Ag Markets Down As Anti-China Rhetoric Heat Up

By May 1, 2020 No Comments

Good morning all,

Does anybody remember when the trade war was the main thing effecting ag? Simpler times.

Well today, we have a pandemic with a twist of trade war hitting ag commodities.

Corn is down $1 per ton after climbing off lows hit on Tuesday. Meal is flat, but the soybean complex is taking a beating. Soy oil is down, which could explain why meal isn’t driving down too.

If demand for soyoil is smaller, there could be less meal unless we see a meal led rally. Locally, DDG is quite a bit lower than when all this got started as it fights its way back into rations. Call your sales rep for prices delivered to you for our 30% protein DDG.

Yesterday President Trump hinted that the corona-virus may have been released by mistake from a lab in Wuhan and threatened to renew the trade war.

“We signed a trade deal where they’re supposed to buy, and they’ve been buying a lot, actually. But that now becomes secondary to what took place with the virus,” Trump told reporters. “The virus situation is just not acceptable.”

Then after reports emerged that the U.S. considered cancelling some of our debt obligations as a form of retaliation against China, Trump said: “Well, I can do it differently. I can do the same thing, but even for more money, just by putting on tariffs. So, I don’t have to do that.”

Also vexing U.S. officials is the fact that China insisted on a pandemic clause days before the Jan. 15th truce signing of the Phase 1 deal.

Now Australia is calling for an independent inquiry into the virus’ origin, which led China to threaten a boycott against the close trading partner. China accounts for 36% of Australia’s export market, so the back-and-forth could have an impact on our ag markets.

The trade war rhetoric is driving down the Dow and S&P 500 along with ag markets and oil futures starting in August.

We’re also entering a critical phase of the pandemic as some states re-open we should see if outbreaks increase too quickly, forcing people back inside. With a two-week incubation period, we should see the results by Mid-May.

And while mass-gatherings are unlikely, would a slight re-opening boost gasoline demand enough to get ethanol buying corn again? And if the re-open gets halted due to quick spread, would that send prices to fresh lows?

Nobody knows what will happen, the main question is: if corn at these levels work, does having a little ownership make sense before entering the long slog of summer. As you can see in the chart below, December corn futures have fallen nearly $30/ton since the start of all this.

People are also closely watching some drug trials for both a treatment for people who get Covid-19 as well human trials for a vaccine, the results of which we could see in June. One study shows a vaccine protects monkey’s from Covid-19.

Remember, ag commodities move quickly. Most of the time I hit send on this e-mail, prices are different minutes later. The best way to stay current on our offers is to call or text you salesman.

Thank you,
Paul Quinn

Dec corn futures