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

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.

Jan 31 - EU to impose duties on Argentine biodiesel producers (AgriCensus)
EU member states on Wednesday agreed to impose import duties on Argentine biodiesel, but will exempt several exporters if they honour a commitment to sell above an agreed floor price. In a meeting of the EU’s Trade Defence Instrument Committee, a majority of member states agreed to accept an undertaking from Argentine producers that they would sell above a particular price, while those exporters who fail to do so would be subject to the anti-subsidy duties.
“The Commission’s proposal to accept a commitment from several Argentinian suppliers to export to Europe at an agreed sustainable price level was also broadly supported by the Member States,” a European Commission source told Agricensus.
“The commitment will exclude these Argentinian producers from anti-subsidy duties to be imposed by the European Commission, while at the same time restoring the level playing field for European producers.”
It is understood that this “sustainable price” has not yet been specified, but that the annual volume of Argentine biodiesel that could be exempted from EU anti-subsidy duties — provided that a minimum price threshold is adhered to — would be 1.2 million mt.
Argentina exported around 1.3 million mt of biodiesel to the EU between September 2017 and late 2018, according to EU producers, citing trade data.
- Quarterly limits
The European Biodiesel Board, the main lobby for EU-based producers, said the EU Commission had also set limits on imports of no more than 37% of annual volume per quarter and any imports above the 1.2 million mt threshold would be taxed at 30%.
Traders said that much of the impact of the decision had already been factored in from earlier this month, when the European Commission said it will be willing to accept the deal, which has the backing of the Argentine government.  
"I believe that the market already has it [the EU-Argentina deal] priced [in] and that's why we do not see a reaction in today's market, it was a decision that was expected for the most part to have a positive end for Argentina," said Pablo Pochettino, a broker with Argentinian brokerage Intagro. The European Commission had proposed in December that duties ranging from 25% to 33.4% should be imposed, depending on which companies are the source of the imports.
- Major players
Previous sets of duties on Argentine and Indonesian biodiesel were reduced and then removed by the EU in late 2017, in view of rulings by the European Court of Justice and the World Trade Organisation. Wednesdsay's decision will have consequences for the country's crush and biodiesel industry, with major international agribusiness companies such as Cofco, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus and Cargill all owning production capacity in the country. Many of Argentina’s large biodiesel producers are thought to have backed the commitment to sell at a minimum price. The EU initiated an anti-subsidy investigation a year ago into claims from European producers that Argentine exporters had benefitted from a range of subsidies that enabled them to sell well below the costs of production for EU producers.

Jan 31 - Oink, moo and brrr: Polar vortex strikes U.S. farm belt 

Farmers from North Dakota to Iowa buckled down for some of the coldest weather in a generation on Wednesday, throwing extra rations to pigs or building igloos for chickens in the teeth of sub-zero temperatures and bone-chilling winds. Some, like Kurt Line in Indiana, joked about the forecast. Line said he was working on his tax returns, something he usually puts off, rather than braving the cold to load corn for a local processing plant. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Australia's west set for hot, dry spell in risk to wheat outlook 

Australia's west coast is facing hot, dry weather over the next three months, the country's bureau of meteorology said on Thursday, denting the outlook for wheat production in the world's fourth-largest exporter. There is only a 20 percent chance that the state of Western Australia will receive average rainfall between Feb. 1 and April 30, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest three-month outlook. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Brazil soy farmers pause sales, gamble on losses 

Some Brazilian soybean farmers in the state of Goiás have decided to pause sales of the crop that is currently being harvested, betting on improved prices ahead due to output losses seen in parts of the country, they told Reuters during a crop tour. Goiás is one of the three agricultural powerhouses in Brazil's center-west region, along with Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. It is Brazil's fourth largest soy producer, expected to harvest 11.3 million tonnes of the oilseed. But parts of the state, particularly in the south, were hit by a dry spell in December that hurt fields. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - USDA says will resume publishing key export sales data on Jan. 31  

U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday that it will on Thursday resume publishing reports of weekly export sales, whose announcements were suspended during the partial government shutdown that lasted more than a month. U.S. federal government reopened last Friday. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Portugal ships first cargoes of pork to China 

Portugal shipped 270 tonnes of pork to China, first cargoes from the European country to the world's top pork market, state media Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday. The shipments, worth 1 million euros ($1.15 million), were due to arrive at China's central Hunan province in a month, according to Xinhua. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Argentina says clinches deal to resume biodiesel exports to EU 

Argentina and the European Union (EU) reached an agreement to end a dispute over exports of biodiesel from the South American country to the bloc, the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. The deal establishes price and volume limits to be announced next month, the ministry said in a statement. The deal marks the end of a long trade dispute and could help bolster Argentina's critical soybean sector. Argentina is the world's top producer of soyoil, the main ingredient used to make biodiesel. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Ukraine grain exports rise to 27.5 mln tonnes so far in 2018/19 

Ukraine's grain exports have risen to 27.5 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season, from 23.8 million tonnes at the same point in the previous season, the agriculture ministry said. Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70.1 million tonnes of grain last year, up from 61.3 million in 2017. The ministry said exports could rise to 47.2 million tonnes in the July 2018 to June 2019 season from 39.4 million the season before. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Extreme cold forces shutdowns at U.S. pork plants, grain elevators

Hog slaughterhouses and grain elevators were shut down in the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday as the coldest temperatures in years gripped the region. Temperatures in the Northern Plains and Great Lakes plunged to as low minus 42 Fahrenheit (minus 41 Celsius), making parts of the Midwest colder than the South Pole. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Brazil to pave key agriculture road BR-163 this year - minister

Brazil will finish paving the key agricultural highway BR-163 and another small stretch of roadway connecting it to the river port of Miritituba by the end of this year, Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio Freitas said on Wednesday. Freitas told reporters the road likely would be put up for auction to privatize its operations by 2020. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Chinese pork prices to rebound next quarter, world's top exporter predicts 

The Chinese pork market, currently flooded by domestic supply, is expected to recover in the second quarter, the head of the world's top pork exporter said on Wednesday. China's government this month encouraged pig farmers to quickly replenish their herds and said it would buy more pork for its reserves as it sought to curb price rises later in the year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 31 - Tyson recalls chicken nuggets on possible rubber contamination 

Tyson Foods Inc is recalling some chicken nuggets it manufactured because of possible contamination with rubber, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said late on Tuesday. About 36,420 pounds of Tyson's 'White Meat Panko' chicken nuggets will be recalled after several consumers complained of extraneous material in the purchased product, the FSIS said. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - GASC pays less as it books first French wheat cargoes in 18 months (AgriCensus)
Egypt’s state grain buyer, GASC, returned to the market and bought its first French wheat in more than a year and a half as it picked up a total of 360,000 mt at a tender that closed Tuesday, sources said. GASC booked three 60,000-mt cargoes from France and three 60,000-mt cargoes from Romania, with delivery scheduled for March 11-20. The average destination price was $262.77mt CFR – down $2.14/mt from what it paid three weeks ago. It paid an average $247.80/mt FOB for the French cargoes from Glencore and Soufflet and $250.88/mt FOB for the Romanian cargoes from ADM, Cofco and Cargill.
It was the first tender since GASC secured a new credit facility, updating its payment terms in a bid to drum up greater selling interest and to lower costs at its tenders, with the lower prices coming despite global cash markets having been on the rise since then.
At its previous tender on January 9, GASC booked 415,000 mt of Russian-origin wheat, paying an average $249.56/mt FOB Russia and $264.91/mt CFR.

Jan 30 - EU seeks to soothe U.S. by clearing soybeans for biofuel 

The European Commission said on Tuesday it had concluded that U.S. soybeans can be used in biofuels in the European Union, part of the bloc's push to improve strained trade relations with the United States. However, industry sources said it was unlikely to lead to a flood of additional U.S. soybean imports into Europe. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - Ag market on edge over resumption of U.S. gov't data -Braun 

The agriculture market data blackout has finally ended as U.S. government workers returned to work on Monday, though it may take some time to fill in all the missing items, and it is uncertain how traders will respond to the sudden flood of information. After a record 35-day shutdown, Congress finally agreed to a three-week spending deal on Friday to reopen the government while lawmakers discuss how to address security along the U.S.-Mexican border. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - Egypt says strategic wheat reserves cover more than five months 

Egypt's supply ministry said on Wednesday it had enough strategic wheat reserves to cover more than five months of demand. Egypt, the world's largest importer of wheat, purchased 360,000 tonnes of French and Romanian wheat in an international purchasing tender on Tuesday.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - Thai rice exports to fall 14 pct in 2019 - industry body 

Thailand's rice exports are expected to fall 14 percent in 2019 to 9.5 million tonnes as a stronger currency makes shipments more expensive for overseas buyers, the country's rice exporters association said on Wednesday. The world's second-biggest rice exporter shipped 11 million tonnes of rice last year, but demand from overseas buyers has slowed in recent months as the Thai baht has strengthened. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - U.S. soybean exports may gain from Latam crop damage - Oil World 

Weather damage to South American soybean crops could start pushing more soybean export business to the United States and U.S. export shipments could benefit from March, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World forecast on Tuesday. “South American soybean export supplies will be smaller in calendar year 2019,” Oil World said in a report. “The United States should benefit and raise exports beyond expectations in March/August 2019.” Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - French fuel price revolt boosted ethanol use - industry officials

Public anger in France over increasing fuel prices, which gave rise to the anti-government "yellow vest" movement, has further boosted demand for crop-based ethanol fuel from motorists seeking cheaper deals, industry representatives said on Tuesday. Ethanol, which is blended with gasoline as part of renewable energy policy targets, had already benefited from a favourable environment in France in the past two years. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - Iraq sees wheat crop up to 3 mln tonnes on better rainfall

Iraq, a major Middle East grain importer, said on Tuesday it sees local wheat production for the 2018-2019 season reaching almost 3 million tonnes due to higher rainfall. The total area of wheat planted using irrigation methods has shrunk from one million hectares in the 2017-2018 season to 550,000 hectares this season, but better rainfall will up the crop from the 2.17 million tonnes produced in 2018, Mahdy al-Jabouri, an undersecretary at the ministry, told Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - South Africa's maize planting area down on dry conditions 

South African maize farmers are projected to have planted less hectares of the staple crop this season due to lower rainfall and warmer temperatures, the government's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) said on Tuesday. Farmers are estimated to have planted 2.269 million hectares of maize in the 2018/19 farming season, 2 percent lower compared to the 2.319 million hectares planted last season. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 30 - CN Rail profit beats on higher crude, grain shipments, raises dividend 

Canadian National Railway Co beat analysts' estimates for quarterly profit on Tuesday, as it transported higher volumes of petroleum crude and Canadian grain. A lack of pipelines to the United States and oversupply have led Canadian energy producers to look for alternatives such as railroads to ship crude. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 29 - Russia’s 2019/20 wheat production forecast at 67m mt: minister (AgriCensus)

Russia’s 2019/20 wheat production will come in at around 67 million mt at its current trajectory, which would be a fall of about 4% from last year’s output, the country’s agriculture minister said in a meeting Monday.
“We will probably have about 108-110 million mt (of grain) … We plan to collect around 67 million mt of wheat,” Minister of Agriculture, Dmitry Patrushev, told President Vladimir Putin in a meeting transcript released by the Kremlin on Monday.
When asked about the target for the 2018/19 season’s exports, Patrushev estimated total grain exports of 42 million mt with wheat contributing 36 million mt. Patrushev stressed the goal of becoming an exporter of “high quality wheat”.
The meeting comes on the same day Russia’s agriculture ministry was due to publish its weekly grain export figures, although it was yet to publish at the time of writing. The pace of wheat exports this marketing year has been controversial, with the government looking at informal ways of slowing sales that have raced ahead despite output falling by about 20% year-on-year. The most recent data, published a week ago, put wheat exports 11% higher year-on-year at 25.3 million mt.

Jan 29 - USDA extends deadline for farm aid to Feb. 14 after shutdown 

U.S. farmers now have until Feb. 14 to apply for federal aid designed to offset the impact of retaliatory Chinese tariffs on American crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday, after delays caused by the month-long government shutdown. The previous deadline for the aid program, officially known as the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), was Jan. 15. But a partial 35-day government shutdown that ended last Friday had delayed the application and payment processes for the aid. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - Egypt's GASC tender attracts 4 offers for Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian rice - traders 

Egypt's state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), on Sunday received four offers at its first international purchase tender for rice in 2019, traders said. The offers presented were for Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian rice, the traders said. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - USDA to publish Feb. 8 crop report if staff return Monday - economist 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief economist said he expects the agency will release a monthly crop supply/demand report as planned on Feb. 8, if USDA offices reopen on Monday. More information regarding other key crop reports that were delayed due to the partial U.S. government shutdown "will be forthcoming ... once all USDA staff return to work," USDA chief economist Robert Johansson told Reuters on Friday in an email. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - France's glyphosate exit to be 80 pct complete by 2021 - minister 

France expects to have cut the use of weedkiller glyphosate by 80 percent by early 2021, its agriculture minister said on Friday, less than previously anticipated due to the number of farmers who will qualify for an exemption. In November 2017, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to ban glyphosate in France within three years, rejecting a European Union decision to extend its use for five years after a heated debate over whether the weedkiller, developed by Bayer-owned Monsanto, can cause cancer. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - Sovecon ups forecast for Russia's 2018/19 grain exports 

Russia's Sovecon agriculture consultancy said on Friday that it had raised its forecast of Russia's 2018/19 exports of grains and pulses to 44.6 million tonnes from the previously expected 43.8 million tonnes. SovEcon raises its forecast for 2018/19 wheat exports to 35.6 million tonnes from 35.1 million tonnes. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - China corn futures jump on signs of tightening supply 

China's most actively traded corn futures jumped 1.6 percent on Friday to 1,863 yuan ($275.54) per tonne, the biggest daily rise in more than a year, after a government statement calling on state firms to actively purchase the grain to support farmers. The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said on its website on Friday that larger volumes of corn produced in China's northeast, the country's grain basket, were still unsold compared with previous years. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - Rail moving fluidly through Vancouver after congestion ends - CN Rail 

Congestion at Port Metro Vancouver, Canada's busiest port, has been resolved and rail operations are now "fluid," Canadian National Railway Co said on Friday. Canadian National and rival Canadian Pacific Railway were rationing space on trains travelling in the Vancouver area and prioritized some commodities over others to deal with congestion, causing complaints from shippers. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - South African maize planting area seen down 14 pct from last season - poll

South African maize farmers are expected to plant 14 percent less of the staple crop in the 2018/2019 season compared with the previous season after dry conditions delayed plantings outside the optimum window. South Africa's Crop Estimates Committee (CEC) is expected to forecast the planted area at 1.998 million hectares, down from the 2.318 hectares planted last season, according to an average estimate of five traders and analysts polled by Reuters. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - S. Africa farmers seek $220 million in drought aid 

South Africa's agricultural industry body AgriSA will approach banks, agribusiness and government to raise 3 billion rand ($220 million) to help farmers hit by severe drought, its executive director said on Friday. Farmers have faced dry conditions over most of the nation for the last year, even as they are still recovering from a disastrous El Nino-induced drought in 2015. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - Fire damages vital wheat silos in Yemen's Hodeidah - UN

Wheat silos in Yemen's port city of Hodeidah have been damaged by a fire caused by suspected mortar shelling, threatening food supplies for millions of hungry people, the United Nations said. The blaze damaged two silos at the Red Sea Mills grains facility, which holds 51,000 tonnes of World Food Programme (WFP) wheat -- enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month in the war-torn country. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 28 - Crop-eating armyworms hit Sri Lanka's rice and maize output

Sri Lanka is facing what could be its worst pest infestation in history, potentially cutting the country's rice and maize output and forcing the island nation to import the commodities, government officials said on Friday.  Crop-eating army worms, first confirmed in October, have spread across the country and damaged crops, they said. Click here to read full stories.

Jun 26 - Spread of ASF slows as restrictions cut in 84% contaminated areas (AgriCensus)
The spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China is showing signs of slowing as most contaminated areas in the country have had transport restrictions removed by the government, while no new outbreaks have been reported since last week. Based on data from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, 88 out of 105 areas that had reported ASF outbreaks since August last year have removed their restrictions on transporting pigs into or out of the area under the approval from the Chinese government. This means more than 80% of the ASF contaminated areas in China are now considered safe by the government. The latest removal of transport restrictions was reported this Friday for a small pig farm in China’s major pig farming region – Sichuan province – six weeks after an ASF outbreak was first found there.
Since the start of the year 18 areas have been cleared for transport.
Since the first ASF outbreak in China in August last year, the Chinese government has requested access to the contaminated area to be restricted until no signs of ASF are evident for six weeks, with all pigs in the area to be culled to prevent further spreading.
Moreover, no new outbreaks have been found since last Sunday. Despite the optimism given by the official data, medium-to-large size pig farms – those with herds of 5,000-75,000 – have not yet had transport restrictions lifted. The spread of ASF is closely followed by the soybean industry in China as soymeal is a major source of protein for China’s huge 400 million pig population.

Jan 25 - Feed firms eye soymeal as Huawei arrest delays rapemeal imports (AgriCensus)
- An international spat between China and Canada over the arrest of a senior executive at telecommunication company Huawei may be indirectly impacting demand for soymeal, trade sources said this week. Prices of soymeal, the main protein source for animal feed in China, have risen almost 3% over the past week, with market sources claiming feed companies are seeking alternatives to imported Canadian rapemeal. Last week, rumours in the market suggested up to nine cargoes of Canadian rapeseed were either waiting at ports to unload or were unloaded - but were prohibited from being crushed, with sources speculating the cause was worsening political tensions between Canada and China.

“[The rise in demand] is possibly due to a Canadian rapeseed issue. Rapeseed vessels are prohibited from crushing,” a China-based soymeal trader at an international trading house told Agricensus on condition of anonymity. “Rapeseed vessel offloading is slow [due to] all kinds of inspection requirements,” one Chinese soymeal trader from an international crusher said, adding that this was providing additional demand for soymeal.

- Last month, at the request of the US government, Canadian officials arrested Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive at China’s biggest telecommunications firm Huawei alleging the official used a subsidiary company to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014, a claim she and Huawei have denied.
The arrest triggered a tit-for-tat response, with Chinese officials incarcerating two Canadian businessmen in response to the arrest. And earlier this month, Chinese courts sentenced a Canadian citizen to death for drug smuggling, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said was a “arbitrary application” of the law. Any increase in demand for soymeal will be welcomed by exporters of Brazilian soybeans, which have contracted to take volume from farmers but have been struggling to find markets due to a fall off in Chinese demand due to African Swine Fever.

Jan 25 - China's 2018 soybean imports from U.S. hit lowest since 2008 

China's soybean imports from the United States plunged 99 percent in December to just 69,298 tonnes, customs data showed on Friday, taking its full-year 2018 imports to the lowest level since 2008 amid an ongoing trade war. It was the second month in a row when Chinese imports from the United States ground to a virtual halt amid the tit-for-tat dispute, although some buying has since resumed as talks between the world's two largest economies continue. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - Funds likely keep bullish corn views, mull optimism in soy, wheat -Braun 

Market participants have now endured more than a month without critical data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding hedge fund managers’ positioning in Chicago Board of Trade futures and options. However, daily estimates of fund activity – both recent and historical – and the futures price action of late might suggest the market has not missed any big moves in speculative sentiments. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - IGC raises forecasts for 2018/19 world wheat, corn crops 

The International Grains Council on Thursday raised its forecasts for world wheat production in the 2018/19 season, partly driven by upward revisions to crops in Russia and India. The intergovernmental body, in a monthly update, increased its wheat crop forecast by 8 million tonnes to 737 million although that remained below the prior season's 767 million, the first year-on-year decline in six years. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - China's U.S. pork imports plunge in 2018 as trade war bites 

China's imports of pork from the United States more than halved to about 263,000 tonnes in 2018, customs data showed on Friday, after Beijing imposed hefty tariffs on the meat as part of a trade war. The 55 percent fall was across both quality cuts and offal, where the United States has previously accounted for about a third of China's imports. U.S. offal shipments fell 58 percent to 177,041 tonnes, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the General Administration of Customs. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - Singapore's Olam plans $1.6 bln in divestments; to sell rubber, fertiliser units 

Singaporean commodity trader Olam International said on Friday it will sell its sugar, rubber, wood products and fertiliser businesses and other assets to release $1.6 billion of cash to reinvest as part of a six-year strategic plan. The company plans to invest $3.5 billion in the period to 2024 in 12 prioritised businesses, including edible nuts, cocoa, cotton, coffee, grains and animal feed, it said in a statement. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - U.S.-Russia wheat price spread narrows as Black Sea supplies tighten

The spread between U.S. and Russian wheat is narrowing rapidly as supplies in the Black Sea region tightened following a hectic export campaign since the middle of last year, boosting hopes of higher sales of North American cargoes. Even though Russian wheat is still cheaper than U.S. grain, the spread between the two has narrowed to about $15 a tonne on a free-on-board basis, from more than $50 a tonne in August, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - Russia's agriculture ministry requests weekly grain export data from ports 

Russia's Agriculture Ministry has asked the country's ports to start supplying it with grain export data and export plans on a weekly basis, it said in a letter to managers of port terminals, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. The letter, first reported by RIA news agency on Thursday, has been interpreted by some market players as a move by the world's largest wheat exporter to step up controls over grain supplies due to a smaller crop. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - Ukraine grain exports rise to 26.5 mln tonnes so far in 2018/19

Ukraine's grain exports have risen to 26.5 million tonnes so far in the 2018/19 season as of Jan. 23, from 22.9 million tonnes at the same point in the previous season, the agriculture ministry said. Ukraine has said it harvested a record 70.1 million tonnes of grain last year from 61.3 million in 2017. The ministry said exports could rise to 47.2 million tonnes in the July 2018 to June 2019 season from 39.4 million the season before. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 25 - Blanket ban on glyphosates in France not possible - Macron 

It will not be possible to do without glyphosate-based weed killers in certain French agricultural sectors in three years because some sectors would not be able to survive economically, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday. Macron has previously said glyphosate would be banned in France by 2020 apart from limited exemptions, rejecting a European Union decision to extend its use for five years after a heated debate over whether the Monsanto-developed weed-killer causes cancer. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - Companies rush to offer Jordan barley as prices continue to fall (AgriCensus)

Global barley prices are continuing to slump from multi-year highs, with Jordan’s state buyer taking advantage and picking up a new crop cargo for $35/mt less than it did last week, according to market sources. MIT agreed to pay $223.20/mt CFR for 60,000 mt of feed barley from Glencore with delivery for the second half of June. That would make it the first 2019/20 marketing year parcel to be bought at tender if the optional origin cargo is sourced from the northern hemisphere. The price paid is $35.30/mt less than it paid Aston last week, and it means prices have fallen almost 20% since MIT forked out $276/mt in October. Having previously failed to drum up interest in its tenders due to high prices and strict conditions, MIT received a deluge of offers from the trade – with 10 submitted between $223.20-264.90/mt CFR.

Offered origins were believed to include the Black Sea, France and Australia. And with MIT only booking half of the volume it had tendered for, it suggests it may see further scope for barley prices to fall. Separately, Jordan Silos & Supply General Company (JSSGC) opened a tender Wednesday to buy 25,000 mt of March delivery milling wheat with bids to be submitted by February 11.

Jan 24 - Brazil 2018/2019 soybean crop to be lower than expected due to drought - poll

Scant rains and high temperatures in Brazil's main soybean fields have dashed expectations of another record harvest in the 2018/2019 season, according to a Reuters poll of 10 analysts compiled on Wednesday. The average estimate of 10 consultancies including Brazil's food supply and statistics agency Conab shows the country, the world's largest exporter of soybeans, is now expected to produce 117 million tons of oilseeds in the current cycle. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - Brazil eyes fix for grain export logistics, U.S. should take note -Braun

Brazil has unveiled a new plan for modernizing and expanding some of its infrastructure to better support grain and oilseed exports, a move that is long overdue as the country's dated logistics have somewhat capped growth in that sector. The full effect may not be realized for another decade or even longer. But if the plan succeeds, the logistical advantages that the United States and other competitors have enjoyed over Brazil’s export program will be whittled away or eliminated, and the upgrading could also tie top buyers like China more closely into the process. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - India to spend 6.5 pct more on food subsidies in FY 2019-20 - sources

India is poised to raise the subsidies for the world's biggest food welfare programme by 6.5 percent for the fiscal year beginning April 1, the smallest increase in three years, in the nation's interim budget next month, two sources directly involved in the decision told Reuters. The government is set to earmark about 1.8 trillion rupees ($25.28 billion) for food subsidies next fiscal year as it tries to contain its budget deficit ahead of the next general election due by May. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - Jordan buys 60,000 tonnes feed barley in tender - trade

Jordan's state grain buyer purchased about 60,000 tonnes of animal feed barley to be sourced from optional origins in an international tender for up to 120,000 tonnes that closed on Wednesday, traders said. It made the purchases at $223.20 a tonne c&f for shipment in the second half of June. Trading house Glencore was believed to be the seller. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - Brazilian poultry firm BRF aims to restore Saudi exports in three months

Brazilian poultry processor BRF said on Wednesday it expected to restore chicken exports to Saudi Arabia to previous levels in three months after one of its plants lost its certification to export to the Middle Eastern country. BRF said the suspended plant, known as Lajeado, had been exporting around 6,500 tonnes per month of chicken products to Saudi Arabia before the kingdom sharply reduced the number of authorized Brazilian exporters. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - Malaysia could curb French purchases if palm oil use restricted

Malaysia will consider laws to restrict imports of French products if Paris does not withdraw plans to curb the use of palm oil in biofuels, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron. French lawmakers last month voted to remove palm oil from the country's biofuel scheme as of 2020, following longstanding concerns about the environmental impact of the crop that is mainly produced in Indonesia and Malaysia. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - IEG Vantage sees more U.S. corn acres, less soy in 2019 - document

Private analytics firm IEG Vantage, formerly known as Informa Economics IEG, on Wednesday projected that U.S. farmers would add corn acres in 2019 while cutting back on soybeans and wheat. The firm projected U.S. 2019 corn plantings at 91.504 million acres, up from the 89.140 million acres planted in 2018, according to an IEG client note seen by Reuters. However, IEG Vantage lowered its 2019 corn figure by about 440,000 acres from its mid-December projection. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 24 - Palm oil prices to rise in 2019 on robust demand, weaker output-growth

Average palm oil prices are set to climb this year, a Reuters poll showed, buoyed by slowing output-growth in top producer Indonesia and by robust demand for the commodity which is used to churn out products ranging from chocolate to biofuels. Benchmark palm prices will average 2,375 ringgit ($574.09) a tonne in 2019, up 3 percent from 2,308 ringgit last year, according to the median estimate from a poll of 18 analysts and industry players including planters, millers and refiners. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - U.S. soybean shipments to China spike to 10-month high -USDA

U.S. exporters last week loaded six soybean vessels bound for China, the most in any week since the start of the tariff war between Washington and Beijing and an encouraging sign for U.S. farmers hard hit by the trade fight. The shipments are among the first to load and depart for China since state-owned companies booked an estimated 5 million tonnes of U.S. soy over the past month and a half as the world's two largest economies try to resolve their trade conflict. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - CBOT grains, soy trading in historically tight range - Braun

Corn and wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade are sitting at the highest levels for the month in four years, and traders are apparently satisfied with those prices, which have had historically low movement so far in January. Soybean futures are notably lower than at this point in the past two years, but despite many uncertainties surrounding the oilseed, especially on trade, prices have also been confined to a small range. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - Bunge appoints new acting CEO, cuts 2018 guidance

Global grains trader Bunge Ltd appointed one of a slew of new board members as its acting Chief Executive Officer on Tuesday and cut its 2018 earnings forecast as the U.S.-China trade war battered soybean prices and devalued the company's inventory in Brazil. Gregory Heckman, a founding partner of private investment firm Flatwater Partners and the former chief executive of grains trader Gavilon Group, was appointed acting CEO. Heckman joined the board as part of a deal to ease shareholder pressure on management late last year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - U.S. Department of Agriculture to reopen all farm agency offices

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday it will reopen all Farm Service Agency offices on Thursday to offer services to farmers and ranchers during the partial government shutdown. Some Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices had been providing limited services since Jan. 17, but the move means all of the agency's offices will be open and will provide more services. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - Bayer asks California judge to limit evidence in another Roundup cancer trial

Bayer AG unit Monsanto has asked a California judge in the litigation over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup allegedly causing cancer to limit evidence by splitting an upcoming trial into two phases, a request previously successful with another judge. Monsanto in a previously unreported filing on Jan. 15 asked California Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith in Oakland to split a March trial by a California couple into two phases. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - Canadian railways ration space as commodity congestion problems worsen

Canada's two major railways are rationing space on trains traveling to the country's biggest port and recently prioritized some commodities over others to deal with congestion, the latest indication of their struggle to meet demand from new trade deals. That move prompted Canada's transport regulator last week to start an investigation into rail services around Port Metro Vancouver, after shippers complained of "discriminatory treatment of certain commodities" by Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - Malaysian palm producer FGV appoints new chief executive officer

Malaysian palm oil producer FGV Holdings Berhad has appointed Haris Fadzilah Hassan as group chief executive officer effective Wednesday, the company said in a bourse filing. Haris Fadzilah was until most recently a director at government-linked company MRT Corp, which develops and owns the mass rapid transit lines in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, and was previously head of downstream operations at Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, according to the filing. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - InVivo calls on French grain coops to join forces in exports

French grain cooperatives should work together more, including by merging trading activities, in order to reverse France's lagging competitiveness in export markets, the head of agricultural group InVivo said on Tuesday. France, the European Union's largest grain producer and exporter, has faced growing competition overseas from cheaper Black Sea suppliers like Russia, leaving French exporters increasingly reliant on Algeria as their main outlet. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 23 - Bunge cuts 2018 EBIT outlook on trade war, appoints new CEO (AgriCensus)

Bunge, one of the world’s biggest agribusiness companies, has cited the impact of the US-China trade war in lowering its income outlook for the full 2018 fiscal year ending in December, according to a statement released Tuesday. The company rolled the revision into an announcement over the appointment of a new CEO, with current board member Gregory A. Heckman revealed as the acting CEO with immediate effect. Adjusted EBIT will fall by about $90-$100 million in the Agribusiness segment and $60-$70 million in the Sugar and Bioenergy segment, compared to the low end of its previous forecast which was $1.045 billion.

“The Agribusiness shortfall was largely due to the reduction in value of the company’s Brazilian soybean ownership as factors related to China trade and demand caused Brazilian prices to converge with US prices,” the company said.

“The Sugar and Bioenergy shortfall was primarily due to lower Brazilian ethanol prices, and a weather-related reduction in yields as a poor crop year came to a close.”

The New York-based agribusiness has been suffering from a global glut of grains and oilseeds in the past year, with its share price falling over 30% in the past year. Despite the downward revision in its EBIT outlook, Bunge’s share price rose 1.5% Tuesday as the company also announced Heckman had replaced former CEO Soren Schroder who announced in December he was stepping down after five years in the role.

“I look forward to further collaboration with Kathi (Bunge’s Non-Executive Board Chair, Kathleen Hyle), the Board and our management team, focusing on ways to improve performance and create shareholder value,” Heckman said in response to his appointment.

At the end of October, Bunge - part of the industry’s ABCD quartet of agri-trading giants - agreed to add four directors to its board after pressure from investors to create a strategic review committee to examine the company’s operations. Last year, the company became a takeover target for Glencore and rival agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), but ADM’s CEO debunked that in a January interview with newswire Reuters saying it is the wrong time for “monster” acquisitions. In the 2017 fiscal year, Bunge’s turnover rose 7.3% to $45.79 billion, resulting in a total EBIT of $436 million, down nearly 61% on the year, with 60% attributed to its Agribusiness segment, and with the Sugar and Bioenergy making a loss of $12 million.

Jan 22 - Malaysian Palm Oil Hits 3-Month High (Dow Jones)
Malaysia palm-oil futures are at their highest level since October amid expectations that supplies there and in larger producer Indonesia will soon start falling. Industry analyst Dorab Mistry said over the weekend that inventories in the world's 2-biggest producers should fall to about 6 million metric tons by April-May from roughly 7 million presently. And at current ringgit levels, he sees futures getting to MYR2,400 by the end of March. After yesterday's holiday in Malaysia, the Bursa Malaysia benchmark contract is up 1% at MYR2,248.

Jan 22 - China accepts Brazil chicken exporters' offer to end anti-dumping case

China's Ministry of Commerce has accepted an offer made by Brazilian chicken exporters to resolve a dumping dispute, a lawyer told Reuters on Monday, lifting shares of Brazil-based chicken exporter BRF SA. Claudia Marques, a partner at MPA Trade Law who represents the Brazilian exporters, said China's decision to accept Brazil's "price undertaking" offer was communicated to the parties in the Ministry of Commerce's "disclosure report." Click here to read full stories

Jan 22 - Egypt's GASC to pay on-sight for wheat in international tenders

Egypt's General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) will pay for wheat bought in upcoming international purchase tenders by opening letters of credit on sight, the supply ministry said in a statement on Monday. The state buyer's letters of credit - banking guarantees for on-time payment from a buyer to a seller - were typically issued prior to shipment, with payment guaranteed within 180 days. Click here to read full stories

Jan 22 - Lower supply and stronger rouble drive Russian wheat prices higher

Russian wheat export prices rose last week on seasonally lower supply, a stronger rouble and concerns over state plans to build up sectoral regulation, analysts said on Monday. Stronger controls on grain exports are being considered by Russia's state agriculture watchdog while the agriculture ministry plans to regulate domestic grain prices through subsidies on rail transport from remote regions and other previously used mechanisms. Click here to read full stories

Jan 22 - Massive maize imports keep EU livestock fed after drought

EU maize imports are running at a record pace, turning the bloc into a net cereal importer for the first time in a decade, as the livestock industry uses a bumper Ukrainian harvest to make up for a lack of forage caused by a torrid summer. Demand is such that the European Union is set in 2018/19 comfortably to beat last season's haul of about 18 million tonnes, already a record, and reinforce its status as the world's largest importer of maize, or corn.  Click here to read full stories

Jan 22 - Kernel sunoil sales surge 8.2% for H1 18/19, crush hits Q2 record (AgriCensus)

Kernel, the world's biggest sunseed crusher, saw the volume of oilseeds it processed rise 3.3% and its sunoil sales surge 26.2% in the three months ended December as the company set a new crushing record and ran its plants at full capacity, the company said in an announcement on Monday. The figures mean that for the first half of the company’s financial year, crushing reached 1.359 million mt, down 6.5% on the same corresponding period, while sunoil sales over the six months rose 8.2% on the year to 776,545 mt.

Avere, Kernel’s Geneva-based trading arm that is named after founder, chairman and former Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Verevskyy, reported physical trading volumes of 1.11 million mt of grain, oilseeds, meals and vegetable oils over the quarter, taking the total for the half year to 2.72 million mt. Avere, which also has offices in Miami, Florida, has been a major supplier of US soybeans to Argentina’s crushing facilities following the drought last year that hit the nation’s domestic supply.

Last month, Kernel attracted $250-million of project financing from the European Investment Bank to upgrade its existing oilseed processing plants, build a new one, build inland grain storage facilities and construct a grain handling and storage terminal in the port of Chornomorsk.

Jan 21 - Malaysian Cash Market Prices for Palm Oil Unavailable

Data for a.m. and p.m. Malaysian cash market prices for palm oil are unavailable due to Thaipusam holiday.

Jan 21 - China 2018 pork output surprises to downside, falls 0.9 pct

China's pork output fell 0.9 percent in 2018 from the previous year to 54.04 million tonnes, official data showed on Monday, surprising analysts who had expected an increase as farmers liquidated their herds amid an African swine fever epidemic. Output had gained slightly in the first three quarters of the year, and high slaughter volumes in the last quarter as farmers tried to cash in herds before being hit by the world's fastest spreading epidemic of African swine fever and before prices fell further had analysts looking for an annual rise. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 21 - Russia to use rail subsidies to regulate domestic grain prices

Russia's plans to regulate domestic grain prices refer only to the use of subsidies for rail transport from remote regions and other previously used mechanisms, the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday. Russian news agencies earlier quoted Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev as saying the ministry aimed to regulate domestic grain prices to maintain stability on the local market. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 21 - Brazil shifting to self-monitoring of food, meat plants - minister

Brazil is moving toward a self-monitoring system for food processors, Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said on Friday, including meatpackers still recovering from an inspection scandal that hurt trade with key markets. Dias said in an interview that the South American nation's new business-friendly government plans to send draft legislation on self-monitoring to Congress in the first half of this year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 21 - EU tariffs on rice a "weapon" against farmers, says Cambodia

European Union tariffs on rice from Cambodia are a "weapon" against impoverished farmers and will hurt millions of people struggling to escape poverty, Cambodia's government and ruling party said. The EU from Friday will impose tariffs on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar for the next three years to curb a surge in imports it said had damaged EU producers.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 21 - Snow, cold take aim at U.S. farm belt this weekend

A winter storm this weekend followed by a plunge in temperatures, coupled with another cold push late this month, could threaten livestock in the U.S. Plains and possibly winter wheat in parts of the Midwest, meteorologists said. The storm should bring 2 to 8 inches (5 to 20 centimeters) of snow from South Dakota to northern Ohio, with up to 10 inches (25 cm) in northern Iowa, according to National Weather Service maps.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 21 - EU open to discussing cars, not farming in U.S. trade talks

The European Union is willing to discuss car tariffs but will not remove duties on farm products in trade talks with the United States, its trade chief said on Friday, setting it on a possible collision course with Washington. The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 member European Union, published two negotiating mandates on Friday, which were notable more for what they left out than for what they included. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 21 - Drought, animal disease threaten South African farmers 

South African grain and red meat farmers are bracing for hard times after dry weather conditions and an outbreak of the highly contagious foot and mouth disease suspended meat exports, officials said on Friday. Maize prices have climbed amid concerns that dry conditions in the main part of South Africa's maize belt have delayed crop plantings outside the optimum planting window, threatening yields for the staple food that is also used in livestock feed. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 18 - Trade war shifts feed for U.S. hogs away from ethanol byproduct

A steep downturn in U.S. ethanol output linked to the trade war with China is raising costs for American farmers who feed a byproduct of the corn-based biofuel to hogs, cattle and chickens. Sales of the feed, known as distillers' dried grains, or DDGs, were one of the bright spots for ethanol makers such as Green Plains Inc, Valero Energy Corp and Pacific Ethanol Inc after China all but stopped buying corn ethanol, contributing to oversupply.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 18 - Rebound in EU grain crop seen outweighing demand next season

The European Union faces higher stockpiles of grains next season as cereal production is expected to rebound after last year's drought-damaged harvest, outpacing rising demand, Strategie Grains analysts said. In a monthly report, Strategie Grains trimmed its forecast of 2019 EU production of soft wheat, the bloc's main cereal crop, by 600,000 tonnes to 146.4 million tonnes, but this was nonetheless up 15 percent from 2018.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 18 - DowDuPont farm unit plans to launch Enlist E3 soy broadly in 2020

DowDuPont's agriculture unit, Corteva Agriscience, is gearing up to broadly sell farmers in North America and Brazil a new type of genetically modified soybean for planting next year in a challenge to rival Bayer AG. Corteva revealed its plans for Enlist E3 soy seeds on Thursday, after top global soy buyer China said last week it approved the crops for import.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 18 - Cargill to invest $200 million in Pakistan, government says

Food and agriculture group Cargill Inc will invest some $200 million in Pakistan over the coming three to five years in sectors ranging from dairy, to edible oils and animal feed, the prime minister's office in Islamabad said on Thursday. "Cargill's proposed investments will support Pakistan's overall economic development and contribute to local employment," it said in a statement following a meeting between company executives and Prime Minister Imran Khan. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 18 - US-Thai DDGS dispute lingers as US gov shutdown delays resolution

An apparent impasse in US-Thai trade relations over the import of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) is being prolonged by the US government shutdown, as US government representatives have been accused of missing key meetings, market sources have told Agricensus Thursday. Reuters reported on January 11 that the import of the animal feed, which is derived from corn and typically produced as a by product to ethanol production, was suspended pending new fumigation requirements after beetles were discovered in a shipment last year.

“The issue is the fumigation chemical used, but the problem is that there’s no one available to sign off an agreement,” one market source said, with the issue thought to be straightforward to resolve but the shutdown meant no one was available to negotiate.

A second source, based in Singapore, said that representatives from the US agency charged with addressing the issues around fumigation, the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Services, had missed meetings on the issue. The deterioration in US-Thai trade arose after beetles were found in a shipment last year, with the Thai government imposing a January 1 deadline for ships to be fumigated with methyl bromide – a method that the US typically does not use and was behind a long-running dispute with Vietnam.

“The Thai industry and the US side is trying to get an extension to the January 1 date, but time is slipping by,” the second source told Agricensus, with the US pushing to use phosphine as its preferred method of fumigation.

According to the US Grains Council, Thailand imported 187,194 mt of US DDGS between September and October 2018 – the latest data available – with 964,234 mt imported in the 2017/18 marketing year. Officials at the USDA were approached for comment, but no response had been received at time of publication.

Jan 17 - ADM CEO says wrong time for 'monster' acquisitions

U.S. grain merchant Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) has looked at buying rivals including Bunge Ltd. and dozens of other companies but decided the time is not right for "monster" acquisitions, the company's chief executive told Reuters. ADM's overture to Bunge last year, reported by Reuters and other media, fueled Wall Street speculation of further consolidation among the world's major trading houses that sell, store and ship crops. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - USDA recalls workers to help with farm loans, taxes; data uncertain

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will reopen about 980 Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for three days starting on Thursday to help process farm loans and tax documents during the partial federal government shutdown. About 2,500 FSA employees who have been furloughed by the partial shutdown that began on Dec. 22 have been called back to work without pay, the department said in a statement on Wednesday. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - China tells pig farms to restock amid worries over pork supply, swine fever

China's pig farmers should quickly replenish their herds and the nation plans to buy more pork for its reserves, a government official said, in steps to curb price rises expected to bite later this year in the wake of African swine fever outbreaks. Pork prices in the world's biggest producer of the meat are "very likely" to rise in the second-half of 2019 as the number of pigs has been falling, Tang Ke, director of the market and information department at the agriculture ministry, said on Wednesday. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - Louis Dreyfus to exit dairy by mid-2019 as revamp continues

Louis Dreyfus Company said on Wednesday it would sell or wind down its small dairy business by the middle of this year as part of an overhaul to revive growth at the agricultural commodity giant. Privately held Louis Dreyfus had previously earmarked dairy as one of several activities to be sold or turned into joint ventures in order to focus on core products like grain and oilseeds. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - U.S. Farm Credit CEOs see more financial pain if no China trade deal

Lenders supporting tens of thousands of American farmers on Wednesday warned White House officials that 2019 could cause more producers financial losses if the trade dispute with China is not resolved. In a meeting with the National Economic Council, the chief executives of three Farm Credit institutions lending to the agriculture industry said the majority of American farmers have so far weathered depressed commodity prices and a supply overhang. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - Brazil ethanol pipeline owner eyes corn-based fuel makers

Logum, the company operating Brazil's sole ethanol pipeline, is looking to expand the system into central Brazil to reach more plants and possibly the nascent corn-based ethanol industry, which is expected to grow. Chief Executive Wagner Biasoli told Reuters Logum has secured financing for an expansion to link new mills in the state of Minas Gerais, boost delivery to Sao Paulo state and reach total capacity of 6 billion liters per year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 17 - Jordan tenders to buy 120,000 tonnes wheat- trade

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. The tender deadline is Jan. 22. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 16 - South Korea’s NOFI pays 2% less in feed wheat tender as board dips (Agricensus)

South Korean feed manufacturer NOFI has bought 65,000 mt of feed wheat paying $5.45/mt, or 2%, less than it did a month ago as US futures slid to their lowest level since the start of the year, according to market sources Wednesday. Korean buyers issued a raft of corn and wheat tenders on Wednesday morning after CBOT futures slid for two consecutive sessions at the start of the week, with wheat futures falling to their lowest level since the start of the month. Cargill sold the cargo at a price of $254.50/mt CFR South Korea, $5.45/mt less than its previous December tender, when it saw wheat prices spike, but still $9.50/mt higher than the cargo it bought back in October.

Jan 16 - On the autofarm: China turns to driverless tractors, combines to overhaul agriculture 

A brand new combine harvester buzzes up and down a field in eastern China without a driver on board, chopping golden rice stalks and offering a glimpse of what authorities say is the automated future of the nation's mammoth agricultural sector. The bright green prototype was operating last autumn during a trial of driverless farm equipment as the government pushes firms to develop within 7 years fully-automated machinery capable of planting, fertilising and harvesting each of China's staple crops - rice, wheat and corn. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 16 - French court cancels Monsanto weedkiller permit on safety grounds 

A French court cancelled the licence for one of Monsanto's glyphosate-based weedkillers on Tuesday over safety concerns, placing an immediate ban on Roundup Pro 360 in the latest legal blow to the Bayer-owned business. Germany's Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $63 billion last year, faces thousands of U.S. lawsuits by people who say its Roundup and Ranger Pro products caused their cancer. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 16 - Trade war, sick hogs make China soy purchases hard to predict - Braun

China's December soybean imports dipped to the lowest levels for the month since 2011, unsurprising since the United States has shipped an uncharacteristically low volume to the Asian country ever since the trade dispute escalated mid-last year. Data from China’s General Administration of Customs shows that the country’s soybean imports in the final two months of 2018 plunged by 39 percent from the previous year, including no U.S. imports at all in November.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 16 - BNP Paribas to close U.S. commodities trading desk - source 

France's largest listed bank BNP Paribas is to close its New York commodities trading desk, offering its services from desks elsewhere, a source close to the matter said Tuesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg report. The bank has decided to close the desk in New York but will remain active on the market in London and Singapore, the source said. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 16 - Brazil soybean exports slow as China demand, early harvest disappoints (AgriCensus)

Soybean exports out of Brazil in January will not reach 2 million mt, according to Agricensus calculations using export and line-up data. Brazil exported just over 1 million mt of soybeans during the first two weeks in January with a further 800,000 mt in the line up data. And while that will eclipse last year’s record of 1.5 million mt exported over the whole month, it does not reflect recent expectations that exports will be much higher due to an early harvest in Brazil’s southern states. Sources say the trade war and the uncertain picture of Chinese demand has deterred buying of soybeans by private crushers, many of which have been impacted by negative crush margins. Typically, Chinese crushers would buy US beans for January shipments to cover March crush, but with US imports taxed at 25%, US bean sales have been limited to state-sponsored purchases of 5 million mt, leaving a big question of what China will do for March supply.

“It depends how much of that (5 million mt) finds its ways to crushers,” said one soybean trader at an international trading house, adding that if much of it does trickle out then buying will remain muted.

Brazil remains the cheapest origin for Chinese crushers to buy beans, but trade has been “very quiet” for weeks, according to Brazilian and Chinese sources, with about 20 cargoes being bought since December.

Jan 15 - China's trade data weak? Not if you look at commodities: Russell

Anybody reading the commentary on China's December trade figures would be left with the impression of an economy increasingly losing momentum amid a dispute with the United States. It was reasonable for analysts to zero in on the 4.4 percent drop in China's December exports from a year earlier, a huge miss when a rise of 3 percent had been forecast.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 15 - EU ready to accept deal to exempt duties on Argentine biodiesel

The European Commission is willing to accept a deal with producers of Argentine biodiesel to settle a long-running trade dispute over imports of the product into Europe. The Commission, which oversees trade policy in the 28-member European Union, said it had communicated to interested parties last week that it was willing to accept undertakings from producers that they would sell at a minimum price. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 15 - Trump defends trade policies to farmers, vows fair deal with China

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday defended his tough trade policies in front of thousands of farmers who have suffered because of his trade war with China, disappointing some who had hoped to hear a plan for a swift resolution. Trump dedicated much of his speech to explaining why he believes the United States needs a wall on its southern border, in his second consecutive visit to the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention. He also said his trade policies would deliver long-term benefits for the American heartland. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 15 - South Africa set to miss 12.2m corn production estimate: chamber (AgriCensus)

South Africa’s agricultural business chamber, Agbiz, has warned that the country is unlikely to hit the 12.2 million mt corn production estimate that they had forecast, as dry weather is set to slash yields and planted area. In a research note, published Monday, head of agribusiness research Wandile Sihlobo, said the estimate “will not materialise” as the dry weather has pushed corn plantings out of their optimal window. While late December rains had seen some farmers pick up the planting pace in the new year, plantings across key regions range from between 35% through to 70% of the pre-drought anticipated area. Against that backdrop, Agbiz expects the Crop Estimate Committee’s outlook for the 2018/19 corn planting area – currently set at 2.44 million hectares – to be revised down by as much as 19% to 1.98 million ha, putting it in line with the area planted in the last drought-stricken year, 2015/16.

“At that time, South African maize production amounted to 7.8 million mt, turning the country into a net importer,” Sihlobo said, although the country’s current stock position means it has a buffer of some 3 million mt to cushion any shortfall.

Agbiz warned the country needs to produce around 8 million mt to meet its own domestic needs, but farmers may be encouraged to plant sunflower – which is still in its optimal planting window – rather than corn. The strong domestic prices have enabled at least one cargo of Brazilian corn to make the move to South Africa, with the bulk carrier Apj Jai believed to be heading to Cape Town and expected to arrive around January 21, according to ship tracking data. Meanwhile, concerns over the state of domestic planting pushed domestic prices higher, causing a suspension in the trading of futures contracts on the country’s exchange as prices hit their daily limits.

“The erratic weather conditions and uncertainty about the harvest size will continue to lift SAFEX maize prices and, in turn, add inflationary pressure on consumers and animal feed industries,” Sihlobo warned.

Jan 14 - China Dec soybean imports plunge 40 pct as U.S. trade war curbs buying 

China's December soybean imports plunged 40.1 percent from a year earlier, customs data showed on Monday, as it cut purchases from the United States, its second-largest supplier, because of the trade war between the two countries. Imports last month dropped to 5.72 million tonnes, said the General Administration of Customs, the lowest for the month since December 2011. Click here to read full stories. 

Jan 14 - Funds seen standing firm on CBOT views despite USDA data void: Braun 

Speculators in Chicago-traded grains and oilseeds on Friday wrapped up their third week of trading without key datasets from the U.S. government, though they do not appear deterred from their prior thinking due to the lack of the typical information stream. As of Jan. 11, trade sources suggest that commodity funds held a combined net long position of 22,188 futures and options contracts across CBOT corn, wheat, soybeans and soy products, anchored solely by optimistic corn bets. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 12 - Crop forecaster says USDA corn and bean crop projections to fall at least 5% (AgriCensus)

US crop forecaster Indigo on Friday said it expects Brazil’s corn and soybean crop to be 5.1% and 6.3% lower than the December forecast of the USDA due to “below average rainfall” hitting yields. Indigo, which says it has the capability to accurately reflect crop sizes using satellite technology, released its forecasts in lieu of USDA’s January WASDE report, which was due to be released Friday, but has been delayed due to the US government shutdown. The forecaster said it expected soybean production to be 7.3 million mt lower than the USDA’s estimate of 120.5 million mt of soybean and 4.9 million mt lower than the USDA’s 94.5 million mt projection of corn production. Indigo said the write-down was due to “unevenly distributed dry conditions in the country, resulting from below-average rainfall”.

“In some states, soybeans were planted soon after their permitted planting dates and the dry weather disrupted the plants during the crucial pod-filling phase. Indigo’s Crop Health Index for soybeans in Brazil was higher than normal in November and early December, but it is now below 10-year norms for this stage in the season,” it said.

But while the forecast for Brazil was bullish for prices, production in Argentina is not expected to significantly change for soybean from the USDA’s projection of 55.5 million mt. For corn it will increase 0.5 million mt compared with the 42.5 million mt the USDA predicted.

“Of note, Indigo’s models suggest popular sources are overstating the negative impact of some flooding and hail in the area,” the forecaster said, adding that soybean progress was behind the average 10-year norm, but by “a negligible amount.”

For the US, the forecasters said they expected yields to be below the 52.1 bushels per acre for soybeans and 178.9 bushels per acre for corn that the USDA projected in December, but did not say by how much.

“[We] predict the USDA’s year-end report will again make downward revisions when they ultimately close out the season after the government shutdown. Late-season flooding led to harvest issues negatively impacting an otherwise robust crop,” it said.

Jan 11 - South Africa turns corn importer as first cargo set for Cape Town (AgriCensus)

South Africa is poised to accept its first corn imports of the 2018/19 marketing year, with a Brazil-sourced cargo expected to arrive in the port of Cape Town later in January, market sources told Agricensus Thursday. The move comes as the country has flirted with import parity after a disastrous lack of rain stoked fears for the new corn crop’s plantings in the final months of 2018 and drove up domestic prices.

“I see some yellow corn coming into Cape Town… (The) first shipment is booked with an ETA of January 24 and importers are showing stock up until June… I think we might import until the new season,” one South Africa-based market source said.

Chinese trader Cofco is thought to be moving the cargo, but with Brazil at the tail end of its export season, further supply is likely to come from Argentina, according to the source. South Africa is typically an exporter of corn and started the new marketing year – which runs May through April – sitting on good stocks and anticipating a healthy harvest that initially drove a strong export outlook. Data from the South Africa Grain Information Service shows exports of yellow corn surging to 1.3 million mt by early October, approximately half way through the marketing year and some 400,000 mt ahead of the same stage of 2017/18. However, the country’s large supply of white food corn weighed on domestic prices and pushed them below yellow feed corn prices, driving most of the domestic feed sector to switch to cheaper white corn, according to the source. With the healthy pace of yellow corn exports and increased demand for white corn, the onset of dry weather as farmers approached the optimal planting window sparked worries that the country’s stocks would not be able to cope. That drove prices higher at a time when international prices were under pressure and framed an environment in which the country switched from export to import.

“The biggest white corn planting areas are having trouble planting because of the drought, so I think the market is trying to protect the stock we have remaining, and there is not much yellow corn left… thus the reason for imports,” the source said.

Exports dry up

From May-October 2018, the country sold 645,000 mt to Vietnam, 210,000 mt to South Korea, 106,000 mt to Taiwan and 100,000 mt to Italy, according to the SAGIS data. Since then, the export pace has slowed dramatically with just one 58,000 mt cargo sailing to Vietnam in early December and exports averaging 4,500 mt per week. The most recent data, released Thursday, shows just 1,804 mt left South Africa in the week ending January 4, sending the export pace below the equivalent week for 2017/18.

Jan 11 - After Monsanto patent ruling, Indian farmers hope for next-gen GM seeds

A court ruling in India this week that upheld a Monsanto patent on genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds has raised hopes among farmers that the company would now launch its next-generation seeds, the application for which it pulled two years ago. India approved Monsanto's GM cotton seed trait in 2002 and an upgraded variety in 2006, helping transform the country into the world's top producer and second-largest exporter of the fibre.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 11 - Trade estimates stand in for missing USDA data on Friday - Braun

Friday was meant to be a hectic day for grain analysts, who would have been juggling at least four major reports from the U.S. government, the largest single-day data dump of the year. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was forced to suspend indefinitely these reports amid the partial government shutdown, which entered its 20th day on Thursday. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 11 - Brazil 2018/19 soybean crop forecast cut by 5.2 mln T - Agroconsult

Brazilian agricultural consultancy Agroconsult slashed its forecast for Brazil's 2018/2019 soybean crop by 5.2 million tonnes on Thursday, citing a dry spell that has hurt soy fields. During a press conference ahead of a crop tour that starts next week, André Pessoa, a partner at Agroconsult, said Brazilian soy farmers are now expected to produce 117.6 million tonnes of the oilseeds this season, down from 122.8 million in a prior forecast. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - Russia returns to dominate first GASC wheat tender of 2019 (AgriCensus)

GASC, Egypt’s state grain buyer, returned to the market and picked up 415,000 mt of Russian-origin wheat for delivery February 20-28 and March 1-10, market sources said Wednesday. Russian sellers announced their return to work after the new year break, dominating the tender with a total of seven cargoes sold to GASC as US and French offers were priced out. On a destination basis, prices were only slightly higher than at GASC's last outing, with an average sale price of $264.91/mt CFR for both delivery windows.

At its previous tender on December 20, GASC bought 120,000 mt of Ukrainian and Romanian wheat at an average $263.90/mt CFR Egypt. The average origin price was $249.56/mt FOB Russia.

The tender came at a time when several other state buyers are on the hunt for wheat, with Wednesday’s deal part of a growing bank of evidence that a long-expected return of buyers is starting to materialise.

Jan 10 - Is China really on the brink of ramping up U.S. ag purchases? -Braun

U.S. officials said on Wednesday that China has pledged to purchase “a substantial amount” of U.S. agriculture, energy, and other manufactured products, just one day after Beijing gave five genetically modified crops (GM) the green light for import. Many market participants see China's new GM approvals, which include both corn and soybeans, as one more step toward finally ramping up purchases of U.S. grains and oilseeds.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - French wheat export outlook trimmed as competition seen continuing

France's farming agency on Wednesday trimmed its forecast for wheat exports outside the EU this season, cautioning that competition would continue to be tough in key North and West African markets. Traders and analysts have seen scope for France, the European Union's largest wheat producer, to accelerate its overseas sales in the second half of the July-June marketing season as supply tightens in top exporter Russia. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 10 - Trump nominates acting EPA head, an ex-coal lobbyist, to run agency

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to run the agency permanently, the White House said, placing a former energy lobbyist at the helm of the nation's top environmental regulator. The widely anticipated nomination provides Trump another avid supporter of his deregulatory and pro-fossil fuels agenda, but without the constant criticism over alleged mismanagement that plagued Wheeler's predecessor, Scott Pruitt. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 09 - EPA says it is committed to rule for higher ethanol blend by summer driving season

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it would complete a rule to boost sales of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline by the summer driving season, despite a partial government shutdown. The statement from the environmental regulator came after the agency warned at least two lawmakers that the shutdown had delayed its timeline for initially rolling out the rule, according to two sources briefed on the matter. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 09 - Monsanto patent victory seen as a boost for biotech investment in India

India's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Monsanto can claim patents on its genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds, a victory for the U.S. company that is expected to encourage biotechnology firms to step up investment in the country. The decision on appeal overturns an earlier ruling by the Delhi High Court that Monsanto - the world's biggest seed maker, which has been bought by Germany's Bayer AG - could not claim patents on GM cotton seeds. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 09 - Commodity markets back Beijing's stimulus, await trade talks: Russell 

Commodity markets appear to have delivered their verdict on China's plans to stimulate its economy, betting that Beijing's boost to infrastructure spending will work. China's central bank cut the amount of cash that banks have to hold as reserves for a fifth time in a year on Jan. 4, a move that will free up as much as $116 billion in new credit.  The looser monetary policy announcement came two days after the national rail operator said it planned 6,800 km (4,225 miles) of new track this year, a 40 percent lift on what was laid last year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 09 - Olam, one of Asia’s top trading houses, is exiting sugar trading at a time when the industry is facing lower margins. It follows Bunge, another top agri trading house, which got out of sugar trading last year.

Jan 09 - Ukraine's corn export fate hinges on critical first quarter demand

The first three months of 2019 may be the key period in determining how much of Ukraine’s giant new corn crop ends up in bins, and how much floods onto the export market, market sources have told Agricensus. At close to 35 million mt, Ukraine’s 2018/19 corn crop is the biggest in its history, with the USDA expecting the country to export as much as 28 million mt across the marketing year. But logistics, weather and competition – both from other origins and other feeds – mean that the country must make the most of the January through March period, when international competition is at its most restrained.

“During January through March Ukraine has only one competitor, the US, so for a wide range of positions they are fairly well positioned. I guess they could easily do another 10 million mt with the help of China and Iran deals,” one market source said.

Through the early part of the marketing year, Ukraine has already exported 9 million mt, according to government data, a record level that came despite concerns over the capacity of the country’s rail logistics to cope with the exodus. However, Ukraine was consistently amongst the cheapest origins globally for large parts of the final quarter of 2018, with US export competitiveness derailed by stronger soybeans as Chinese buying pushed up barge and rail freight rates.

“These couple of months are a good chance to sell as much as possible,” a second source agreed, as April will herald the return of Latin America supply, and particularly Argentina.

From then on, however, potential competition mounts and – if it can clear out 10 million mt – the country still needs to export around 10-12 million mt from April through to September before the new crop comes in.

“2.5 million mt per month should be feasible for April through to June, which leaves a maximum of 2.5 million for the July through September months,” the first source said – noting that the period is not Ukraine’s favoured exporting period.

But the demand, price and logistics will have to dovetail virtually flawlessly if a build in carryover stocks is to be avoided.

“So far, we do not have (demand from) Egypt and Iran… I doubt we can export all that, so we are going to have a bigger carryover,” the second source said.

Surefire buyers?

Through the early months of 2018, Ukraine’s biggest export customers were Egypt, China, the EU and Iran – its staple buyers – with Ukraine able to export 8.5 million mt between January and April. But there are concerns over the buy side – China has been flirting with the US over restored trade links, with rumours that the Asian superpower could pick up US corn volumes as leverage in restoring tariff-free trade with its biggest trading partner. Secondly, some Ukraine market sources have expressed wariness at selling into Iran in the light of beefed up US sanctions against the country, with business like to be complicated by new financial sanctions. Finally, traditional Ukrainian destination markets – such as Egypt – have seen the US dominate in recent months, with the US also nursing a large corn crop and looking to maintain its blistering start to its 2018/19 export campaign. Which leaves the EU – a market that has soaked up huge volumes of Ukrainian corn as the bloc recovers from a drought that slashed its own domestic corn production. However, the bloc is also courting US approval, trumpeting its recent soybean imports as evidence of its goodwill, while countries like Spain have stepped up US corn imports in recent months despite the heavy presence of GMO in US corn.

Jan 08 - China hands out long-awaited GM crop approvals amid U.S. trade talks

China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Tuesday, the first in about 18 months, a move that could boost future imports and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods. The United States is the world's biggest producer of GM crops while China is the top importer of GM soybeans and canola. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 08 - Commodity markets back Beijing's stimulus, await trade talks: Russell

Commodity markets appear to have delivered their verdict on China's plans to stimulate its economy, betting that Beijing's boost to infrastructure spending will work. China's central bank cut the amount of cash that banks have to hold as reserves for a fifth time in a year on Jan. 4, a move that will free up as much as $116 billion in new credit. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 08 - As trade talks kick-off, Sinograin, Cofco buy more US soybeans (AgriCensus)

After much speculation, Chinese state-owned entities returned to the market on Monday to buy US soybeans, purchasing up to 25 cargoes (900,000 mt), according to several market sources. Just hours after trade talks between US and Chinese delegates kicked off in Beijing, several sources reported between 20-25 cargoes were bought by state-owned stockpiler Sinograin and Chinese agribusiness Cofco International. The panamax-sized vessels were bought for loading January and February out of the US Gulf and some vessels loading February and March were heard loading out of the Pacific Northwest.

“The price is estimated at 148 cents per bushel FOB US Gulf over March futures,” said one trader, equating to $394/mt.

A second source said the price for US Gulf was “150 cents per bushel” with PNW cargoes 10 cents per bushel ($3.70/mt) cheaper. While a third source said the price paid for beans off the Pacific Northwest for February and March loading was 142 cents per bushel over March futures ($392/mt). Cofco and Sinograin were unavailable for comment.

If true this would be the third round of buying in the past month, with estimates that between 4 and 5 million mt have now been purchased. In July, China slapped an additional 25% import tax on US soybeans in a retaliation for US taxing some of the nation’s technology exports – effectively blocking US suppliers from the world's number one buyer of soybeans. But after talks between President Xi and President Trump last month at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, President Xi pledged to buy more US agricultural goods while negotiations to find a resolution to the trade spat were ongoing. Chinese state-owned buyers had been rumoured to be in the market last week, but with a government shutdown in the US preventing the release of export data, the market will have to wait for exact details.

Jan 07 - Guatemalan farms shift to palm oil, fueling family migration

In the poor, hot region of Guatemala that was home to a seven-year-old migrant girl before she died in U.S. border custody last month, palm oil cultivation is taking over from subsistence farming, adding to pressure on people to leave. Many villagers around the municipality of Raxruha have sold land to palm oil producers, residents and local officials say, helping to make Guatemala one of the world's biggest exporters of the versatile product in the space of just a few years. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 07 - Brazil soybean farmers brace for more crop losses - Aprosoja

Brazilian soy farmers face the prospect of more crop failures, a grain growers group said on Friday, as a leading agribusiness consultancy revised its forecast for the country's crop this year due to a drought that is hurting fields. In states such as Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul losses are known while in other regions they have not yet been accurately measured, said Bartolomeu Braz, the head of grain growers group Aprosoja Brasil. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 07 - U.S. delays key agriculture reports due to government shutdown

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delayed several major domestic and world crop reports because of the two-week-old partial government shutdown, the agency said on Friday. New release dates for the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and other data originally scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11, will be set once government funding is restored, USDA said. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 07 - China to launch rubber, cotton and corn options on Jan 28

China will launch options for rubber, cotton and corn on Jan. 28, the country's securities regulator said at a press briefing on Friday, adding to the tools available to hedge on price risks in the world's largest agriculture market. The regulator approved the launch of corn and cotton options in June last year. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 04 - USDA says it will not publish WASDE, other key data next week

The USDA says it will not publish a slew of key economic data next week due to a “lapse in federal funding” and the “lead time required for the analysis and compilation” of the reports. The USDA was scheduled to publish its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) for January on Friday – a key report that produces what would likely be the final numbers for this year’s US soybean and corn production and exports amid a trade war with China. Alongside the WASDE, the USDA will not publish crop production reports or stock reports, the USDA said in a press release.

“Those reports will not be released on January 11, 2019 as originally scheduled even if funding is restored before that date. The date of … [the] releases will be determined and made public once funding has been restored,” the USDA said.

The WASDE report often has a key bearing on futures prices on the Chicago Board of Trade as it is the official US forecast of global crop production and trade. The US has entered its 14th day of government shutdown amid a dispute over whether to fund a key election pledge by President Trump to build a wall along the US and Mexico border. The Democratic Party, which now controls the House of Representatives, is against the plan while the Republican Party, which controls the Senate, is in support of the policy.

The USDA is one of several government departments hit by the shutdown.

Jan 04 - China warns pig trade against African swine fever cover-ups as Taiwan concerns grow

China has warned the country's pork industry that covering up cases of African swine fever is a crime, days after a dead pig was found on a Taiwanese beach prompting Taipei to claim Beijing was not sharing accurate information on the disease. China's animal husbandry and veterinary affairs bureau is stepping up investigation and punishment of illegal activity in the pig industry, said a statement published on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs website on Friday. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 04 - Cargill net drops 20 pct, revenues fall as trade fight bites

Grains trader Cargill Inc on Thursday reported a 20 percent drop in its fiscal second-quarter 2019 net earnings, as global trade tensions hit the bottom line along with challenges in the Chinese hog sector and a struggling U.S. dairy business. Three of the company's four business units reported results that were below the same period a year earlier. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 04 - As loans and aid dry up, U.S. farmers face fresh challenge from shutdown

U.S. farmers, already battered by the U.S.-China trade war, are facing increasing anxiety as the partial government shutdown nears the two-week mark, leaving crucial aid and loan payments in limbo. The shutdown has blocked assistance for many farmers, who at this time of year apply for federal loans as they pay bills due from the previous year and begin budgeting for next season's planting. It is also affecting aid payments promised to allay the effects of the trade war. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 04 - EU reinforces position as grain importer as maize keeps coming

The European Union reinforced its newly acquired position as a net cereal importer at the end of December as a record pace of maize imports continued to outstrip faltering wheat and barley exports, official data showed on Thursday. As of Dec. 30, the 28-country EU had imported 14.8 million tonnes of cereals since the start of the 2018/19 season in July, compared with cereal exports of 13.6 million tonnes, the data from the European Commission showed. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 03 - Fear sends equity and commodity prices tumbling in 2018: Kemp

Fear became the dominant sentiment in 2018, especially in the second half of the year, as growing pessimism about the future gripped policymakers, business leaders, investors and journalists. Those best able to articulate, amplify and exploit concerns about the economy, migration, security and the impact of technology proved the most influential. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 03 - China strengthens slaughter regulations to combat African swine fever

China's agriculture ministry said on Wednesday that slaughterhouses will need to run African swine fever virus tests for pig products before selling them to the market, in a move to control spread of the highly contagious disease. Slaughterhouses must slaughter the pigs from different origins separately, and can only sell the products if blood from the same batch of pigs is tested negative for African swine fever virus, according to a new regulation published on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Click here to read full stories.

Jan 03 - Funds view CBOT grains, oilseeds much more favorably than year ago - Braun

Speculators rang in 2019 with a much less pessimistic take on Chicago-traded grains and oilseeds than a year earlier, though trade tensions and the lapse in U.S. government data are providing the market with plenty of uncertainty. As of Wednesday, trade sources suggest that commodity funds held a very slight combined net long position of 688 futures and options contracts across CBOT corn, wheat, soybeans and soy products, anchored by optimistic corn bets.  Click here to read full stories.

Jan 03 - Brazil farmers receive windfall amid global trade tensions - 2018 data

Brazil's farmers experienced an export-led bonanza in 2018, with soybean sales reaching a record amid global trade jitters and rising coffee exports driven by strong demand from buyers like the United States and Germany. Soybean growers in Brazil, already the world's largest exporter of the oilseeds, sold some 83.8 million tonnes of that grain last year in global markets, up 23.1 percent from 2017, according to foreign commerce data for 2018 released by Brazil's government on Wednesday. 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.