Iowa Public Television


Market Plus: Sep 28, 2007: Sue Martin

posted on September 28, 2007

Market Plus: Sep 28, 2007: Sue Martin Pearson: Welcome to our Friday, September 28th, 2007 version of market plus here at our Market to Market website. We're so glad you've joined us. So glad Sue Martin is with us. And Sue, it's been a wild month, it's been a wild month for the commodities markets, it's been a wild month on the harvesting side, lots of yield numbers coming in, a lot of pork producers were anxiously awaiting what this quarterly hogs and pigs report would have to say and you pointed out a little expansion, kind of bearish.

Martin: Well, it is, you know, what's interesting was Iowa actually decline one percent and we're, you know, a major leading state in pork production but when you looked at Minnesota and Nebraska at four percent and North Carolina who had been stabilized for about two years all of a sudden increasing two percent it kind of makes you wonder what's going on out there in the face of high priced corn. I think that the market was somewhat expecting expansion and I think that we'll probably see the market open weaker on Monday but it'll be interesting because we've had a pretty sizeable sell off but we're also at the time of the year where the market wants to go down and there's several seasonals here where you sell December hogs this next week looking for the market to sell off in towards the latter part of October and you also sell December hogs and buy December cattle. And the seasonality has been pretty good on those, maybe thirteen out of the last fifteen years and so, you know, that coupled with this bearish of a report I would be a little concerned, maybe the market opens lower, turns and lifts a little bit because of the trade expecting this kind of a report and then turns around and maybe tails back off and tests the lows. The good side of the market is, is that when you look at china and all the disease that they have incurred their production peaked. Now, they're going to re-pop but that's going to take a little bit of time. So, they're probably going to be in need of pork. You look at Europe, same thing, they've had some disease and they have kind of peaked out a little bit as well and now you've had Canada with some issues too. So, I think that the exports of pork are going to be dynamite this next two quarters.

Pearson: We're going to need that if we have expansion in the U.S. because you had a very cautionary note for producers on the feed and input side for particularly pork and poultry and what you might see maybe for soybean and soybean meal in particular which has been extremely worrisome to the producers.

Martin: It has, you know, that's the one thing that the bean market has, it's got the best of two worlds. You know, usually it's one product carrying it and then the next time around it would be the other one. Now you've got them both, you know, you've got bean oil that is coming into play because of energy and being very vibrant and the breaks seem to find support and it bounces back. And, of course, with crude making new highs bean oil is hanging in there pretty good. But you've got soybean meal being the leader now and that is because of the fact that with very little feed wheat and it's not even price worthy to feed wheat anyway -- over in China their aquaculture industry, they feed wheat, well they'll feed soybean meal. And, of course, just in the last week we've seen China's government lower their import duties from three percent to one percent. It's telling you there's talk that China's bean production maybe is down as far as 30%, 22% to 30%. That's a big deal in China. And China is a major buyer in the world and we're the next best game in town until you get South America producing those beans and that is what this bean market really is kind of all about is food inflation, making sure that those acres get in and knowing that we're fighting a dollar that is declining and exports, we're sending beans out the door faster than scat and, of course, same way with corn. Our agricultural exports are doing very well. But we have to have those acres and I think there's big concerns now that with this weather that the acres and with the dollar we might be starting to take away a six percent increase, we might be going backwards. If that occurs this market is going to be extremely volatile. But I would watch a rally and in November, if I'm right that we make higher highs, I'd start making sales. You know, I told some producers, you know, if you want to go ahead and sell forward contract them or hedge to arrive them in January and then wait until harvest finishes up on beans and in that first week or two go ahead and lock in your basis because I think if you wait until late December or whatever your basis is going to be going backwards again because of farmers making cash sales. Sell some now, $10 beans is good but I have a feeling, you know, just this week, Mark, we took January beans to $10.33, the all-time high ever for a January contract is $10.34. So, and we know that when you start to make new all-time highs on some of these contracts they go goofy, you know, whether it's beans, wheat or whatever commodity. So, I think we're into some very precarious times. If there is any more weather here, problems, you could see meal go up to 400 a ton and that would be phenomenal. It would also be very hurtful.

Pearson: We've only got about thirty seconds, Sue, and I can't let you leave without talking about this wheat market again. Obviously it's a bizarre situation in modern times really to be running out of wheat. It reminds me a lot of the '95-'96 corn market where nobody had any.

Martin: That's right and the one thing you had in the '95-'96 market was you had a horrible hedge to arrive position so you had like a weak short position in the market and they were like piranha on the floor, they went after them. So, that was also part of that but now you've got, it's like Mother Nature is not happy these days, it's like what can go wrong will and every part of the world has experienced something not good. And in the meantime you have these economies that are just chomping at the bit in southeast Asia and India that are growing by leaps and bounds and they're eating more and, you know, we don't know what it's like to go to a grocery store and see the shelves bare but in other countries they do and hungry people fight and their governments are trying to keep them happy. And so food is very important but the market is commanding the acres and that's also part of this rally right now is just making darn sure those acres get in. And then once they're in we'll assume the best and, of course, in the U.S. we do have moisture for our wheat crop.

Pearson: The acreage hunt is on, the acreage race is on and we'll see how things divvy up here as the winter continues.

Martin: Well, it's going to be interesting because I think we're looking at a time where like for example in beans a top in November, a hard decline into the end of January, first week of February and then I think the race is on between corn and beans.

Pearson: It's going to be an exciting year. Sue Martin, thank you so much. That's going to wrap up market plus. Thank you for joining us and be sure to join us every week right here at our Market to Market website. From all of us at Market to Market, I'm Mark Pearson. Have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news