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Market Plus: Apr 09, 2010: Virgil Robinson

posted on April 9, 2010

Market Plus: Apr 09, 2010: Virgil Robinson Pearson: Welcome to the Friday, April 9, 2010 version of Market Plus. Thanks for joining us this week here at our Market to Market Web site. Be sure to tell your friends. Virgil Robinson is with me, I'm Mark Pearson. Virgil, interesting week on so many fronts. A couple of things we didn't get a chance to get to during our time on the show, which is why we do Market Plus. We didn't get to cotton which was interesting from the WASDE standpoint and also just from a rally they've had in cotton. What is your take on cotton?

Robinson: Boy, it's been a gigantic move in cotton. I look back when we visited last and I thought the potential of $90 cotton futures was pretty good. I don't feel that was tonight. Even though some of the things I like to refer to like stocks to use ratios, U.S. and world are the tightest they've been in years, I acknowledged that, but I thought cotton futures this week behaved, particularly the old crop cotton futures behaved quite poorly and we have, I think, developed an area of price resistance above the May/July and those contracts on forward in the $82 to $84 area. I don't think we're going to get through there. So, for those that have to this point retained old crop cotton any kind of a rally from here, $1 or $2 rally I would sell that and new crop cotton futures, again, more acres in the U.S., particularly in the south. I would employ some type of put strategy or some type of vertical put strategy to put in a price floor assuming they don't have insurance coverage put together in this conversation.

Pearson: I want to talk about 2011. I know we haven't planted the 2010 corn and bean crops yet, for the most part, but you brought up the report Friday from USDA. Big carryout on corn, you called it comfortable, but it is considerably larger than what we've seen in the last three years. Soybeans, a bigger number, and certainly big numbers in South America. It's not uncommon for us in agriculture, we're capitalists, to jump out ahead and maybe getting in front of the demand curve just a little bit. Based on that and based on what prices are in some of those deferred contracts, again, going out an extra twelve months is there some attraction there? Are you looking at that one?

Robinson: I think there is some attraction particularly if some of the crop budgets that I've seen from various sources, primarily extension service sources, are accurate there is, there's some profitability and some margin to be had, particularly in that 2011 futures contract, which I think is around $4.10. I can tell you since we last visited 2010 corn futures have declined about 30 cents a bushel while that 2011 futures contract has come down a dime. So, you see what I'm sensing there, those carrying charge spreads. There are some aggressive type hedgers that have tried to hedge some of the 2011 crop in 2010 futures. To this point that has worked marvelously well. And I think it will likely continue so that's one strategy that they might consider. The other is I think if you have a crop budget you're comfortable with and there is in fact a margin, a respectable return on acre in the 2011 corn production I would advise doing upwards of 20% of your intended crop. I think it's a good hedge.

Pearson: Soybeans?

Robinson: If I were going to be aggressive I'd probably be more aggressive there. Here again the inverse old crop versus new -- if this supply scenario unfolds like we have discussed here the last several weeks, that is big supply, plenty of supply growing inventories, those inverses are going to melt away and clearly that would mean then the closer contracts will be weaker than those far deferred ones. So, there is a hedging opportunity there for the very aggressive, very well versed hedger, that is to say hedging 2011 production in 2010 contracts with the intent of seeing those carries widen and when you approach maturation of the contract to 2010 contract you simply roll it forward to 2011.

Pearson: All right. Virgil, as usual, some great insights. We appreciate it. Virgil Robinson with us on Market to Market this week and, of course, joining us right here on the desk of Market Plus. Thanks for joining us here at our Market to Market Web site. From all of us here on Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson. Have a great one.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news