The CBOT corn futures price on December 22 was 683.6 cents/56 bushel at the time of writing (6e October), up 1% week over week (wow). Corn prices continue to be supported by the USDA’s reduced 2022/23 global corn production estimate. Corn supplies are tighter in the Northern Hemisphere due to hot, dry weather earlier in the season. The US harvest is underway, however, upcoming rains in the Midwest could slow progress.
According to the latest USDA Harvest Condition Report (released 2n/a October), the US corn crop was 52% good to excellent, stable and down 12% year-over-year (y-o-y). 20% of the harvest was reported to be complete, although this was below the 5-year average of 22% complete. Thus, the progress of the corn harvest in the United States will remain a point of vigilance for the market. The US Gulf hurricane season continues but has not impacted the corn market this year.
There are growing concerns about the future of the grain corridor. A trader told Mintec: “I don’t know if the grain corridor deal will continue, sales are not extended until November. There are already brakes on commissions, and the pace of ships is very slow, with a delay of ships”. Weather conditions in Ukraine are currently favorable and corn production is expected at 31.5 million metric tons, down 25.2% year-on-year. However, concerns remain about how much could be planted, given the ongoing war, high input costs and low grain prices. A Mintec source added: “The problem is that I don’t think a lot of maize will be planted next season. Most likely, vegetable oils will take up some of the land.” In South America, planting is progressing. In Argentina, corn sowing is at 6% against an average of 17% for this time of year. Farmers expect rain over the next few weeks.