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Afternoon Market Recap for Nov. 20, 2018

Bargain buyers prop up soybeans.

Corn takes small losses, with wheat futures coming in mixed today 

Soybeans got a moderate lift today from a round of bargain buying, picking up gains of nearly 1% and erasing some of Monday’s steep declines. Corn couldn’t follow suit, marred by a large export cancellation that was reported this morning, but losses were small. Wheat prices were mixed, with Chicago SRW contracts finding small gains after some short-covering. 

Expect generally warmer weather as the week progresses in much of the central U.S., with much more frigid temperatures invading the Northeast. The latest three-day cumulative precipitation map from NOAA shows some additional rain and snow will be possible in the Midwest and Mid-South over the next 72 hours. 

Weak earnings reports from Target and other major retailers pounded the Dow today, which lost more than 630 points in afternoon trading to 24,384. Energy futures also plummeted, with crude oil, gasoline and diesel all falling around 5% today, triggering spillover losses for metal commodities and some currencies, although the U.S. Dollar firmed moderately. 

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Corn prices didn’t feel the heat from Tuesday’s plummeting energy futures, but bearish outside marketsand a large export cancellation kept the mood pessimistic. December and March futures each slipped 1 cent to close at $3.6125 and $3.7225, respectively.

Corn basis bids were mixed Tuesday despite slow farmer sales ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Bids moved 1 to 5 cents higher at several ethanol plants but dropped as much as 3 cents across other Midwestern locations today. 

Corn harvest reached 90% last week, up from the prior week’s total of 84% and mostly in line with 2017’s pace of 89% and the five-year average of 93%. 

Private exporters reported to USDA the cancellation of sales totaling 7.9 million bushels for delivery to unknown destinations during the 2018/19 marketing year, which began September 1.

Ukraine’s agriculture minister says the country’s 2018 corn production could reach a record 1.370 billion bushels, up 2.4% from prior estimates. Ukraine’s total grain harvest is already at record levels this year, with a small percentage of its corn crop still to be harvested. 

Several pricing windows – some longer, some shorter – are in play at any given time. Knowing more about these windows and matching them to when you’ll need cash are important components of a good marketing plan. Learn more by listening to the latest episode of the Deep Dive podcast from Farm Futures.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 294,033 contracts, down slightly from Monday’s final count of 311,745.


Soybean prices rebounded from Monday’s steep losses, as bargain buyers entered the fray, with soymeal and soyoil futures also finishing the session in the green. January futures trended 7.25 cents higher to $8.81, with March futures up 7 cents to $8.9450.

Soybean basis bids were mixed at interior river terminals today but steady across other Midwestern locations. Farmer sales are relatively slow ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

This year’s soybean harvest is also inching along, moving from 88% complete the prior week to 91% complete as of November 18. The pace remains a bit behind 2017 and the five-year average, both at 96%.

Private exporters reported to USDA the sale of 4.5 million bushels of soybeans for delivery to unknown destinations for the 2018/19 marketing year, which began September 1. 

Preliminary volume estimates were for 98,550 contracts, dropping moderately below Monday’s final tally of 137,491.


Wheat prices were mixed Tuesday, with Chicago SRW contracts picking up small gains on some short-covering – December futures ended the session up 2.25 cents to $5.0075. December Kansas City HRW futures dipped 1.25 cents to $4.73 and December MGEX spring wheat futures dropped 1.75 cents to $5.7075, meantime.

Winter wheat planting progress reached 93% complete as of November 18, up just four points from the prior week’s tally of 89%. That puts this year’s crop slightly behind 2017’s pace and the five-year average, both at 97%. Crop emergence reached 81%, which is also behind 2017’s pace of 87% and the five-year average of 88%. 

Against analyst expectations, USDA raised its assessment of the 2018/19 winter wheat crop quality from 54% in good-to-excellent condition the prior week to 56%.

Farmers in the northern India state of Punjab are planting winter wheat at a record pace, having reached 77% progress this week on about 6.5 million acres so far. 

Japan issued a regular tender to purchase nearly 3.7 million bushels of food-quality wheat from the U.S. and Canada that closes Thursday. The majority of sales are expected to be sourced from the United States.

Bangladesh issued an international tender to purchase 1.8 million bushels of wheat from optional origins, which closes December 4.

Iran issued an international tender to purchase 9.2 million bushels of animal feed barley that closes Tuesday. The grain is for shipment in December or January.

Preliminary volume estimates were for 110,524 CBOT contracts, tracking 15.7% below Monday’s final count of 131,085.

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