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Market Plus: Jul 18, 2008: Sue Martin

posted on July 18, 2008

Market Plus: Jul 18, 2008: Sue Martin Pearson: This is the Friday, July 18th, 2008 version of Market Plus. Glad you've joined us here at our Market to Market Web site. I'm Mark Pearson. With us this week one of our senior analysts, Sue Martin. Always great to have Sue on the show and get her perspective. Sue, corn and beans, you've been calling this market right on the money. I mean, you talked about $16 beans, we had $16 beans. You talked about $8 corn, we've had $8 corn. Now on the show Friday night you were saying we haven't pulled this market back enough yet. What do you see -- what are your price targets? You talked a little bit about it during the program. What do you see for your price targets for corn and some of these people -- I talked to a lot of farmers Friday who are concerned and they've got that I missed the boat feeling, dang it, I should have sold corn, dang it, I should have sold beans. Are they going to get another shot?

Martin: Well, I think they will. I think that, first off, many times the July break does end in early August and maybe at the latest August 18th but this year I think it's going to be somewhere between July 28th and the 4th of August. Now, corn might have already made a low and be bouncing a little bit before the beans get the job done. There's been a lot of funds that have been involved in short corn, long beans and I think now they're starting to think maybe they want to get out of those positions. That should help stabilize corn a little bit as they cover those shorts. I think that when we look at this and we get into the month of August now we're going to be starting to think, oh my goodness, one more month and we're into fall or getting very close to fall and your days tend to cool down, they get shorter and all of a sudden they're going to be thinking while beans are light sensitive corn is not and all of a sudden they're going to start to say, you know what, we could be very vulnerable for a frost. You also get your crop tours going out and all of a sudden the corn being 10 days later or two weeks behind and what are they going to see. They aren't going to -- if they had any difficulty at all assessing a crop before they're going to have a real tough year this year to try to assess what that crop is going to be like. So, while the vegetation looks really nice right now, lush and green, maybe short and behind, but still lush and green giving the feeling we're going to have a decent crop I think that when they get into August they're going to start to rethink themselves a little bit and I think the market will start to put on a rally. Now, also the last two weeks of July the USDA will be resurveying 9,000 farmers to see just how many acres did we really lose and reassessing this crop and that will come out in these reports and that should cause funds that are heavy short by that time and making money anyone that is very short at all probably to rethink staying that way through August into September. I'll look for a rally through August and into September. If that high does not make higher highs than what we've seen here in July to the end of June then I would say get with the program because we're probably going down in October to November. However, like I mentioned on the show earlier we do have a tendency but it's not a super great tendency, it's 50/50. I'd feel better if it was 80/20 that we see new all-time highs or not all-time but new contract highs made as the beans start that rally, pre-harvest rally is really what it is and that is a very traditional thing. So, I don't want producers to get lulled into seeing this low in August to the end of July and rallying thinking well, the last two years we kind of did something like this and it just kept going. I don't know if that's the case. I kind of think you've got a pattern breaking down into the end of October, maybe early November, but by the end of October and that is your harvest low and then we rally quite nicely into January and then we'll be talking about that later on, we're already doing some work on our timing for that. We may not have as dicey of a year next year as we would like to see. So, producers need to shape up a little bit on how they're marketing and it's so easy to get caught up in emotion when you've got the weather really going like we had and everybody comparing to '93 only that one was later. We know there's problems out there, we know there's yield cuts but you moved $1.50 at least putting that priced into the market in June.

Pearson: Those are all good points, Sue. In the show you mentioned export demand, you mentioned biofuels demand, there's so many things that are coming at us today that we didn't have and you also mentioned -- we just did at the start of the show on Friday which was a record low now in the dollar. Just talk just a minute about the year overall and we talked about crude oil prices. Just generally this commodity bull swing that we've been through, you're a student of technicals and timing and so forth -- has this thing started to run its course? Are we starting to see the surface tension on the balloon get a little uneasier?

Martin: I think we are. I think we're going to be settling back a little bit and the stock market I'm not sure it's done either. Remember earlier in the summer, maybe even late spring they talked about in this election, this presidential race that the economy that we would be good through the summer and softer through the fourth quarter and I wouldn't underestimate that at all. I think the stock market still has more to go on the down side and I think when you look at a quarterly chart on the S&Ps and the Dow it doesn't look pretty, it doesn't look pretty at all. This thing is here to stay a lot longer than people realize. You'll have rallies, every bear market does. But my concern is that there's tons of money in this world and it's looking for places to go to earn something. commodities is still going to stay in favor for some time. It's just you're going to have a valley in here. You go back to the 70s, you had valleys, you had a recession in '74 and then you turned around and came right back out of it. The one thing we need to do this fall is we go in this September rally, if I'm right, is to stoke the South American farmer to produce beans. We need him to plant more beans and his input costs are going up 40% this year and so we really need to hold that price up there and I think we will to give us a good bounce back and depending on what the dollar does, if the dollar rallied at that time it would be ideal. But I think we need to stoke him into planting more beans. And then that way we can look at next year putting up maybe adding 23% more acres of corn back into our production mix at the expense of wheat.

Pearson: So, you think '08 we could be back to a more normal, provided what happens in South America, we'd see more of a normalized corn and soybean rotation here in the U.S.?

Martin: Yeah, probably picking up even more corn acres at the expense of wheat but beans giving back some as well. It's going to be interesting. Last year we noted that corn on corn did not do well. We'll see what it does this year because I think we had a little more dryness through the summer. This year we may not be that way.

Pearson: Final thing, I didn't talk to you about this on the show, but based on what you're telling me maybe get out there and make some sales for '09 and '10 on some of these prices?

Martin: I would, I would. I think that when you look at it the carries are getting so much bigger than they used to be but when you have corn at $7 it takes a lot more to carry that crop. So, even if you looked at December to May there's 30 cents difference in price. So, maybe you look out into next year and do some pricing forward ahead. My fear is I'm turning bearish for next year and I'm afraid this is just kind of an early precursor or an early look, I'm still doing work on it, but it almost looks to me like our highs next year for grain could come in January. And if that's true farmers are going to need to be Johnny-on-the-spot.

Pearson: Sue Martin, as usual, appreciate you being with us, one of our senior market analysts on Market to Market. For all of us here on Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson. Have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news