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Market Plus: Feb 06, 2009: John Roach, Senior Market Analyst

posted on February 6, 2009

Market Plus: Feb 06, 2009: John Roach, Senior Market Analyst Pearson: Welcome to the Friday, February 6, 2009 version of Market Plus. We're glad you've joined us here at our Web site and very glad that our senior market analyst John Roach is with us. John, we mentioned on the show that over the years you've been pretty specific about when you like to sell crops, when you don't like to sell crops and you have made exceptions through the years as we've been on this program together but very seldom. We've had a nice rally in corn and soybeans, a little bit of a pull back and now you're saying let's wait for our normal marketing times to make sales, a good time though to pick up feed needs. You also mentioned the fact that we're starting to see, again, some in flows into the commodity markets. It seems like the people that make those decisions are saying, you know what, these prices look pretty beaten down, particularly as you mentioned on the show in energy.

Roach: Yes, we actually measure the number of dollars moving into the marketplace and we're five weeks into money moving into the commodities industry and there were articles out this week from some of the news wires talking about the number of dollars that have gone into exchange traded funds that specialize in commodities. The thing that sometimes we forget during economic difficulties such as we're facing there's still lots of money in people's hands. There are people who made a lot of money on the price declines that we witnessed over the last few months. Sooner or later people come back into markets and we're starting to see that. And the seasonality of it is very normal. Normally if you were a buyer in the grain market you would normally come in this time of year. We used to call it the February break, it became so predictable that it became the February break that occurred in January. And so we think that the news is about as bad as the news can get and when that happens then that's when lows are made and if you get bad news and lows are not being made that suggests to you that the bad news is already fully in the price and that's what I really believe is the case. The bad news is fully in the price structure today. That's not to say we can't come along and find more bad news three, four, five, six months out from now but my sense of it is that so much money is being poured into the system in order to try to get the gasoline to light, there is so much money that is being poured in that we think we'll have better news out forward rather than more rounds of bad news. We think the bad news is about done.

Pearson: It's had certainly direct impacts and you talked about it on the show with the livestock sector and so forth. But as we see this turn around and typically this is about what happens, about when the news seems about the worst is when we do start to experience some kind of a turn around.

Roach: Well, in fact, if you look at the commodities, the grains and all the ag markets really except for hogs, we've seen the bottoms. The bottoms have been here and passed. And so in the case of grains the first crop to pay attention to is the southern hemisphere crops and they weren't that good or aren't that good. So, that puts more pressure on the northern hemisphere to raise good crops and the market knows that and that's part of the reason for the market starting to firm.

Pearson: You mentioned South America and obviously tremendous weather issues down there that have private analysts pulling their estimates down of how big that crop is going to be. And I think pressure here in the U.S., beans versus corn it looks like it strongly favors soybeans right now if you look at inputs and everything else.

Roach: The interesting thing is I'm in front of groups of people and I ask them, groups of farmers, how many of you have substantial percentages of your farm that you don't know what you're going to plant yet. Invariably there's very few that are in that category. Most farmers knew last fall what they were going to plant in the spring of '09. So, the marketplace talks about it, we all talk about battling for acres but in the reality the acreage battle is probably 95% solved unless there's something brand new that comes along and prevents a farmer from doing what he wanted to do. But that being said the relationship between corn and beans is going to be closely watched as we move into the planting season to see if the market can stimulate farmers to plant something different from what they planned.

Pearson: Your big time to sell typically on corn and soybeans is in that late spring time period.

Roach: March, April, May and June -- those four months if you go back and look at a lot of years of history or even a few years of history, in fact it was just last year, March, April, May and June, those are the months to be selling. Any other month other than that it's an unusual month if that is when the highs are made.

Pearson: We'll see what happens in 2009. As usual good to have our senior market analyst John Roach with us. From all of us here on Market Plus, I'm Mark Pearson. Have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news