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Market Plus: Mar 07, 2008: John Roach and Sue Martin

posted on March 7, 2008

Market Plus: Mar 07, 2008: John Roach and Sue Martin Pearson: This is our Friday, March 7th, 2008 version of market plus, we're glad you've joined us here at our Web site. A special show, two senior market analysts joining us and a very special market plus segment for you. Thanks for joining us. Now, let's bring in Sue Martin and John Roach. And we're going to talk about the soybean market, Sue, because that seems to be where all the sex appeal is right now for the general public and crude oil trading with soybean oil and we saw that market fall off this week, we saw it back off some. And I heard from a lot of farmers that said, oh my gosh, I missed $15 on my beans, oh gee whiz and they were down to $14.80 and then they were lower and now I don't want to do anything. What do you tell them?

Martin: Well, I think first of all that's an emotion and I think that they need to realize that the prices are still pretty phenomenal and the hardest thing for a producer to do is after he's missed it is to sell a limit down day. So, they tend to wait for a bounce. And we'll get one but, you know, do we have the spring highs in on this market? Probably. It's feeling like we do. You've had nine months up in the cyclical count on beans and so my timing had always said we'd have an April high this year and then the potential on out into June. See, I'm more traditional. I think while we'll have volatility this year I think the timings of the markets are going to be very traditional this year. So, if our spring high came in early then that tells me that we'll probably have an April low and then we'll move up out of here and that will take care of the nine months of the cyclical count and then we'll move up into late June. That is kind of what I'm looking at. But to get a rally back up, sure the markets do and they can do it in a fast track, you could bring the beans back up to $15.36 because that's where they did close at the end of February and if we're going to close lower for the month anything at that price or higher will probably be an opportunity to sell. So, we're recommending if you want to go ahead and sell but our vision is that the market is still going to go higher. Now, you can say okay, this is a good price and I'm happy with that and that's enough. And if you had the fear that I can't sell because we might go higher or we're going to have a drought or whatever then go ahead and make your cash sales and buy the July soybean oil call, 65, 67 calls and you won't lay out a lot of money, it's better than buying out of the money puts in the beans and I think that I'd let the market move then and just sit back and say okay, I've got an increment sold, I'll move and sell more. We do a graph that is beans adjusted by dollars and we do a timing indicator, we follow timing as well and our timing indicator did turn negative on part of it on the mechanism. It turned negative on Monday. And then on Wednesday it turned negative with the rest of it. And I noticed that the beans adjusted by dollars on the timing indicator is extremely vulnerable to turn negative. What that tells me is that the dollar is about to make a low. And we're going to see this dollar rally out of here and as it starts to rally out of here all of a sudden these bargains that we're handing to the Chinese right now will not become near the bargains they once were. I think that the Chinese are still very needy, they have the Olympics still coming. If they weren't so needy why are the price controls still on? They would be coming off. I think we've got some very bullish markets yet to come and see through the summer and I also think our weather market this year, the anticipation of it will start earlier probably in May.

Pearson: John, beans?

Roach: I think the bean market ran up to a point where we just ran out of buyers. We had the Chinese buying and they completed their buying program and it was the darling of the marketplace and we just ran up until we ran out of gas. Remember we're starting harvest and we're into harvest in the southern hemisphere. The southern hemisphere will raise 50% more beans than we raised this last fall. So, it's the biggest harvest in the history of the world has started and we have record high prices. That doesn't normally make much sense and I don't think it makes much sense this year. So, I think that is the reason you pressure the market down. But I do think, as Sue said, the Chinese still have more to buy, I think the market will have another life to it and I think we'll have better opportunities as we move down the road. But we're going to have to weather out this storm first.

Martin: And Mark, I have one more thing to say. I think that everybody has kind of put to bed the winter that the Chinese had and they have forgotten about the rape seed crop that probably did see some damage and it's been kind of soft peddled about the damage. But 60% of the rape seed crop is grown in the area where the winter was the worst and I think that we're doing the same thing on that rape seed crop we did on the wheat crop last April, a year ago. We had the bitterly cold temperatures on the wheat and then all of a sudden we caught some rains and everybody thought the wheat started to green up and they thought nothing has been damaged as hard as we thought only to find that the growing point had been killed. I think that when we get into the harvest on that rape seed crop they're going to find that the damage is way worse than we originally thought and I think the Chinese are soft peddling it because they don't want to tell us how bad things are because then we'd know we've got them and we don't have enough soy oil to cover their needs if things are that bad.

Pearson: Alright, we've got a battle really between corn and beans in the heart of the Corn Belt and people are making those decisions. John, what is your take on the corn market?

Roach: I think we're using too small yields. When I look back at yield trends certainly everybody talks about the trend line yield which is a nice line. But when I analyze year after year what we really see is we see several years where yields are in somewhat of an average and then we set a new record. And that new record yield going back to 1960 is 20% over the prior year's average. Now, we set a new record yield in 2004 at 160 bushels an acre, a little over on corn. And since then we've been at 149 and change for three years in a row. Now, it's not because we've reduced technology or anything else in the corn field, it's because we've had weather problems. We've had very specific weather problems in three different areas, each one of those years an area has been impacted. And so when people use the 155 which is a little bit above the trendline what they're really missing is the tendency for when we set a new record yield is 20% over the prior average. 20% over 149 takes you to 180. So, if we have the right kind of growing condition this year we're going to be looking at much bigger yields than 155 and whether we get that weather this year or not I don't know. But that is what is coming down the road. And I think that we've probably brought more technology into the corn market than we have probably in any other one, two or three year period since 1960, we've brought more in in these recent years than we have ever before. So, I think the 155 is a very conservative yield, I think that already implies weather problems somewhere.

Pearson: So, you talked about the corn market and certainly lateness in some parts of the Corn Belt already, some flooding areas and other issues over in Illinois that have already impacted us.

Martin: Well, and that's true. And the interesting thing about Illinois is that they're not expected or we're not expecting them to drop as many acres as some of the other states, even as much as Iowa and that is because over the last ten years on an average Illinois has tended to increase in corn yields by 2.6 bushels to the acre on a yearly basis and the beans maybe 1.2 so the corn looks more attractive to them. But they're having a later start is appears and the weather forecasters are not calling for an easy spring. The problem is so you get into spring and it's wet and it all of a sudden starts to drive the corn price back up because now all of a sudden they're starting to say ooh, we're going to lose more corn acres. But then in the meantime what happens, where do you get the seed for the soybeans because germination was not good last year? So, we've got kind of a funny thing going on here and it'll try to work the beans over a little bit, emotionally that might be another reason why April could be a little softer on the beans because I think we're going to catch more acres but in the meantime the corn is not going to go in easy either I don't think this spring.

Pearson: Alright, it's going to be a wild one. We'll track it for you here on market plus. Thank John Roach and Sue Martin for being with us, two of our senior market analysts, great to have them with us. Thank you for joining us here on market plus. And from all of us on Market to Market, have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news