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Market Plus: Mar 04, 2005

posted on March 4, 2005

Market Plus: Mar 04, 2005

Pearson: Welcome to the Market Plus segment here at our Market to Market Web site. And there is so much going on in one particular commodity these days that we're going to dedicate the entire Market Plus segment to soybeans with our viewers down South who are soybean producers and really around the country this is where all the questions have been coming. And Sue you're always a lightning rod for all of these questions. So, let's talk about -- we talked about it on the show, what could happen with soybeans. We know what has happened here lately, we know what the price activity has been. Why don't you talk a little bit about maybe what you're seeing and what you're hearing from the board regarding potential for soybean rust in the United States this year, the impact that is having. As we mentioned on the show I think we called it the consciousness of the trade. Kind of give us what could be a scenario for soybean prices for 2005.

Martin: Well, I think first off, Mark, we're heading in towards spring and I anticipate that this market is going to try to hold strength as it tries to buy acres into spring. Probably one of the biggest potential reasons to hold the market together besides the world buyer being short bought in fact the public is always short the futures market and aren't getting out. Every hedge analyst was telling them sell, sell, sell and they were talking it pretty heavy as we were going into some timing that could have been a February break low and that occurred. The least little bounce and they jumped on it hard. And so the public is cut short. Now they are continuing to hear more talk of sell, sell, sell on this rally thinking how it's gone up so fast how much more can it go and therefore they are not getting out. That is not the right market environment to top the market out totally and break it down to give them some gratification. So, I think what we're going to see is a market that really tries to get into spring, tries to buy acres because behind all of this South American weather if we go another two to three weeks with dryness in Argentina now you're going to start knocking their production as well down from 39 -- we think the USDA lowers to 38 on Argentina in this coming report -- but then in time you could have them down to 37, maybe 36. Before you know it the production in all five countries in South America was 88 million metric tons last year. They started off saying that they were going to have 108 million metric tons and now we're seeing them down around 97.6 at this time. So, any further weather problems could start to bring those numbers down aggressively, you're not doing much better than you did a year ago. In the meantime world demand is still pretty strong. So, we sense that we need the acres because the talk and expectation is less acres in the U.S.. So, as we go towards planting season I visualize that this market is going to continue to try to buy acres and hold strength on the margin calling that it's going to see off of the small trader. And, of course, the funds have come out of the short positions and have now entered the long side. They could go a long ways before they would hit record length. Corn had something similar like this in 1999/2000 where you had 92% of the crop LDP'd or taken loan on by the time you got to say the 24th of January. They proceeded to come out of their short positions for no fundamental reason and went from 37,500 contract short to. 133,500 contracts long by early May. And then, of course, once they'd seen the crop planted turned around, went short the market aggressively and you fell in through the summer. Well, the bean market I think is something similar. I think the funds are going to build long positions and you have farmers protected anyway on new crop or on the old crop I should say. They haven't LDP'd much and so there is a fair amount of protection yet out there. They can gamble, if you will and I've heard that some farmers really already sold what they had for their beans anyway because they bought into this and they fear this rally won't last and so they are taking advantage of it. Longer term I think as we go into the spring we peak out in May and then we turn down into June after the crop is planted, good rains maybe in June in Iowa and Illinois, that type of thing. Then you get into July and we need to watch our weather closely. What is good weather for a corn market will be bad weather for the soybeans because it will enhance Asian Rust and we do expect the Asian Rust to spread into Illinois and Indiana. That is in the backyard of the Board of Trade. When that first hits that market is going to go limit. Then the next thing is will Iowa get it? I think Iowa will but there are a lot of people who don't believe it. But this summer will be very telling because the one thing you've got going is it's going to spread and that is emotion that is going to rock this market and send it back higher again I think in July, late July on into early August. And then you're going to have the South American farmers selling on that news when the US farmer better be selling as well.

Pearson: Wow, it's going to be an interesting year.

Martin: And very volatile too I think.

Pearson: The soybean market global chess game is underway. And we'll have more. Thank you Sue so much, appreciate your great insights. Be sure to join us again back here at our Market Plus Web site next week. For all of us here on Market to Market, have a great week.

Tags: agriculture commodity prices markets news soybeans