainties over trade relations with the United States and flat demand for soymeal, customs data showed on Friday. The world's top buyer of soybeans brought in 4.46 million tonnes of the oilseed in February, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. That was down 17 percent from the same month a year earlier as a hefty tariff on soybeans from the United States, China's second-largest supplier, weighed. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - Brazil northern port terminals could run out of soybeans by Friday - Abiove

Two riverside ports in Pará state could run out of soybeans by Friday due to closures on the BR-163 highway linking the country's grain belt to port facilities in the north, Daniel Amaral, chief economist at oilseeds group Abiove, said on Thursday. After days of interruptions caused by rains and heavy traffic in the region, Abiove expects authorities to free soybean truck traffic in the direction of northern ports including the Miritituba terminal by Friday. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - China forecasts rising soybean imports to make up for less canola

China on Friday raised its forecast for soybean imports during the 2018/19 crop year to 85 million tonnes, up from 83.65 million in last month's outlook, after the country's customs agency suspended some imports of rival oilseed canola. China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in its monthly forecast on Friday that even though African swine fever was reducing demand for soymeal in pig feed, canola imports were expected to fall, which would benefit soymeal consumption. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - China buys Indian cotton as prices at home jump - trade

Indian traders have signed contracts to ship 800,000 bales of cotton to China as demand surged from the world's biggest consumer of the fibre due to a rally in prices in China, industry officials told Reuters. The exports from the world's biggest cotton producer will help China in augmenting supplies, but could weigh on global prices. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - US EPA aims to curb biofuel credit speculation by blocking outsiders

The Environmental Protection Agency will attempt to stamp out speculation in the U.S. biofuel credit market by barring trading by non-industry players, publicizing large positions, and improving price transparency, a source familiar with the agency's proposals told Reuters on Thursday. The measures, included in a broader policy reform under review by the Trump administration, are intended to help U.S. oil refiners cope with the costs of complying with the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 08 - EPA changed rules to help profitable refiners get biofuel waivers - lawsuit

U.S. environmental regulators quietly changed the way they assess applications from refineries for waivers from the nation's biofuels law, making it possible for highly profitable plants to secure lucrative exemptions, according to court documents filed by a biofuels trade group on Thursday. The new documents, part of a lawsuit that began last year, could provide the most complete explanation to date of how the Environmental Protection Agency vastly expanded the number of small refinery hardship biofuel waivers under former Administrator Scott Pruitt, including by granting exemptions to oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron. Click here to read full stories.
Mar 07 - Chinese feed companies report 20% demand slump (govt agency)

Sales of pig feed from some Chinese companies were down sharply in February as outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) continued to spread in China with additional outbreaks detected in March. The China National Grain and Oil Information Centre (CNGOIC) said in a report Thursday that a decline in pig feed demand has been prompted mainly by the ongoing ASF epidemics in China.

“As ASF continued to spread, stocks of live pigs kept sliding. The sales volume of pig feed in some companies fell by more than 20% in February,” CNGOIC said in a report released on Thursday. “Soymeal demand is weak, and stocks are expected to rise in the future,” the agency added.

CNGOIC expects soymeal demand to shrink 5% to 66.8 million mt in this marketing year as a result of this disease. The announcement comes as the first ASF outbreak in March this year was found on a farm located in Guangxi province in southern China. The farm was classified as mid-size, with stocks of more than 3,100 pigs. This was the second instance of the porcine disease found in Guangxi province in less than three weeks, and is the 112th reported in China since an initial outbreak in August last year. Soybean crushers and soymeal traders in China have been closely monitoring the impact of ASF on soymeal demand in China as pig farmers become increasingly wary about replenishing pig stocks.

Mar 07 - China customs confirms Canada's Richardson suspended from canola imports

China confirmed on Thursday that it has suspended the clearance of canola imports from Canadian agribusiness Richardson International and said customs will step up inspections of Canadian canola until further notice. China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that customs officials had discovered pests in samples of canola imports from Canada. It said the problem with one company was "particularly serious," but did not name the firm. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - Much work ahead if U.S. grain exporters hope to meet gov't target - Braun

As they continue to navigate the ongoing trade war with key partner China, U.S. grain shippers will need to post big numbers in the months ahead to meet government export forecasts for the current marketing year. In the second half of the 2018-19 marketing year that ends on Aug. 31, corn shipments need to average about 5.6 million tonnes per month to meet the government's current projection of 2.45 billion bushels. This would be the second-highest pace on record for the time frame behind last year’s blistering 7 million. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - Egypt aims to procure 3.6 mln tonnes of wheat this harvest season

Egypt, the world's largest wheat buyer, aims to procure 3.6 million tonnes of wheat from local farmers in the coming season that starts in April, the supply minister said on Wednesday. The state will pay farmers between 655-685 Egyptian pounds($38-$39) per ardeb (150 kilograms) of wheat depending on quality, Ali Moselhy said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - Malaysia Feb palm oil stockpiles seen at 4-month low - Reuters survey

Malaysia's palm oil stockpiles at end-February are expected to show a 1.7 percent drop from the previous month's 3 million tonne level, according to a Reuters survey, in keeping with a typical seasonal decline in production. Inventories in Malaysia, the world's second-largest producer of the edible oil, are expected to have slipped to 2.95 million tonnes, based on the median estimate of eight planters, traders and analysts polled by Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - US-China trade talks progressing well via video conference - USDA official

Trade negotiations between the United States and China are progressing well via video conference, a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday. "The talks are going well," Ted McKinney, Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Services told a press call. "Presently there's a lot of discussions going on by digital video conference, also a very good and productive thing," he said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - U.S. cuts 2019 farm income forecast but still projects growth

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dropped its net farm income forecast for 2019 by more than 10 percent on Wednesday, saying that data lags from the partial government shutdown failed to show the full picture of the sector's health. The good news: net farm income is forecast to reach $69.4 billion in 2019, up 10 percent from last year, in part because production costs are stabilizing and farmers are expected to earn more when selling off their crops and livestock, the agency said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - U.S. bolsters 'Beagle Brigade' to sniff out deadly hog virus

The U.S. government will employ more dogs to sniff out illegal pork products at airports and seaports in an effort to keep out a contagious hog disease that has spread across Asia and Europe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday. The disease, African swine fever, can kill hogs in just two days, but is not harmful to people. China, home to the world's largest hog herd, has reported more than 100 cases of the disease in 27 provinces and regions since August. Efforts to contain the fever have disrupted Chinese pork supplies. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 07 - Key Brazil soybean road leading to northern ports closed until Friday

Brazil's transport infrastructure agency DNIT said a stretch of the BR-163 highway, connecting the country's agricultural belt to northern ports, was "unnavigable" and would be closed at least until Friday, according to a statement on Tuesday. The section of the road between the towns of Moraes Almeida and Novo Progresso in Pará state "is degraded," and urgent action was needed to repair the road in five segments and clear it for traffic, the statement said. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 06 - South Korea’s NOFI, FLC buy corn privately at $195/mt to hit 1.7m mt (AgriCensus)
The draw of cheap South American corn supply is keeping South Korea’s feed manufacturers hooked despite fears of a wider regional slowdown in feed demand, as the latest purchases from the country’s feed sector take total buying past 1.7 million mt in under a month.
According to market sources, two of the country’s feed manufacturers – Nonghyup and FLC – have again ventured into the market to buy corn via private purchases, with delivery likely to be late August and Brazil the origin.
Cargill sold 69,000 mt of corn to NOFI at $195.55/mt, for July 3- July 22 shipment on a South America basis, likely a late August arrival, while ADM sold 68,000 mt corn to FLC at $195.99/mt based on a July 1-20 shipment window.
The latest cargoes means South Korea’s industry has soaked up to 1.72 million mt in under a month, precipitated initially by a fall in underlying futures prices and augmented by the arrival of Brazilian corn into the export mix.
Underlying corn futures prices have shown signs of climbing in recent days, but as Brazil’s harvest comes to market and amidst a slowdown in end-user demand from locations like Vietnam and Taiwan, cash prices have remained under pressure.
Agricensus assessed the CFR South Korea corn price at $195.50/mt for July arrival and $194/mt for August arrival Tuesday.

Mar 06 - China blocks some Canada canola shipments, Ottawa expresses concern

China has canceled Canadian agribusiness Richardson International Ltd's registration to ship canola to China, the company said on Tuesday, the latest sign of tensions between Ottawa and Beijing. It was not immediately clear why exports to China by Richardson, the world's top importer of canola, had been halted. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - China's top grain region to keep high soybean subsidies, up corn payments

China's top grain producing region plans to increase subsidies for corn growers as a stocks glut eases, and will keep soybean subsidies at high levels for a second year running, official media reported. The increase for corn marks a reversal from last year when the government was still trying to encourage farmers to reduce corn acreage as it sold off mammoth stocks of ageing grain. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - Market bears continue to nibble on wheat as large crops loom - Braun

Wheat traders breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday as Chicago futures rose, possibly signaling that the market is at least temporarily satisfied with Friday’s contract lows. Speculators have piled into the short side of the wheat market in recent weeks, likely limiting further price falls. But bigger global crops on tap for 2019 and continued export competition could keep the lid on prices in the coming months. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - Palm oil prices set to rise in 2019 as output growth eases - analyst Fry

Benchmark international palm oil prices are set to climb in 2019 amid declining growth in global output and higher drawdowns in reserves as biodiesel consumption rises, a leading industry analyst said on Wednesday. Palm oil futures on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange lipped almost 8 percent in February, with the market this week trading around 2,160 ringgit a tonne. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - United States and China inch towards limited trade deal: Kemp

China and the United States appear to be inching towards a trade deal, with leaders in both countries anxious to avoid a further, politically unpopular slowdown in their economies. China has reportedly offered to boost its purchases of farm and energy products substantially while making more modest concessions on technology transfer, intellectual property, market access, industrial policy and subsidies (“U.S., China close in on trade deal”, Wall Street Journal, March 4). Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - Mexican farmers urge 'mirror' tariffs on Trump's rural base

Leaders of Mexico's agricultural sector are urging "mirror measures" on U.S. farm imports in politically sensitive products such as yellow corn and poultry, in an effort they argue would counter decades of subsidized imports from the United States. The three-month-old government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is currently working on an updated list of products imported from its northern neighbor on which to possibly apply a second round of tariffs in response to U.S. measures imposed on Mexican steel and aluminum by the Trump Administration last year. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - India to reimburse freight for exports of some farm products

India will provide federal support for the transportation of some farm products to make Indian goods more competitive in foreign markets, the government said in a statement on Tuesday. The scheme will be applicable for a year to March, 2020. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - Ukraine's Feb 23-March 1 sea port grain exports down on week

Ukrainian grain exports from sea ports in the week ended Feb. 23-March 1 dropped to 816,000 tonnes from 1.16 million tonnes a week earlier, the APK-Inform consultancy said. Corn exports decreased to 717,000 tonnes from 848,000 tonnes, while wheat shipments plunged to 99,000 tonnes from 303,000 tonnes, the consultancy said. Click here to read full stories

Mar 06 - French seed firm Vilmorin maintains some Iran sales, awaits EU scheme

French seed maker Vilmorin, said on Tuesday it was continuing some exports to Iran with the backing of a French bank, and will participate in efforts to implement a European scheme to avoid U.S. sanctions targeting trade with Tehran. Vilmorin, one of the world's largest suppliers of seeds for grain and vegetable crops, has cited the U.S. sanctions against Iran as among the short-term risks to its activities in emerging markets, along with currency volatility. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - GASC rejects Romanian wheat cargo on quality concerns (AgriCensus)

Egypt’s state grain buyer has rejected a cargo of Romanian-origin milling wheat on quality grounds, according to market reports Tuesday, stoking fears of a renewed dispute between traders and the world's biggest wheat buyer.
The cargo has been in port in Dekheila since late February and failed a second quality test, according to a story first reported by Bloomberg Tuesday. Market sources told Agricensus the rejected cargo had a falling number of 130 seconds, while GASC tenders specify a minimum falling number of 200 seconds, which would indicate excessive water damage to the wheat.
Agricensus contacted GASC for comment but had received none at the time of publishing.
The test results have set alarm bells ringing in the market, with disputes between GASC and suppliers still fresh in the memory after rejections in May 2018 and December 2015.
The number of traders willing to sell to GASC dwindled as a result of those rejections, with those still participating in its tenders typically factoring in a hefty risk premium to cover potential costs. But it comes just weeks after GASC changed its payment terms in order to boost the number of offers it received, a move that seemed to have worked as sellers returned in greater numbers. Egypt is the world’s biggest wheat buyer, importing around 12 million mt a year, with state-run GASC responsible for about two thirds of that volume.

Mar 05 - Australian wheat output set to rebound - if rains arrive

Australia's wheat production is expected to jump 38 percent in 2019/20 from the just completed drought-hit season, but only if farmers receive desperately needed rain, the country's chief commodity forecaster said on Tuesday. In its first official wheat output estimate for the coming season, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences pegged production of the country's largest agricultural crop at 23.9 million tonnes. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - Good weather expected to bolster Indonesia, Malaysia palm output

Crop-friendly weather over the last few months in top palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia will help drive up output of the edible oil, traders and industry players said, underscoring forecasts of record production for 2019. But reduced usage of fertiliser, labour shortages and older trees in Malaysia could limit growth in output of the commodity, used in products ranging from soap to biofuels. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - Higher demand, declining reserves to support palm oil prices -analyst Fry

Palm oil prices are likely to be supported in 2019 by rising consumption, falling inventories and slowing growth in production of the edible oil, a leading industry analyst told Reuters on Tuesday. Malaysian palm oil futures slipped almost 8 percent in February amid worries over declining demand, but analyst James Fry expects appetite to be stoked as more of the commodity is used in biofuels. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - U.S. to issue meat company guidelines as recalls mount - official

The U.S. government plans to issue new guidelines for food companies as early as this week after an increase in recalls of meat and poultry products possibly containing metal, plastic and other foreign materials, a food-safety official said on Monday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will advise foodmakers to start internal investigations when they receive customer complaints and to notify the government within 24 hours if contaminated products are in the marketplace, Carmen Rottenberg, administrator of the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said in an interview. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - NZ dairy giant Fonterra backs Hurell for CEO as challenges loom

New Zealand dairy group Fonterra appointed acting chief executive Miles Hurell as its new CEO on Tuesday, confirming him in the top job at a time when the co-operative faces growing challenges to maintain profitability. The world's largest dairy exporter cut its annual earnings outlook last week as extreme dry weather in New Zealand hit milk supply, and said it would not pay an interim dividend, sending its shares lower. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - Vietnam calls for 'drastic measures' to fight African swine fever

Vietnam's prime minister has called for "drastic measures" to fight the spread of African swine fever in the Southeast Asian country, state media reported on Tuesday. The highly contagious disease, which is incurable in pigs but harmless to humans, has spread rapidly across neighbouring China since August, and has been found in seven areas in Vietnam, the state-run Vietnam News Service reported. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - Funds dig deeper into bear territory as CBOT selling persists - Braun

Speculators drastically ramped up their rate of selling in Chicago-traded corn, wheat and soybean futures during mid-February, though prices have skidded even further since then as the general market pessimism lingers into March. Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) published on Friday showed that in the week ended Feb. 19, hedge funds and other money managers had one of their most prolific selling weeks of the past year. The weekly moves were especially significant given that the period had only four days due to the U.S. Presidents Day holiday. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - Russian wheat export prices fall again with global benchmarks

Russian wheat export prices continued to fall last week in line with global markets, analysts said on Monday. Black Sea prices for Russian wheat with 12.5 percent protein content for delivery in March were $226 per tonne on a free on board (FOB) basis at the end of last week, down $8 from a week earlier, Russian agricultural consultancy IKAR said in a note. Click here to read full stories

Mar 05 - Morocco's OCP plans African chemical plants, fertiliser blenders

Morocco's OCP Group, expects to reach a deal this year to build a Nigerian ammonia plant and to start production at a $3.7 billion chemical plant in Ethiopia by 2023/2024, the chief executive of its OCP Africa subsidiary told Reuters. The world's largest phosphate exporter, which is 95 percent state-owned, is also considering a factory in Ghana in 2020 as it seeks to bring customised fertilisers closer to key African markets, Karim Lotfi Senhaji told Reuters. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - Saudi Arabia’s SAGO pays $20/mt less as wheat prices fall (agriCensus)
Saudi Arabia’s state grain buyer bought 625,000 mt of milling wheat for almost $20/mt less than it paid at its previous tender back in November, SAGO said on its website Monday. SAGO booked more than it had initially tendered for, paying an average $248.16/mt CIF after wheat prices slumped in recent weeks as concerns over tight global supply have eased. The bulk of the wheat is for delivery April 20-June 30 to Jeddah and Dammam, with an additional cargo for delivery June 1-10 to Jazan. German and Baltic cargoes are the most likely source, market sources told Agricensus Monday, with low origin prices and freight making Saudi Arabia’s regular suppliers look competitive.
German 12.5% protein milling wheat was offered at $228-9/mt FOB for April delivery on Monday morning, while the current freight for a panamax cargo from Baltic region stands at $28/mt, according to shipping analytics agency ISM. Some in the trade also speculated US wheat may also be able to price competitively into Saudi Arabia at current levels.
At its previous tender on November 19, SAGO has bought 495,000 mt at an average price of $267.85/mt for delivery January 5-March 20.

Mar 04 - Busiest U.S. grains port swamped by flooding as exporters await China deal

Flooding and ice buildup on key rivers in the U.S. Midwest has stalled the movement of barges that supply export terminals at the Gulf of Mexico with grain and soy, barge and grain traders said. One lock on the Ohio River became impassable last week, halting vessels moving to and from the Mississippi River until as late as March 9, they said. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - Global 2019 palm oil demand set for first contraction in two decades

World palm oil demand may suffer its first contraction in two decades during the 2019/20 crop year due to rising domestic oilseed supplies in top buyer India and slowing demand in Europe and China, industry participants told Reuters. Indian traders expect flat to slightly larger palm oil imports this year against a backdrop of record oilseed production that should boost domestic edible oil supplies. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - Trump asks China to lift tariffs on U.S. farm products

U.S. President Donald Trump said he had asked China to immediately remove all tariffs on U.S. agricultural products because trade talks were progressing well. He also delayed plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods on Friday, as previously scheduled. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - Global palm output to rise in 2018/19 - analyst Mielke

Global palm oil production is expected to hit 74.9 million tonnes for 2018-2019, as prices of the commodity likely improve this year, leading palm industry analyst Thomas Mielke said on Monday. The forecast is a significant hike from the 70.5 million tonnes of palm oil produced in the 2017/18 period, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - Bangladesh gets offers in 50,000 tonne wheat tender

Bangladesh's state grains buyer received the lowest offer of $271.75 a tonne C&F liner out in an international tender to purchase and import 50,000 tonnes of wheat, traders and official sources said on Monday. No purchase has yet been reported and the offers are still being considered. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - U.S. ambassador says don't let farming 'smears' stop post-Brexit trade deal

Britain should not follow the European Union's "Museum of Agriculture" and let false concerns over U.S. farming practices get in the way of a post-Brexit trade deal, the U.S. ambassador to London said on Saturday. On Thursday, the United States laid out its objectives for a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, seeking to entirely eliminate or reduce barriers for U.S. agricultural products and streamline regulatory differences. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - Russia helping Venezuela with wheat supplies, says foreign minister

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was helping Venezuela with supplies of wheat, hours before a Reuters reporter saw a Venezuela-bound cargo ship carrying Russian wheat transit the Bosphorus. Lavrov made the comments about wheat at a joint news conference with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who was visiting Moscow. Click here to read full stories

Mar 04 - China's New Hope Group sees limited impact from African swine fever - chairman

New Hope Group , owner of China's largest animal feed business New Hope Liuhe, does not see a major impact from the African swine fever epidemic sweeping through the country's hog herd, group chairman Liu Yonghao said on Sunday. The company's feed-to-meat business is benefiting from higher chicken prices resulting from the outbreak of disease in pigs, Liu told reporters ahead of the opening of the annual parliament meeting. Click here to read full stories

Mar 01 - China soybean crush margins hit 2-wk high on rapeseed rumours (AgriCensus)
Soybean crush margins in China hit a two-week high on Friday on fears that a shortage of rapemeal could trigger demand for soymeal amid rumours that China will move to stem imports of different strains of rapeseed from Canada.
Soymeal futures on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange jumped more than 1% across the board following a 4% price spike in rapemeal futures on Zhenzhou Commodity Exchange.
Higher soymeal futures dovetailed with slightly weaker soybean prices to push up crush margins in China to their highest level since February 14.
“Capitals were flowing into the rapeseed complex today,” one Chinese meal trader told Agricensus. Multiple sources said that GMO safety certificates submitted in February by rapeseed importers were rejected by the Ministry of Agriculture last week, potentially creating a drop off in rapeseed imports into China. It is unclear why the applications may have been rejected, but the consequence is that it could choke off rapemeal supply in China, as rapeseed is crushed to make the alternative feedstock for animal feed.
More than 90% of China's total rapeseed imports of 4.76 million mt comes from Canada.
Soybean crush margins have been unprofitable in China since mid-February due to poor demand for soymeal as African Swine Fever rips through the pig heard.
This has led to fewer purchases by Chinese importers of Brazilian soybeans.
Relations between Canada and China are strained currently.
Canadian officials are due to take a decision on whether to extradite to the US a senior executive who is the daughter of the founder of telecoms giant Huawei. The US alleges she and other officials broke international sanctions on Iran - a claim Huawei and China's government deny.

Mar 01 - U.S. wins WTO ruling on Chinese grains; decision may also affect India

The United States won a World Trade Organization ruling on China's price support for grains, successfully challenging a calculation methodology that is also used by India. A WTO adjudication panel agreed on Thursday with the U.S. complaint that China had paid farmers too much for wheat, Indica rice and Japonica rice in 2012-2015. A disputed corn subsidy had already expired. Click here to read full stories.

Mar 01 - Pigs fly: China pork producers surge as swine disease cuts supply

Shares in China's leading pig producers have soared to record levels despite one of the worst disease outbreaks in years, as investors bet on tightening pork supplies and strong government support for leading producers. China is battling the world's fastest spreading outbreak of African swine fever, an incurable pig disease that has been confirmed in 28 of its provinces and regions. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 28 - China warns of “serious” impact of swine fever, cuts meal demand 5% (AgriCensus)

A Chinese government agency said on Thursday that the situation regarding the current outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) is more serious than initially thought, estimating demand for soymeal will fall 5% as replenishment of pig stocks is “very low”. China’s National Grain and Oil Information Centre said in an emailed report that it had expected soymeal demand to fall almost 5% to 66.8 million mt this marketing year compared to last, mainly as a result of the outbreak.
“The situation is more serious and the rate at which pig production capacity is falling exceeds our expectations. Farmers have greater concerns about the epidemic and have strong uncertainty about the prospect for pig farming,” the agency said.
Outbreaks have been reported on more than 100 farms since August 2018, with many analysts predicting China’s pig population – estimated to be between 400-600 million heads – will fall by 15-30% this year as farmers become reluctant to breed the animals. With soymeal the main protein source for pig-feed, soybean crush margins have remained in the red for the past three months, according to Agricensus data, which uses its own APM-6 assessment versus Dalian futures to calculate the profitability. Such poor margins have also hit demand for soybeans, with Chinese imports down 22% this marketing year (October through January) compared to last, although some of that decline will be attributed to a hike on imported soybeans from the US. Nevertheless, traders in Geneva and sellers in Brazil have expressed surprise at the lack of demand from China and some analysts expect soymeal demand to fall by 10%.
Not a year for the pig
In a sign of growing concern about the spread of the disease, Beijing is reportedly looking at plans to carve up the country into separate self-sufficient zones to contain the rate of infections. According to Reuters newswire, which quoted draft plans that it has seen, the aim is to “further strengthen… prevention and control measures, establish long-term effective animal disease prevention system, protect the hog sector and stabilise market supplies”.
The move, which is planned to be trialled in the southern central zone of Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, comes as further outbreaks of the disease were diagnosed on large-scale farms. The move to contain the disease comes as dozens of videos emerge online of thousands of pigs being buried alive as farmers reportedly seek cheaper ways of mass culling. Officially, China has culled more than 1 million pigs over the past few months, although analysts think this figure is much higher given the scale of the outbreak.
Analysts expect China’s pig herd to fall between 15-30% this year as farmers refuse to breed pigs due to the government culls, and are fearful of not being compensated adequately if their pigs contract the disease. As well as feed for pigs, soymeal is used as animal feed for China’s vast poultry and aquaculture industries.

Feb 28 - Chinese demand for US soybeans to be capped as Brazilian harvest hits market - broker

China's purchases of U.S. soybeans beyond 10 million tonnes that Washington says Beijing has committed to buy could be limited as a freshly-harvested Brazilian crop hits the market, a leading U.S.-based agriculture broker said on Thursday. Appetite for soy from Brazil could dampen Chinese demand for old-crop soybeans from the United States, said Jeffrey McPike, global marketing manager at McDonald Pelz, referring to U.S. beans harvested last year. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 28 - U.S. farm debt soars to levels seen during 1980s farm crisis - Agriculture secretary

The amount of debt held by America's farmers has risen rapidly to 1980s-levels at $409 billion from $385 billion last year, with loan demand remaining “historically high,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Wednesday. The figures reflect a level of strain on the U.S. farm belt that is comparable to the agricultural crisis of three decades ago, this time driven by lingering weakness in commodity prices, storms damaging crops and loss of key export markets such as China due to President Donald Trump’s trade disputes. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 28 - USDA’s outlook for U.S. soybeans might be too hopeful - Braun

It is common for market participants to be skeptical over supply and demand forecasts from the U.S. government, and that may be the case heading into the 2019-20 U.S. soybean marketing year as initial outlooks may be too optimistic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last Friday unveiled its initial forecasts for domestic supply and demand in the 2019-20 marketing year, which for soybeans will begin on Sept. 1. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 27 - UK ethanol producer Ensus to restart amid wider margins, Brexit (AgriCensus)
- Improving margins and uncertainty over the UK’s trading relationship with the European Union have meant a major ethanol producer is to reopen its doors next month, giving a boost to lacklustre feed wheat demand in the country.
“The executive board of CropEnergies AG, Mannheim, has decided to resume ethanol production in its UK plant in Wilton at the beginning of March 2019,” Ensus' owner Cropenergies said Wednesday.
- The reopening is well ahead of previous market expectations that the plant would be closed until the end of June at the earliest, with the company saying it expects to start running again “at reduced capacity to supply orders from British customers”.
- CropEnergies joined a growing chorus of businesses calling for further clarity on the outcome of Brexit negotiations ahead of the UK’s planned departure from the European Union on March 29.
“Questions related to Brexit regarding customs for imports and exports to and from the United Kingdom need to be clarified immediately,” the company said.
“The future customs regulations are of existential importance for the production site [at] Wilton”.
- European ethanol benchmarks have jumped around 15% to €560/mt FOB Rotterdam since Cropenergies first announced the closure of its plant in early October. Wheat markets, meanwhile, have been on the slide since the start of the month as poor demand and an easing of supply concerns have weighed on prices. UK feed wheat futures jumped on the news and were up £1.50/mt to £164.50/mt by 1045 London Time. Ensus can take up to 1-1.1 million mt of UK feed wheat demand each year, although it has the flexibility to use up to 50% corn as feedstock. Cropenergies used Wednesday’s announcement to put pressure on the UK government and its renewable fuels policy, calling the introduction of a 10% ethanol mandate “overdue for years”.
“For a continuous operation of the plant in Wilton, the development of the local British market for alternative fuels is imperative,” the company said.
- The UK’s only other ethanol producer, Vivergo Fuels, shut its doors in September last year, blaming the government’s decision to delay a 10% ethanol mandate into the country’s fuel blend for its decision.

Feb 27 - Asian CPO Drops on Higher Production Worries (DJ)

- Asian crude palm oil futures ended sharply lower amid persistent worries about higher palm output in top-producers Indonesia and Malaysia. That as weakness in competing soy oil prices added to investors' woes, traders say. The benchmark palm oil contract for May delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange ended MYR51 down at MYR2,132 ($525) a ton.

Feb 27 - Dry conditions to curb Australia's wheat crop for 3rd yr - weather forecaster

Dry conditions for up to six months in parts of Australia's east coast are set to curb wheat crop yields for a third straight year in the world's No.4 exporter of the grain, a private U.S.-based weather forecaster said on Wednesday. Australia has been grappling with successive years of drought that have wilted crops and left some farmers struggling to stay in business. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 27 - Funds' CBOT grain selling spree picks up pace - Braun

Speculators continued to sell Chicago-traded grain and oilseed futures and options into mid-February, but that pace has likely increased in the days since. Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) published on Tuesday showed that hedge funds and other money managers crept deeper into bearish territory in CBOT corn, wheat and soybeans in the week ended Feb. 12. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 27 - U.S. asked China for lower ethanol tariffs - agriculture secretary

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that U.S. trade negotiators have asked China to reduce tariffs on U.S. ethanol, but it was not immediately clear whether Beijing was willing to oblige. "They are engaged in conversation, they listen and hear us, but we are at this stage unable to determine the willingness factor," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Washington. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 26 - Sinograin to sell off soybean stocks to make way for US beans: sources
China’s state soybean stockpiler Sinograin has been forced to release some of its old soybean stocks to private crushers to save space for its new soybean purchases that it made in recent weeks, various market sources told Agricensus on Tuesday. Sinograin is rumoured to be in negotiation with Singapore-based crusher Wilmar to sell some of its soybean stocks to alleviate the Chinese company's stock pressure, five different market sources in China said.
“Sinograin has a lot of soybeans. They will need to carry on the task to purchase more US soybeans in the future. So, they want to address the soybean storage issues,” a market source familiar with the matter who requested anonymity told Agricensus.
Sources said Cofco has enough soybean stocks and crushing capacity to accommodate its US purchases, but Sinograin is heard to be under tighter restraints.
“As crush margins are now at a loss now, Sinograin shouldn’t delegate other companies to crush. Rotating soybean [stocks] is rational for both companies’ situation,” the same source added, explaining that recent purchases of US beans were made at uncompetitive prices given current soymeal and soyoil levels. State-owned entities Cofco and Sinograin have bought more than 5 million mt of soybeans from the US in the past couple of months after being instructed to do so by the government, which is keen to show goodwill during trade negotiations with the US.

Feb 26 - U.S. 'will not be bought off' by China soy deal in trade talks - Perdue

The United States will keep pressing China for intellectual property safeguards in trade talks, regardless of Beijing's pledge to purchase 10 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans in the near term, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Monday. "Still, the structural core issues of intellectual property transfer have to be dealt with," Perdue told reporters after a speech in Washington. "We will not be bought off as a country over purchases without eliminating some of these non-trade barriers in China." Click here to read full stories.

Feb 26 - China's soy promises may not alter U.S. export outlook - Braun

The second half of the 2018-19 U.S. soybean marketing year will begin this Friday, though it is still unclear exactly how those six months will play out as a U.S.-China trade deal hangs in the balance and South American supply enters the market. However, the next six months could still be challenging for U.S. soy shippers despite recent commitments from China. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 26 - U.S. trial tests claims Roundup weed killer caused cancer

Bayer AG on Monday faced a second U.S. jury over allegations that its popular glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer, six months after the company's share price was rocked by a $289 million verdict in California state court. The lawsuit by California resident Edwin Hardeman against the company began on Monday morning in federal rather than state court. The trial is also a test case for a larger litigation. More than 760 of the 9,300 Roundup cases nationwide are consolidated in the federal court in San Francisco that is hearing Hardeman's case. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 26 - In Argentina, welcome rains seen boosting soybean harvest

Rain which has boosted Argentina's soybean heartland after a hot, dry spell should ensure a bumper crop as yields are set and the harvesting season approaches, experts said on Monday. The rains should keep the country on track for an estimated 53-million-tonne soy harvest, critical for the country's economy after it was battered last year by an extended drought and a plus for President Mauricio Macri ahead of elections this year.

 

Feb 25 - Macron promises greater farmer protection from overseas ‘threat’ (AgriCensus)
- French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to protect EU farmers from overseas competition, using a speech Saturday to call for an increase to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget despite the impact of Brexit on its finances. Macron called for the EU to pursue an “ambitious” Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), vowing that its budget would not be reduced as a result of the UK leaving. CAP negotiations remain underway, with its policies and budget for 2021-2027 expected to be announced by June.
- The CAP currently accounts for about 40% of the EU’s budget – or around €58 billion a year – with France the single biggest recipient, taking about 15% of that pot. But the departure of the UK from the EU scheduled for March 29 has threatened to blow a hole in the EU’s finances, with an expected shortfall of €12-14 billion a year splitting member states, some of which have been hoping to cut their contributions.
- External threats
Calling for EU unity on the issue, Macron said “the real risk facing our agriculture is not … competition between European states,” instead warning the bloc is threatened “from the outside by great powers that … consider food a commodity”.
“Today French wheat is competing on the world market with Russian or Ukrainian wheat, produced on farms of thousands of hectares, ten times larger than the largest of our farms,” Macron said. While France’s wheat sales have managed to hold up this year, the wider EU has plummeted 20% after a poor harvest left exporters struggling to compete with lower-cost producers after a poor harvest. And longer-term, the EU has lost market share in some of its traditional buyers as Black Sea producers have boosted production.
- Macron urged the development of higher quality wheat in order to differentiate itself from, and to compete with, Russian and Ukrainian exports, as well as boosting its ties with Africa as a destination market. Macron also spoke of the need for a “red line” in the EU’s trade negotiations with the US on agriculture, calling for “food sovereignty” and warning that importing genetically modified soybeans leaves EU livestock and poultry at the mercy of price volatility. Macron’s struck a similar tone to that of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who warned last week that the EU’s increased soybean imports from the US would be under threat if meaningful progress in trade talks could not be made.
- Brussels has been at pains to keep agriculture off the table in ongoing trade negotiations with Washington, although the US has been pushing to open the EU market to its exporters.

Feb 25 - China commits to buy 10 mln tonnes U.S. soy in White House meeting - Perdue

China committed to buy an additional 10 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans in a meeting in the Oval Office on Friday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Twitter. The commitments are a "show of good faith by the Chinese" and "indications of more good news to come," Perdue wrote. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - Indonesia asks India to cut palm oil tariffs in exchange for sugar imports

Indonesia has asked India to cut its tariff on refined palm oil to 45 percent, matching the levy faced by rival producer Malaysia, and has offered market access for Indian sugar in exchange, the trade ministry said on Saturday. Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita made the request during a meeting with Suresh Prabhu, India's minister of commerce, industry and civil aviation on the sidelines of an India-ASEAN Expo and Summit in the capital of New Delhi. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - French farmers warm to Macron as he calls on EU to keep budget big

European Union agriculture is threatened by divisions inside the EU and competition from rival trading blocs, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday, calling for a large budget to defend EU goals on food quality and environmental protection. Macron's speech at Paris' annual farm show - an unmissable event for French politicians - was warmly received, in stark contrast to a year ago when was booed by farmers angry at low prices for producers. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - USDA sees U.S. corn, soy stockpiles tightening in 2019/20

U.S. corn and soybean stockpiles are projected to tighten by the end of the 2019/20 marketing year, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday. The corn crop was seen rising 3 percent to 14.890 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 176.0 bushels per acre, USDA said. Ending stocks for the 2019/20 crop year were pegged at 1.650 billion bushels, 5 percent lower than the prior marketing year. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - Brazil's Gavilon dismisses executive, decides against wheat milling

Brazilian commodities trader Gavilon do Brasil, a subsidiary of Japan's Marubeni Corp, has dismissed a key manager in a strategic decision not to pursue wheat milling in the country, an executive told Reuters on Friday. Gavilon is part of a growing group of non-traditional grains traders challenging industry heavyweights in Brazil by using "asset-light" models that forgo investing in capital-intensive assets like port facilities or processing plants.  Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - Bayer faces second trial over alleged Roundup cancer risk

Bayer AG is set to face a second U.S. jury over allegations that its popular glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup causes cancer, six months after the company's share price was rocked by a $289 million verdict in California state court. A lawsuit by California resident Edwin Hardeman against the company was scheduled to begin on Monday in federal rather than state court. The trial is also a test case for a larger litigation. More than 760 of the 9,300 Roundup cases nationwide are consolidated in the federal court in San Francisco that is hearing Hardeman's case. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - African swine fever spreads to third Vietnamese province - state media

African swine fever has been detected in a farm in Haiphong in northern Vietnam, the third province in the Southeast Asian country to be hit by the virus, state media reported on Monday. Pigs had been found dead at the farm and two of the five samples taken had tested positive to the highly contagious disease, according to a report in the Nong Nghiep Vietnam newspaper, run by the Ministry of Agriculture. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - Russia farm ministry wants grains body to be strong, include foreigners

Russia's Agriculture Ministry expects a new association of grain exporters to become a strong union and has no plan to exclude foreign trade houses, a ministry official and a source said, responding to concerns the new body could lack independence. The ministry said earlier this month that it wants the association to be created by April, when it intends to start discussing with traders the top global wheat supplier's export plans for the marketing season starting on July 1. Click here to read full stories

Feb 25 - Indonesia's January palm output seen down 7.7 pct m/m - survey

Indonesia's palm oil output likely eased in January from a month earlier, in line with the vegetable oil's production cycle, while exports were expected to have picked up slightly, according to a Reuters survey. Palm oil output in top producer Indonesia declined 7.7 percent to 3.60 million tonnes from 3.90 million tonnes a month earlier, according to the median results of a survey of two palm oil groups and a state palm research firm. Click here to read full stories

Feb 22 - Australian barley market on edge over China anti-dumping rumours (AgriCensus)
The Australian barley trade is bracing itself for a Chinese government ruling that could slam shut the door to their biggest market, with rumours swirling Friday that a prohibitive import policy could be announced as early as next week. Multiple barley trading sources told Agricensus of an impending announcement of a costly deposit to be paid to Chinese authorities if cargoes are to enter the country, a move that could deter even the most determined sellers.
“There is rumour saying a tariff will be out next week,” a China-based trading manager at a state barley importer told Agricensus. It is expected to take the form of a deposit paid to the government and will be returned to buyers if the governmental investigations do not implement prosecutions against Australian barley.
“[The rate] is heard at 56%,” the same manager added. “[It] is only a deposit, not a tariff. The Chinese would have to prove injury to impose an actual tariff", an Australian market source told Agricensus. But a similar deposit scheme on US sorghum exports last year effectively closed the door to US sellers and presaged an official tariff.
- Investigation
China launched an anti-dumping investigation into Australian barley exports in November last year followed by an anti-subsidy probe in December, with the probes slated to last until the end of 2019. It has left traders in Australia and China in limbo, with most buyers wary of committing to new cargoes. Chinese buyers “won’t consider Australian barley,” a trading manager at a major private barley importer in China said, while an Australian exporter said their clients “would not dare” to buy. But that view is not universal, with at least two traders telling Agricensus that they are still seeing some demand despite the current climate. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed December feed barley exports to China at 530,296 mt and malting barley at 355,905 mt, while the latest line-up data also shows vessels nominated to Chinese ports.
“There are vessels sailing to China now, but everyone is scared of a tariff … [It] will definitely be prohibitive to trade” an Australian-based trader said.
Friday’s rumours came as relations between the two countries soured further this week, with officials in northern China apparently moving to block Australian coal imports Thursday – a move that left the Australian markets reeling. Regional military rivalry has been on the rise in recent years, while a recent ban on infrastructure investment by China’s Huawei exacerbated tensions and threatened to destabilise trading relations worth almost $150 billion a year.

Feb 22 - IGC raises forecasts for 2018/19 world corn crop

The International Grains Council (IGC) on Thursday raised its forecasts for world corn (maize) production in the 2018/2019 season, driven by a sharp upward revision for China's crop. The inter-governmental body, in a monthly update, increased its global corn crop forecast by 33 million tonnes to 1.109 billion tonnes, with China's production estimated at 257 million tonnes, up from a previous forecast of 220 million. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - DowDuPont wins final OK for global launch of new GMO soybeans

DowDuPont Inc has won the final international regulatory approval needed, from the Philippines, for a global launch of a new line of genetically engineered soybeans, the company said on Thursday. The approval means seed companies can sell the soybeans, named Enlist E3, to farmers for planting as early as this spring without worrying about taking extra steps to keep the harvests out of export markets. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - China must balance U.S. trade deal with fostering its own ag sector - Braun

China is facing a tall task in the agriculture sector, as an agreement with the United States could have the Asian country buying far more goods than ever before, but potentially at the expense of its own industry and other trade partners. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the United States and China have begun to outline the specific commitments that a full trade deal would cover, with one of those items being agricultural purchases by China. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - Bunge's U.S.-China trade war bet leads to Q4 loss, shares dive

Global grains merchant Bunge Ltd reported a fourth-quarter loss on Thursday after a truce in the U.S.-China trade war ruined the company's bets on Brazilian soy, sending shares down to a three-year low. Bunge, under pressure from weak results over the past two years, missed Wall Street forecasts for the fourth time in five quarters. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - Sime Darby Plantation considers exiting West Africa palm oil operations - sources

Sime Darby Plantation, the world's biggest oil palm planter by land holdings, is considering exiting its palm and rubber operations in the West African nation of Liberia, industry sources said. The potential move comes as the Malaysian company's return on investment in Liberia has been lower than expected due to disappointing planting activity amid stricter new international environmental standards, the two sources said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - Farm real estate prices holding up, but USDA worried about a fall

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is concerned about a potential decline in farmland real estate prices, but has seen no sign of that happening so far, USDA chief economist Robert Johansson said on Thursday. Farmland prices are a key pillar of equity for the U.S. agricultural heartland, which has been suffering from lingering weakness in commodity prices and loss of key export markets such as China due to President Donald Trump's trade disputes. Click here to read full stories.


Feb 22 - U.S., Canada, Mexico work to prevent swine fever reaching region

The United States, Canada and Mexico are coordinating efforts to prevent the arrival of a highly contagious swine disease that has swept through China's hog herd and parts of Europe, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday. The disease, African swine fever, can cause death for hogs in just two days. China, home to the world's largest hog herd, has reported more than 100 cases of the disease in 27 provinces and regions since last August. Efforts to contain the fever have disrupted Chinese pork supplies. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 22 - Brazil to propose more self-monitoring of meatpackers

Brazil's agriculture minister said on Thursday a bill will be sent to Congress in the first 100 days of the year to introduce more self-monitoring of food processors, as the world's largest beef and chicken exporter has outgrown the current system that relies on daily presence of inspectors at meatpacking plants. The ministry will propose changes in that bill, while other modifications can be made through administrative measures, Minister Tereza Cristina Dias told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on self-monitoring. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Bunge caught out by Q4 soybean losses in Brazil (AgriCensus)
Fourth quarter earnings at agribusiness major Bunge slipped as the company was caught off guard by movements in Brazilian soybean prices, bringing a disappointing end to a year of modest improvement for the company. Fourth quarter results slipped to $107 million from $155 million this year before. It left full year EBIT at $881 million, up from $577 million last year last year but below analyst expectations. That left its share price in the red, down over 5% at the open Thursday to take losses over the past 12 months to 34%. The Q4 fall was driven by its grain unit, which lost $57 million compared with a profit of $44 million in the same period in 2017, with the company pointing to a $125 million hole left as the Brazil and US soybean export price spread narrowed at the end of last year. In a downbeat earnings call, acting CEO Greg Heckman pointed to “operational and risk management missteps” and concluded “2018 could – and quite frankly should – have been much better”.
Its oilseeds crushing unit managed to post $112 million in profit in the last quarter, up from $34 million in 2017, although Bunge pointed to poor margins at its Argentinian operations as drought hit and farmers held back stocks from the market. Looking ahead to 2019, Heckman said the company is expecting a similar set of results next year as improvements in its sugar and bioenergy units are offset by another year of poor soy crush margins in South America.
It expects margins to improve in its wider seed crushing business due to strong demand, while new risk management controls are expected to help its grains business avoid losses like those seen at the end of 2018. Management declined to comment on underperforming parts of its business that it might look to sell as part of a cost cutting drive, but said it was investigating a range of options.

Feb 21 - U.S.-China trade war rattles agribusinesses, especially Bunge

U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war with China has roiled agricultural markets and given the world's top grain merchants the one thing they have long claimed was essential to turn a trading profit: volatility. And yet, Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co, the so-called ABCDs of grain, have not performed as well as expected - and, in some cases, failed to deliver the profit windfall promised by company executives, investors and analysts said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - China to boost amount of land used to grow soybeans, other oilseeds

China plans to expand the amount of land it uses to grow soybeans and other oilseeds by around 330,000 hectares in 2019, its agriculture ministry said on Thursday. The ministry did not give numbers for country's oilseed acreage in 2018, but the soybean area in the 2017/18 crop year that ended last September was 8.245 million hectares. The vast majority of China's oilseed crop is made up of soybeans. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Brazil soy export forecast revised down as trade war could cool - Agroconsult

Brazil is expected to export 70.2 million tonnes of soy in 2019, consultancy Agroconsult said on Wednesday, cutting its previous forecast of 73 million tonnes as a trade war between China and the United States will be less favorable to Brazil this year. China agreed to restart some purchases of U.S. soy as part of a 90-day truce with the United States as the two sides attempt to negotiate a deal to end the trade war before a Mar. 1 deadline. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Kinder Morgan to expand Chicago ethanol hub to calm glut concerns - sources

Kinder Morgan Inc will expand barge-loading capacity at its ethanol terminal in Chicago to help relieve a supply glut there that is driving down global prices for the biofuel, three people briefed on the company's plans told Reuters. Tens of thousands of barrels of ethanol change hands at the Kinder Morgan Argo terminal daily, and prices there are used as the benchmark for deals across the country, and are also baked into international contracts. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - China to rely on soybean imports, despite push on domestic output - minister

China, the world's largest importer of soybeans, will rely on overseas purchases for supplies of the oilseed, even as it tries to revive domestic production, a top official said on Wednesday. The comments came after Beijing highlighted a plan to expand its soybean acreage in its first policy document of 2019. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Egypt's GASC says buys 360,000 tonnes of wheat in purchase tender

Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), said it bought 360,000 tonnes of wheat at an international purchase tender on Wednesday. The purchase was made up of 180,000 tonnes of French wheat, 60,000 tonnes of Romanian wheat, 60,000 tonnes of Russian wheat and 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat, the grains buyer said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Iraq yet to approve Russian wheat imports - trade minister

Major Middle East grain buyer Iraq does not yet consider Russian wheat acceptable for imports, the Iraqi trade minister said on Wednesday, citing quality issues. Traditionally reliant on the United States as a source for the grain, Iraq is one of the few remaining Middle East markets not dominated by Russian and Black Sea wheat, though it sent a delegation to Russia in December to discuss the possiblity. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 21 - Czechs order inspection of all Polish beef imports - CTK agency

Czech authorities will inspect all beef imported into the Czech Republic from neighbouring Poland following the discovery of salmonella in a 700 kg batch of imported Polish beef, news agency CTK said on Wednesday. The agency reported that Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman had said the government was also considering a ban on Polish imports. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 21 - Glencore 2018 ags earnings fall 23% on drought, trade war

Global trading house Glencore saw EBITDA in its agriculture business fall 23% in 2018 as as global drought lowered grain volumes and pressured margins, with its business further hit by the US-China trade war, the company said Wednesday. Adjusted EBITDA for the business unit came in at $484 million, compared with $631 million the year before, while Glencore’s attributable share of profits was down 79% to $21 million. The group processed 43.2 million mt of grains, 5% less than the year before following drought weather which cut global grains output.

“Poor crop sizes in Australia, Argentina and Brazil (sugarcane), dry spells in Europe over the summer and trade tensions between the US and China impacted volumes and compressed margins in various distribution chains,” Glencore said.

Glencore saw its oil and oilseeds volumes rise 5% on the year to 31.1 million mt on the back of US-China trade war, but prices were down 5% on the year. Its sugar unit processed 9% less sugarcane in 2018, or 4.5 million mt, while raw sugar futures fell 25% last year to hit the unit with a double whammy. Despite the fall in earnings for its agriculture business, total group’s total EBITDA was up 8% to $15.8 billion, although that figure was short of analyst expectations.

On top of that, Glencore announced a fresh $2 billion shares buyback program for 2019 and pledged to cap coal production following investor pressure. Glencore’s share price opened higher on the day to trade 1.2% higher at time of press.

“Market sentiment and its influence on commodity prices represented a tale of two halves, relatively buoyant market conditions over H1 2018 were tempered by US/China trade uncertainty and the somewhat related concerns on the sustainability of Chinese growth over H2,” the company concluded.

Feb 20 - Asian millers turn to Argentina for wheat as drought hits Australian output

Asian wheat millers are snapping up cargoes of the grain from Argentina to arrive in the first-half of the year, typically peak-export season for traditional supplier Australia where a second year of drought is hitting production. Large volumes of exports to Asia from Argentina could further chip away at Australia's dominance of the region's wheat supply, which has already been eroded by growing Black Sea shipments over the past few years. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - Brazil soy output to fall 4 pct this year, could drop further - poll

Brazil's soybean production in the 2018/2019 crop cycle is poised to fall by 4 percent from the previous cycle, according to the average forecast of 12 analysts polled by Reuters, as dry weather reversed expectations for yet another record crop. Brazilian farmers are expected to collect 114.6 million tonnes of the oilseeds this season, below the record amount of 119.3 million tonnes in the last crop year and a downward revision from the previous average forecast of 117 million tonnes in a Reuters poll in January. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - Egypt's GASC seeks wheat for April 5-15 shipment

Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) set a tender on Tuesday to buy an unspecified amount of wheat from global suppliers for shipment from April 5-15. GASC Vice Chairman Ahmed Youssef said the authority was seeking to buy cargoes of soft and/or milling wheat from the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Poland, Argentina, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Paraguay and Serbia. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - Funds sold entire CBOT corn long undetected during U.S. govt shutdown - Braun

Within the span of six weeks, commodity funds dumped bullish bets in Chicago-traded corn futures and options without the market's knowledge. Market participants were under the impression that speculators closed out January relatively optimistic toward the grains. However, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) confirmed otherwise on Tuesday. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - British farmers face Brexit date shipment conundrum

British farmers and food producers must decide whether to proceed with shipments next week because exports could face tariffs if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal, a farming leader said on Tuesday. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29 but Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), said decisions needed to be taken by farmers as soon as next week. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 20 - China to expand agriculture reforms to bolster rural economy

China will deepen reforms of its agriculture sector to promote its rural economy, the government said in its first policy statement of 2019, as it seeks to bolster growth and offset trade challenges. Beijing's statement, released late on Tuesday, comes after the world's second-largest economy saw its weakest growth in 28 years in 2018 and remains entangled in a trade war with Washington. Click here to read full stories.


Feb 19 - Iran’s corn need key as Brazil’s export, import flow up-ended (AgriCensus)

- Brazil’s position as one of the few exporters prepared to run the gamut of US sanctions and supply corn to Iran is helping to upend the country’s export dynamics, as geopolitics, trade fears and economics sees southern states exchange Brazilian corn for Argentine imports.
“The crazy thing is that ports in the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina are exporting corn this month – this is not normal at all,” one market source told Agricensus.
The news comes as the same states – which are home to a significant chunk of Brazil’s livestock sector – have imported corn from Argentina in recent days, in a move that often reflects Brazil's high domestic prices and poor internal supply logistics.
“The state of Santa Catarina normally buys some corn from Argentina and Paraguay because those countries are close, because Santa Catarina needs more corn than it is able to grow and because it’s cheaper to buy corn from those countries,” Agrural’s Daniele Siqueira told Agricensus.
- Santa Catarina is too far south to have a second safrinha crop, where much of Brazil’s corn supply comes from, but is too far away from the big producing states of Mato Grosso and Parana to make supply logistics cost effective. While it is not unusual for Argentina to supply corn to Brazil, the fact that the states are also exporting corn draws together disparate threads of trade war, Iran sanctions, Argentina’s record-breaking crop and Brazil’s domestic situation.
- Southern star
Line-up data for Brazil’s principle ports in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul – Rio Grande and Imbituba – shows nearly 650,000 mt of corn either loaded, loading or recently sailed.
“Farmers harvest soybeans later in those states and ports don’t have much to do right now… (but) they were not supposed to export corn, because their domestic market needs corn,” Siqueira said. While the bulk is bound for Vietnam from Rio Grande, the port is also host to one cargo heading to the Middle East country, while Imbituba’s line-up is dominated by corn cargoes to Iran – with 197,122 mt set to sail.
- Geopolitics
Which is where geopolitics kicks in – Iran has been increasingly reliant upon Brazilian corn supply since US president Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions on the country in December 2018. That has seen some of the country’s auxiliary suppliers – countries such as Ukraine – show a degree of wariness about selling to Iran, fearing a backlash from the US.
That has consolidated Brazil’s position as the country’s number one corn supplier, and left Iran having to pay a substantial premium to secure supply.
“They are exporting to expensive destinations… the domestic market is equivalent to 120 cents over the March futures contract,” a second Brazil-based market source said.
That equates to around $194/mt, at a time when Argentina’s FOB Up River price stands at around $167.75/mt, according to Agricensus data – weighed down by expectations of a 46 million mt corn crop that is poised to come to market from March onwards.
While the financial reward is clear, the use of southern ports versus the typical main export hubs of Santos or Paranagua comes down in part to the timing of the soybean harvest and the ongoing strained trade relations between the US and China.
With Brazil’s soybeans are harvested as part of the country’s first crop, logistics typically switch towards soybeans at this time of the year – but China’s ongoing trade impasse with the US has added an extra incentive, and Brazil is gearing up for a big bean export performance.
Again, line-up data shows 89 ships are either waiting to load, loading or have recently sailed from Brazil’s main export hub of Santos. Of these, only two are carrying corn, with 71 of the ships – some 80% – taking soybeans. That leaves the southern states at a unique crossroads - meeting Iran's supply needs through Brazil's corn exports, while capitalising on competitive Argentine corn to meet its own needs.

Feb 19 - Australian wheat production falls to 11-year low as drought bites

Australia's wheat production fell to an 11-year low during the 2018/19 season, the country's chief commodity forecaster said on Tuesday, after an east coast drought wilted crops in the world's No. 4 exporter. Output totalled 17.3 million tonnes, down from 21.24 million tonnes a year earlier, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) said in its final tally for the recently harvested crop. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - U.S. tariffs on EU cars could mean EU buying less U.S. soya beans and gas - Juncker

United States tariffs on imports of European cars could mean that Europe would buy less soya beans and liquid gas from the U.S., the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday. Juncker, whose institution is in charge of trade talks for the whole 28-nation European Union, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung paper in an interview that he had a deal with U.S. President Donald Trump that there would be no such tariffs for now. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - Brazil's JBS taps Argentine corn over pricey domestic crop

JBS SA has ordered its first shipment this year of corn imported from Argentina for its southern Brazilian meat plants as government-set shipping costs drive up the price of domestic corn, a source with direct knowledge of the decision said on Monday. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information is not public, said the company resorted to importing corn for its plants in the state of Santa Catarina, renewing a practice that became common for several months starting last March.  Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - Chinese frozen food firm recalls products suspected of African swine fever contamination

Major Chinese frozen food producer Sanquan Food Co Ltd said on Monday it has recalled products that may be contaminated with African swine fever, following media reports that some of its dumplings tested positive for the virus. African swine fever is incurable in pigs but does not harm people. An epidemic of the disease has spread rapidly across China since August 2018, reaching 25 provinces and regions.  Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - UK's Gove: Govt will use tariffs, quotas to protect farmers after Brexit

The British government will use tools including tariffs and quotas to make sure its farmers are not left at a competitive disadvantage by Brexit, environment minister Michael Gove will say on Tuesday. With just six weeks to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to win parliament's backing for an exit agreement. It is due to set out later this month the tariffs it plans to levy if Britain leaves without a deal on March 29. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - Brazil 2018/19 soy harvest advances to 36 pct of area - AgRural

Brazil's 2018/2019 soybean harvest has advanced to 36 percent of the planted area, 19 percentage points above this time last season as some farmers sowed the soy earlier and then speeded up harvesting due to dry and hot weather. Consultancy AgRural said on Monday that in spite of being ahead of last year and above a 19 percent five-year average, harvesting slowed slightly over the past few days due to the return of the rains. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 19 - China to focus on cold chain industry in five-year agri plan

China will push for more cold-chain storage and logistic facilities for agricultural products in the next four years, according to a government document that was released late Monday. Beijing will focus on constructing pre-cooling, storage and freshness-retaining infrastructure facilities in leading production regions, as part of its five-year plan to revitalise the agricultural sector by improving the quality of its produce. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 18 - Algeria's OAIC back for feed barley (AgriCensus)
Algeria’s state grain buyer, OAIC, was back in the market to buy 50,000 mt of feed barley for shipment from March 16-31, market sources said Monday.
Back in September, OAIC paid a reported $252-255/mt CFR for three 25,000 mt cargoes, with delivery to be completed in November.
OAIC has not launched a tender since September, and like its previous outing, this tender comes on the heels of a 600,000 mt milling wheat purchase last week.
Algeria's barley tender comes a week after Tunisia bought 75,000 mt of barley.

Feb 15 - South Korea takes corn buying to 855,000 mt as Cargill sells again (AgriCensus)
- South Korea’s NOFI has tendered and bought a 69,000 mt cargo of corn from Cargill at $205.48/mt, according to market sources, becoming the latest in a string of feed manufacturers to capitalise on relatively low prices in a week-long buying spree.
With the tender again well contended – including offers from 17 different companies with over 1 million mt on show – private deals are thought to have followed the tender, taking the total volume to 855,000 mt in a week. Cargill’s sales during that time include five cargoes – some 345,000 mt – with the latest cargo, for June 25 arrival, taking NOFI’s buying to 207,000 mt, all from Cargill.
- Fellow feed major MFG has currently clocked up 275,000 mt over the week.
- KFA and FLC have also made recent forays into the market picking up 183,000 mt and 65,000 mt respectively, with both thought to have been active privately to hoover up cargoes after this tender closed. KFA is thought to have secured a 60,000 mt cargo from Olam at $206.63/mt, loading May 17 through June 5 on a PNW basis and set for Busan.
- FLC has picked up a further 65,000 mt cargo from Mitsui for June 25 arrival, according to market sources, at $205.48/mt.
The cargos are again expected to be sourced out of the US Pacific Northwest.The volume of corn on offer meant that further private deals were likely to be picked up late in the day.

Feb 15 - Leading Russian state bank tightens grip on Black Sea grain export hub

Russia's second-biggest bank VTB is buying one of the biggest grain terminals at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, in a surprise move that gives the state lender more control over the country's main deep-sea grain export hub. VTB, which already owns a stake in another grain terminal at the port, said on Thursday that it was buying 100 percent of Novorossiysk Grain Terminal from Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NSCP). Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - China to exempt some Brazilian chicken imports from tariffs

China will exempt 14 Brazilian firms including BRF and JBS Group from anti-dumping tariffs on imports of chicken products, provided sales are made above an undisclosed floor price. The exemptions follow months of negotiations between Brazilian chicken producers and China, as Brazil sought to resolve an anti-dumping probe launched in August 2017. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Barley 'price war' sparked by China, Saudi demand drop - analyst

A drop in demand from China and Saudi Arabia sent barley prices tumbling in recent weeks, despite low global supply, and price pressure may continue if harvest prospects for next season remain good, analysts at Strategie Grains said. The barley market rallied earlier in the 2018/19 season with weather-hit crops in Europe and Australia expected to contribute to a fall in global stocks, which the U.S. government sees hitting a 35-year low. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Foggy outlook for U.S. soy market persists without a China deal: Braun

Although uncertainty is a fixture, even a necessity, in commodity markets, it has perhaps never been greater for agriculture traders than so far in 2019 as the future of trade between the United States and China remains unclear. Negotiations between the two countries are ongoing, but if they are dragged out much past March 1, the 2019 U.S. growing season – and farmers’ planting decisions – could be at risk. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Iran, Russia move closer to organising finance for wheat deal

Iran, Russia and Kazakhstan are making progress on organising finance for a long-planned wheat deal that could double or triple supplies to Iran, the secretary general of Iran's Federation of Food Industry Associations said. Talks started a year ago, but stalled due to a lack of financing. The deal involves Russia and Kazakhstan supplying wheat to Iranian millers, who in turn would supply flour to Iraq - a market dominated by Turkey and other countries. Click here to read full stories.


Feb 15 - IEG Vantage raises U.S. 2019 corn seedings view; trims soy - document

Private analytics firm IEG Vantage, formerly known as Informa Economics IEG, on Thursday projected U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 91.591 million acres, up slightly from its Jan. 23 forecast of 91.504 million acres. The firm forecast 2019 corn production at 14.908 billion bushels based on a yield of 177.0 bushels per acre, according to an IEG client note seen by Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Argentina soy crop forecast at 52 mln tonnes despite loss due to rain - exchange

Argentina's soy crop is battling storms that have flooded some marginal growing regions while helping yields in prime farm areas, with one grains exchange increasing its harvest forecast while another warned it may cut its 2018/19 planting estimate. The country's soy crop should reach 52 million tonnes this season, up from 50 million tonnes previously forecast, the Rosario Grains Exchange said late on Wednesday. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange followed on Thursday with a report saying excessive rains may cause it to cut estimated planting area. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 15 - Brazil may raise farm subsidies despite belt tightening

Brazil could double spending on subsidized farm insurance in 2020 and may expand subsidized loans, the country's agriculture policy secretary said on Thursday, even though the new government's economic team has pledged to cut spending. The negotiations on next year's farm subsidies highlight the powerful agribusiness lobby's struggle to preserve benefits at a time when Economy Minister Paulo Guedes is pushing for belt-tightening efforts including cutting state-subsidized loans in favor of lending on the open market. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Russian milling wheat offers slide as competition, ruble weakness bite (AgriCensus)
- Russian milling wheat offers are falling in a bid to remain competitive on the global stage, with prices dropping to their lowest levels in a month as exporters try to fight off competition from around the world and the ruble slumps to month lows, market sources told Agricensus Thursday. Russian 12.5% protein milling wheat was heard traded for March at $240/mt FOB Kavkaz, down another $1/mt from a deal earlier in the week and well below offer levels at $252/mt FOB last week. The wider Russian market has dropped as sellers have cut their offers, while a weaker ruble has also contributed to its competitiveness.
"It’s who will surrender first," a grain trader told Agricensus Thursday, referring to growing competition between Russian and French wheat sellers discounting to hit bid levels.
- Offers for 12.5% protein wheat fell to $244-245/mt FOB for March, while 11.5% milling wheat is now at parity with French sellers at $233/mt FOB. Russian wheat has spent much of 2019 priced out of the international market as domestic supply dwindled and has been bitten by a series of government measures intended to combat inflation. The ruble, meanwhile, has fallen to month-lows as the US and EU prepare to hit Moscow with a fresh bout of sanctions.
- Russia is the world’s biggest wheat exporter and its prices are closely watched by the industry as a barometer of the market’s health.

Feb 14 - China Jan soybean imports slip 13 pct on year, tariffs on U.S. cargoes weigh

China's soybean imports fell 13 percent in January from the same month a year earlier, customs data showed on Thursday, as a hefty duty imposed on shipments from the United States, its second-largest supplier, curbed purchases. China brought in 7.38 million tonnes of soybeans in January, down from 8.48 million tonnes a year earlier, preliminary data from the General Administration of Customs showed. January's imports were up 29 percent from 5.72 million tonnes in December. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - USDA official hopes year-round E15 gas approved soon, but sees fallback

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's deputy secretary said on Wednesday he is "hopeful" the administration will complete its rule allowing year-round sales of a higher ethanol blend of gasoline by summer, but the government should use "discretionary enforcement" of the summertime ban if there is a delay. "I see this as a fallback plan in the event we don't make the deadline," the deputy secretary, Stephen Censky, said at a biofuels conference in Florida. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Russian agricultural firms raided over suspected tax evasion

Meat producer Cherkizovo and farming conglomerate Rusagro were among agricultural firms across Russia targeted in a sweeping investigation into suspected tax evasion on Wednesday. The Tax Service said so far five potential breaches had been uncovered in inspections carried out with the Federal Security Service (FSB) at agricultural holdings across 13 regions. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - France raises rapeseed area estimate but sees risk of losses

France's farm ministry on Wednesday increased its estimate of the area sown with winter rapeseed for the 2019 harvest, but the level remained well down on last year and the ministry warned more crops may be lost due to the effects of drought. The winter rapeseed area was pegged at 1.3 million hectares, up from 1.2 million in an initial outlook in December. That was 16.8 percent below the 2018 area and 11.3 percent less than the average of the past five years, the ministry said in a report. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Indonesia defends palm oil after EU targets 2030 phase-out in road fuel

Indonesia, the world's biggest producer of palm oil, will not accept an EU plan to curb the use of crops that cause deforestation, and argued that its higher production yield made it better placed to meet global demand, a senior Indonesian official said. A European Union draft due to come into effect after four weeks of public consultation, concluded that palm oil cultivation results in deforestation and its usage in transportation fuel should be phased out by 2030. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - 'Tinder for cows' matches livestock in the mood for love

A Tinder-inspired app is helping farmers match up potential partners for their cattle.

Called "Tudder" - a mix of dating app Tinder and udder - it lets farmers swipe right on cattle they like the look of. They are then directed to a page on the SellMyLivestock website where they can browse more pictures and data about the animals before deciding whether to buy. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - South Africa's 2018 maize crop falls from record harvest - goverment

South Africa's 2018 maize output was 26 percent lower than the record crop in the previous year after a dry spell in the western part of the maize belt and delayed crop plantings in other parts, the Crop Estimates Committee said on Wednesday. The committee said the 2018 harvest totalled 12.510 million tonnes maize, down from the 16.82 million tonnes harvested in 2017 after favourable weather conditions boosted yields. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Republican senators pressure Trump's EPA pick over biofuels

Five Republican senators are warning President Donald Trump's new pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, that their support for his nomination may hinge on his biofuels policy. The senators, all from states hosting oil refineries, said they want to be assured that Wheeler would work to reduce the regulatory costs for oil companies of complying with the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard before they decide on whether to back him as permanent chief of the EPA. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Egypt to allow imports of Serbian wheat - agriculture ministry

Egypt's agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it would allow the imports of Serbian wheat into the country. The world's largest wheat buyer had been studying allowing Serbian wheat back into its market, the statement said, and the decision came as the export of Egyptian potatoes and grapes to Serbia were also unlocked. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Argentina soy crop seen reaching 52 mln tonnes-Rosario Grains Exchange

Argentina's soy crop is expected to reach 52 million tonnes during the 2018-19 season, up from 50 million tonnes previously forecast, the Rosario Grains Exchange said on Wednesday. The country's corn crop for the season is now seen at 46.5 million tonnes, compared to the 44 million tonnes estimated before, the exchange added. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Brazil's BRF recalls chicken export products over salmonella fears

Brazilian food processor BRF SA recalled almost 500 tonnes of fresh chicken products on Wednesday due to salmonella contamination worries, in a move affecting several key export markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The recall deals another blow to the food processor, which is struggling under trade bans in the European Union after accusations that it colluded with health inspectors and accredited laboratories to evade food safety checks. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 14 - Ukraine grain exports rise to 30.2 mln tonnes so far in 2018/19

Ukraine's grain exports have risen to 30.17 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season, up from 24.88 million tonnes at the same point in the previous season, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70 million tonnes of grain last year, up from 61.3 million in 2017. The ministry said exports could rise to at least 47 million tonnes in the July 2018 to June 2019 season from 39.4 million the season before. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - Rain takes steam out of South Africa’s corn, but crop fears remain (AgriCensus)
- South Africa’s main corn growing regions around the north and east of the country have received steady rains over the week with further rain expected in the days ahead, cooling market fears over the state of the upcoming crop, market sources have told Agricensus.
“We had some good rains this weekend, and you’re seeing the effects on the maize market,” one market source said, with prices for yellow corn and white corn prices easing and the spread between the two grades narrowing.
“If you look at South Africa’s weather services, they are saying that they expect above normal rainfall in the main planting areas,” agricultural economist and head of agribusiness research at the country’s Agricultural Business Chamber Agbiz, Wandile Sihlobo told Agricensus.
“If what they say is anything to go by, then one would expect a bit of a good improvement on the crops,” he said.
South Africa’s corn production has been hit by a prolonged dry spell that first raised fears over supply prospects back in December 2018, when farmers delayed planting on a lack of moisture.
- Farmers were pushed out of their optimal window for corn with much of the planting starting in January, raising fears that they may switch to other crops or that yields will be undermined by the conditions. Domestic prices spiked high enough to see the country switch from a net exporter to an importer at the start of the year, with Cape Town accepting the first 50,000 mt cargo of Brazilian corn imports in nearly two years. The country’s Crop Estimate Committee eased some of the concerns when it updated its corn forecast at the end of January, trimming its likely corn acreage by a lighter-than-expected 200,000 hectares to 2.2 million ha.
- However, the impact of drought remains significant, warned Sihlobo, with question marks still over the total area planted.
“I don’t think this changes much… I do think that, yes, we might have planted more than what we estimated, but I still believe it’s about 1.98 million hectares,” Sihlobo said.
“The focus is now the yields (and) if we can get to over 4 mt per hectare," he said, which would could take the crop 8 million mt.
That level of production, along with domestic stocks, is likely to see South Africa largely self-sufficient for the 2019/20 season.

Feb 13 - Brazil's next soy crop survey likely to show further decline - official

Brazil's next survey of the 2018/19 soy crop is likely to show a further decline in estimated output resulting from dry weather in January, Eduardo Sampaio, farm policy secretary at the Agriculture Ministry, said on Tuesday. The current survey showed a drop of roughly 3.5 million tonnes in output, from a previous survey in January, to 115.3 million tonnes of soy for the crop year, according to figures released by agriculture statistics agency Conab on Tuesday. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - USDA rips up past estimates of S. American soybean stocks: Braun

Brazil’s nine-month string of record soybean exports has had many market participants wondering how inventory had not yet dried up in the world’s top supplier. Sky-high supply forecasts for Argentina have also been mysterious, especially following last year’s drought-stricken soybean harvest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture apparently had the same questions, and the only logical answer the agency could find was that its previous forecasts must be incorrect. This prompted USDA to make historical revisions to both countries’ soybean ledgers in its latest monthly update that was issued on Friday. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - High ethanol stocks keep prices in check in Brazil, boost demand

High stocks of ethanol in Brazil, a result of a switch away from sugar production by local mills, are keeping prices for the biofuel in check, allowing for demand to continue strong in the country, cane industry group Unica said on Tuesday. The group said that sales of hydrous ethanol, the type that competes directly with gasoline for the preference of flex fuel car owners, reached 1.3 billion liters in January, the highest ever volume for that month, and 32 percent more than in January 2018. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - Funds surprisingly lukewarm toward CBOT corn futures: Braun

Since mid-January, speculators have come very close to dumping bullish bets in Chicago-traded corn futures and options, but the extent of that situation may not have been clear for market participants until Tuesday. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has been staggering data releases between Tuesdays and Fridays ever since the record-long U.S. government shutdown ended on Jan. 25. Tuesday’s Commitments of Traders report from CFTC covers market activity through Jan. 15. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - Biosev 2018/19 crop year loss up 8.4 pct through Dec

Biosev SA, the Brazilian sugar and ethanol maker controlled by commodities trader Louis Dreyfus, said its loss in the 2018/19 cane season through December rose 8.4 percent from the previous season to 892.6 million reais ($240.40 million). Biosev on Tuesday reported a loss of 230 million reais in the third quarter ended in December, mostly due to the depreciation of the Brazilian currency. The loss was 17 percent smaller than in the same period a year earlier. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - EPA opts for single E15 rule after considering separating trading curbs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has decided to release a single draft rule to expand sales of higher ethanol blends of gasoline and curb biofuel credit speculation, after having contemplated separating the measures, a senior official at the administration told Reuters on Tuesday. The EPA was thinking about releasing the measures separately to allow it to focus on finishing its rule to lift a summertime ban on sales of so-called E15 gasoline in time for the U.S. driving season, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 13 - EU exempts eight Argentine biodiesel producers from duties

Eight Argentine biodiesel producers will be allowed to export to the European Union without paying duties as long as they sell at a set minimum price, the EU's Official Journal said on Tuesday. Argentina and the European Union agreed last month to end a dispute over biodiesel exports from the South American country to the bloc. Argentina is the world's top producer of soyoil, the main ingredient used to make biodiesel. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - Conab cuts Brazil soybean production estimate 3% (AgriCensus)
- Brazil’s food statistics agency cut its projection of the current Brazilian soybean crop to 115.3 million mt on Tuesday, down from its January estimate of 118.8 million mt. Conab cut the projection on lower than expected yields following the past two months of dry weather.
The projection takes this year’s crop down about 4 million mt on last year’s, although it still remains the second highest on record.
- Exports are expected to be 71.5 million mt, a 12-million mt cut on the year as Brazil expects a smaller harvest this year at the same time as crush is expected to rise 1.4 million mt to 44 million mt and the country will rebuild stocks. Private analysts had estimated the crop to be between 112.5-117 million mt, leaving Brazil’s official estimate at about average. Market sources talking to Agricensus expected a projection of about 114-116 million mt. In terms of corn, Conab said it expected production of 91.7 million mt, up 500,000 mt on its previous guess. Early planting and harvesting of soybeans is expected to allow more corn to be planted in ideal growing conditions.

Feb 12 - How a Philippines regulator stymied DowDuPont's global seed launch

A Philippines regulator poses an unexpected obstacle to DowDuPont's launch of a new line of genetically engineered soybeans in the United States as the company challenges Bayer AG's decades-long dominance of the U.S. seed market. China's January approval for imports of DowDuPont's Enlist E3 soybeans - amid the U.S.-China trade war - had raised hopes that the seeds would be broadly available for the U.S. spring planting season. It took more than five years for the company to win China's approval. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - Russia's agriculture ministry to set up new grain exporters' union

Russia's agriculture ministry will set up a new grain exporters' union to better understand the needs of the market, it said on Monday after its routine meeting with local grain traders. Traders interpreted it as a result of the close attention with which Russian officials have been monitoring how big exporters are faring given a lower 2018 crop since September. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - Brazil's 2018/19 soy crop expected to be smallest in 3 years - AgRural

Brazil's 2018/19 soybean crop estimate was cut by almost 4.5 million tonnes, agribusiness consultancy AgRural said on Monday, as it cited unfavorable climate conditions in key producing states. AgRural now predicts Brazil's output at 112.5 million tonnes this season, down from a forecast 116.9 million tonnes last month, due to hot and dry conditions in soybean fields. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - Malaysia to double palm oil used in transport biodiesel to 20 pct in 2020 - minister

Malaysia aims to double the palm oil content in biodiesel used for the transport sector to 20 percent next year, as Southeast Asia's third-largest economy looks to cut record stockpiles and boost prices, a government minister said on Tuesday. The government will also raise the palm oil content in biofuel for the industrial sector to 10 percent next year from a 7 percent quota being rolled out this July, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said, speaking at a conference. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - Bayer's Monsanto wins arbitration ruling over royalties from Indian seed company

German drugmaker Bayer AG's Monsanto unit has won proceedings against Indian seed maker Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) in a royalty dispute, lawyers familiar with the matter said. The lawyers, who did not wish to be named as the decision was not public, did not disclose the terms of the arbitration ruling. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - EU targets palm oil for road fuel phase-out, but with exemptions

The European Commission has concluded that palm oil cultivation results in deforestation and its use in transport fuel should be phased out, but environmentalists criticised it on Monday for allowing a number of exceptions. The Commission published its proposed criteria for determining what crops caused harm at the weekend, following a law passed by the European Union last year to end the use of feedstocks in biofuels that damage the environment. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 12 - U.S. EPA may issue E15 gasoline plan without biofuel credit trade limits - sources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering releasing its draft proposal to expand sales of higher ethanol blends of gasoline without including simultaneous measures it promised the oil industry to curb biofuel credit speculation, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The move would help the agency lift a summertime ban on sales of so-called E15 gasoline in time for the U.S. driving season, but is likely to anger oil refiners that had been asking the Trump administration for biofuel credit market reforms to reduce their costs. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - Russia moves to reassert control over grain exports with new body

Russia’s government has moved to further tighten its control over grain exports, announcing that a new trade body is to be set up in the coming months to coordinate information sharing between the state and private sellers. The announcement comes following a meeting between the ministry and exporters on Monday.

“We need to understand the general trends, the general demands of the market, which is why it is necessary to form a strong association that will represent the interests of the main exporters… (It) will be created closer to April of this year,” Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said.

While details were scant on what shape the new body will take, Patrushev was quoted urging industry participation in setting the organisation up. It is the latest step in a major shakeup for the Russian grain export industry this year, with the state taking a more assertive role in managing the industry after overseas sales surged despite a smaller crop. Fearing a threat to domestic bread prices and wider inflation, authorities stepped up port inspections and started to meet regularly with exporters to keep tabs on the pace of sales. Trade sources were initially confused by the logic behind creating a new exporters’ body when asked Monday.

“Let them do what they want, (but) there are already two such unions,” a Russian grain exporter told Agricensus, referring to the Russian Grain Union (RZS) and the National Association of Exporters of Agricultural Products (NAESP).

Separately, the agriculture ministry reiterated its expectation of 2018/19 marketing year grain exports at 42 million mt, with wheat at 37 million mt. Russia has exported 32.6 million mt of grain since the start of the marketing year in July, 3% higher than at the same stage last year, while wheat exports are up 11% at 27.3 million mt.

Feb 11 - Can "Big Brother" technology clean up palm oil's image ? 

Some of the world's major palm oil users, including Nestle, Unilever, and Mondelez, are trying out new satellite technology to track deforestation, as pressure grows on them to source the ingredient responsibly. They say the monitoring systems allow them to target people felling trees in producing countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, where forests are shrinking, more efficiently than policing supply chains on the ground. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - U.S. soy supplies surge, winter wheat acreage falls to 110-year low

U.S. soybean supplies as of Dec. 1 were the biggest on record as demand for the oilseed fizzled amid a trade war between the United States and China, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday. USDA also said that farmers seeded the smallest winter wheat area - 31.290 million acres - since 1909. An abundance of cheaper supplies around the globe has made U.S. wheat less desirable to overseas buyers in recent years. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - Brazil farmers halt soy sales as real strengthens, China buys U.S. supplies

Farmers have halted sales of Brazil's soybeans as port premiums swooned, the real currency strengthened and a pause in a trade war prompted top importer China to purchase soy from the United States, growers and trading companies said. Poor market conditions are also affecting planting decisions for Brazil's 2019/2020 crop that will be sown starting from September. Farmers generally buy inputs like seeds and fertilizers through barter arrangements with traders, used as a form of credit until the crop is harvested, and such deals are way behind schedule, farmers and companies said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - Malaysia's Jan palm oil stocks ease from highest on record

Malaysia's palm oil inventories in January eased back from a near two-decade high at end-December as demand increased amid falling production, official data showed on Monday, although the stocks still hovered just above 3 million tonnes. January stocks in Malaysia, the world's second-largest palm oil producer and exporter, declined for the first time in eight months, falling 6.7 percent to 3.001 million tonnes, data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) showed. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - Brazil soy farmers say Bayer violating court ruling in patent dispute

Germany's Bayer AG is in violation of a Brazilian court order obliging it to deposit in escrow royalties paid by Mato Grosso state farmers for its Intacta RR2 Pro soy seed technology, farmers claimed on Friday. Instead of depositing the royalties in full, Mato Grosso grain growers association Aprosoja told Reuters that the value transferred by Bayer into an escrow account between July and December of last year represents just 4 percent of what state growers paid in the period. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - Egypt's GASC buys 300,000 tonnes of wheat for late March shipment

Egypt's state grains buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), bought 300,000 tonnes of wheat on Friday at an international purchase tender for shipment March 21-31, traders said. GASC said it booked 120,000 tonnes of U.S. soft red wheat, 120,000 tonnes of French wheat, and 60,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 11 - Brazil's Marfrig, Minerva Uruguay plants cleared to sell beef to Japan

Brazilian food processors Marfrig Global Foods SA and Minerva SA said on Friday that all seven of their plants in Uruguay have been authorized to export fresh beef to Japan. Marfrig and Minerva meat processing units in Uruguay will benefit from an agreement signed in December between the governments of Uruguay and Japan that ended a 19-year hiatus in fresh beef trade between the two nations. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - EU to cash $70bn in from trade war, Brazil to benefit $10bn (UN)
 

- The European Union will profit the most from changes in global trade due to the US-China trade war, with Brazil cashing in $10.5 billion annually if the world’s two largest economies expand the trade war, a UN report published this week showed.
The study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development shows that the EU will benefit from $70 billion worth of increased trade, equivalent to 0.9% of the bloc’s total exports. Of that headline figure, $50 billion will replace Chinese exports to the US, with $20 billion capturing US exports to China.
- President Trump has warned that if no deal is reached by March 1, the additional tax rates on Chinese goods will increase from 10% to 25% with China to react reciprocally. The UN estimates that of the $250 billion of Chinese exports taxed by the US, 82% will be snatched up by firms in third countries, with 12% to be retained by Chinese firms and just 6% by US companies. Conversely, of the $110 billion of US exports taxed by China, 85% will go to other countries, with US firms holding on to 10%, and Chinese companies only seeing a 5% increase.
“The reason is simple: bilateral tariffs alter global competitiveness to the advantage of firms operating in countries not directly affected by them,” UNCTAD concluded.
- The EU is able to step into the void as it is best placed to offer the goods and services at a competitive rate while having the economic capacity to do so.
“Our analysis shows that while bilateral tariffs are not very effective in protecting domestic firms, they are valid instruments to limit trade from the targeted country,” UNCTAD’s head of international trade division, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, said.
- Brazilian beans
Brazil, who became China’s number one soybean supplier in 2018 following the trade war, will benefit to the tune of $10.5 billion, equivalent to a 3.8% increase in annual exports and making it the eight largest beneficiary from the trade war. Yet, only 20% of that increase is due to Chinese tariffs on US goods, meaning that the largest benefits for Brazil are to be reaped from additional trade with the US, such as metals and machinery, rather than additional soybean sales to China. While higher cash prices for soybeans were welcomed by Brazilian farmers, industry concerns remain over what will happen when the trade war ends and tariffs imposed on US beans are lifted.
“Because the magnitude and duration of tariffs is unclear, Brazilian producers have been reluctant to make investment decisions that may turn out to be unprofitable if the tariffs are revoked,” the study said.
In 2018, Brazil exported 69 million mt of soybeans to China worth $27.5 billion, up from $20.3 billion the year before, Brazilian customs data showed. Mexico, Japan and Canada were other large beneficiaries, following the EU, and each captured more than $20 billion.

Feb 08 - Egypt's GASC seeks wheat for March 21-31 shipment

Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) set a tender on Thursday to buy an unspecified amount of wheat from global suppliers for shipment from March 21-31. GASC Vice Chairman Ahmed Youssef said the authority was seeking to buy cargoes of soft and/or milling wheat from the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Poland, Argentina, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Paraguay. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - India's cotton imports to surge as output hits 9-year low - trade body

India's cotton imports are likely to jump 80 percent from a year ago as production could fall to the lowest level in nine years due to low rainfall in key growing region, a senior industry official told Reuters on Thursday. Higher imports by the world's biggest cotton producer could support global prices, trading near their lowest in more than a year. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - U.S.-China trade war jitters may cloud USDA’s Friday data dump - Braun

A bit of normalcy will be restored in the agriculture market on Friday as monthly U.S. government reports will resume after being on hiatus since December. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has only been back in business for two weeks after the record-long partial government shutdown, so it is unclear how and if any recent information gaps might affect Friday’s forecasts. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - U.S. farm finances 'relatively stable' despite China trade war - Nutrien

U.S. farmers are in "relatively stable" financial health despite a bruising trade war between the United States and China that has weakened crop prices, the chief executive of farm supplier Nutrien Ltd said on Thursday. Farmer bankruptcies in 2018 were lower than the previous year, and below the 10-year average, CEO Chuck Magro said on a quarterly conference call. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - Tyson Foods quarterly sales miss on lower pork sales

Tyson Foods Inc reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter sales on Thursday as the largest U.S. meat processor was stung by weaker pork prices and sales volumes and lower chicken prices. Shares of the maker of Ball Park hotdogs and Jimmy Dean sausages fell about 2 percent to $59.66. Tyson is grappling with a drop in U.S. demand for chicken and declining prices for pork due to trade tensions between the United States and some trading partners. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - Shares of Brazil's BRF dive as cash-raising effort falls short

Brazilian food processor BRF SA on Thursday fell short of raising 5 billion reais at the end of an asset sale program, causing shares of the world's largest chicken exporter to drop by almost 5 percent. In a securities filing, BRF said it had completed all divestitures after agreeing to sell its units in Europe and Thailand to Tyson Foods for $340 million. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - U.S. EPA wins new chance to argue against pesticide ban

The Trump administration has persuaded a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its recent decision ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the widely-used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which critics say can harm children and farmers. In an order on Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will again review former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt's March 2017 refusal to ban chlorpyrifos for use on food crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 08 - New Brazil government backs former outlaw indigenous farmers

Brazil's new right-wing government is backing an indigenous tribe that was fined under the previous administration for commercial farming practices banned on tribal land, saying they are an example to be followed as it pushes to open reservations to agriculture. The Parecis in western Mato Grosso state had partnered with local farmers to produce soy and were using genetically modified crops (GMO), both practices that are banned on reservation land. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - Widening Argentina-Brazil soybean cash spread opens arbitrage (AgriCensus)
- The widening spread between the price of Argentinian and Brazilian soybean cash prices at ports is tempting Chinese buyers to switch out of Brazilian beans and into Argentinian beans in a move that could firm up the price of beans out of Rosario. Three sources told Agricensus that buyers had tried to sell back soybean cargoes bought from Brazil and source the beans instead from Argentina after the price gap for May and June shipments between the two locations widened.
- “I’ve heard [buyers] have asked to switch out from Brazil to Argentina for May and June and there has been some business,” said one market source, who added that higher prices in Brazil caused by a lack of farmer selling had opened the arbitrage opportunity.
The price spread between the two locations has risen from $16.50/mt in mid-January to $22/mt as a lack of farmer selling in Brazil has pushed up premiums while offers out of Argentina have stayed static. That means, despite Argentinian soybeans being $7-8/mt more expensive to ship and a worse protein quality that can often mean discounts of $10/mt, they are still cheaper than Brazilian beans. A second trader in Brazil confirmed that some switching had taken place as the buyer wanted to take Argentinian and Uruguayan beans for stocks. A third trader said he had heard that some buyers may be seeking to re-sell Brazilian beans if the sellers would not or could not switch to Argentinian ports, such were the cost savings.
- Prices in Brazil have firmed relative to US and Argentinian beans over recent weeks due to reluctance by farmers to sell due to uncertainty over the crop, higher freight costs and what they deem to be low prices at a time when they are cash rich from profitable sales last year. And with many exporters forced to buy beans due to existing take-or-pay contracts on freight, according to a fourth source, that can “force exporters to support domestic prices without necessarily being able to transfer them to the domestic market”.
However, the fourth source warned that volumes are not likely to be huge.
- On Wednesday, May shipments basis ex-Santos were heard marked at around 55 cents per bushel over the May contract versus beans from Up River, Argentina being offered at a price equivalent to a 3 cent premium. Fifty-five cents per bushel equates to about $20/mt.

Feb 07 - Long, strange trip: How U.S. ethanol reaches China tariff-free

In June, the High Seas tanker ship loaded up on ethanol in Texas and set off for Asia. Two months later - after a circuitous journey that included a ship-to-ship transfer and a stop in Malaysia - its cargo arrived in China, according to shipping data analyzed by Reuters and interviews with Malaysian and Chinese port officials. At the time, the roundabout route puzzled global ethanol traders and ship brokers, who called it a convoluted and costly way to get U.S. fuel to China.  Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - French non-EU wheat export forecast raised after Egypt comeback

Farming agency FranceAgriMer on Wednesday increased its forecast for French soft wheat exports outside the EU this season after a rare sale to Egypt but cautioned the country was struggling to recover lost market share elsewhere in Africa. The European Union's biggest wheat exporter is now expected to ship 8.85 million tonnes of soft wheat outside the bloc in the 2018/19 season to June 30, up from the 8.7 million projected last month and 9 percent above last season's volume, the agency said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - Will U.S. farmers plant too many soybean acres in 2019? -Braun

After the trade relationship soured last year between the United States and its top soybean buyer, it was difficult to imagine U.S. farmers excitedly rushing out to plant the oilseed in 2019. A possible explosion of domestic supplies beyond 1 billion bushels later this year, on the heels of 2018's record-large harvest, should also support a sizable drop in soybean acres, at least in theory. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - French, German farmers destroy crops after GMOs found in Bayer seeds

Bayer said on Wednesday that farmers in France and Germany were digging up thousands of hectares of rapeseed fields after traces of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) banned for cultivation were found in seeds sold by the company. GMO crops are widely grown across the world, but they remain controversial in Europe, where very few varieties are authorised for growing and some countries like France have completely outlawed their cultivation, citing environmental risks. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - Malaysia Jan palm oil stockpiles forecast to fall from record high

Malaysia's palm oil stockpiles at the end of January are forecast to fall from the previous month's record high as production eases and exports increase, according to a Reuters survey. Falling inventories will add to the recovery in benchmark palm oil prices since last November when they fell to their lowest in three years. Palm futures were up 1.6 percent at 2,342 ringgit ($574.58) a tonne at the midday break on Thursday, the highest since June 29.  Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - Russian grain exports to slow in short term - ministry

Russian grain exports will slow down in the short term as high domestic prices make it harder for exporters to offer competitive prices abroad, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. Grain exports from Russia, the world's largest wheat exporter, are already slowing down due to seasonally lower supply, but this decline has so far happened more slowly than some analysts anticipated. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - Return of French farmer's case keeps Monsanto in legal spotlight

A decade-old lawsuit in which a French farmer with neurological problems accuses Monsanto of not providing adequate safety warnings for a weedkiller returns to court on Wednesday, adding to health claims faced by the Bayer-owned firm. Paul Francois, who says he fell ill after inhaling vapour from weedkiller Lasso in 2004, won rulings in 2012 and 2015 that found Monsanto liable for the intoxication, before France's top court overturned those decisions and ordered a new hearing. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 07 - Nutrien's 2019 profit forecast misses estimates

Canadian fertilizer maker Nutrien Ltd forecast 2019 profit below analysts' estimates, citing continued pressure on crop prices from record 2018 yields and the impact of the US-China trade dispute. An escalating trade war has weighed on demand for soybeans and corn, dragging crop prices lower. Crop prices are a major factor in spending on fertilizer and other supplies. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Japan begins pig cull as it looks to quell swine fever outbreak (AgriCensus)
- Japanese health and agriculture officials have started to cull part of its pig population in a bid to prevent the spread of classical swine fever throughout the country, the agriculture ministry said Wednesday.
- Authorities started the cull of 6,640 pigs in the city of Toyota in central Japan on Wednesday, a report on the agriculture ministry’s website said, with ongoing observations expected to detect further outbreaks across the region.
- Multiple instances of the virus were detected in Japan throughout January, having spread across Europe and Asia over the past two years.
- An outbreak of African Swine Fever in China caused alarm as it spread rapidly across the country, with precautionary measures halting the transport of livestock and resulting in as much as 15% of its pig population being culled. There has been a significant dent in feed demand as a result, with agribusiness major ADM saying Tuesday that it expected the outbreak to have cut China’s soybean consumption 2-3%.

Feb 06 - ADM 4th-qtr profit misses as U.S.-China trade war stings, shares drop

U.S. grains trader Archer Daniels Midland Co on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter 2018 earnings as the U.S.-China trade war roiled global agriculture, sending its shares down more than 6 percent. Three of its four business units reported lower results, including ADM's grain trading origination business, where adjusted operating profit slumped 30 percent to $183 million despite higher volumes of North American corn and soybean exports to markets outside of China. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Stray cows add to Modi's farmer woes as Indian election looms

As night fell on the bucolic northern Indian hamlet of Mahaban, Gopi Chand Yadav gathered blankets and a flashlight to spend the night sitting on a wooden platform in his field. His task: to use bamboo sticks to ward off stray cattle from intruding and eating a maturing mustard crop. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - China buys 2.6 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans - USDA

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday said that China bought 2.603 million tonnes of soybeans, the second confirmed sale since the world's top buyer of the oilseed announced last week it would buy 5 million tonnes of U.S supplies during trade negotiations between the two countries. The soybeans will be shipped to China during the current marketing year, which ends on Aug. 31. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - EU moves to make UK charge VAT on commodity trading include ICE Europe

Moves by the European Commission to make Britain charge value-added tax on commodity derivatives trading will include ICE Futures Europe, the London Platinum and Palladium Market (LPPM) and the London Metal Exchange (LME), trading sources say. The Commission has been looking at zero-rated VAT on commodity derivatives trading in the UK for some years, but sources say recent activity is part of a drive to pressure Britain ahead of its European Union withdrawal in March. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Brazil's Paraná harvests 25 pct of soy crop area, little damage from drought

Brazil's soy harvest in the second-largest producing state of Paraná is well ahead of last season, with limited damage to the fields from a drought in December, state agricultural research body Deral said on Tuesday. One-quarter of the 2018/19 soy area has been harvested in Paraná, according to Deral. At the same time last year, no soy had been harvested in the state because of poor weather early in the crop season that had delayed planting and rains in January that further held up the harvest. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Indonesia's 2018 total palm oils exports rise 8 pct - GAPKI

Indonesia's 2018 exports of palm oils, including oleochemical and biodiesel shipments, rose 8 percent from a year earlier to 34.6 million tonnes, the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) said on Wednesday. Crude palm oil output last year rose 12.5 percent to 43 million tonnes, GAPKI chairman Joko Supriyono told reporters. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Egypt accepts Chinese, Vietnamese rice samples in tender

Egypt has accepted samples of Chinese and Vietnamese rice presented at an international purchase tender for two shipment periods between March and April, a trade source said on Tuesday. One sample of Indian rice on offer was rejected, the source told Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - Speculators switch to net short position in cotton in week to Dec. 31 - CFTC

Speculators flipped to a net short position in cotton on ICE Futures U.S. in the week to Dec. 31, U.S. government data showed on Tuesday in a report whose publication had been delayed by the partial government shutdown. Speculators sharply increased their bearish stance in raw sugar, lifted their net short position in arabica coffee, and slashed their net short position in cocoa futures and options, the data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 06 - ADM Q4 profits slump despite surging crush margins (AgriCensus)
- Agribusiness major Archer Daniels Midland posted a 60% slump in profits in the fourth quarter of last year, falling from earnings per share of 139 cents in Q4 2017 to just 55 cents in Q4 2018. ADM reported earnings per share of 88 cents on revenue of $15.95 billion for the fourth quarter last year, falling short of analyst estimates of 92 cents and $16.8 billion.
The results came despite soaring profits in its oilseeds and origination business, which more than doubled to $432 million from $201 million in the fourth quarter last year as the company cashed in on low soybean prices in the US and high global soymeal prices.
- Lower revenues from the company’s origination business, which includes grain trading and handling, hit profits after China slapped a tax on US soybeans, seeing a collapse in trading volumes in the US.
“Looking forward, the crush environment in 2019 will not be as spectacular as 2018. Given global demand and the strength we have outside China this business will maintain crush margins well above average over the last five years,” Juan Luciano, ADM CEO, told investors Tuesday.
- Operating profit in the company’s carbohydrate solutions business, which includes its biofuels production, fell 31% due to poor ethanol margins amid record US supply.
ADM has been investing downstream in the feed chain in an attempt to gain a foothold in higher margin businesses.
- In terms of soybean crush margins, ADM said it had locked in gross margins of $30-35/mt at its crushing facilities in the US with high utilisation rates. Meanwhile, in canola, margins were in the region of $42-45/mt.
- In terms of rapeseed crush in Europe, the company said meal replacement from China as well as good demand in Europe had kept meal prices high, leaving margins at around $35/mt.
Finally, in Brazil it said its crush facilities at ports had locked in margins of $10-15/mt and $25-30/mt gross margins at “facilities that are geared towards the domestic market”.

Feb 05 - Brazil seeks Chinese export permits for dozens of soy, cotton crushers

Brazil-based grain processors are negotiating export permits with the Chinese government for dozens of soybean and cotton processing plants as crushers seek to boost capacity utilization and sell higher-value products, a trade group said. Daniel Amaral, an economist at crushers association Abiove, said on Monday the entity is seeking permits for between 30 and 35 soy and cotton crushing units to trade in soymeal and other oilseeds byproducts with China. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 05 - Loss of Egyptian tender puts brakes on Russian wheat price growth

A rise in Russian wheat export prices stalled last week after three weeks of growth as the country lost a major purchasing tender in Egypt, its largest wheat buyer, analysts said on Monday. Egypt's state grain buyer GASC bought 360,000 tonnes of French and Romanian wheat in its tender last week. The Russian wheat on offer was too expensive to be competitive.  Click here to read full stories.

Feb 05 - USDA November soybean crush seen at 177 mln bushels

U.S. soybean crushing in November likely totaled 5.309 million short tons, or 177.0 million bushels, according to the average forecast of seven analysts surveyed by Reuters ahead of a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Estimates ranged from 176.4 million bushels to 177.2 million bushels, with a median of 177.1 million bushels. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 05 - Countries cutting Polish beef imports after meat scare - lobby

Several countries have started to cut the amount of beef they import from Poland after a TV documentary showed an abattoir killing sick cows, the head of the meat producers lobby said on Monday. An undercover reporter got a job in a slaughterhouse outside Warsaw and broadcast footage last month of ill animals being mistreated, killed and sent on for human consumption. Click here to read full stories. 

Feb 05 - What's in a drink? Corn farmers sour on Bud Light after Super Bowl ad - Braun

Bud Light's advertisement about beer and corn syrup on Sunday night during the Super Bowl angered corn farmers and surprised many others with the fact that beer would be linked with the sweetener. In a one-minute commercial during the National Football League championship game, Bud Light shamed competitor Molson Coors Brewing Co for its Miller Lite and Coors Light brews containing corn syrup. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 05 - Pakistan tenders to export 250,000 tonnes of wheat - trade

A state agency in Pakistan is tendering to sell and export 250,000 tonnes of wheat in the latest stage of a government programme agreed in November, European traders said on Monday. The tender from the Punjab regional government is expected to close on Feb. 18, they said. Click here to read full stories.
Feb 04 - China Sinograin seeks US soybean cargoes for June, July shipment: sources

Despite a Chinese national holiday this week, China’s Sinograin was heard seeking US cargoes of soybeans for the second successive day on Monday as it seeks to fulfil a political pledge made by Chinese President Xi to buy US agricultural products. The state-owned stockpiler was said to be looking for panamax-sized cargoes of soybeans loading June and July in the US Gulf and for loading June through September out of Pacific Northwest ports, three sources said Monday.

Reports suggest between 1 and 2 million mt were bought.

The request for offers comes after Sinograin and state-owned agribusinesses Cofco on Friday were said to have purchased between 2.5-3 million mt – a day after China’s pledged to buy 5 million mt of soybeans from the US to help smooth negotiations towards a new trade deal. On Saturday, both companies put out identical press releases claiming to have purchased “millions of tonnes”.

According to one source, deals were heard out of the Pacific Northwest at 65 cents per bushel FOB for June through September. US soybeans were last heard offered at 28-30 cents per bushel over July futures for June and July loading out of the US Gulf, with freight estimated at around $1 per bushel.

Feb 04 - China's COFCO buys million-tonne batch of U.S. soybeans

The Chinese state agricultural conglomerate COFCO Group recently purchased a batch of soybeans amounting to "millions of tonnes" from the United States, it said in a notice on Saturday. The purchase was part of the company's efforts to implement a "consensus" on trade agreed between China and the United States, it said in a notice on its website. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Funds cling to CBOT soybeans on optimism over U.S.-China trade -Braun

U.S. soybean supply is hovering at record-high levels but speculators do not appear to be ready to give up on Chicago-traded soybean futures just yet in hopes that that the United States and China may be near to clinching a trade deal. As of Friday, commodity funds are estimated to hold a net long position of about 6,000 contracts of CBOT soybean futures and options. That compares with an estimated net short of around 18,000 contracts in the middle of January. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Swine fever outbreak may bury China's small pig farmers

For farmers Zhang Shiping and Bai Fuqin in northeast China, there is little to celebrate this Lunar New Year. Since African swine fever struck a farm in nearby Shenyang city last August, the couple has racked up about 300,000 yuan ($44,712.72) in debt, 10 times what they make in a good year raising pigs. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - EU agrees no-deal Brexit compensation for Irish farmers - report

The European Commission has agreed to compensate Irish farmers for a collapse in beef and dairy prices in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Irish edition of the Sunday Times newspaper said, quoting Irish government and EU sources. Farmers would be in line for hundreds of millions of euros in emergency aid to offset a market collapse and the loss of British customers, the newspaper reported.  Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - EU rapeseed harvest seen hitting new low in 2019 after sowing woes

Rapeseed production in the European Union is set to shrink further this year to its lowest in over a decade after drought disrupted sowing, speakers at a grain conference said on Friday. Summer drought that continued into early autumn forced European farmers to abandon some rapeseed sowing plans while leaving other fields in poor condition. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Bangladesh wheat import tender draws lowest offer of $299.07/T

A Bangladesh tender to import 50,000 tonnes of wheat drew its lowest offer from Singapore-based Agrocorp on Sunday at $299.07 a tonne, officials at the state grains buyer said. Three other trading houses competed for the tender issued last month by the Directorate General of Food, Bangladesh's state grains purchasing agency. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Speculators slashed bullish stance in cotton in week to Dec. 24 - CFTC

Speculators sharply reduced their bullish stance in cotton on ICE Futures U.S. in the week to Dec. 24, U.S. government data showed on Friday in a report whose publication had been delayed due to the government shutdown. Speculators lifted their net short position in arabica coffee, trimmed their net short position in cocoa, and increased their bearish stance in raw sugar futures and options, the data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - Modi's promised handout to Indian farmers gets lukewarm response

"Peanuts" was how one rural politician described a 6,000 rupee ($84) yearly handout to small farmers promised in Friday's budget as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to secure the support of rural voters in a forthcoming election. Recent polls predict Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to emerge as the biggest party in the vote which is due by May, but that it will fall short of a majority as the main opposition Congress party gains ground. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 04 - EU to send inspectors to Poland over suspect meat

The European Commission said on Friday it will send a team of inspectors to Poland, a beef exporter, after a TV report showed a company killing sick cows and selling the meat for human consumption. Poland produces about 560,000 tonnes of beef a year, with 85 percent exported to countries within the European Union including Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 02 - China punishes firms over soy and corn GMO regulation breach (AgriCensus)
Several Chinese companies have been fined by the government due to illegal testing and processing of genetically modified (GM) soybean and corn as China flexes its muscle following tightener regulations on the cultivation of GM crops last year.
According to a statement from the Chinese ministry of agriculture published Friday, seven violations were regarding GM corn, one was found related to GM soybean and the other two were reported for GM cotton.
The violations included testing of GM corn without appropriate measures or approval from the government, leakage of GM soybeans during transportation and producing and trading GM corn seeds without certification from the government. These ten companies were fined between CNY70,000 ($10,386) and CNY1.25 million ($185,460) depending on the volume of illegally handled crops. Companies that illegally produce and traded GM corn seeds face confiscation of their products from the government on top of financial penalties.
In addition, China’s top academic institution Zhejiang University was asked to stop testing of GM corn by the Chinese government due to a lack of “existing control measures in place”, the government said. China announced tougher regulations on GM crops last year, meaning only designated companies are eligible to test, trade and process GM crops in China.
Soybean and corn importers are required to obtain certificates from the government before signing contracts for import.

Feb 01 - Bolsanaro takes aim at freight rates, decries 'conspirator' truckers (AgriCensus)
- One month into his first term, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has taken his first swipe at the country’s minimum freight rates policy that was set up under the previous government to end an 11-day truckers strike in May of 2018. In an official letter from the Economy Ministry to the Supreme Court Justice Luiz Fux, who is overseeing legal challenges to the new freight rates law, the new government called last year’s strike an “abuse of the right to strike” on the part of the trucking companies and labeled the truckers as “conspirators”. The letter went on to say that former President Michel Temer was coerced into creating the policy of minimum freight rates to meet the truckers’ demands for them to end the strike last year.
“Fixing prices, protecting markets and guaranteeing economic benefits… for those in question in the process of price formation institutionalises a cartel,” the letter added.
- Bolsonaro was elected in October 2018 with strong support from Brazil’s agricultural sector, which has opposed the minimum freight rates, saying they raise the sector’s transport costs by 100% or more in many cases. The letter adds that “the legislation’s creation (of the minimum freight rates) was a private sector initiative, lacking public participation, to bring about the will of the conspirators.” The letter to the high court also addressed Brazil’s anti-trust agency CADE and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, calling on them to investigate the alleged illegal conduct of the trucking industry and to impose sanctions and criminal penalties when justified.
- Justice Fux is overseeing three principal appeals of the new freight rate law at the high court, which is due to decide on its constitutionality in the coming weeks to months. As part of former President Temer’s concessions to the truckers to end the strike last year, the government granted subsidized discounts on the price of diesel, since the high price of the fuel was the main complaint of the truckers during the strike. The new chief executive of the state-run oil company Petrobras, Castello Branco, also criticised the previous government’s decision to subsidise fuel prices saying it damaged the traded company’s image in investors’ eyes.
The subsidy ended on January 1.

Feb 01 - India's buffalo meat exports to plunge amid China clampdown on illegal imports

India's buffalo meat exports are set to plunge 15 percent to their lowest in six years, a leading industry body told Reuters, as world No.1 meat consumer China clamps down on food smuggling. China does not allow imports of Indian buffalo beef due to fears over foot-and-mouth disease, but the meat is often smuggled into the country through neighbouring nations along with other foods that have also been prohibited by Beijing. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - China offered to buy 5 mln tonnes of U.S. soybeans in trade talks - official

China offered to purchase 5 million tonnes of soybeans from the United States as part of trade talks between Washington and Beijing, a White House official said on Thursday. The transaction would not necessarily be one single purchase, the official said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - Indonesia to challenge 'discriminative' EU directive on palm oil

Indonesia intends to challenge an EU directive on renewable energy at the World Trade Organization, arguing the plan to curb the use of crops that cause deforestation will unfairly target palm oil, a senior Indonesian official told Reuters. The world's top producer of the oil is also reviewing its relations with the European Union over the issue and urging other Southeast Asian nations to defer plans to upgrade EU ties, said Mahendra Siregar, special staff at the foreign ministry. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - Absence of USDA data could drag beyond expectations - Braun

Agriculture market participants are finally getting their hands on U.S. government data that went on hiatus during the partial shutdown, but with another potential Washington closure looming, it could be several weeks or longer before meaningful data is revealed. The government could shut down again on Feb. 15 if the dispute over U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand for border wall funding is unresolved. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - Poland to employ more inspectors to prevent suspect meat exports

Polish authorities will install cameras in slaughterhouses and employ more health inspectors to prevent exports of contaminated beef to other EU countries, chief veterinarian Pawel Niemczuk said on Thursday, after a TV report showed sick cows being taken for slaughter. "Video surveillance will be available 24 hours a day, but there should be someone with medical and veterinary knowledge that would (be able to) come and assess if the animals are unloaded in line with regulations," Niemczuk said. Click here to read full stories.

Feb 01 - Brazilian fertilizer firm Heringer restructures, closes plants

Brazilian fertilizer company Fertilizantes Heringer SA has decided to close several of its plants and distribution centers as part of a restructuring plan to lower its debt burden, two sources told Reuters on Thursday. Heringer, one of the largest players in the Brazilian fertilizer market, sent a message to workers on Thursday in at least 10 installations, including plants and regional offices, advising them that they faced closure, according to a e-mail message seen by Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Surprise Black Sea wheat sales to Asia curb U.S. export prospects
Black Sea wheat exporters are boosting sales to Asia from the crop harvested last July in a surprise move, denting demand for U.S. shipments which were expected to pick up in the second quarter of this year. The benchmark Chicago Board of Trade wheat contract has fallen more than 10 percent so far this year, losing more than half of the gains made in 2018 on expectations of strong demand for U.S. supplies.

Trump's EPA unveils plan to pump up ethanol as Big Oil cries foul
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposed rule lifting a summer ban on higher-ethanol blends of gasoline to help farmers, putting the agency on a collision course with Big Oil which has called the move illegal. The proposal to broaden sales of the so-called E15 rule marks the latest flashpoint in an ongoing battle between the corn and oil industries - two crucial constituencies for President Donald Trump - over America's biofuels policy.

NOPA February U.S. soy crush seen at 158.730 mln bushels -survey
Profitable U.S. soy crush margins and ample supplies of beans encouraged soy processors to continue their recent active crush pace in February, according to analysts polled ahead of a monthly National Oilseed Processors Association report. NOPA members likely crushed 158.730 million bushels of soybeans last month, according to an average of estimates given by 10 analysts in a Reuters survey.

Some mills back to cane crushing in Brazil, ethanol demand strong
Six mills resumed crushing cane in Brazil's center-south region, the world's largest cane-producing area, ending the between-crops period early while demand for ethanol in the country continues strong, cane industry group Unica said on Tuesday. Brazil's new sugar season officially starts in April, but many mills that have cane ready for processing usually start before then. Most analysts expect a crop similar in size to the previous, at around 560 million or 570 million tonnes of cane.

U.S. Bayer Roundup cancer trial goes to jury after closing arguments
A trial in which a California man alleged his use of Bayer AG's glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused his cancer went to a federal U.S. jury after lawyers for both sides delivered their closing arguments on Tuesday. The closely-watched case brought by plaintiff Edward Hardeman is only the second of some 11,200 Roundup lawsuits to go to trial in the United States. Another California man was awarded $289 million in August after a state court jury in August found Roundup caused his cancer, sending Bayer shares plunging. 

Brazil, U.S. to discuss meat, sugar, ethanol trade -farm minister
Brazilian Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said on Tuesday that she will discuss U.S.-Brazil trade in meat, sugar and ethanol in talks next week between officials of the two countries. Dias, who will travel with President Jair Bolsonaro to the United States, said one of her priorities is to reopen the U.S. market for Brazil's fresh beef exports, which were suspended almost two years ago over safety concerns.

Conditions for Russia's winter grain sowings unchanged from Jan - weather service
The condition of Russia's winter grain sowings is largely unchanged from January, an official at the Hydrometcentre weather forecasting service said on Tuesday. Weather conditions have been favourable for Russian grain sowings for a fifth winter in a row, the centre's head of research was quoted as saying in late January.