Market Perspectives – January 26, 2023

Chicago Board of Trade Market News

Outlook: March corn futures are up 6 ¼ cents (0.9 percent) this week as changes in the Argentine weather forecast have heightened market volatility. Early this week, corn futures fell sharply after Argentina received heavy rains over the weekend that were rumored to aid crop conditions. While the country has continued to receive precipitation this week, the long-term forecast turns dry after the start of February. That allowed corn futures to rally again with buying strength also stemming from reports of dire conditions as pollination approaches. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said 12 percent of the country’s corn crop is now rated good/excellent, up from the paltry 5 percent reported last week. Still, there are questions as to just how much yields can recover after a disastrous start to the crop year.

U.S. exports remain a major focus for the futures market and signs of increase demand are starting to show. This week, USDA reported daily “flash” export sales of 130 KMT and 100 KMT of corn to unknown destinations for the 2022/23 marketing year. The sales boosted confidence in the U.S.’ export competitiveness and helped futures post their late-week gains. The weekly Export Sales report featured a pullback in net sales, which totaled 0.91 MMT, while weekly exports surged 28 percent to 0.912 MMT. YTD export bookings (exports plus unshipped sales) are down 45 percent YTD at 24.038 MMT and are closely following the 2019/20 export pattern.

Looking forward to the 2023 U.S. planting effort, the first forecasts of America’s corn acreage are starting to be released. The average prediction, so far, suggests that 90.5 million acres will be planted this year, which would be up 2 percent from 2022. Some estimates are as low as 89.9 million acres while predictions on the high end are near 92 million acres. USDA will issue its first 2023 planting acreage forecast in the February Agricultural Outlook Forum.