Home » Black Sea Tensions Keep Grain Prices Afloat
Economy Featured Global News News

Black Sea Tensions Keep Grain Prices Afloat

Grain prices caught more tailwinds on Friday on building concerns that Russia may not elect to renew a deal that allows for safe passage of shipping vessels in the Black Sea, which is otherwise set to expire later this month. (In fact, a fist fight broke out today at one point during negotiations!) These worries led to another round of technical buying. Corn prices firmed around 1%. Soybeans and wheat fared even better, capturing double-digit gains by the close.

More wet weather is likely for the central U.S. this weekend into early next week, with the eastern Corn Belt and Northern Plains likely to see the highest totals between Saturday and Tuesday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s new 8-to-14-day outlook predicts seasonally wet weather likely for the southern half of the U.S., with widespread warmer-than-normal conditions probable for the Midwest and Plains between May 12 and May 18.

On Wall St., the Dow climbed 544 points higher in afternoon trading to 33,672 fueled in part by better-than-expected jobs data, along with a rebound for several regional bank stocks. Energy futures also made significant inroads, with crude oil up 4% this afternoon to $71 per barrel. Diesel rose nearly 3.5% higher, with gasoline up around 2.25%. The U.S. Dollar softened slightly.

On Thursday, commodity funds were net buyers of CBOT wheat (+1,875) contracts but were net sellers of corn (-7,500), soybeans (-250), soymeal (-3,000) and soyoil (-500).


Corn prices continued to shift higher as tensions between Russia and Ukraine (two of the world’s top grain exporters) remain higher than they have been in some time. Spillover support from other commodities and stock markets lent additional support. May futures added 5.25 cents to $6.5175, with July futures up 8.25 cents to $5.9725.

Corn basis bids were steady to mixed across the central U.S. after trending as much as 15 cents lower at an Illinois ethanol plant and as much as 3 cents higher at a Nebraska processor on Friday.

China is looking to diversify the sources of its grain purchases, as was evident by the delivery of 4.3 million bushels of corn from South Africa earlier this week. South Africa is expecting a solid production of around 625.6 million bushels and is one of the continent’s few net grain exporters. China’s state-owned trader COFCO indicated it hopes to normalize bulk imports of South African corn moving forward.

Brazil’s Anec only expects the country’s corn exports to reach 12.8 million bushels in May, which would be noticeably below year-ago totals of 42.9 million bushels, if realized.

Ukraine’s grain exports during the 2022/23 marketing year are trending around 8% lower year-over-year so far as the country continues to face ample production and export logistical challenges amid the ongoing Russian invasion. That includes corn sales totaling 988.1 million bushels so far, plus 536.5 million bushels of additional wheat sales. Ukraine is among the world’s top exporters of both commodities.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 240,929 contracts, trending moderately lower than Thursday’s final count of 281,787.


Soybean prices captured double-digit gains on a solid round of technical buying on Friday after fading to a seven-month low earlier in the week. May futures rose 20.5 cents to $14.69, with July futures up 19 cents to $14.3675.

The rest of the soy complex was also in the green on Friday. Soymeal futures found modest gains of around 0.25%, while soyoil futures jumped 3.5% higher today.

Soybean basis bids held steady across the central U.S. on Friday.

Brazil’s Anec anticipates the country’s soybean exports will reach 443.9 million bushels in May, which would be moderately higher year-over-year, if realized. Anec also expects to see Brazilian soymeal exports reach 2.2 million metric tons this month.

The 29th annual Student Soybean Innovation Competition, which is sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance with support from Purdue University, recently concluded as participants sought out ways to use soybeans to replace less environmentally ingredients in everyday products. Teams developed everything from a biodegradable alternative to Styrofoam to soy-based drywall. Click here to see what else these enterprising students cooked up.

The month of May is the perfect time to revisit two important risk management considerations, according to Matt Bennett, commodity analyst with AgMarket.net. “Those items? How our crop insurance should affect our marketing for new crop, and our cash needs for harvest when formulating the timing of our sales – either for old or new bushels,” he says. Bennett expands on these concepts in the latest Ag Marketing IQ blog – click here to learn more.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 166,211 contracts, moving slightly above Thursday’s final count of 162,600.


Wheat prices made another round of massive improvements as traders become increasingly spooked that a critical Black Sea shipping deal won’t receive an extension by its expiration date of May 18. That led to a round of ample technical buying again on Friday. July Chicago SRW futures added 13.75 cents to $6.5875, July Kansas City HRW futures climbed 35.25 cents to $8.3350, and July MGEX spring wheat futures rose 21.75 cents to $8.3375.

French farm office FranceAgriMer slightly lowered the country’s soft wheat quality ratings by a point, but 93% of the crop is still in good-to-excellent condition through May 1. Corn plantings are trending well below the historical trend of 75% over the same period, with just 59% of the crop in the ground as of Monday.

Tunisia purchased 3.7 million bushels of durum wheat and 3.4 million bushels of animal feed barley from optional origins in an international tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment starting in early June.

Taiwan purchased 1.9 million bushels of milling wheat from the United States in a tender that closed earlier today. The grain is for shipment between June 21 and July 5.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 109,728 CBOT contracts, slipping around 4% below Thursday’s final count of 114,220.

Source : Feedstuffs